Nazi Bunkers in Antarctica
When thinking about Hitler and Nazi Germany most people can think of at least one conspiracy theory they have heard about. Two pretty common ones are the holocaust never happened or that Hitler is alive and well in Argentina. A third theory that is beginning to see some popularity among paranormal/conspiracy theorists is the idea that the Nazis took control of part of Antarctica and built underground bunkers where they would experiment with creating new technology (Soniak, 2012). This theory originates from a story about a Nazi expedition to Antarctica. The story says that while exploring and mapping the area, they uncovered a multitude of underground caves and rivers. One of the caves was particularly large and was turned into a large city that would be home to both Nazi’s and other powerful groups, like the illuminati. Along the way, the Germans either came across alien technology or made contact with the aliens. The Germans learned how to use the technology and were able to build a number of weapons (Soniak, 2012). This belief is extraordinary because there is no evidence that the Nazis ever did, or were even capable of building such base. Geologist and Oceanographer, Colin Summerhayes, partnered with journalist and historian, Peter Beeching, to examine evidence about Antarctica and the Nazis. The pair published a 21-page peer reviewed study about these mysterious Antarctic bases and if they are real or not.
In support of this claim is the fact that the Nazis did at one point carry out an expedition to Antarctica in 1938. Many conspiracy theorists claim that this was a large-scale expedition, with militarized and scientific ships. In reality, it was just one small ship with the goal of finding new territory where Germany could expand their whaling industry. There is also no mention of intent to establish a base in any Nazi documents, and after the start of WWII, the Nazis don’t return to Antarctica until 1959. The crew manning the ship also would have been nowhere near large enough to build a base the size of what is being claimed. (Soniak, 2012). Another bit of evidence for this theory is about the Nazi’s agreeing to The Antarctic treaty. The treaty makes Antarctica a research zone and states that Antarctica cannot be targeted in any way by bombs or missiles. Conspiracy theorists jump on this and say why would Nazi Germany sign this agreement? The claim is that they signed this agreement to deter other nations from visiting Antarctica and stumbling upon their base and the research being done there. There has been no evidence found to corroborate that point (McKendry, 2017). Additionally, some claim that Hitler himself is actually at Antarctica. The evidence for this idea is based on the claim that a German ship arrived at an Argentinian base located in Antarctica after the war ended. Another popular conspiracy theory is that Hitler escaped to Argentina at the end of the war, and so therefore he was picked up by a German ship, and sent to Antarctica to live at the secret bunker. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that Hitler ever made it to Argentina or that the supposed German boat ever went to Argentina’s Antarctic base (Barraclough, 2018).
So why do so many people believe this, despite the lack of evidence? One major reason is simply because it’s Antarctica. The hazardous conditions make Antarctica one of the last unexplored places on Earth. Because so little is known about the continent, this makes it a perfect breeding ground for conspiracy theories. So much of it remains unexplored and unknown, and it makes people think that anything could be there (Barraclough, 2018). Another contributor to this belief is that there have been some bizarre military activities that have occurred at Antarctica over the years, such as supposed German boats coming or the U.S. project “Operation Highjump”. These strange events, and the lack of information around them, often lead people to conclude that it must be because there is something going on there that the government doesn’t want us to know about. Rumors and speculation abound, and a conspiracy theory is born. In this case, people are simply misinformed and not looking at the evidence correctly. Today, much of the information concerning some of the military activities at Antarctica has been made public and now people can read up on the facts of some of these missions (Hanks, et. al, 2017). Many believers are also guilty of engaging in confirmation bias. A tenant of confirmation bias is that ambiguous evidence will be seen as supporting one’s theory. There are not many records surrounding the whaling expedition in 1938, so believers will look at this event and interpret the ambiguity of the evidence in such a way that it supports their theory.
Many of these believes actually come from Flat Earth. Flat Earther’s often propose that it is illegal to go to Antarctica and has a constant military presence, that’s why none of them can go investigate if the ice wall is out there. There is a subgroup of flat earth who believes that part of the reason you “can’t go” to Antarctica is because of the Nazi base there. Being a part of the flat earth community is what allows them to sustain their beliefs. They have a whole community to engage with and back them up in their beliefs.
The idea that the Nazis built a secret base at Antarctica is not based in evidence. To date, there has been nothing found to support it. Its believers are simply engaging in confirmation and are misinterpreting what they claim is their “evidence”. Most of the believers are also a part of the flat earth community, and this is what gives them the support to continue in their beliefs. This is just one of the conspiracy theories surrounding the mysterious continent of Antarctica, and like many of the other theories, it is a long way from being confirmed.
Barraclough, B. (2018, March 20). Nazis and pyramids: What’s really going on in Antarctica? Retrieved April 3, 2019, from https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/world/2017/11/nazis-and-pyramids-what-s-really-going-on-in-antarctica.html
Hanks, M., Tingley, B., Schuemann, N. L., Seaburn, P., & Seaburn, P. (2017, March 20). Antarctica’s Secret Nazi Base: Separating the Fact from “Fake News”. Retrieved April 3, 2019, from https://mysteriousuniverse.org/2017/03/antarcticas-secret-nazi-base-separating-the-fact-from-fake-news/
McKendry, D. I. (2017, December 21). The Secret Nazi UFO Base Beneath Antarctica. Retrieved April 3, 2019, from http://www.the13thfloor.tv/2017/03/31/the-secret-nazi-ufo-base-beneath-antarctica/
Soniak, M. (2012, March 19). Hitler on Ice: Did the Nazis Have a Secret Antarctic Fortress? Retrieved April 3, 2019, from http://mentalfloss.com/article/30249/hitler-ice-did-nazis-have-secret-antarctic-fortress