National Geographic : 1899 Aug
PLANS FOR REACHING THE SOUTH POLE less obstructed advance than hitherto will be possible after the disappearance of this remarkable quantity of drift-ice, the next few years will be especially favorable for the resumption of Ant arctic exploration. Apart from purely scientific reasons, an ambition to advance German naval prestige is a prominent motive in the advocacy of a national expedition. The following paragraph, quoted from the Kblnische Zeitung, tends to show that the same logic that prompted the purchase of the Caroline and Mariana islands will be the most convincing argument for any vote by the Reich stag in favor of a large subsidy for the expedition: " For naval supremacy are necessary not only men-of-war and a merchant marine, but also an active participation in those scientific under takings which lead to man's conquest of the sea. Such enter prises we Germans formerly left to others. Then we not only considered strategic points in distant seas unnecessary for our selves, but actually surrendered to foreign hands, one after an other, the approaches to our own harbors. Each course was equally inglorious; but about 1860 a desire arose for a personal share in the exploration of the North Polar regions, and from this feeling has grown the demand for a German fleet and the renewal of the plan for a canal to the North sea and of other similar projects. The honest conviction has come that all these enterprises are mutually dependent and but parts of one whole. To be strong at sea in the knowledge of readiness to fight, to be strong at sea in the consciousness of a peaceful commerce that carries our flag into every port, to be strong because of a scien tific and intellectual conquest of the sea, are the rights of a great people working for one end-national development. Therefore let us hope that the German Antarctic expedition will not only add great honor to our scientists, but also bring new glory to German valor at sea." The advantages, both from a geographic and general scientific point of view, of a further exploration of the South Polar regions have been so repeatedly set forth that it is hardly necessary to enlarge upon them here. Briefly they may be stated as: the verification or disproof of the existence of a vast Antarctic con tinent; the determination of the origin of the cold ocean currents which have their rise in the south; the study of the nature of ice itself, of the differences between land-ice, sea-ice, river-ice, etc; and the investigation of the conditions of atmospheric press ure and temperature, of volcanic action, and of terrestrial mag netism within the Antarctic circle.