The Nazis, some believe, established a secret base in Antarctica to which they spirited Hitler at the war's end, fought off British special forces and an American military taskforce, partly by shooting down US planes using flying saucers. The Americans eventually destroyed the base with nuclear weapons in the 1950s. Since then, various governments have striven to conceal this.

In this light, it's no effort to re-imagine Antarctic explorations proposed under the aegis of IPY. A quick tour of the website reveals a project entitled 'Exploring Antarctic Dry Valleys in Preparation for Mars Landings'. It seems scarcely less unlikely that this could really be a mission to recover Nazi treasure or technologies.

Like all good conspiracy theories, this one is built on a skeleton of facts. There was a German expedition to Antarctica in 1938-39. There was classified British military activity in Antarctica during the war. In July 1945, two months after VE Day, the German submarine U-530 appeared at the Argentine naval base of Mar del Plata. The next month, U-977 did the same.

news @ nature.com - Did Hitler have a base in the Antarctic? - John Whitfield wonders why fringe fantasies get attracted to the edges of the Earth.


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