In 1948 an Oscar winning documentary entitled 'The Secret Land' was released in the United States covering the Antarctic Developments Project of 1946-47, immediately after the end of WWII, codenamed 'Operation Highjump.' The official purpose of this hastily prepared military contingent destined for the Antarctic rim, led by veteran explorer Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, was to map the coastline and as much of the interior as possible; to train personnel and test materials in frigid conditions; conduct various scientific tests and establish permanent bases. Captain James Cook achieved much of this in 1773 sailing a small merchant collier!
With Rear Admiral Richard Cruzen heading up the task force of 4,700 men, a fleet of thirteen ships, including a destroyer, a submarine, ice-breakers, cargo ships and the newly built fleet aircraft carrier USS Philippine Sea with six R4D transport planes on board, fanned out as they left Panama to sail the many hundreds of miles south. They also carried tractors, snow-ploughs, tanks, sea-planes, helicopters and several dog-sled teams. No expense was spared in this time of post-war austerity, but America did not make any territorial claims or exploit Antarctica's rich supply of untapped natural resources after this expedition.
Indeed, the greatest achievement of this costly and perilous operation in which many men died, was the acquisition of approximately 70,000 aerial photographs of the Antarctic coast and other inland areas. Or at least, so we are told... but Admiral Richard Byrd alluded to an unexplored "land of everlasting mystery" a real "no-man's land" which was as large as North America and has never been seen by a human being. When Captain Cook reached the furthest south he could go he noted: the ice "extended east and west far beyond the reach of our sight, while the southern half of the horizon was illuminated by rays of light which were reflected from the ice to a considerable height... It was indeed my opinion that this ice extends quite to the Pole, or perhaps joins to some land to which it has been fixed since creation".
In February 1947 Byrd was quoted as saying, "I'd like to see the land beyond the Pole. That area beyond the Pole is the center of the Great Unknown..." What this polar pioneer and his crew actually did see on their 'high-jump' over the Antarctic ice-wall has been classified ever since. On a routine mission to map 300 miles of coast off Queen Maud Land in their PBM, pilots W.R.Kreitzer and F.L.Reinbolt observed that what was previously drawn in as coastline was in fact a towering ice-shelf rising high above the sea. Turning south, they suddenly discovered a range of ice-crystal mountains, rising more than 2 miles into the air. Flying near the mountain peaks, Kreitzer and Reinbolt followed the range for almost 100 miles. One of them later told Byrd, "It was like a landscape on another planet."
Admiral Cruzen spoke of several "oasis" with ice-free land and warm water. Lieutenant Commander David Bunger and his men flew west from the Queen Mary Coast where they were amazed to see "a land of blue and green lakes and brown hills in an otherwise limitless expanse of ice." They landed their 'flying boat' on a lake and tested the water, which was about 30 degrees. On a previous 1,700 mile flight across the South Pole Admiral Byrd was perplexed by the lack of snow and ice. He saw vegetation and pine forests, warm winds and land animals ahead. However, all his transmission data was sealed and he was obliged to remain silent.
As a high-ranking Freemason and member of the Air Force, Admiral Byrd had to keep his oath of secrecy. He was also from an 'elite' bloodline and all of his earlier polar fights and explorations were funded by John D. Rockefeller and his 'philanthropic' cohorts. Byrd named an Antarctic mountain range after this evil man! Much to the dismay of the other expedition members, all of the scientific information gathered by the team on Byrd’s First Antarctic Expedition from 1928–1930, which was “enough to fill seven large books” was turned over to Rockefeller before anybody had a chance to study the findings, only to vanish and never be seen again.
In preparation for Byrd's Antarctic Service Expedition in 1939, a unique Snow Cruiser called 'Penguin 1' was loaded onto the North Star vessel amidst much fanfare. This fully equipped monster-truck was 16 feet high and 55 feet long, it's wheels were 10 feet in diameter and retractable for passing over crevasses and gliding down slopes. It had a small monoplane with skis, designed to be carried on the roof with a range of 300 miles and the cruiser was intended to accommodate five people with enough fuel and supplies for a year. They planned to go far in this vehicle! Unfortunately, this 'white elephant' which cost $300,000, an exorbitant sum, went nowhere. It's treadless tires proved useless on ice and it was abandoned where it lay for posterity.
In 1945, Britain encountered a convoy of German U-boats fleeing Norway and suspected of heading for Antarctica with the German High Command. All Royal Navy subs and warships in the Atlantic were pressed into service, but the British flotilla was totally wiped out except for one destroyer, the Captain of which said, "May God help me, may I never again encounter such a force!" This final battle was not publicised. Nonetheless, after this sham war, many Nazi scientists were recruited by the United States in Henry Kissinger's 'Operation Paperclip' to initiate the NASA Space Program in 1958, so they could hardly be the 'enemy' they were claimed to be in wartime. Didn't the Nazi's murder six million of Kissinger's tribe?
Neither in the 1939-1941, or subsequent 1946 and 1955 expeditions to Antarctica did the United States appear to infringe upon the lands claimed by the Germans, but 'Operation Highjump' which was and still is, the largest Antarctic expedition in history came to an abrupt halt with the sudden evacuation of Little America IV, six months before schedule and Admiral Byrd told a press conference that Antarctica should be surrounded by a wall of defense installations as it represented the last line of defense against "hostile regions." He was also in favour of testing nuclear and atom bombs there! Why would he advocate nuking "that enchanted continent in the sky" with which he was so enamoured?
Admiral Byrd's final incursion into the 'land of everlasting mystery' came during 'Operation Deepfreeze' in 1955-1956, but he stayed for just one week and died a year later, rather prematurely at sixty-eight years of age. 1957 was the International Geophysical Year and when the Antarctic Treaty came into effect making the territory off-limits to all but the military. This treaty was signed by twelve countries in 1959, the year rocket scientist Werner Von Braun stated: "We find ourselves faced by powers which are far stronger than we had hitherto assumed and whose base of operations is presently unknown to us." As a former Nazi SS Officer, to whom was he referring?
Curiously, Richard E. Byrd's only son of the same name, a Harvard graduate who was a financier at Morgan Stanley and accompanied his father on 'Operation Highjump.' also died in strange circumstances at sixty-eight years old. He went missing on his way from Boston to a National Geographic Society ceremony in Washington in honour of Admiral Byrd's centenary. He never arrived and his body was found almost a month later in a disused warehouse in Baltimore. It seems that the true story of the 'land beyond the pole' died with it's discoverer, thus ensuring Antarctica forever remains... "The Secret Land."