New Swabia

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New Swabia
Neuschwabenland
Defunct Antarctic claim of Nazi Germany
1939–1945
Emblem of the Nazi German Antarctic Expedition.svg
Expedition logo
(1938–39)
NewSwabiaMap.jpg
Territory comprising New Swabia marked in red
History
Historical eraWorld War II
 Contact reached
19 January 1939
9 April 1940
 Surrender of Germany
8 May 1945

New Swabia (Norwegian and German : Neuschwabenland) was a disputed Antarctic claim by Nazi Germany within the Norwegian territorial claim of Queen Maud Land and is now a cartographic name sometimes given to an area of Antarctica between 20°E and 10°W in Queen Maud Land.[ citation needed ] New Swabia was explored by Germany in early 1939 and named after that expedition's ship, Schwabenland, itself named after the German region of Swabia. [1] [2]

Contents

Background

Like many other countries, Germany sent expeditions to the Antarctic region in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, most of which were scientific. The late 19th century expeditions to the Southern Ocean, South Georgia, the Kerguelen Islands, and the Crozet Islands were astronomical, meteorological, and hydrological, mostly in close collaboration with scientific teams from other countries. As the 19th century ended, Germany began to focus on Antarctica.

The first German expedition to Antarctica was the Gauss expedition from 1901 to 1903. Led by Arctic veteran and geology professor Erich von Drygalski, this was the first expedition to use a hot-air balloon in Antarctica. It also found and named Kaiser Wilhelm II Land. The second German Antarctic expedition (1911–1912) was led by Wilhelm Filchner with a goal of crossing Antarctica to learn if it was one piece of land. As happened with other such early attempts, the crossing failed before it even began. The expedition discovered and named the Luitpold Coast and the Filchner Ice Shelf. A German whaling fleet was put to sea in 1937 and, upon its successful return in early 1938, plans for a third German Antarctic expedition were drawn up. [3]

German Antarctic Expedition (1938–1939)

The third German Antarctic Expedition (1938–1939) was led by Alfred Ritscher (1879–1963), a captain in the German Navy. The main purpose was to find an area in Antarctica for a German whaling station, as a way to increase Germany's production of fat. Whale oil was then the most important raw material for the production of margarine and soap in Germany and the country was the second largest purchaser of Norwegian whale oil, importing some 200,000 metric tonnes annually. Besides the disadvantage of being dependent on imports, it was thought that Germany would soon be at war, which was considered to put too much strain on Germany's foreign currency reserves. Another goal was to scout possible locations for a German naval base. [4] [5]

Flag sometimes attributed to the New Swabia, but in fact it was flag of Reichskolonialbund and common flag for all German colonies during the Nazi period (NS was the only "colony"). There is also no evidence that the flag has ever flown in this territory. Flagge Reichskolonialbund2.svg
Flag sometimes attributed to the New Swabia, but in fact it was flag of Reichskolonialbund and common flag for all German colonies during the Nazi period (NS was the only "colony"). There is also no evidence that the flag has ever flown in this territory.

On 17 December 1938, the New Swabia Expedition left Hamburg for Antarctica aboard MS Schwabenland (a freighter built in 1925 and renamed in 1934 after the Swabia region in southern Germany) which could also carry and catapult aircraft. The secret [5] expedition had 33 members plus Schwabenland's crew of 24. On 19 January 1939, the ship arrived at the Princess Martha Coast, in an area which had lately been claimed by Norway as Queen Maud Land, and began charting the region. Nazi German flags were placed on the sea ice along the coast. Naming the area Neu-Schwabenland after the ship, the expedition established a temporary base and in the following weeks teams walked along the coast recording claim reservations on hills and other significant landmarks. Seven photographic survey flights were made by the ship's two Dornier Wal seaplanes named Passat and Boreas. [1] [7] About a dozen 1.2-meter (3.9 ft)-long aluminum arrows, with 30-centimeter (12 in) steel cones and three upper stabilizer wings embossed with swastikas, were airdropped onto the ice at turning points of the flight polygons (these arrows had been tested on the Pasterze glacier in Austria before the expedition). [1] [7] [8] None of these have ever been recovered. Eight more flights were made to areas of keen interest and on these trips, some of the photos were taken with colour film. Altogether they flew over hundreds of thousands of square kilometers and took more than 16,000 aerial photographs, some of which were published after the war by Ritscher. The ice-free Schirmacher Oasis, which now hosts the Maitri and Novolazarevskaya research stations, was spotted from the air by Richard Heinrich Schirmacher (who named it after himself) shortly before the Schwabenland left the Antarctic coast on 6 February 1939. [9]

