Target Tokyo: Newsmap. Monday, October 18, 1943.
Published: 1943, Washington
Size: 47" X 35"
An iconic and visually stunning propaganda broadside map of the world centred on Tokyo dating shortly after bombing trials had been conducted by the US Air Force between May to September 1943 to determine the effectiveness of the strategic use of incendiary bombs, but prior to the commencement of a full fledge bombing of mainland Japan.
In fact, the operation of the bombing campaign against Tokyo only began in earnest in November 1944 with the introduction of the long range B-29 Superfortress bomber.
The use of the B-29 as wells incendiary bombs culminated in Operation Meetinghouse that targeted Tokyo which, on March 9th 1945, is described as “the single deadliest air raid of World War II.”
The Target Tokyo broadside was one of two significant broadside published by F.E. Manning, with the other being Target Berlin published a week later. Similar to the Target Tokyo broaside, the Target Berlin was published on the eve the start of the bombing campaign targeting the German capital by the USAAF Eighth Air Force, commonly referred to “the Battle of Berlin”.
However, both bombing campaigns were seen as controversial in their stated goals. As such, it remains unclear if those bombing campaigns are to be seen as failures in that they were unsuccessful in their stated aims to cripple the war time economy and diminish the opponents morale.
Both broadsides depict a distance scale with instructions on how to detach the scale and use it on the photographic view of the world with the centres either at Tokyo or Berlin. The detachable scale had been specifically designed to compensate for the difference in the distance the closer one came to the centre of the targeted area as opposed to farther out to the periphery of the map. It was also indicated in the instructions that the lines running between key cities were not representations of regular air routes.
The verso of both broadsides presents war news from the various fronts and campaigns with a focus on the Allied forces and their victories.
The purposes of the broadsides were, therefore, aimed at the visual effects rather than the pure dissemination of facts. As such the Newsmaps, such as Target Tokyo and Target Berlin, were published weekly by the Army Orientation Course of the Special Service Division Army Services Forces, or, more bluntly, by the department responsible for war propaganda.