Lake Vostok: Hitler’s Secret Antarctica Base?

For over twenty years, Russian scientists have attempted to break through some two miles of ice and breach the surface of Lake Vostok. Recently, the Russian expedition seemingly vanished. Now, it has reappeared and reports of success are running rampant. What did the expedition find? Nothing at all? New lifeforms? A Nazi submarine complete with Hitler’s corpse?

The Lost World of Lake Vostok?

Lake Vostok has been sealed off from the outside world for somewhere between 400,000 to 20 million years. It remains liquid due to heavy pressure from the ice as well as geothermal heat. Lake Vostok constitutes an extreme environment, not too dissimilar from what one might expect to find underneath the ice on Mars or Jupiter’s moon, Europa. Researchers are hopeful they will find new lifeforms (probably microbial in nature) within its waters.

Lake Vostok = Secret Nazi Base?

However, at least one source is suggesting a different possibility. RIA Novosti is the state-owned Russian news agency that broke the story of the expedition’s success. In its report, RIA Novosti discussed a theory that the Nazis built a secret base in the region. It also mentioned other Antarctica-based rumors: Nazi relics…secret files…and even the corpses of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun which were apparently being set aside for…you guessed it…cloning purposes.

The odds of the Russian expedition discovering Nazi artifacts in the vicinity of Lake Vostok are beyond low. Still, it’s not completely out of the question. The Nazis explored Antarctica in 1939 and were interested in building a naval base in the region. Also, several Nazi submarines, notably the U-977, escaped immediate capture after the war. The activities of these subs remain shrouded in mystery. Here’s more on the Nazi speculation at Lake Novosti from RIA Novosti:

It is thought that towards the end of the Second World War, the Nazis moved to the South Pole and started constructing a base at Lake Vostok. In 1943, Grand Admiral Karl Dontiz was quoted saying “Germany’s submarine fleet is proud that it created an unassailable fortress for the Fuehrer on the other end of the world,” in Antarctica.

According to German naval archives, months after Germany surrendered to the Allies in April, 1945, the German submarine U-530 arrived at the South Pole from the Port of Kiel. Crewmembers constructed an ice cave and supposedly stored several boxes of relics from the Third Reich, including Hitler’s secret files.

It is also rumored that later the submarine U-977 delivered the remains of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun to Antarctica for DNA cloning purposes…

(See the rest on Nazi speculation at Lake Novosti from RIA Novosti)

The $3 Billion Shipwreck?

In 1942, the S.S. Port Nicholson sank somewhere off the shore of Cape Cod. Now, a treasure hunter by the name of Greg Brooks claims to have found the sunken shipwreck. But that’s not all…not by a long shot.

The $3 Billion Shipwreck?

According to Brooks, the S.S. Port Nicholson was carrying 71 tons of platinum which was supposed to be a payment from the Soviet Union to the U.S. for war supplies. At ~$1,500 an ounce, that means the S.S. Port Nicholson shipwreck is worth roughly $3 billion. Not too shabby! Here’s more on the $3 billion shipwreck from the Huffington Post:

A treasure hunter said Wednesday he has located the wreck of a British merchant ship that was torpedoed by a German U-boat off Cape Cod during World War II while carrying what he claims was a load of platinum bars now worth more than $3 billion. If the claim proves true, it could be one of the richest sunken treasures ever discovered.

But an attorney for the British government expressed doubt the vessel was carrying platinum. And if it was, in fact, laden with precious metals, who owns the hoard could become a matter of international dispute.

Treasure hunter Greg Brooks of Sub Sea Research in Gorham, Maine, announced that a wreck found sitting in 700 feet of water 50 miles offshore is that of the S.S. Port Nicholson, sunk in 1942…

(See the rest on the $3 billion shipwreck at the Huffington Post)

Eddie Slovik: Execution of an American Deserter

On January 31, 1945, twelve soldiers raised their rifles, pointed them, and fired. Fifteen minutes later, private Eddie Slovik was dead. He remains the only U.S. soldier executed solely for desertion since the Civil War, when it was a disturbingly common punishment. Why did Slovik suffer this fate?

Desertion during World War II?

