The Astounding Counterfeit Nazi Invasion Map You’ve Never Heard Of

In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt faced an excruciatingly delicate task. Although he had promised—and campaigned on—a policy of American neutrality in World War II the year before, Roosevelt ached to help the Allies stem the increasingly ravenous Nazi threat sweeping across Europe. The question was: How, exactly, could he about-face and sell the war to his people?

In October of that year, he masterfully managed the feat. In his nationally-broadcast Navy Day address, Roosevelt made an extraordinary claim. "I have in my possession a secret map made in Germany by Hitler's government," he said. "It is a map of South America and a part of Central America, as Hitler proposes to reorganize it… This map makes clear the Nazi design not only against South America but against the United States itself."

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The map—presented as clear evidence of the Nazis' hostile aspirations in what was (under the century old Monroe doctrine) still considered "America’s backyard"—had its intended effect. Although the Germans vehemently denied the map’s existence, the American people largely rallied behind what could now be pitched as a preemptive war of self-defense. And two months later, when Nazi Germany formally declared war on the United States, Roosevelt’s October speech was specifically mentioned as proof of American provocation.

The Counterfeit Plot

Decades after the war, Roosevelt’s Nazi map was discovered in his private documents, and released. But according to Nick Cull, a historian at the University of Southern California who has studied the map, it is not at all what it appears to be. As Cull told mental_floss, the map is actually a carefully prepared counterfeit—curiously, one made by neither the Germans nor the Americans.

“In truth, the map was a fiction forged by the British intelligence service,” Cull explains. By 1941, as the Nazis reached the French coast, the British had all the reason in the world to try to push the Americans out of their neutral stance. “It was well known that maps are incredibly powerful and effective tools in propaganda—they can lend a threat a certain level of tangibility,” Cull says. “The British had not forgotten that their leak of the Zimmerman telegram, in which the Germans promised Mexico Texas if they invaded, had pushed America to embark into World War I.”

Indeed, historical documents show that the map was the brainchild of William Stephenson, a former Canadian air ace and personal friend of Winston Churchill, who by 1941 “was basically running British intelligence in North America, doing various operations to annoy the Germans to wear down American isolationism,” says Cull.

Stephenson—who had collected a rag-tag team of intelligence operatives, including a prominent ad-man, the philosopher Alfred Ayer, a British song-writer, one of the co-writers of the Wizard of Oz screenplay, and, at one point, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s own Roald Dahl—had the map loosely based on several actual Nazi-made South American maps, but “redrew the boundaries in a quite carefully selected way to maximally upset everybody,” Cull says.

According to a memoir of one of Stephenson’s eclectic team’s members, the original plan was to plant the map in Cuba somewhere that the FBI would come across it on their own. But it is believed that, instead, the British just handed the map over themselves, claiming it was discovered in a Nazi safe-house raid.

A Complicit President?

One of the biggest remaining mysteries of Roosevelt’s counterfeit Nazi map is whether or not the president himself was aware of the ruse. After all—real or fake—the secret, unseen map worked entirely in Roosevelt’s interest.

Cull believes Roosevelt may have known, or at least suspected, that the map was a fraud. “What convinced me,” he says, “was that if you look at Roosevelt’s own handwritten edits in the first few drafts of his Navy Day speech, you can see that he crosses out a line that says ‘I have in my possession a map of undoubted authenticity’ and eventually revises it to ‘I have in my possession a secret map.’ It’s almost like he’s trying to distance himself from the smoking gun in those revisions.”

Afternoon Map
The Most Searched Shows on Netflix in 2017, By State

Orange is the New Black is the new black, at least as far as Netflix viewers are concerned. The women-in-prison dramedy may have premiered in 2013, but it’s still got viewers hooked. Just as they did in 2017, took a deep dive into Netflix analytics using Google Trends to find out which shows people in each state were searching Netflix for throughout the year. While there was a little bit of crossover between 2016 and 2017, new series like American Vandal and Mindhunter gave viewers a host of new content. But that didn’t stop Orange is the New Black from dominating the map; it was the most searched show in 15 states.

Coming in at a faraway second place was American Vandal, a new true crime satire that captured the attention of five states (Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin). Even more impressive is the fact that the series premiered in mid-September, meaning that it found a large and rabid audience in a very short amount of time.

Folks in Alaska, Colorado, and Oregon were all destined to be disappointed; Star Trek: Discovery was the most searched-for series in each of these states, but it’s not yet available on Netflix in America (you’ve got to get CBS All Access for that, folks). Fourteen states broke the mold a bit with shows that were unique to their state only; this included Big Mouth in Delaware, The Keepers in Maryland, The OA in Pennsylvania, GLOW in Rhode Island, and Black Mirror in Hawaii.

Check out the map above to see if your favorite Netflix binge-watch matches up with your neighbors'. For more detailed findings, visit

Afternoon Map
Monthly Internet Costs in Every Country

Thanks to the internet, people around the world can conduct global research, trade tips, and find faraway friends without ever leaving their couch. Not everyone pays the same price for these digital privileges, though, according to new data visualizations spotted by Thrillist.

To compare internet user prices in each country, cost information site created a series of maps. The data comes courtesy of English market research consultancy BDRC and, which teamed up to analyze 3351 broadband packages in 196 nations between August 18, 2017 and October 12, 2017.

In the U.S., for example, the average cost for internet service is $66 per month. That’s substantially more than what browsers pay in neighboring Mexico ($27) and Canada ($55). Still, we don’t have it bad compared to either Namibia or Burkina Faso, where users shell out a staggering $464 and $924, respectively, for monthly broadband access. In fact, internet in the U.S. is far cheaper than what residents in 113 countries pay, including those in Saudi Arabia ($84), Indonesia ($72), and Greenland ($84).

On average, internet costs in Asia and Russia tend to be among the lowest, while access is prohibitively expensive in sub-Saharan Africa and in certain parts of Oceania. As for the world’s cheapest internet, you’ll find it in Ukraine and Iran.

Check out the maps below for more broadband insights, or view’s full findings here.

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

[h/t Thrillist]


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