The "Time & Tide" Map of the Atlantic Charter
- Alternate Title:
- Time & Tide Map of the Atlantic Charter
- The "Time & Tide" Map of the Atlantic Charter
- Persuasive Maps: PJ Mode Collection
- Gill, MacDonald, 1884-1947
- Other Creators:
- Printer: George Philip & Son, Ltd
The London Geographical Institute
- Posted Date:
- ID Number:
- File Name:
- 1940 - 1959
- World War II
- 82 x 111 (centimeters, height x width)
- In August 1941, four months before Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill met secretly aboard ship in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. The most important result of the meeting was an agreement on the joint goals of Great Britain and the United States for the post-war world, promptly named (by the press) "The Atlantic Charter." With its promise of self-determination and "freedom from fear and want," the Charter "served as a propaganda weapon against the Axis," broadcasted widely by the Voice of America, and eventually the basis for the United Nations declaration. Brewer 2009, 95-96, 102; Patterson 2015, 189-192).
Equally significant, because of "its demonstration of Anglo-American unity against totalitarianism, the declaration of the Atlantic Charter served to boost British morale during one of the most difficult phases of the war." Ellis 2009, 48. Although the U.S. entered the war in December 1941, that development had not significantly changed life in England in 1942. Hitler continued to consolidate his military gains. The blitz had lifted, but not the bombing; Hitler's "Baedeker Raids" included massive attacks on Exeter, York, Norwich, Canterbury, Bristol and Bath. Food was in short supply and tightly rationed. "Time & Tide" magazine commissioned the well-known artist MacDonald Gill to produce this map in 1942 and issued it as part of the "morale-boosting" effort.
The Atlantic Charter is reproduced in full in text at the top, dominating the map. The continents abound with symbols of agriculture and industrial raw materials. Some of these were particularly important to the war effort: copper, iron, manganese, petroleum, rubber. But most were simply symbolic of the free and equal trade promised by Article 4 of the Charter: "here are indicated the chief products of each country for the furtherance of a sane economic and international policy for mankind." Gill 1944, 168. Otherwise open spaces are filled with hopeful quotes from Aristotle, Cicero, Emerson, Pope - and Isaiah's call to beat swords into plowshares, illustrated by a bare-chested worker doing just that. In short, the map is an optimistic view of a peaceful, sunny future "after the final destruction of Nazi tyranny" (Article 6), epitomized by Gill's trademark sunburst emerging from the Charter to enlighten the world. See Curtis 2016, 160-63.
The signatures of Roosevelt and Churchill are a bit of artistic license. The two met in person on Roosevelt's ship, the cruiser Augusta, but the final negotiations between them and edits to the draft continued by radio after Churchill had returned to the British battleship Prince of Wales. As a result, there was in fact no signed Charter document at the time; indeed, there was no single formal document until the principals had returned home and cabled final acceptance. As Roosevelt himself put it, "The nearest thing you will get is the radio operator on the Augusta and Prince of Wales. . . . There was no formal document." Gunther 1950, 16. It has been reported by Gill's heirs and confirmed by the British Library that when he was preparing this map in 1942, Churchill and Roosevelt each provided a strip of paper with a handwritten signature that was applied to the original artwork. https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/map-of-the-atlantic-charter, accessed October 9, 2018.
Gill was one of the best-known commercial and patriotic artists of his time. He "produced a great many advertisements which made use of maps [using] a striking, colourful, pictorial style . . . . Boldness and information, within an instantly recognizable cartographic framework, offered real scope for the purposes of advertising and propaganda." Barber 2010, 166. For other examples of his work in the collection, Search > "Gill". For more about his life and work, see Walker 2020. For Gill's own thoughts on "Decorative Maps," see Gill 1944.
The collection includes a number of maps in the art deco style of the time. For others, Search > "deco".
For further information on the Collector’s Notes and a Feedback/Contact Link, see https://persuasivemaps.library.cornell.edu/content/about-collection-personal-statement and https://persuasivemaps.library.cornell.edu/content/feedback-and-contact
- Private Collection of PJ Mode
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