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The IGY was all about peaceful scientific cooperation, but in a Cold War context that just meant competition by other means.
This program is devoted to science in the same way that the German Air Sports Association in the 1920’s was motivated by a pure love of gliding.Over a thousand people work here in the summer, and 250 stay over for the winter.The ship’s officers are full of theories about why the Americans are here in numbers, and as a suggestible person who has spent three weeks staring at moving water, I find it easy to believe every crazy thing they say.No one had been back to the Pole since the Amundsen and Scott expeditions of 1911, and it was the obvious prestige location in Antarctica. All that remains of the station today is a bust of Lenin staring out towards Moscow from a snow drift.Whoever controlled the Pole would control—well, a tiny area of featureless ice cap. The stymied USSR had to settle for a base at the Pole of Inaccessibility, possibly the only place on the continent more miserable than the South Pole. Once built, Mc Murdo proved a useful staging area for other activities in Antarctica.