By: John Groth
Dimensions: 13 x 20.6 inches (33 x 52.3 cm)
This provocative pictorial map is the work of native Chicagoan illustrator John Groth. It is an acrid denunciation of events and politics in 1938 as perceived by Groth. The map was published in an anti-fascist journal and designed with the purpose of illustrating the spread of fascism in South America in the early part of the 20th century.
The primary antagonists depicted are German, Japanese and Italian businessmen, whose actions and activities comprised a direct challenge to the position of the US government as set out in the provisions of the Monroe Doctrine of 1823. Groth depicted the businessmen as ‘fascist mobsters’ who had ‘muscled in’, positioning themselves to make commercial, cultural and military inroads for themselves and their respective governments in South America.
The Monroe Doctrine states explicitly that (1) the United States would not interfere in the internal affairs of or the wars between European powers; (2) the United States recognized and would not interfere with existing colonies and dependencies in the Western Hemisphere; (3) the Western Hemisphere was closed to future colonization; and (4) any attempt by a European power to oppress or control any nation in the Western Hemisphere would be viewed as a hostile act against the United States. The fourth statement is the focal point of Groth’s map, with South America depicted as being under siege on all sides, by land, by sea and by air.
The verso features caricatures. One is of the Japanese General, Kenji Doihara, who was instrumental in the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, for which he earned the nickname ‘Lawrence of Manchuria’. The other is Mussolini the ‘Muscle Man’, who is described as ‘an ex-intellectual, originator of the ape-man act of reducing international law to that of the jungle’. The heading beneath the depiction further relates some of the horrors which took place under his tyrannous rule.
Condition: This map is in A condition with small holes at the centerfold created by the staples which held it in place.
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