“The person that is not willing to fight and die, if need be, for his country has no right to life.” ~ Colonel James E. Rudder

While armchair historians often tout World War II as “the Last Good War,” not every combatant agreed. Back in those days, service in the U.S. military wasn’t voluntary…it was mandatory. Even worse, those who went AWOL from a war they’d been forced into fighting risked the maximum punishment…death. Although exact AWOL numbers remain unknown, more than 21,000 people were sentenced for desertion during World War II. 49 of those individuals were given the death sentence. Out of those 49 people, a single person was executed…Eddie Slovik.

The Execution of Private Eddie Slovik?

Prior to the war, Slovik was “a small-time thief and ex-convict who was originally classified as unfit for military service.” But he was drafted anyway and in August 1944, found himself in France. During the horrific Battle of Hürtgen Forest, the U.S. Army suffered 33,000 casualties. Eddie Slovik barely managed to survive and afterward, decided he “wasn’t cut out for combat.” He requested a reassignment away from the front lines. His request was denied so he deserted, along with hundreds if not thousands of other Americans. After being caught, he refused to return to his unit. Summarily, he was convicted of desertion and sentenced to death. Shocked by the severity of the punishment, he appealed to General Eisenhower for clemency. But Eisenhower refused and on January 31, 1945, Eddie Slovik was executed via firing squad.

“They’re not shooting me for deserting the United States Army, thousands of guys have done that. They just need to make an example out of somebody and I’m it because I’m an ex-con. I used to steal things when I was a kid, and that’s what they are shooting me for. They’re shooting me for the bread and chewing gum I stole when I was 12 years old.” ~ Eddie Slovik

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

35 American soldiers were executed during World War I, all for the crimes of rape and/or murder. 102 American soldiers were executed for the same reasons during World War II. But Eddie Slovik remains the only soldier in either war (or in any military engagement since the Civil War) to be executed for the sole crime of desertion. But why?

Clearly, General Eisenhower and other military leaders decided to make an example out of Slovik. American soldiers were dying in terrifying numbers in hotly-contested France. As such, mass desertions had become a major problem. Eisenhower apparently believed the execution of Eddie Slovik would be enough to make soldiers think twice before deserting their units. Of course, the execution had little to no impact and desertions continued for the duration of the war. Incidentally, desertions continue today as well with roughly 40,000 members of the U.S. military going AWOL between 2000 and 2006).

In the end, Slovik’s offer to serve in a noncombatant capacity was denied. Thus, he was murdered for refusing to fight in a war that he’d never wanted any part of in the first place. As Bernard Calka said in 1987 when bringing Slovik’s remains home from France, “The man didn’t refuse to serve, he refused to kill.”

Nazi Soldiers…in America?

On February 15, 1944, Private Dale H. Maple picked up two passengers in Colorado, and headed for Mexico. He was promptly arrested and charged with treason. Why? Because the two passengers weren’t Americans…they were Nazi prisoners of war.

The 620th Engineer General Service Company: Nazi Sympathizers…in the U.S. Military?

After enlisting in February 1942, Maple was deliberately assigned to the infamous 620th Engineer General Service Company. In a real-life example of “keep your friends close and your enemies closer,” the 620th was made up of suspected Nazi sympathizers. By keeping them in one location and denying them access to weapons, the military hoped to maintain control over the sympathizers and make it difficult for them to hamper the war effort.

But Maple had his own ideas. And when the 620th was assigned guard duty at Camp Hale, a prison for Nazi POWs, he decided to take action. After buying a car, he picked up two Afrika Korps Sergeants from work detail and drove toward the Mexican border. The car broke down 17 miles short of the goal so the three men hoofed it the rest of the way.

The Trial of Dale H. Maple?

But after arriving in Mexico, they were quickly arrested and sent back to America. Maple was originally charged with treason. Later this was changed to “relieving, corresponding with or aiding the enemy.” He was found guilty and given a sentence of death by hanging. However, the Army Judge Advocate General intervened and convinced President Roosevelt to imprison Maple instead. Maple was released in 1951 and apparently passed away in the early 2000s. Here’s more on Maple and the 620th from Foreign Policy:

Yep. Gather round, little grasshoppers, and I will tell the strange tale.

I know it sounds like the reverse of a Quentin Taratino movie, but it is true: During World War II, the Army intentionally formed a unit chockablock with fascisti and their suspected sympathizers. What a sensible idea — much better than kicking them out into society and losing track of them.

