Sometimes, cartographers subtly sneak hidden agendas into their maps, but the messages conveyed in war propaganda maps are anything but camouflaged — they are blatantly meant to convince a nation to unite and fight against a vile enemy.
In the 1900s, a British cartographer named Frederick Rose confronted the “dangers of Bolshevikisms” by depicting Russia as an octopus strangling Poland, Finland, China and other countries. (That over-the-top map is pictured here.)
Showing your enemy as a ghastly beast was adapted by many others, including the Germans, who threw some tentacle shade at Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Taking it a step further, Germany created another map in which other European nations were depicted as animals, while Germany and Austria-Hungary were shown as men. In turn, France created a map showing Germany as a cross between a terrifying bird and, what else, an octopus.
Not to be outdone, Russian designer Dmitry Moor created a series of maps that showed courageous Bolshevik volunteers rallying against its European enemies. Though a bit cartoonish, the maps helped create a feeling of unification within Russia and the Soviet Union.