Nazis. Has there ever been a greater villain or evil force out there? Always a great villain in movies and fiction, throughout history they have not only served to be the perpetrators of horrific acts, but also the target of countless conspiracy theories and strange tales of their alleged bizarre schemes and outlandish experiments. From researching the occult, to hunting down the Lost Ark of the Covenant, to trying to create an army of super soldiers and superior advanced weaponry, they really manage to fit whatever the creepy story calls for, and there are many such stories. Among the many are the rumors that the Nazis had a secretive, covert base in the cold depths of the continent of Antarctica, a tale which won't go away and which in itself has spread out to cover many facets of the weird, and one very bizarre story is the time an American invasion force to this Antarctica base apparently was attacked and repelled by UFOs.
In December 1938, just a few months leading up to World War II, the Nazis sent an expedition to the Antarctica. The purpose of the expedition was to survey the region and secure land mainly to protect the German whaling industry from perceived threats by Norway and Germany. The ship MS Schwabenland was sent to a region called Dronning Maud Land, along with two Dornier Wal flying boats that were used to photographically survey 600,000 square kilometres, and in August 1939 a large swath of the area was renamed "Neuschwabenland" and claimed by the Germans. With the beginning of the war and challenges to this claim by Norway, the Germans officially abandoned their Antarctic plans, having never even started to build anything there. This would officially be the first and last expedition Nazi Germany would make to the desolate frozen continent during World War II, but in the decades since there has been much talk that they not only did go back to Antarctica, but that they established a high-tech base there complete with aliens and UFOs.
The first rumors of a Nazi Antarctic base can probably be traced back to 1947, when a Hungarian exile living in Argentina by the name of Ladislas Szabo started writing about the German U-boat U-530, which had supposedly arrived in Argentina in July of 1945 and was heavily rumored to have been carrying none other than Hitler, Eva Braun, Martin Bormann, and other big Nazi names. Although the official report was that no such famous faces were aboard the U-boat, the gossip persisted, and Szabo came out with his book Hitler is Alive, in which he further elaborated that not only had Hitler and his entourage escaped custody, but that they had fled to a secret base in Antarctica, which Szabo claimed was called "New Berchetesgaden" and had been built in 1938-39. The media picked up the story and went with it, and before long it took on a life of its own, fueling all sorts of stories about this secret installation tucked away at the bottom of the world.
Of course, since this is the Nazis we are talking about here, such juicy conspiracies of a German Antarctic base were immediately flying around at the time, with the facility being claimed to be a gathering place for German occultists, mad scientists, and various members of shadowy groups such as the Illuminati. Such tales were only fueled by cryptic alleged statements made by German naval admiral Karl Dönitz, who would go on to be president of Germany in the wake of Hitler’s death, who said that they had just such a base, claiming it was an "invulnerable fortress, a paradise-like oasis in the middle of eternal ice." From here the legends and myths of a Nazi Antarctic base really took off, and covered the full spectrum of wild conspiracy theories, with claims ranging from the Nazis experimenting with UFO technology in subterranean lairs, to discoveries of ancient civilizations, to alien lizard people living under the ice, to stashing stolen artwork there, to claims that Hitler had been whisked away to the base for his own protection rather than dying, to the idea that it was meant to be the launching point for a shadowy, sinister new world order.
Over the years all kinds of tales would persist about this secret Antarctic Nazi base, and a persistent one was that the British and Americans had launched several attacks on it, with one of these being carried out from a supposed secret British base called Maudheim-1, which had allegedly been built in Antarctica specifically to observe the German base and conduct SAS raids on it. This base was purportedly built during England’s Operation Tabarin, which was carried out in 1945, ostensibly for establishing a British scientific base and presence in the region. Although there were many small bases established by the British in Antarctica, there is no evidence that they ever built a large military base from which to carry out SAS raids against the Germans, but the rumors stubbornly persisted.
More famous still was a secret covert Antarctic mission carried out by the US military in 1947 called Operation Highjump, also called The United States Navy Antarctic Development Program, which was headed by famed polar explorer Admiral Richard Byrd and officially meant to practice techniques for polar warfare, train personnel and test equipment in frigid conditions in anticipation of a possible war with the Soviet Union in the Arctic while remaining safely away from the Soviet Union’s prying eyes, as well as carry out surveying work and lay claim to new land on the continent. It was the largest group to ever go to Antarctica, an ambitious undertaking consisting of 4,700 men, 13 ships and 33 aircraft, and because of this it has long been thought to have been in actuality an invasion force meant to dislodge the Nazis from their secret Antarctic lair. One of the weirdest conspiracy theories involving Operation Highjump was all of the damn Nazi UFOs they had down there.