This is all discussed in the new issue of Army Lawyer , where Fred “Three Sticks” Borch has a fascinating article about PFC Dale Maple, a brilliant young man who was born in San Diego in 1920 and who graduated from Harvard with honors but then, because he was bad, was found guilty of treason and sentenced to be hanged by the neck until dead…

(See more on Maple, the 620th, and Nazis in America at Foreign Policy)

The Mysterious Disappearance of Glenn Miller

On December 15, 1944, a plane carrying jazz sensation Glenn Miller vanished while flying over the English Channel. The plane, its crew, and the passengers were never seen again.

What happened to Glenn Miller?

The disappearance of Glenn Miller is one of the great unsolved mysteries of history. For decades, researchers have questioned whether the plane even flew the intended route. Now, almost seven decades later, we may finally have an answer.

It turns out a 17-year old kid named Richard Anderton was living in Woodley at the time, just eight miles from Maidenhead, Berkshire. On December 15, 1944, he logged a Norseman plane flying in the sky. It was east of his position and on a southeastern heading. In other words, Anderton’s books indicate the plane carrying Glenn Miller was heading in the correct direction at the right time. If true, this would appear to eliminate other theories about where the plane might have flown.

Here’s more from BBC News on the mysterious disappearance of Glenn Miller:

The most recent discovery started with a 17-year-old plane-spotter in 1944, who meticulously logged each plane he saw flying overhead while he worked at an airfield in Woodley, Reading.

The now deceased Richard Anderton had two small notebooks filled with details of the locations of passing aircraft, estimated altitude and directions of flight. On 15 December 1944, he logged a UC-64A-type aircraft passing on the horizon to his east and flying below the fog in a south-easterly direction.

It was not until his brother, 77-year-old Sylvan Anderton, brought the books into the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow TV programme 67 years later that the entry came to light…

(See BBC News for more on the mysterious disappearance of Glenn Miller)

The Pearl Harbor Code?

Seventy years ago, the Japanese Navy launched an attack on Pearl Harbor. The vicious assault killed over 2,000 people, damaged some 300 planes, and crippled 18 vessels. In the aftermath, FBI Agents conducted a secret raid on the New Yorker magazine’s offices. They were searching for clues related to a code…a code which may have been used to alert Japanese spies to the attack. What was the Pearl Harbor Code?

The Deadly Double & Pearl Harbor?

Sixteen days before the Pearl Harbor attack, a “teaser advertisement” appeared in the New Yorker. The text read “Achtung! Warning! Alerte!” Underneath, readers were encouraged to “See Advertisement Page 86.” The ad also contained two dice and was apparently placed by a company named Monarch Publishing Co. A second advertisement ran on page 86. It contained a strange picture of people playing dice in an air-raid shelter, repeated the “Achtung! Warning! Alerte!” text, and referred to a game called “The Deadly Double.”

After Pearl Harbor, American civilians became extra-vigilant about foreign spies and saboteurs. Thousands of rumors and tips flooded into FBI Headquarters. One of the most prominent tips was in regard to “The Deadly Double” advertisement. Hundreds of readers suspected it was a coded message, designed to alert Japanese and Nazi spies about the upcoming attack.

Was the Deadly Double a Coded Message about the Pearl Harbor Attack?

According to John Costello’s The Pacific War: 1941-1945, the numbers on the dice might have meant “0” hour for a “double cross” on “12”/”7″ at “5” out of “24” hours. Another interpretation comes from the 1982 Reader’s Digest book, Mysteries of the Unexplained. That work concluded that the numbers 12 and 7 refer to December 7. 5 and 0 were suspected to be the planned time of the attack. XX, or 20 in Roman Numerals, was the approximate latitude for Pearl Harbor. The purpose of the number 24 was unknown (although possibly some sort of code designation).

