During World War II, the U.S. Government Printing Office published a series of large format newsmaps about overseas battlefields and the supporting role of war-related activities at home. This May, 1945 Newsmap Industrial Edition, published three weeks after V-E Day in Europe, is in essence a 20th century broadside of American war news. The large format piece could have been posted in public places, such as U.S. Post Offices, libraries, town halls and government buildings. This Newsmap is too large to hold or read close up. The piece relies upon visual imagery to project its content. Three maps show the Allied war activity in the Pacific: a Map of Japan, Nagoya Ablaze and the third is Map of China and Japan. Accompanying text explains the "gigantic vise" created by China attacking Japanese positions along China's east coast, near Formosa while American soldiers laid siege on Japan's main islands. The Newsmap reports the tens of thousands of casualties, both American and Japanese in the ferocious fighting.
"All hands on deck" is the message. To connect the home audience for the Newsmap to the theatre of war a headline explains "Lumber is a Combat Weapon". U.S. Military canine corps members are shown in rough huts, chained for their meals. The unfamiliar Asian tropics are described with a photograph titled "Open Air Warehouse." A photo labeled "Matches Go to War" shows matches treated with a coating to resist humidity or being submerged in water when carried by U.S. soldiers fording rivers or caught in tropical downpours. Finally, a photograph of a freshly dug cemetery with wooden grave markers bears the news that "new crosses and Stars of David" will soon replace the plain wood markers. Intended to comfort American service families that Army service is also caring, "Turkey for the Boys" shows a vehicle carrying U.S. soldiers and frozen turkeys to their camp for Thanksgiving dinner as a soldier holds up a frozen Tom for the photographer.
A dangerous wartime theatre and alien lands are brought home to Americans with war photographs and maps that still speak to us about the WWII experiences of American soldiers in the Pacific and those elsewhere 78 years later almost to the day.