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Charles Augustus Lindbergh (February 4, 1902 – August 26, 1974) (aka Lucky Lindy; The Lone Eagle) was an American aviator, author, inventor, explorer, and peace activist who, on May 20– 21, 1927, became famous as the pilot of the first nonstop Transatlantic flight from New York (Roosevelt Field) to Paris (Le Bourget Field) made in the single seat, single engine monoplane Spirit of St. Louis.
After his flight to Paris, Lindbergh used his fame over the late 1920s and early 1930s to relentlessly help promote the rapid development of U.S. commercial aviation. While in the later 1930s and up until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Lindbergh was an outspoken advocate of keeping the U.S. out of the world conflict (as was his Congressman father during World War I) and became a leader of the anti-war America First movement, he nonetheless supported the War effort after Pearl Harbor and flew many combat missions in the Pacific Theater as a civilian consultant even though President Roosevelt had refused to reinstate his Army Air Force commission as a Colonel that he had resigned earlier in 1941. In his later years Lindbergh became a prolific prize-winning author, international explorer, inventor, and active environmentalist.
Trans Alantic Flight
On May 20, Lindbergh took off in the Spirit of St. Louis from Roosevelt Field, near New York City, at 7:52 A.M. He landed at Le Bourget Field, near Paris, on May 21 at 10:21 P.M. Paris time (5:21 P.M. New York time). Thousands of cheering people had gathered to meet him. He had flown more than 3,600 miles (5,790 kilometers) in 33 1/2 hours.Lindbergh's heroic flight thrilled people throughout the world. He was honored with awards, celebrations, and parades. President Calvin Coolidge gave Lindbergh the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
On March 1, 1932, the Lindberghs' 20-month-old son, Charles Augustus, Jr., was kidnapped from the family home in New Jersey. About ten weeks later, his body was found. In 1934, police arrested a carpenter, Bruno Richard Hauptmann, and charged him with the murder. Hauptmann was convicted of the crime. He was executed in 1936.
The press sensationalized the tragedy. Reporters, photographers, and curious onlookers pestered the Lindberghs constantly. In 1935, after the Hauptmann trial, Lindbergh, his wife, and their 3-year-old son, Jon, moved to Europe in search of privacy and safety. The Lindbergh kidnapping led Congress to pass the "Lindbergh Law." This law makes kidnapping a federal offense if the victim is taken across state lines or if the mail service is used for ransom demands.
World War II
While in Europe, Lindbergh was invited by the governments of France and Germany to tour the aircraft industries of their countries. Lindbergh was especially impressed with the highly advanced aircraft industry of Germany. In 1938, Hermann Goering, presented Lindbergh with a German medal of honor. Lindbergh's acceptance of the medal caused an outcry in the United States among critics of German National Socialism.
Lindbergh and his family returned to the United States in 1939. He made his first anti-war speech over radio September 15, 1939 a few days after the war in Europe began. In 1941, he joined the America First Committee, an organization that opposed voluntary American entry into World War II. Lindbergh became a leading spokesman for the committee. He criticized President Franklin D. Roosevelt's foreign policies. He also charged that British, Jewish, and pro-Roosevelt groups were leading America into war. Lindbergh resigned his commission in the Army Air Corps after Roosevelt publicly denounced him. Some Americans accused Lindbergh of being a NSDAP sympathizer because he refused to return the medal he had accepted.
After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, Lindbergh stopped his non-involvement activity. He tried to re-enlist, but his request was refused. He then served as a technical adviser and test pilot for the Ford Motor Company and United Aircraft Corporation (now United Technologies Corporation). In April 1944, Lindbergh went to the Pacific war area as an adviser to the United States Army and Navy. Although he was a civilian, he flew about 50 combat missions. Lindbergh also developed cruise control techniques that increased the capabilities of American fighter planes.
After the War, Lindbergh withdrew from public attention. He worked as a consultant to the chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force. President Dwight D. Eisenhower restored Lindbergh's commission and appointed him a brigadier general in the Air Force in 1954. Pan American World Airways also hired Lindbergh as a consultant. He advised the airline on its purchase of jet transports and eventually helped design the Boeing 747 jet. In 1953, Lindbergh published The Spirit of St. Louis, an expanded account of his 1927 transatlantic flight. The book won a Pulitzer Prize in 1954.
Lindbergh travelled widely and developed an interest in the cultures of peoples in Africa and the Philippines. In the late 1960's, he ended his years of silence to speak out for the conservation movement. He especially campaigned for the protection of humpback and blue whales, two species of whales in danger of extinction. Lindbergh opposed the development of supersonic transport planes because he feared the effects the planes might have on the earth's atmosphere.
Lindbergh died of cancer on August 26, 1974, in his home on the Hawaiian island of Maui. After his death, he was buried on the beautiful grounds of the Palapala Ho'omau Church. The Autobiography of Values, a collection of Lindbergh's writings, was published in 1978.
- „Their [the jews] greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government. I am not attacking either the Jewish or the British people. Both races, I admire. But I am saying that the leaders of both the British and the Jewish races, for reasons which are as understandable from their viewpoint as they are inadvisable from ours, for reasons which are not American, wish to involve us in the war.“ – Des Moines, Iowa, on September 11, 1941
- Lindbergh kidnapping
- Charles Lindbergh's Des Moines, Iowa speech
- The Lone Eagle's Litany
- Aviation, Geography, and Race
- Laura Ingalls
- Lineage of American Nationalist organizations and individuals