Tag Archives: Charles Lindbergh

The Life of Charles Lindbergh and His Impact on the World

A few days ago, there was a notice in the “Today in History” for June 13, back in 1927, New York City threw a ticker-tape parade for Charles Lindbergh. Lindbergh was a larger-than-life individual of the twentieth century. Famous for being the first person to make a non-stop solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, lifting off from Roosevelt Field near New York City on May 20, 1927, landing the next day, thirty-three and one half hours later, at Le Bourget Field near Paris. He was given the nicknames “Lucky Lindy” and the “Lone Eagle.” He even named his plane, which he helped design, the Spirit of St. Louis. His flight earned him $25,000 from a New York hotelier, who in 1919 offered the award to anyone who could complete the flight. Many tried and died.

His trans-Atlantic flight gained him notoriety around the world. President Coolidge awarded him the Distinguished Flying Cross and Congressional Medal of Honor. Afterwards, he spent three months traveling around the country, visiting forty-eight states and ninety-two cities, and delivered 147 speeches. At many of his stops, awards were given—as well as parades—in his honor.

Lindbergh’s flying career began as a stunt pilot at fairs. He enlisted in the U.S. Army teaching flying to enlisted men, after which he carried airmail from St. Louis to Chicago. Besides being an aeronautical engineer, he was also an inventor of note. He is given credit for developing an artificial heart while working with a French surgeon during the early 1930s.

In 1929, Lindbergh married, Anne Spencer Morrow, a daughter of a U.S. diplomat, who became famous in her own right for her writings, including poetry.

On March 1, 1932, tragedy struck when the Lindberghs’ twenty-month-old son, Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr., was kidnapped from their New Jersey home. The little boy’s dead body was discovered ten weeks later. After a two-year investigation, the police arrested Richard “Bruno” Hauptmann, who had worked as a carpenter on the Lindberghs’ home. The ensuing trial was sensationalized by the U.S. press corps, and it became known as “The Trial of the Century.” The Lindberghs were so traumatized by the constant attention, they moved to Europe to escape the intrusion into their private lives.

While they lived in Europe, the Lindberghs drew close to the Nazi Party, more particularly, Hermann Goering, one of Hitler’s top officials. The Nazi Party even gave him a medal of honor. Lindbergh was impressed with the advanced aircraft of the Nazi Luftwaffe. Naturally, when the citizens in the U.S. found out about this, both he and his wife fell out of favor. It would be later learned that Anne Morrow Lindbergh had become anti-Semite.

As the war in Europe erupted, the Lindberghs moved back to the States. He joined and led the America First Committee, a strong anti-war movement that caused President Franklin Roosevelt considerable problems getting the public behind his desire to engage in the European War. Lindbergh believed the United States could not defeat the far-advanced Germans if they became engaged in the war. In his rally speeches at, he stated that the British, the Jewish people, and pro-Roosevelt groups were attempting to lead the United States into this unnecessary war. This forced Roosevelt to denounce both Lindbergh and the America First Committee. Lindbergh then resigned his position in the Army Air Corps. Many Americans wanted Lindbergh to give back his medals, but he refused.

After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Lindbergh changed his mind and tried to reenlist, but his request was refused. His desire to serve was so strong, he took a position as a technical adviser and test pilot for the Ford Motor Company and United Aircraft Corporation. While serving in this capacity, he developed cruise control for planes, improving performance. In 1944, Lindbergh ended up flying fifty combat missions in the Pacific War, despite still being an adviser. 

After World War II, Lindbergh and his family went into seclusion. President Dwight Eisenhower recognized Lindbergh’s talents and restored his commission in the Air Force in 1954, appointing him as a brigadier general. He also remained a consultant to various private airliner companies, including assisting in the design of Boeing’s 747 jet.

Later in life, Lindbergh took up a new campaign—the conservation movement. While his passion was much wider, he canvassed for the protection of humpback and blue whales. Then, surprisingly, he claimed opposition to the development of supersonic jets, fearing they would destroy the earth’s atmosphere.

Lindbergh’s last days were spent on Maui in the Hawaiian Island chain. He died of cancer on August 26, 1974, and was buried there.

What part of Lindbergh’s story is new to you? Were you aware of his various political and social passions?