On the Page 86 ad, the top part of the drawing was viewed as a depiction of three airplanes flying over Pearl Harbor, complete with searchlight beams, antiaircraft shells, and even an exploding bomb on the surface of the water. “The Deadly Double” was believed to stand for two of the Axis Powers, namely Germany and Japan. And finally, the double-headed eagle at the bottom of the ad appeared to be a combination of the two versions of the Nazi’s Iron Eagles.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

So, was the Pearl Harbor Code a real attempt to warn Japanese and Nazi spies about Pearl Harbor? Or was it just a coincidence? According to Reader’s Digest, the advertisement turned out to be legitimate. The ads were supposedly placed by a Mr. and Mrs. Roger Craig. The investigation of the Craig family was kept under wraps until 1967 when Ladislas Farago broke the story prior to the release of his book, The Broken Seal. At the time, Craig’s widow was said to have stated that any connection between the ad and the attack was nothing more than a coincidence.

However, that’s just one side of the story. According to William F. Breuer’s book Unexplained Mysteries of World War II

“FBI agents discovered that the advertisement had been placed by the Monarch Trading Company (a dummy corporation). A white male, who had not given his name, had brought the plates for the ad to the New Yorker offices and had paid in cash. He had not given his address. Curiously, the man the FBI would identify as the suspect apparently met a sudden, violent death a few weeks later.”

Which story is correct? Did the FBI truly get to the bottom of the incident? If so, was the Code just a big coincidence? Or was it something more? Unfortunately, the available evidence is contradictory. So, until more information comes to light, the Pearl Harbor Code will remain one of the great unsolved mysteries of World War II.

The Great Holocaust Mystery?

Broadly defined, the Holocaust is a catchall term used to describe the deliberate murder of as many as 17 million Jews, disabled people, homosexuals, Freemasons, political prisoners, POWs, and other so-called undesirables by Nazi Germany. How could ordinary Germans let this happen? Were they unaware of it? Or did they turn a blind eye to it?

The Mysterious Diary of Friedrich Kellner?

On September 13, 1939, a rather extraordinary man sat down to write. It was his first entry in a secret journal that would eventually encompass six years of his life, ten volumes, 861 pages, and over 500 newspaper clippings. That man was Friedrich Kellner. And his diary has ignited a controversy about the role of ordinary Germans in the Holocaust.

Prior to World War II, Kellner campaigned against Adolf Hitler and the Nazis while working for the Social Democratic Party of Germany. After Hitler came to power, Kellner refused to join the Nazi Party. Instead, he took a position as a mid-level justice inspector in and started his now-famous diary which he entitled Mein Widerstand, or My Opposition.

“I could not fight the Nazis in the present, as they had the power to still my voice, so I decided to fight them in the future. I would give the coming generations a weapon against any resurgence of such evil. My eyewitness account would record the barbarous acts, and also show the way to stop them.” ~ Friedrich Kellner, 1968

Kellner’s diary is particularly interesting to Social Historians. It provides incredible insight into the information that was available to ordinary Germans about the Holocaust and other atrocities.

“The decisive thing is that he is not an intellectual, he is an ordinary employee sitting in the provinces who reads the newspapers. He is full of anger about what is happening.” ~ Sascha Feuchert, Head of the Research Unit for Holocaust Literature at Giessen University

What did Ordinary Germans know about the Holocaust?

Through “personal conversations, news reports and keen observation,” Kellner educated himself on the horrifying crimes committed by the Nazis. His diary is chilling to read. Check out these two entries…

“In the last few days Jews from our district have been removed. From here it was the families Strauss and Heinemann. I heard from a reliable source that all Jews were taken to Poland and would be murdered by SS brigades.” ~ September 16, 1942

“Ten years in the penitentiary for a ‘radio crime.’ According to the newspaper that was too little for the chief justice. He sent back the verdict to the original court and demanded the death penalty. Just think: the death sentence for listening to a foreign broadcast on the radio.” ~ April 14, 1943

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the most infamous entry. It’s dated October 28, 1941 and is at the heart of much of the recent controversy.

“A soldier on vacation here said he witnessed a terrible atrocity in the occupied parts of Poland. He watched as naked Jewish men and women were placed in front of a long deep ditch and upon the order of the SS were shot by Ukrainians in the back of their heads and they fell into the ditch. Then the ditch was filled with dirt even as he could still hear screams coming from people still alive in the ditch.”

Why didn’t Ordinary Germans try to Stop the Holocaust?

That entry in particular has been cited by Holocaust experts as proof that ordinary Germans were privy to the horrors being conducted by the Nazi regime at concentration camps throughout Occupied Europe.

