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Joseph Hill on: Byrd's Motivation
Joseph Hill Q: Do you think Advance Base was a success or a failure for Byrd?

JH: I think that we can classify the advance base adventure as a success. It did not take three men to the base of the Queen Maud range, but Byrd did do his thing, and it was always planned as just one of the other scientific ventures that had been planned for the expedition and there were several. I think that his sickness, his decision to go alone produced a reaction in the press looking back that blew it out of the era or the area of a scientific venture and made it look like and sound like possibly a stunt. And some people back here took it that way. It was not intended to be that. It was merely another part of the scientific work that we were down there to do.


Q: And do you think he was trying to do something to get some attention back home for his expedition so that he could go out and--?

JH: I don't think that was in his mind at all. No, I think the proof is in the history. That his plans were made months and months and months ahead, to establish an advance base for three men to make meteorological studies and so on. It was always in the plan. It was not a stunt. But we have to remember that in the era that this took place, aviation and communications were exploding. Every time you turned the page of a paper somebody established a new speed record, or somebody flew another long distance flight. It was in an age of stunts. And also it was in the midst of the Depression. People needed something to look to at that time. And therefore, it was the environment in which it happened that contributed a great deal to the way it was interpreted I think.

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