By: Steven Heller
Germany was defeated in 1945 and carved into four zones and East and West. The latter was governed by the Western Allies (the U.S., England, and France), and the former by the Soviet Union. Berlin was an island in Eastern Germany. The Allies didn’t do badly, and West Germany retained many valuable natural and industrial resources that, when tapped, would lead to national prosperity. This booklet, Germany at a Glance, is an elaborately printed and designed guide to these riches.
A vivid document of post-war recovery, Germany at a Glance, (published by the German-American Trade Promotion Company in 1952) is intended to stoke the fires of capitalism. Designed by Thomas Abeking with an informal formality, the booklet is composed of acetate overlaying maps, carefully and precisely printed with tiny illustrative glyphs, showing where Germany’s industry, culture, and attractions are located. A tabular system guides the user to sections on areas such as “beer and wine,” “toys,” “tools and cutlery,” “china and ceramics,” and more.
Although a trifle in the scheme of post-war rebuilding, this thin document packs a wealth of information into an impressive package – the power of design to wash away the Nazi stain.