Skip to comments.NEUSCHWABENLAND: The Lost Colony (Of Nazi Germany)
Posted on 01/21/2004 2:08:56 PM PST by vannrox
There have always been tales floating around that the Germans were involved in some kind of plot to claim Antarctica as a territory, or at least use it for some kind of research or base for military operations. Little is known of these strange expeditions, but they did in fact take place. Available information is scanty, so if you know anything about this or other subjects on this site, please see the Contributors Wanted page.
The very first German Antarctic expedition was carried out in 1873, under Sir Eduard Dallman who was working on behalf of the newly founded German Society of Polar Research. On that voyage, he discovered new Antarctic routes, and the "Kaiser-Wilhelm-Inseln" at the western entrance of the Biskmarkstrasse along the Biscoue Islands. Within 60 years, 2 further expeditions took place, in 1910 and 1925.
In the years leading up to the Second World War, the Germans tried to establish control over parts of Antarctica, and their desire to posses bases there grew stronger. At this time, Antarctica was not politically stable due to international treaties, and a the only way Germany could stake a claim over that territory would be actual occupation. Hitler was anxious for a foothold in Antarctica, and such an action could be used for the Propaganda Board as a further demonstration of the coming "Superpower Germany."
On the other hand, further provocation of the Allies had to be avoided for some time. Germany's actions in Austria and other countries had pushed to the limits the relationship between Germany and the Anglo-French Allies. As much as Hitler wanted lands in Antarctica, he was not prepared to go to war over them.
Thus, the idea of a semi-civilian expedition in cooperation with Lufthansa came into being. Command of the expedition was given to Captain Alfred Ritscher, who had already led some expeditions to the North Pole and proved courageous and skillful in dangerous situations. The expedition's ship was the called Schabenland, a special freighter capable of carrying and launching aircraft. It had been in use since 1934 for trans-Atlantic mail delivery. The aircraft it carried was the famous Dornier Wal (Whale). These aircraft were mounted on steam catapults on the deck of the ship, and thus could be started and refueled on board the vessel. The Schwabenland was prepared for the expedition at the Hamburg shipyards, carrying a cost 1 million Reichsmark, nearly a third of the total expedition budget.
Meanwhile, the crew was assembled and trained by the German Society of Polar Research. The society also invited Richard E. Byrd, the most famous American Antarctic researcher, to join the expedition. Byrd arrived in Hamburg in mid November of 1938 and was given a tour of the expedition preparations, including meeting the crew. In the end, though, Byrd declined and returned to the US, later becoming an Admiral in the USN and fighting the Germans during the war. There are unsubstantiated stories that Byrd was assigned to destroy a secret German base in Antarctica towards the end of the war (supposedly called Base 211) but I have not verified these accounts.
The Schwabenland left Hamburg on December 17, 1938, and headed to the Antarctic on a precisely planned route (see map below). She reached the pack ice on January 19 1939 at 4° 15´ W and 69° 10´S. Over the following weeks, 15 Wal flights took place over roughly 600,000 square km. These were photographic missions, and using the special Zeiss Reihenmessbildkameras RMK 38 cameras, they mad more than 11,000 pictures of the area. Old Norwegian maps from 1931 were proven to be wrong and changed accordingly.
Nearly one fifth of Antarctica was observed and charted this way. Valuable information was documented for the first time, but the lands were simultaneously claimed to be German territory. To stress this claim to the other powers, the two Wal aircraft dropped several thousand small Nazi flags, as well as special metal poles with expedition's insignia and the swastika. The whole territory now got the name Neuschwabenland (New Schwabenland). This name is actually still valid and is often used to describe the area in question.
Interestingly, the expedition apparently discovered several ice free regions with lakes and small signs of vegetation. The expedition's geologists said that this phenomenon was due hot sources in the ground.
In mid February of 1939, the Schwabenland left the Antarctic. It took two months to get back to Hamburg, and Ritscher used this time to organize the results, maps and photos. Captain Ritscher was so surprised by the results of the flights that he immediately planned second, fully civilian, expedition, using lighter airplanes with skis. These plans were, however, canceled with the onset of World War 2.
After the war, most parts of Neuschwabenland were renamed according to the Antarctic Treaty of 1957. The new names of Queen Maud Land, Princess Martha Coast and Princess Astrid Coast appeared on the map. Yet even today many of the mountains in the northern Antarctic area carry German names: Mühlig-Hoffman Mountains, Wohltat Mountains and so on. They stand as the last monument to the German colony of Neuschwabenland.
Unfortunately, none of the links work for me and I had hoped to see old photos of penguins hopping around with Nazi flags in their beaks. :)
Strap on the tinfoil, and you can read all sorts of things about alien bases and resonance points. Natural resources? Ancient forgotten knowledge buried by the ice? Future real estate purchases after massive 'global warming?' There is something about this southern continent that we are not being told.
I have never understood why people are fixated by this frozen wasteland. Seems like a really cold dead end.
I have found some information on the expidition, unfortunatly it is in polish and you will need to translate it. Here it is: http://www.greendevils.pl/rozne/hyperborea/nowa_szwabia/1_nowa_szwabia.html
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