September 11, 1941

On Sunday, September 11, the United States memorialized those who died and honored those who fought to save the survivors of the terrorist attack on US soil. Many stories were told on the fifteenth anniversary of that horrible day, on which we, as a country, promised to “Never Forget.” Many don’t know that Sunday was also the seventy-fifth anniversary of another event in the history of the United States: On September 11, 1941, in Des Moines, Iowa, the legendary  flying ace Charles A. Lindbergh spoke at the America First Committee Rally against the effort by the Roosevelt Administration to take the United States into the European War.Silhouette fedora

After the death of their baby son and the subsequent “Trial of the Century” (before the O.J. Simpson trial supplanted it), the Lindberghs moved from New Jersey to Liverpool, England to avoid the media frenzy surrounding Charles and his family. Lindbergh and his wife realized while living Europe the evils of communism, and Charles became enamored with the Nazi Germany politics, including their white-race superiority, but particularly their aviation program. Lindbergh said, “Europe, and the entire world, is fortunate that a Nazi Germany lies, at present, between Communistic Russia and a demoralized France. With the extremes of government which now exist, it is more desirable than ever to keep any one of them from sweeping over Europe. But if the choice must be made it cannot be Communism.” Lindbergh believed that the Germans seemed “to have a sincere desire for friendly relations with the United States, but of course that is much less vital to them.”[1] His commentary did not end there, as Lindbergh made several inflammatory speeches and remarks about the heritage of the White European Race and the need to keep it pure.

In the early 1940s, Lindbergh became the figurehead of the America First Committee, which was anti-war. This put him at odds with the Roosevelt Administration, and the FBI began watching Charles Lindbergh. President Roosevelt was desperate to help his friend, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of England, in their war effort against the Nazis. Lindbergh’s hero status kept the United States divided over the effort to enter the European War.

On September 11, 1941, Lindbergh gave one of his most controversial speeches in Des Moines. He stated, “The three most important groups who have been pressing this country toward war are the British, the Jewish, and the Roosevelt administration. Behind these groups, but of lesser importance, are a number of capitalists, Anglophiles, and intellectuals who believe that their future, and the future of mankind, depends upon the domination of the British Empire. . . . These war agitators comprise only a small minority of our people, but they control a tremendous influence. . . . It is not difficult to understand why Jewish people desire the overthrow of Nazi Germany. . . . But no person of honesty and vision can look on their pro-war policy here today without seeing the dangers involved in such a policy, both for us and for them. Instead of agitating for war, the Jewish groups in this country should be opposing it in every possible way, for they will be among the first to feel its consequences.”[2]

How large was the America First anti-war movement? It was so big that car-maker Henry Ford was a major supporter. The anti-war movement grew to an estimated 450 chapters with over 800,000 vocal members throughout the WP_20150308_001country.

As I chronicled in a previous blog, President Roosevelt withheld vital information from the American Public regarding the Japanese plan to attack the United States so that the US would be surprised by the attack. Roosevelt correctly believed the “surprise attack” would swing the public sentiment to enter the war. So effective was Roosevelt’s plan that, several days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the America First Committee disbanded. However, this did not stop Charles Lindbergh from publicly speaking ten days after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, when he said, “There is only one danger in the world—that is the yellow danger. China and Japan are really bound together against the white race. There could only have been one efficient weapon against this alliance . . . Germany. . . . The ideal setup would have been to have Germany take over Poland and Russia, in collaboration with the British, as a block against the yellow people and Bolshevism. But instead, the British and the fools in Washington had to interfere. The British envied the Germans and wanted to rule the world forever. Britain is the real cause of all the trouble in the world today.”[3]

As World War II progressed, Lindbergh tried to get recommissioned in the US Army Air Force, but was denied for obvious reasons. Instead, Lindbergh decided to serve by becoming a part of a private company that fought in the Pacific Theater against the Japanese.

Despite Lindbergh’s racism, he recognized the evils of communism much clearer than the Roosevelt Administration, which was willing to work with the Soviet Union. Because Charles Lindbergh was a brilliant aviator with tremendous engineering insight, he resurrected his career. United States authorities overlooked his vocal positions on the Nazis and his racism, and they enlisted him in the Cold War against the Soviet Union.

In school and on TV today we are taught that Charles Lindbergh was the first man to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, but did you know this other piece of his life story? This history underscores yet another point: The United States population has never completely agreed upon critical issues that determine the fate of our country, dating all the way back to the founding of our country.

[1] Spartacus-Educational Website

[2] Spartacus-Educational Website

[3] Spartacus-Educational Website