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Wissenschaft und Abenteuer in der Arktis: Beispiele deutscher Polarexpeditionen
University of Hamburg, Germany.
2007 (German)In: Journal of Northern Studies, ISSN 1654-5915, Vol. 1, no 1-2, 51-79 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

From its beginning in 1868 German polar expeditions were focused on scientific exploration. History shows that around 1910 only well prepared and equipped expeditions were successful and could gain valuable experiences. The training expedition of the Bavarian officer Wilhelm Filchner who subsequently led the German Antarctic Expedition (1911–1912) was one of these. This is contrasted by the preliminary expedition to Nordaustlandet (Svalbard) of the west Prussian officer Herbert Schroder-Stranz. Other expeditions gave rise to longrange investigations like the permanently occupied German Geophysical Observatory on Svalbard (1911–1914) established for the investigation of the upper air by aerological measurements to prepare a future exploration of the Arctic by airships.

There was a long tradition for German scientific expeditions to Greenland, which is represented for instance by Alfred Wegener‘s meteorological programme to investigate the glacial anticyclone. The year 1930 was a fateful year for German polar research, when he died on the ice-cap and geologist Hans Kurt Erich Krueger vanished in the north Canadian archipelago. Both men represented science as well as adventure.

International projects initiated or organised from the German side were always successful. Georg von Neumayer, director of the German Navy Observatory (Deutsche Seewarte), played an important role in organising the 1st International Polar Year (1882–883) after the untimely death of Karl Weyprecht. Only extensive research without recognition of national borders would provide new scientific knowledge in meteorology and earth magnetics for weather forecast and shipping. After World War I economical ideas concerning the introduction of trans-arctic air traffic lead to the foundation of the International Society for the Exploration of the Arctic Regions by Means of Aircraft (Aeroarctic). In the meteorological planning of the first expedition with the airship LZ 127 “Graf Zeppelin” to the Russian Arctic, the results of the German Geophysical Observatory in Svalbard were used. This paper discusses the connections between science and adventure established through the German expeditions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University & The Royal Skyttean Society , 2007. Vol. 1, no 1-2, 51-79 p.
Keyword [en]
Antarctica, Greenland, Spitzbergen, Svalbard, Aeroarctic, German Geophysical Observatory, 1st International Polar Year (1882–1883), 2nd International Polar Year (1932–1933), Wilhelm Filchner, Hans Kurt Erich Krueger, Herbert Schröder-Stranz, Alfred Wegener, Graf Zeppelin
National Category
Humanities History
Research subject
History Of Sciences and Ideas
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-47552OAI: diva2:442969
Available from: 2011-09-26 Created: 2011-09-22 Last updated: 2011-09-26Bibliographically approved

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