A “new” Atlas provides a different view of the world, or at least it did prior to the advent of Online mapping. Philips Handy Volume Atlas of the World, Vol 17, 1930 contains 80 maps in a book approximately the size of a largish, thick pocket diary. The 1930 edition includes “the very latest geographical changes … such as the recent settlement regarding the boundary between Canada and Labrador, the frontiers between Iraq, Transjordan and the Nejd …”.
The distribution of population by continent was as follows (and in 2015): Europe 417 m (742 m), Asia 901 m (4,397 m), Africa 131 m (1,171 m), North America 114 m (357 m), South America 43 m (630 m), Australasia 7 m (40 m) , Total 1,613 m (7,127 m).
The authors also divided the population by racial type – White 900 m, Yellow 500 m, Black 200 m. So, what could possibly go wrong with devising a racial typology of the world’s population? Intriguingly the Jews were included in the white column while some of Hitler’s more willing European allies in the Magyars and the Finns were included in the Yellow column so even the junk science of race had fuzzy bits around the edges.
Europe in 1930 looks generally similar to the map of 2016 after the breakup of the old empires in the aftermath of WWI. The significant difference lies in the location of Poland, which looks as if it has been pushed some distance eastward, out beyond the eastern border of Lithuania. In the west, Germany occupies all but a sliver of the south Baltic coast which is divided between Poland and the League of Nations Mandated Free City of Danzig, with East Prussia separated from the rest of Germany. This curious arrangement was designed to give Poland some access to a port city, if only indirectly. Danzig (now Gdansk) was then a 95% German city with a Polish hinterland and was in a Customs Union with Poland. WWII in Europe started with a German attack on Danzig and Poland. A glance at the map suggests that an efficient Panzer Division could easily have driven through the Polish sliver and Danzig from one side of Germany to the other in an hour or so.