According to a 2006 Russian documentary called Third Reich – Operation UFO, the U.S. military not only launched Operation Highjump as a military invasion, but that they suffered many casualties when they encountered what Admiral Byrd allegedly described as “a new enemy that could fly from pole to pole at incredible speeds.” According to the documentary, after the Soviet collapse in 1991, the KGB released previously classified files concerning operation Highjump and containing new information gathered by Soviet spies embedded in the US expedition at the time. According to this supposed new Soviet declassified information, the attack force came up against “an unknown UFO force” protecting the Germans, which flew close to the U.S. expedition for several weeks and sporadically attacked them. One account from a Lieutenant John Sayerson, a flying boat pilot, reads:
The thing shot vertically out of the water at tremendous velocity, as though pursued by the devil, and flew between the masts [of the ship] at such a high speed that the radio antenna oscillated back and forth in its turbulence. An aircraft, a Martin flying-boat from the Currituck that took off just a few moments later was struck with an unknown type of ray from the object, and almost instantly crashed into the sea near our vessel. About ten miles away, the torpedo-boat Maddox burst into flames and began to sink Having personally witnessed this attack by the object that flew out of the sea, all I can say is, it was frightening.
According to the Soviet report, these UFOs destroyed several ships and a significant number of planes, always shrugging off return fire, before Operation Highjump retreated and the U.S. military put a lid on the whole incident. It’s all pretty spectacular stuff, but the problem is that the report has many inaccuracies, such as that there was never a torpedo boat called the Maddox involved in Operation Highjump, as well as the fact that this is some unverified documentary that came out in 2006 and was only translated into English in 2016. Was there really a battle between UFOs and the U.S. Navy at a secret Nazi Antarctica base? Who knows, but there certainly isn’t any hard evidence for it. It certainly isn’t a new idea, as there have long been conspiracy theories that the Nazis were developing super weapons reverse-engineered from alien tech, and the 2002 history of occult Nazism, Black Sun has said of this in relation to Antarctica:
Flying saucers were in fact German super-weapons that had been developed and tested during the Third Reich and supposedly shipped to safety in the Arctic, South America, and Antarctica. By the late 1970s, neo-Nazi writers were claiming that the 'Last Battalion,' a massive Nazi military force of highly advanced UFOs, was in possession of a vast tract of Antarctica.
To top off the whole weird story of Operation Highjump, Nazi Antarctic bases, and UFOs, in 1958 the U.S. supposedly dropped three atomic bombs onto the base to finish it once and for all, although the official version of events is that these were high altitude test explosions and were conducted a full between 2,280 and 3,500km north of Antarctica. Nevertheless, the rumors are that this is a cover-up, and was done to get rid of the Nazi UFO threat for good, and another Nazi Antarctica conspiracy story to add to the pile. Regardless of their many permutations, rumors of secret Nazi bases in Antarctica refused to die, and only picked up speed in the years after the war, helped along by an array of rumors and hearsay. In a bizarre book in 1962 by an Albert Bender, called Flying Saucers and the Three Men, the former Air Force veteran claimed that he had been abducted by aliens and taken to a secret Antarctic base, which was populated by the descendants of the reptilian beings who had originally built the facility. These aliens told him that after World War II the Germans had also been there and that they had shared their technology with them. It is all very strange to be sure, but it and other stories like it served to spark far-out conspiracy theories even further.
So what do we do with these tales of a secret Nazi base in Antarctica and its UFOs? The fact of the matter is that there is no real evidence that the Nazis ever built a base there, much less had UFO technology. No official, verifiable documents have ever shown that the Nazis even ever went there except for that one expedition, and the persistent rumors of a base there and the stories it has spawned even inspired Colin Summerhayes, a prominent marine geologist and oceanographer at Cambridge to write a complete peer reviewed paper in the academic journal “Polar Review” debunking the whole thing, and has said of claims of UFOs shooting down planes during Operation Highjump, “Despite the claims made in the neo-Nazi tract that American planes were shot down over Antarctica by Nazi flying saucers, the idea that Germans defended themselves with flying saucers from a secret base is pure fantasy.”
Stories of a Nazi base in Antarctica have continued right up to the present. Although they have consistently been debunked, they just refuse to go away. Of course with such tales so embedded into the lore and mythology of Nazi Germany and the conspiratorial nature of it all, it is hard for such claims to die, and there have long been the claims that this is all true and the facts covered up or suppressed. Whatever one may think, the stories of a secret Nazi Antarctica base with lost treasure, aliens, UFOs, the weirder the better, has always proven to be alluring, and it seems to be inextricably tied into the lore of World War II, true or not, not likely to go away any time soon.