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Lisle Rose on: The Second Antarctic Expedition
Lisle Rose Q: Why was Byrd compelled to go back to Antarctica for the second expedition?

LR: Well, the basic point I think is that first of all he felt for whatever forces drove him that he could not rest on his laurels. And the second point was, and he, he made this quote and it was quoted in his obituaries, that once having gone to Antarctica he was "pathetically desirous" of getting back. The Antarctic exerts that kind of a lure on a lot of people. It's a very strange, beautiful, wild place. And Byrd, nobody has described the Antarctic and its beauty and its treachery any better than Dick Byrd. His books are certainly well worth, and his articles are certainly well worth reading for that. What he wanted to do now was use advanced technologies of all kinds, centering around the internal combustion engine to really break down and unlock the secrets of Antarctica. He would use airplanes, he would use sledges, he would bring scientists down again. And he would find ways to continue to promote himself as a kind of intrepid explorer who did things and who took risks that nobody else would take.


Q: Why was Byrd compelled to go to Advance Base?

LR: Well, I think it's very difficult to really come up with any kind of categorical answers to why Dick Byrd decided that he wanted to man Advance Base alone. He obviously had been talking about it for several years. He approached a number of people with the idea and told him that of course they would be there with him. He, in "Alone", he makes this statement that he first thought about manning it with three people and then decided that that wasn't feasible. Then he thought about two but two of them would constantly be at each other's throats. So he finally decided that the only thing to do was to man this by himself. There was some minimal scientific value to it in the sense that the meterological conditions 123 miles down the Ross Ice Sheet ah, the Ross Ice Shelf would be different than they would, far more volatile sea ice conditions that you'd find at the edge of the, of the Ross Sea. But the question as to whether or not it was worth risking, one, a person's life to man a meterological station, and two, risk other people's lives in case that person had to be rescued, this, I think was something -- Byrd of course, states, and his stated opinion was that he wanted to get away from the hullabaloo. He had, for almost ten years exhausted himself mounting first the North Pole flight and then getting money for the transatlantic flight and then the first Byrd expedition, when he flew to the South Pole. And he was exhausted. And he wanted to get away to be by himself to replenish his spirit. And there is evidence, very strong evidence that Byrd did come away with this with an enhanced sense of spiritual peace and so on. After all, in 1940 he becomes head of the No Foreign Wars Committee, he's titular head, honorary chairman. But he obviously comes back from the ice, from his stay ah, alone with a heightened sense of kind of mystic peace and so on. So I think all of those elements were, were involved.

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