“These diaries … represent a towering refutation of the well-worn refrain of so many Germans after the war — ‘We knew nothing of the Nazi horrors’.” Elan Steinberg, The American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants

Kellner’s silent opposition did not go unnoticed. He came quite close to being sent off to a concentration camp himself. According to a Nazi official from 1940, “If we want to apprehend people like Kellner we will have to lure them out of their corners and let them incriminate themselves. The time is not ripe for an approach like the one used with the Jews. This can only take place after the war.”

Kellner’s diary has reopened a longstanding debate among historians about the role of ordinary Germans in the Holocaust. After World War II ended, these people separated themselves from the Nazis by claiming they had no knowledge of the atrocities. Of course, Kellner’s diary doesn’t necessarily prove anything. Still, it shows that information about war crimes was accessible to his countrymen. They read the same newspapers he did and it’s reasonable to assume they heard similar first-hand accounts of the horrors. And yet, they did nothing.

But why? Why didn’t more people speak up?

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

The answer to that mystery may lie in a book written by Milton Mayer in 1955. It analyzed the lives of ten ordinary German Christians during the War and their peculiar relationship with the Nazi government. After World War I and the stupendously wrongheaded Treaty of Versailles, Germany was ruined. As such, the ten men eagerly joined the Nazi party, which seemed to offer economic improvement, a sense of community, and national pride.

The Nazi regime encouraged them to, in essence, become one with the state. Love for their country was carefully manipulated into love for their government. This became an issue of absolute importance. Opposing the state meant one was a traitor to his country and thus, to its people. It led to societal exclusion, which was unthinkable to many civilians. Unfortunately, the alternative was to essentially accept the government’s activities as good and righteous. And that meant turning a blind eye to Nazi atrocities or even participating in them.

Mayer’s work gives us valuable insights into the nature of fascism and the role it played in causing ordinary people to embrace hatred, violence, and murder. Incidentally, Mayer conducted his interviews eight years after Nazi Germany had fallen. He discovered that the ten men continued to idolize Hitler as a sort of Savior of Germany. They missed the sense of community, security, and national pride. When he asked them what it was like to live under tyranny, they provided a universal response, which informed the title of his book. And what was that title you ask?

They Thought They Were Free

Did Hitler Fake His Death?

According to history books, Adolf Hitler shot and killed himself on April 30, 1945 while residing in an underground bunker in Berlin. His remains were subsequently burnt. But this story has long been questioned. Did Hitler truly die in the bunker? Or did he escape to somewhere else, unidentified and unpunished? Was there a Hitler Death Conspiracy?

The Hitler Death Conspiracy?

While most people believe the official version of Hitler’s suicide, others are unconvinced. Perhaps the most diligent and respected researcher in this area is Argentina-based journalist and historian Abel Basti. In 2010, Basti published El exilio de Hitler / Hitler’s Exile: Las pruebas de la fuga del fuhre a a la Argentina, in which he claimed that the official story was a fabrication. In fact, he believes in a Hitler Death Conspiracy.

According to an interview with Deadline-Live, Basti believes that Hitler escaped the Allies and fled across the ocean, ultimately taking up residence in Argentina.

“Hitler escaped via air from Austria to Barcelona. The last stage of his escape was in a submarine, from Vigo, heading straight to the coast of Patagonia. Finally, Hitler and Eva Braun, in a car with a chauffeur and bodyguard—a motorcade of at least three cars—drove to Bariloche (Argentina). He took refuge in a place called San Ramon, about 15 miles east of that town. It is a property of about 250,000 acres with a lake-front view of Lake Nahuel Huapi, which had been German property since the early twentieth century, when it belonged to a German firm by the name of Schamburg-Lippe.”

Evidence Supporting the Hitler Death Conspiracy?

Here is some of the evidence Basti uses to back up his various claims of a Hitler Death Conspiracy.

  • Hitler escaped to Spain?: Several eyewitnesses, including a still-living Jesuit priest “whose family members were friends of the Nazi leader,” spotted him in Spain after his supposed death. FBI documents indicate they were looking for Hitler in Spain after the end of World War II. And an “authenticated secret German document…lists Hitler as one of the passengers evacuated by plane from Austria to Barcelona on April 26, 1945.”
  • The Secret Submarine?: A British secret services document indicates that a Nazi submarine convoy left Spain around that time. It stopped in the Canary Islands before finally reaching Argentina.
  • Life in Argentina?: Hitler’s post-war life appears to be a bit of a mystery. Basti has met numerous South American eyewitnesses who say they had known Hitler. They state that the former Nazi leader shaved his head and mustache and had several meetings with other Nazi officials. Also, FBI documents show that there were claims of Hitler living in Argentina after the war.

