At the end of the 19
century the South Pole region was still “terra incognita”. Thus a resolution to promote geographical exploration of the Antarctic Regions was passed by VI
International Geographical Congress in London in 1895. Besides political rivalry, a scientific collaboration was adopted during the VII
International Geographical Congress in Berlin in 1899. The field of work in Antarctica was divided into four quadrants assigning the Weddell and Enderby quadrants to Germany and the Ross and Victoria quadrants to England. Erich von Drygalski (1865–1949), who already had lead two expeditions to the west coast of Greenland (1891, 1892–1893), became leader of the “Deutsche Südpolarexpedition” (1901–1903). The expedition with the newly built first German polar research vessel “Gauss” was financed by the Imperial internal budget. Finally expeditions from Germany, England, Sweden, Scotland, and France took part in the international meteorological and magnetic co-operation. Unfortunately the “Gauss” was beset by ice close to the Antarctic Circle 85 km off the ice-covered coast of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Land, where a winter station was established on sea ice. After 50 weeks of captivity the ship came free and finally sailed home. Emperor Wilhelm II was very disappointed about Drygalski’s results, because Robert Falcon Scott (1868–1912) had reached 82° S at the same time. Geographical achievements seemed to be much more valuable than thoroughly measured scientific data, which were to be analyzed and published over three decades.