Wilhelm Filchner – hierarchy and insufficient leadership on the Second German Antarctic Expedition

Ursula Rack
2021 Polarforschung  
Abstract. The Second German Antarctic Expedition (1911–1912) did not have a good start, because Wilhelm Filchner (1877–1957) failed to secure his position as expedition leader. His problems began long before the expedition set sail: he had the support neither of the scientists and officers on board nor of the scientific community in Germany. The enforced choice of the captain, who suffered from syphilis, brought the expedition to the brink of collapsing. In addition, the rivalry between the
more » ... lry between the groups on board the Deutschland, and the usual challenging circumstances any expedition confronts in these regions, led to mutiny at the end of their time in Grytviken, South Georgia. Upon the expedition's return to Germany, "courts of honour" took place to adjudicate on the mutual accusations. This article reviews some of the reasons why this expedition was disaster-prone. The article is based on research from my PhD thesis (Rack, 2010).
doi:10.5194/polf-89-25-2021 fatcat:hczq4fibhzbxdbmibfsncn4pu4