All in all, the evidence supporting a Hitler Death Conspiracy is pretty flimsy. And yet, so is the evidence that Hitler died in the bunker. It rests on testimony provided by fellow Nazis who were fanatical devotees of Hitler. As such, its not hard to imagine they might’ve lied to help their former leader. It’s also hard to ignore the fact that major intelligence agencies believed that Hitler might’ve survived the war. The FBI conducted “an extensive 11-year probe into the possibility that Hitler faked his own death with a bogus suicide in 1945.” Soviet officials gave conflicting reports on whether or not they had found Hitler’s remains. Meanwhile, Joseph Stain, Premier of the Soviet Union, maintained a strong belief that Hitler escaped Germany, a fact which he relayed to President Truman in 1945.

As for physical evidence, the Soviet Union has long been in possession of skull fragments taken from the bunker. These have always been considered definitive proof that Hitler committed suicide via gunshot. In 2009, forensic investigators examined these fragments and determined that they came from a woman instead. And just like that, all physical evidence pointing to suicide vaporized into smoke. If there is other physical evidence pointing to suicide (or to his escape), its either lost to time or locked away somewhere (the U.S. government continues to keep many of its Hitler-related files classified, supposedly for National Security purposes – this same obsession with secrecy led to the nearly century long classification of World War I documents showing how to create invisible ink).

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

So, did Hitler fake his death and escape to Argentina? Was there truly a Hitler Death Conspiracy? While it’s impossible to say for sure, it certainly seems reasonable. Lesser Nazi officials successfully fled Germany and took up residence in South America. And the testimony supporting the suicide theory seems questionable at best.

Basti is presently searching for Hitler’s grave in Argentina, hoping to prove his case once and for all. We here at Guerrilla Explorer wish him the best of luck. If Hitler escaped, the world deserves to know the truth about how he got away…and why his escape remained a secret for so long.

Was the French Resistance a Myth?

The French Resistance is a term used to describe the loosely-connected French freedom fighters who conducted secret raids and sabotage attacks against the occupying Nazi forces during World War II. For many years, they’ve been celebrated for their heroic sacrifices and efforts to help the Allies defeat the Axis Powers. But not everyone believes this portrayal. Was the French Resistance nothing more than a myth?

Was the French Resistance just a Modern Myth?

In 1997, military historian Douglas Porch published The French Secret Services: A History of French Intelligence from the Drefus Affair to the Gulf War. His book blew a gigantic hole in the legend of the French Resistance and caused tremendous controversy in France. A review published by the San Francisco Chronicle in 1996 prior to the book’s publication sums up a few of its arguments as follows:

“Those few French who helped downed airmen often did so for the money. The standard reward for getting an escapee into Spain was about $50,000 in today’s money.”

“Contrary to the myth, the French Resistance didn’t rise up after D-Day, June 6, 1944, to attack Germans behind the front lines. Sabotage of the Nazi war machine was minimal.”

“Only about 5 percent of the French were even nominally members of the underground. Of these, scarcely any ever fired a shot in anger, dynamited a train or sent a clandestine radio message.”

How Large was the French Resistance?

I first learned about the heroics of the French Resistance many years ago. So I found the revelations in Porch’s book surprising to say the least. But as I read more on the subject, I learned that his statements weren’t that unique. In fact, many historians today believe that the movement was quite small and ineffective. That’s not to say that resistance fighters didn’t exist in France nor that some of them didn’t take great risks. But still, the image of the French Resistance propagated by popular media and even many text books appears far different than what actually occurred. As “Old Werther” wrote…

“for most of the war, the 30—50 German occupation divisions took no part in anti-resistance activities…the number of actual anti-resistance security forces in France (the Feldsicherheitsdienst) probably did not exceed 6,500 at any stage of the war. That in a country of over 40 million!”

