Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Linbergh Was Not Nazi Lover

Many have said that Charles Lindbergh was a Nazi lover. My research does not indicate so.

CHARLES AUGUSTUS LINDBERGH was born Feb. 4, 1902, in Detroit and died of cancer on Aug. 26,1974, in Maui, Hawaii, only thirty years ago. He is one of the best-known figures in aeronautical history, remembered primarily for the first nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic, from New York to Paris, on May 20-21, 1927 in the Spirit of St. Louis.

Lindbergh's early years were spent chiefly in Little Falls, Minn., where you can still find the Charles A. Lindbergh house. In his youth he also lived in Washington, D.C., where his father represented the 6th district of Minnesota in the Congress for 10 years . His formal education ended during his second year at the University of Wisconsin, in Madison. His growing interest in aviation led to enrollment in a flying school in Lincoln, Neb., and the purchase of a World War I Curtiss Jenny, with which he made stunt-flying tours through Southern and Midwestern states. 

Lindbergh won a $25,000 prize, offered for the first nonstop flight between New York and Paris, in the monoplane,The Spirit of St. Louis. His solo flight lasted 33 1/2 hours. Overnight Lindbergh became a folk hero on both sides of the Atlantic. In recognition of his accomplishments President Calvin Coolidge presented Lindbergh with the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Flying Cross on March 21,1929.

In 1929 he married Anne Morrow, daughter of the United States ambassador, Dwight Morrow. She accompanied him on his many goodwill flights around the world. In March, 1932, the Lindberghs' two-year-old son, Charles Augustus, Jr., was kidnapped from their home near Hopewell, N.J., and murdered. Partly because of Lindbergh's worldwide popularity, this became the most celebrated crime of the 1930s, and it was a major subject of newspaper attention until April 1936, when Bruno Richard Hauptmann was executed after being convicted of the kidnap-murder. The publicity was so distasteful to the Lindberghs that they took refuge in Europe.

After 1936, when he visited German centres of aviation, Lindbergh repeatedly warned against the growing air power of Nazi Germany. He toured Nazi Lufwaffe plants and training facilities, saying that they were superior to all others. In 1938 he accepted a German Medal of Honor. This outraged the people in England and America and led to considerable criticism.

In 1941, Lindbergh became a member of the America First Committee, which opposed the United States willingly entering World War II, and became publicly critical of President F.D. Roosevelt's foreign policies. He also charged that certain ethnic and politically affiliated groups were goading America into the war. Lindbergh publicly opposed it. He said there was no need for America to get involved. 

Criticism of his public statements by President Franklin D. Roosevelt led Lindbergh to resign his Air Corps Reserve commission in April, 1941. When Pearl Harbor was bombed, he swiftly asked to rejoin the Air Reserve, but due to his reputation of “Nazi loving,” President Roosevelt wouldn’t allow it. When the United States entered the war, however, Lindbergh, as a civilian, threw himself into the war effort, serving as a consultant to the Ford Motor Company and to the United Aircraft Corporation. In the latter capacity he flew 50 combat missions during a tour of duty in the Pacific; and later, after the end of the war in Europe, he accompanied a navy technical mission in Europe investigating German aviation developments.In 1954, he was named a Brigadier General in the Air Force Reserve because of his longtime service to government agencies.

Charles Lindbergh won a Pulitzer prize in 1954 for his autobiographical book The Spirit of St. Louis. He also published The Wartime Journals of Charles A. Lindbergh. Commenting on the diary, Eric Goldman writes, 
"The diary show that Lindbergh had considerable compassion for the German Jews. But much more than his public charge, it attacks the "Jewish influence" in bringing war to the United States, particularly as a result of Jewish "control" of "huge part" of the mass media. A good deal of space is given to describing brutalities by U.S. troops against Japanese soldiers; the atrocities of individual Americans are equated with the official policy of the Third Reich. Not a sentence excoriates Nazism as a general credo or poses it as a menace to civilization in any tenable definition of the word, including Lindbergh's own. Entry after entry bespeaks a preoccupation, almost an obsession, with the "race problem," those "northern peoples" versus all others."

Obviously the final word about Linbergh remains yet to be written. 

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