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German World War II Captured Maps

Information about the project to digitize and make available online the maps captured by the United States from foreign militaries during World War II.

About the Maps

During World War II and in its immediate aftermath the U.S. Army Map Service (AMS) acquired large quantities of captured German World War II maps which were important planning tools for the war of aggression waged by the Nazi regime and document the exploitation of resources in Nazi-occupied territories. These maps proved invaluable to U.S. military planners during the early Cold War years, particularly German military map series covering eastern and southeastern Europe. By the mid-1950s, however, the U.S. Army Map Service started to deposit these German maps in U.S. research libraries. Today the German World War II maps form important legacy collections in many American map libraries, including the UC Berkeley Library map collection.

After 1945, U.S. map libraries largely focused on cataloging and promoting the English-language American AMS and British GSGS World War II maps. Resource descriptions created for German World War II military map series were rudimentary at best and even today generally consist of bare bones cataloging records that lack access points and commonly include mis-attributions. As a result, in many ways the holdings of German World War II military map series in American map libraries represent hidden collections.


World War II Captured Maps Poster


  • Susan Powell, GIS & Map Librarian, UC Berkeley
  • Heiko Mühr, Map Metadata & Curatorial Specialist, UC Berkeley
  • Julie Sweetkind-Singer, Associate University Librarian for Science & Engineering Resources, Stanford University

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