MS Schwabenland in 1938 Schwabenland.jpg
MS Schwabenland in 1938
German map of Antarctica (1941) showing Neuschwabenland (territorial claim) Map of Antarctica with Neuschwabenland.jpg
German map of Antarctica (1941) showing Neuschwabenland (territorial claim)

On its return trip to Germany, the expedition made oceanographic studies near Bouvet Island and Fernando de Noronha, arriving back in Hamburg on 11 April 1939. Meanwhile, the Norwegian government had learned about the expedition through reports from whalers along the coast of Queen Maud Land. Although some, notably Norwegian writer Bjarne Aagaard and German geographer Ernst Herrmann, have claimed that Germany never actually occupied the territory, it is well documented that Germany issued a decree about the establishment of a German Antarctic Sector called New Swabia after the expedition's return in August 1939. [2] [10]

Germany never advanced any territorial claims to the region, which were abandoned in 1945. [11]

Geographic features mapped by the expedition

Because the area was first explored by a German expedition, the name Neuschwabenland (New Swabia) is still used for the region on some maps, as are many of the German names given to its geographic features. [12] Some geographic features mapped by the expedition were not named until the Norwegian-British-Swedish Antarctic Expedition (NBSAE) (1949–1952), led by John Schjelderup Giæver. Others were not named until they were remapped from aerial photographs taken by the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition (1958–1959). [13]

Aftermath

Germany made no formal territorial claims to New Swabia. [14] No whaling station or other lasting bases were built there by Germany until the Georg-von-Neumayer-Station, a research facility, was established in 1981. Germany's current Neumayer-Station III is also in the region. New Swabia is a cartographic area of Queen Maud Land which within Norway is administered as a Norwegian dependent territory under the Antarctic Treaty System by the Polar Affairs Department of the Ministry of Justice and the Police. [15]

Conspiracy theories

Neuschwabenland has been the subject of conspiracy theories for decades, some of them related to Nazi UFO claims. Most assert that, in the wake of the German expedition of 1938–39, a huge military base was built there. After the war, high-ranking Nazis, scientists, and elite military units are claimed to have survived there. The US and UK have supposedly been trying to conquer the area for decades, and to have used nuclear weapons in this effort. Proponents claim the base is sustained by hot springs providing energy and warmth. [16]

The WDR radio play "Neuschwabenland-Symphonie" from 2012 takes up the conspiracy theories. [17]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Drygalski Mountains</span>

The Drygalski Mountains are a group of scattered mountains and nunataks lying between the Filchner Mountains and the Kurze Mountains in the Orvin Mountains of Queen Maud Land. They were discovered by the Third German Antarctic Expedition (1938–1939), led by Captain Alfred Ritscher, and named for Professor Erich von Drygalski, the leader of the First German Antarctica Expedition of 1901–03. They were remapped from air photos and survey by the Sixth Norwegian Antarctic Expedition, 1956–60.

The Filchner Mountains are a group of mountains 11 km (7 mi) southwest of the Drygalski Mountains, at the western end of the Orvin Mountains of Queen Maud Land, Antarctica. They were discovered by the Third German Antarctic Expedition (1938–1939), led by Capt. Alfred Ritscher, and named for Wilhelm Filchner, leader of the German expedition to the Weddell Sea area in 1911–12. They were remapped from air photos taken by the Sixth Norwegian Antarctic Expedition, 1958–59.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Territorial claims in Antarctica</span> Land claims of the continent

Seven sovereign states–Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom–have made territorial claims in Antarctica. These countries have tended to place their Antarctic scientific observation and study facilities within their respective claimed territories; however, a number of such facilities are located outside of the area claimed by their respective countries of operation, and countries without claims such as India, Italy, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine, and the United States have constructed research facilities within the areas claimed by other countries.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Schirmacher Oasis</span>

The Schirmacher Oasis is a 25 km (16 mi) long and up to 3 km (1.9 mi) wide ice-free plateau with more than 100 freshwater lakes. It is situated in the Schirmacher Hills on the Princess Astrid Coast in Queen Maud Land in East Antarctica and is, on average, 100 m (330 ft) above sea level. With an area of 34 km2 (13 sq mi), the Schirmacher Oasis ranks among the smallest Antarctic oases and is a typical polar desert.

