Primary Source: “One World, One War” Map drawn by Richard Harrison

Join Daniel Immerwahr as he explores maps made during World War II and shows how maps changed as people’s sense of the world changed. As he puts it, “We usually see maps as photographs of the world…But cartographers, or mapmakers, make choices…and those choices tell us something.” After watching the video above, students can explore the maps, including the “One World, One War” map by Richard Edes Harrison, featured in the video.

Guided Discussion Questions

  • What kinds of choices do cartographers make while they’re making maps? How do these choices change the way a map looks?
  • Check out some of the additional maps linked below, and compare the ways that the mapmakers use color, illustrations, and space to impact your perception. What differences do you notice in the choices of different mapmakers?
  • How does the “One World, One War” map reflect changing perceptions of the world during World War II?

Additional Online Primary Sources

Recommended Online Reading

Daniel Immerwahr (Ph.D., Berkeley, 2011) is an associate professor at Northwestern University, specializing in twentieth-century U.S. history within a global context. His first book, Thinking Small (Harvard, 2015), offers a critical account of grassroots development campaigns launched by the United States at home and abroad. It won the Merle Curti Award in Intellectual History from the Organization of American Historians and the Society for U.S. Intellectual History’s annual book award. His second book, How to Hide an Empire (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019), tells the history of the United States with its overseas territory included in the story. That book was a national bestseller and a New York Times critic’s choice for one of the best books of 2019. Immerwahr’s writings have appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, the Washington Post, The New Republic, The Nation, Dissent, Jacobin, and Slate, among other places.