"The United States military has been intervening in other countries for a long time. In 1898, it seized the Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico from Spain, and in 1917-18 became embroiled in World War I in Europe. In the first half of the 20th century it repeatedly sent Marines to 'protectorates' such as Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. All these interventions directly served corporate interests, and many resulted in massive losses of civilians, rebels, and soldiers."

-- A Briefing on The History of U.S. Military Interventions, By Zoltán Grossman, October 2001

People might be familiar with recent US military interventions in Middle East, or those in Asia in 1970s, however in the past 200 years' history, overseas interventions actually happened a lot more frequent than people usually think and played an important role to this country's development.

This visualization is not intended to create a narrative piece of intervention history, it's more created as a tool to go through the mass amount of history events and discover the correlations among those events in a certain period of time, or within a certain region.

US Military Intervention 1798 - 2009 was exhibited at ITP Spring Show 2009.

data source


playback The application is running auto playback mode by default, showing event after event in chronicle order. All intervention events contain a year label, a country/region/event name, and a short description. Each event is plotted at the geo location of the country on the globe where it happened. The globe would rotate to right angle and make sure the view is looking at the country from the front. In the background, the year currently on display in the application is printed in large type in the background, behind the globe and all texts.

timeline Meanwhile, a timeline progress bar at the top will show all history events before "current" event on focus with highlighted color. The timeline could also be read as a bar chart for all events overtime. Those events that lasted for more than a year would appear in the vertical bar for all those years.

radial axis As the application plays, previously shown interventions are still kept in the background, to keep an overview of "history" still visually perceivable. However they shrink into small cubes and bars (instead of text labels) along the radial axis initiated from the location of its country. The length of the bar indicates the duration of the intervention.



Download application for desktop below. I haven't tested the windows and linux version myself yet. The applications do require OpenGL so I'm not sure how they will work well (or work at all) on your machine. Do drop me a line if there's any problem or feedback, I'd be glad to look into it.

A little bit instructions


E-mail: Liangjie Xia leejayxia [at] gmail [dot] com

Website: http://leejayxia.com

Blog: http://leejayxia.com/blog


Creative Commons License

US Military Intervention 1798 - 2009 by Liangjie Xia is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.