Borg Massif is a mountain massif, about 50 km (30 mi) long and with summits above 2,700 metres (8,900 ft), situated along the northwest side of the Penck Trough in Queen Maud Land, East Antarctica. The tallest peak, at 2,727 metres (8,947 ft), is Hogsaetet Mountain. The parallel, ice-filled Raudberg Valley and Frostlendet Valley trend northeastward through the massif, dividing its summits into three rough groups:

Mount Krüger, or Krügerfjellet, is a 2,655-metre (8,710 ft) mountain standing 8 nautical miles (15 km) southwest of Kvithø Peak in the Sverdrup Mountains of Queen Maud Land, Antarctica. The summit of Krüger is the highest point in the Sverdrup Mtns.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mount Dallmann</span>

Mount Dallmann is a bold mountain, 2,485 metres (8,150 ft) high, 11 miles (18 km) east of the northern portion of the Conrad Mountains, in the Orvin Mountains of Queen Maud Land, Antarctica. It was discovered by the Third German Antarctic Expedition (1938–1939), led by Captain Alfred Ritscher, and named for Eduard Dallmann, a German whaling captain who explored along the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula in 1873–1874. Dallmann was the first person to navigate under the German flag in Antarctic waters.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Queen Maud Land</span> Norways territorial claim in Antarctica

Queen Maud Land is a roughly 2.7-million-square-kilometre (1.0-million-square-mile) region of Antarctica claimed by Norway as a dependent territory. It borders the claimed British Antarctic Territory 20° west and the Australian Antarctic Territory 45° east. In addition, a small unclaimed area from 1939 was annexed in June 2015. Positioned in East Antarctica, it makes out about one-fifth of the continent, and is named after the Norwegian queen Maud of Wales (1869–1938).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mühlig-Hofmann Mountains</span> Mountain range in Antarctica

The Mühlig-Hofmann Mountains is a major group of associated mountain features extending east to west for 100 km (62 mi) between the Gjelsvik Mountains and the Orvin Mountains in Queen Maud Land, East Antarctica. With its summit at 3,148 metres (10,328 ft), the massive Jøkulkyrkja Mountain forms the highest point in the Mühlig-Hofmann Mountains.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Orvin Mountains</span>

The Orvin Mountains constitute a major group of mountain ranges, extending for about 100 km (62 mi) between the Wohlthat Mountains and the Mühlig-Hofmann Mountains in Queen Maud Land. With its summit at 3,055 metres (10,023 ft), the massive Sandeggtind Peak forms the highest point in the Conrad Mountains, a subrange of the Orvin Mountains.

Alfred Ritscher was a German polar explorer. A Kapitän zur See in the Kriegsmarine, he led the third German Antarctic Expedition in 1938–39, which mapped the New Swabia territories of Queen Maud Land. Ritscher Peak and Ritscher Upland there are named for him.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Conrad Mountains</span>

The Conrad Mountains are a narrow chain of mountains, 30 km (19 mi) long, located between the Gagarin Mountains and Mount Dallmann in Queen Maud Land, Antarctica. The Conrad Mountains are a subrange of the Orvin Mountains. With its summit at 3,055 metres (10,023 ft), the massive Sandeggtind Peak forms the highest point in the Conrad Mountains.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gruber Mountains</span> Mountains of Antarctica

The Gruber Mountains are a small group of mountains consisting of a main massif and several rocky outliers, forming the northeast portion of the Wohlthat Mountains in Queen Maud Land, Antarctica. They were discovered and plotted from air photos by the Third German Antarctic Expedition (GerAE), 1938–39, under Alfred Ritscher. The mountains were remapped by the Sixth Norwegian Antarctic Expedition, 1956–60, who named them for Otto von Gruber, the German cartographer who compiled maps of this area from air photos taken by the GerAE. This feature is not to be confused with "Gruber-Berge," an unidentified toponym applied by the GerAE in northern the Mühlig-Hofmann Mountains.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kurze Mountains</span>

The Kurze Mountains are a range of mainly bare rock peaks, ridges and mountains about 20 nautical miles (40 km) long and 6 nautical miles (11 km) wide in the Orvin Mountains of Queen Maud Land, Antarctica. The feature stands between the Drygalski Mountains on the west and the Gagarin Mountains and Conrad Mountains on the east.