According to Porch, the myth of the French Resistance originated with Charles de Gaulle. While serving as the leader of the Free French government and the French Communists, de Gaulle worked to create a certain image of the French citizenry in order to improve his own position with the Allies. But if Porch is right, then how do we explain President Dwight Eisenhower’s opinion?

“Throughout France, the Free French had been of inestimable value in the campaign. They were particularly active in Brittany, but on every portion of the front we secured help from them in a multitude of ways. Without their great assistance the liberation of France and the defeat of the enemy in Western Europe would have consumed a much longer time and meant greater losses to ourselves.” ~ President Dwight Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe

Porch claims that Eisenhower deliberately inflated the value of the French Resistance as a favor to de Gaulle. Apparently, he felt bad for how other wartime leaders treated de Gaulle and wanted to make amends.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

The true value of the French Resistance remains a subject of some debate. However, it seems clear that its general worth has been greatly inflated over the years. As for whether the media or popular history will ever reflect that fact, well, we will have to wait and see.

The Silver Shipwreck?

In 1941, the SS Gairsoppa was heading from India to Britain. Suddenly, a Nazi U-Boat appeared on the horizon. It fired on the Gairsoppa, sending the massive cargo ship to the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean. Now, that ship is on the verge of being recovered. But it’s no ordinary cargo ship. Its holds are believed to contain a treasure…one of the largest treasures in maritime history.

The Sinking of the SS Gairsoppa?

In 1941, the Gairsoppa left India with silver ingots, pig iron, and tea which it intended to bring back to Britain. It was initially part of a convoy. However, with coal running low and winds running high, the vessel split off on its own and headed for Ireland’s Galway Harbor. On February 17, the U-101 spotted the Gairsoppa and subsequently torpedoed her. She sank in less than twenty minutes, leaving only a handful of survivors.

The vessel sank in 15,400 feet of water, taking with it nearly 80 crewmen…and a priceless treasure. It was believed to be carrying ~240 tons of silver, which amounts to a staggering ~$243 million. Earlier this week, the famed treasure hunting / salvage firm Odyssey Marine Exploration announced that it had discovered the shipwreck.

Odyssey Marine Exploration plans to Salvage the SS Gairsoppa?

Next spring, Odyssey will attempt to recover the treasure in what is already being called the “deepest and largest ever retrieval of a precious cargo.” According to its contract with the United Kingdom, Odyssey will keep 80% of the silver lode. The rest will go to the government, which as you might expect is “desperately looking for new sources of income.” In fact, Odyssey is being encouraged to find more valuable shipwrecks for the UK government.

But first, Odyssey will focus on completing its salvage of the Gairsoppa. It will be a difficult task due to the extreme depth of the wreck. But Odyssey doesn’t seem too worried.

“We were fortunate to find the shipwreck sitting upright, with the holds open and easily accessible. This should enable us to unload cargo through the hatches as would happen with a floating ship alongside a cargo terminal.” ~ Greg Stemm, Odyssey CEO

Will the Gairsoppa turn out to be the richest shipwreck of all time? Probably not. The mysterious “Black Swan,” which was also salvaged by Odyssey, is rumored to have been carrying treasure worth ~$500 million in today’s dollars. But the bigger question is what will happen to the Gairsoppa’s treasure once its recovered.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

After secretly salvaging the Black Swan, Spain cried foul and demanded that the wreck be handed over to it. This happened regardless of the fact that the Spanish government’s ownership of the wreck was questionable at best and that Spain had spent none of its own time, money, or effort to recover it. Surprisingly, numerous U.S. courts sided with Spain and ruled that Odyssey must turn the Black Swan over to its government.

But those judgments have come under scrutiny and deservedly so. Documents provided by Wikileaks showed that the U.S. government attempted to conspire with Spain in the matter. More specifically, it offered to help Spain retrieve the Black Swan. In exchange, it requested that a painting by Camille Pissarro, which was stolen by the Nazis and now hangs in Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, be returned to an American citizen named Claude Cassirer.

“The possibility that someone in the U.S. government came up with this perfidious offer to sacrifice Odyssey, its thousands of shareholders, and the many jobs created by the company in exchange for the return of one painting to one individual is hard to believe.” ~ Odyssey Marine Exploration

Will the cash-starved British government, despite its agreement with Odyssey, attempt to seize the bulk of the treasure for itself? Let’s hope not. But until then, we can only wait and wonder.