LINDBERGH: NEGOTIATE WITH HITLER
On January 23, 1941, Charles A. Lindbergh, a national hero, testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the Lend-Lease policy-and suggests that the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Hitler.
Lindbergh was famous for his transatlantic flight in his Spirit of St. Louis in 1927 and later for the tragic kidnapping of his two-year-old son in March 1932.
After this tragic incident in his life and to flee unwanted publicity, Lindbergh and his wife, Anne Morrow, daughter of U.S. ambassador Dwight Morrow, moved to Europe. During the mid-1930s, Lindbergh became familiar with German advances in aviation and warned his U.S. counterparts of Germany’s growing air superiority. But Lindbergh also became enamored of much of the German national “revitalization” he encountered, and allowed himself to be decorated by Hitler’s government, which drew tremendous criticism back home.
Upon Lindbergh’s return to the States, he agitated for neutrality with Germany, and testified before Congress in opposition to the Lend-Lease policy, which offered cash and military aid to countries friendly to the United States in their war effort against the Axis powers. I wrote about Lend-Lease previously. His public denunciation of “the British, the Jewish, and the Roosevelt Administration” as instigators of American intervention in the war, as well as comments that smacked of antisemitism, lost him the support of other isolationists. When, in 1941, President Roosevelt denounced Lindbergh publicly, the aviator resigned from the Air Corps Reserve. He eventually contributed to the war effort, though, flying 50 combat missions over the Pacific. His participation in the war, along with his promotion to brigadier general of the Air Force Reserve in 1954 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a popular Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Spirit of St. Louis,, and a movie based on his exploits all worked to redeem him in the public’s eyes.