Kubus Mountain is a distinctive blocky mountain, rising to 2,985 metres (9,790 ft) 3 nautical miles (6 km) southeast of Trollslottet Mountain, in the northwestern part of the Filchner Mountains of Queen Maud Land, Antarctica. It was discovered by the Third German Antarctic Expedition under Ritscher, 1938–39, and given the descriptive name Kubus. Aurkleven Cirque lies between Klevekampen and Kubus.

Mount Schicht is a prominent mountain with several summits, rising 4 nautical miles (7 km) west-southwest of Ritscher Peak in the Gruber Mountains of Queen Maud Land. The feature was discovered by the German Antarctic Expedition under Ritscher, 1938–39, and named Schichtberge because of its appearance.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Antarctica during World War II</span>

International competition extended to the continent of Antarctica during the World War II era, though the region saw no combat. During the prelude to war, Nazi Germany organized the 1938 Third German Antarctic Expedition to preempt Norway's claim to Queen Maud Land. The expedition served as the basis for a new German claim, called New Swabia. A year later, the United States Antarctic Service Expedition established two bases, which operated for two years before being abandoned. Responding to these encroachments, and taking advantage of Europe's wartime turmoil, the nearby nations of Chile and Argentina made their own claims. In 1940 Chile proclaimed the Chilean Antarctic Territory in areas already claimed by Britain, while Argentina proclaimed Argentine Antarctica in 1943 in an overlapping area.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">German Antarctic Expedition (1938–1939)</span> Nazi Germany polar expedition

The German Antarctic Expedition (1938–1939), led by German Navy captain Alfred Ritscher (1879–1963), was the third official Antarctic expedition of the German Reich, by order of the "Commissioner for the Four-Year Plan" Hermann Göring. Councilor of state Helmuth Wohlthat was mandated with planning and preparation. The expedition's main objective was of economic nature, in particular the establishment of a whaling station and the acquisition of fishing grounds for a German whaling fleet in order to reduce the Reich's dependence on the import of industrial oils, fats and dietary fats. Preparations took place under strict secrecy as the enterprise was also tasked to make a feasibility assessment for a future occupation of Antarctic territory in the region between 20 ° West and 20 ° East.

References

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  2. 1 2 Widerøe, Turi (2008). "Annekteringen av Dronning Maud Land". Norsk Polarhistorie (in Norwegian). Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  3. Luke Fater (6 November 2019). "Hitler's Secret Antarctic Expedition for Whales". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  4. Eric Niiler. "Hitler Sent a Secret Expedition to Antarctica in a Hunt for Margarine Fat". A&E Television Networks, LLC. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  5. 1 2 "Hitler's Antarctic base: the myth and the reality", by Colin Summerhayes and Peter Beeching, Polar Record , Volume 43 Issue 1, pp. 1–21. Cambridge University Press, 2007.
  6. "Former German Colonies and Overseas Territories".
  7. 1 2 Boudewijn Büch. Eenzaam, Eilanden 2 ('Lonely, Islands 2'), Holland 1994
  8. Ritscher's expedition report, more information pending
  9. William James Mills (2003). Exploring Polar Frontiers: M-Z. ABC-CLIO. pp. 552–. ISBN   978-1-57607-422-0.
  10. The International Hydrographic Review. International Hydrographic Bureau. 1943.
  11. Jacek Machowski (1977). The Status of Antarctica in the Light of International Law. Office of Polar Programs and the National Science Foundation.
  12. e.g., National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition, 2005
  13. USGS GNIS
  14. Heinz Schön, Mythos Neu-Schwabenland. Für Hitler am Südpol, Selent: Bonus, 2004, p. 106, ISBN   978-3935962056, OCLC   907129665
  15. "Queen Maud Land". Encyclopædia Britannica . Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  16. Holm Hümmler: Neuschwabenland – Verschwörung, Mythos oder Ammenmärchen? In: Skeptiker. Nr. 3, 2013, S. 100–106.
  17. "ARD-Hörspieldatenbank". hoerspiele.dra.de. Retrieved 19 December 2021.

Literature

Coordinates: 72°S5°E / 72°S 5°E / -72; 5