In May, 1927 Lindbergh emerged suddenly from the virtual obscurity of being a 25-year-old U.S. Air Mail pilot to instantaneous world fame as the result of his Orteig Prize-winning solo nonstop flight made on May 20–21 from the Roosevelt Field[N 1] in Garden City on New York’s Long Island to Le Bourget Field in Paris, France, a distance of nearly 3,600 statute miles (5,800 km), in the single-seat, single-engine, purpose-built Ryan monoplane Spirit of St. Louis. As a result of this flight, Lindbergh was the first person in history to be in New York one day and Paris the next. The record setting flight took 33 hours and 30 minutes. Lindbergh, a U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve officer, was also awarded the nation’s highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his historic exploit.
In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Lindbergh used his fame to promote the development of both commercial aviation and Air Mail services in the United States and the Americas. In March 1932, his infant son, Charles, Jr., was kidnapped and murdered in what was soon dubbed the “Crime of the Century”. It was described by journalist H. L. Mencken as “the biggest story since the resurrection.” The kidnapping eventually led to the Lindbergh family being “driven into voluntary exile” in Europe, to which they sailed in secrecy from New York under assumed names in late December 1935 to “seek a safe, secluded residence away from the tremendous public hysteria” in America. The Lindberghs returned to the United States in April 1939.
Before the United States formally entered World War II, some accused Lindbergh of being a fascist sympathizer. He supported the isolationist America First movement, which advocated that America remain neutral during the war, as had his father, Congressman Charles August Lindbergh, during World War I. This conflicted with the Franklin Roosevelt administration’s official policy, which sought to protect Britain from a German takeover. Lindbergh subsequently resigned his commission as a colonel in the United States Army Air Forces in April 1941 after being publicly rebuked by President Roosevelt for his isolationist views. Nevertheless, Lindbergh publicly supported the war effort after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and flew 50 combat missions in the Pacific Theater of World War II as a civilian consultant, though President Roosevelt had refused to reinstate his Army Air Corps colonel’s commission. In his later years, Lindbergh became a prolific prize-winning author, international explorer, inventor, and environmentalist.
As we now move into the pivotal year of 1941, the year where World War II truly became a WORLD war, i thought i would start the new year on a discussion about Charles Lindbergh.
Some people say he was truly a war hero, which according to his biographer, he was.
Others believe that since he asked the USA to form a neutrality pact with Adolf Hitler, they believe he was an anti-Semite and a Nazi/Fascist sympathizer.
Either way, history has painted an interesting picture of the man who flew “The Spirit of St. Louis”.
What do you guys think?