Smithsonian Institution War Background Studies
Starting in 1941 the Smithsonian published twenty-one illustrated booklets on the peoples, geography, history, natural history, and other features of the areas reached by World War II, particularly in and around the Pacific Ocean. The aim was to increase popular understanding of the regions and peoples involved in the conflict. Demand for the books were so great that in 1943 the print run had to be increased from 3,500 to 8,000. Numerous copies were ordered by the Army and Navy for distribution to service personnel.