Charles Lindbergh: Wikis


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Charles Lindbergh

Charles Lindbergh, photographed by Harris & Ewing.
Born February 4, 1902(1902-02-04)
Detroit, Michigan
Died August 26, 1974 (aged 72)
Kipahulu, Maui, Hawaii
Occupation Aviator, author,
inventor, explorer,
peace activist
Religion Lutheran
Spouse(s) Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Children By Anne Morrow Lindbergh:
Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr.
Jon Lindbergh
Land Morrow Lindbergh
Anne Spencer Lindbergh (Perrin)
Scott Lindbergh
Reeve Lindbergh (Brown)
By Brigitte Hesshaimer:
Dyrk Hesshaimer
Astrid Hesshaimer Bouteuil
David Hesshaimer
By Marietta Hesshaimer:
Vago Hesshaimer
Christoph Hesshaimer.
Parents Charles August Lindbergh
Evangeline Lodge Land Lindbergh
Awards Medal of Honor, Congressional Gold Medal, Pulitzer Prize, Orteig Prize

Charles Augustus Lindbergh (February 4, 1902 – August 26, 1974) (nicknamed "Slim,"[1] "Lucky Lindy" and "The Lone Eagle") was an American aviator, author, inventor and explorer.

Lindbergh, then a 25-year old U.S. Air Mail pilot, emerged from virtual obscurity to almost instantaneous world fame as the result of his Orteig Prize-winning solo non-stop flight on May 20–21, 1927, from Roosevelt Field located in Garden City on New York's Long Island to Le Bourget Field in Paris, France, a distance of nearly 3,600 statute miles,[2] in the single-seat, single-engine monoplane Spirit of St. Louis. Lindbergh, a U.S. Army reserve officer, was also awarded the nation's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his historic exploit.[3]

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Lindbergh relentlessly used his fame to help promote the rapid development of U.S. commercial aviation. In March 1932, however, his infant son, Charles, Jr., was kidnapped and murdered in what was soon dubbed the "Crime of the Century" which eventually led to the Lindbergh family fleeing the United States in December 1935 to live in Europe where they remained up until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Before the United States entered World War II in December, 1941, Lindbergh had been an outspoken advocate of keeping the U.S. out of the world conflict (as was his Congressman father Charles August Lindbergh during World War I) and became a leader of the anti-war America First movement. Nonetheless, he supported the war effort after Pearl Harbor and flew many combat missions in the Pacific Theater of World War II as a civilian consultant, even though President Roosevelt had refused to reinstate his Army Air Corps colonel's commission that he had resigned earlier in 1939.

In his later years, Lindbergh became a prolific prize-winning author, international explorer, inventor, and active environmentalist.[4]

Early years

Charles A. Lindbergh: son and father c. 1910

Charles Augustus Lindbergh was born in Detroit, Michigan, on February 4, 1902, but spent most of his childhood in Little Falls, Minnesota, and Washington, D.C.. He was the only child of Swedish emigrant Charles August Lindbergh (birth name Carl Månsson) (1859–1924), and Evangeline Lodge Land Lindbergh (1876–1954), of Detroit.[5] The elder Lindbergh was a U.S. Congressman (R-MN 6th) from 1907 to 1917 who gained notoriety when he opposed the entry of the U.S. into World War I.[6] Mrs. Lindbergh was a teacher at Cass Technical High School in Detroit and later at Little Falls (MN) High School from which Charles was graduated in 1918. Lindbergh also attended over a dozen other schools from Washington, D.C., to California during his childhood and teenage years (none for more than one full year) including the Force School and Sidwell Friends School while living in Washington, D.C., with his father,[7] and Redondo Union High School in Redondo Beach, California.[8] The Lindberghs were divorced in 1909 when their son was seven.

Early aviation career

Lincoln Standard biplane

From an early age Charles Lindbergh had exhibited an interest in the mechanics of motorized transportation including his family's Saxon Six automobile, later his Excelsior motorbike, and by the time he enrolled as a mechanical engineering student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1920, he had also become fascinated with flying even though he "had never been close enough to a plane to touch it."[9] Lindbergh dropped out of the engineering program in February 1922, and a month later headed to Lincoln, Nebraska, to enroll as a student at the flying school operated by the Nebraska Aircraft Corporation. Arriving on April 1, 1922, he flew for the first time in his life nine days later when he took to the air as a passenger in a two-seat Lincoln-Standard "Tourabout" biplane piloted by Otto Timm.[10]

A few days later Lindbergh took his first formal flying lesson in that same machine with instructor pilot Ira O. Biffle, although the 20-year old student pilot would never be permitted to "solo" during his time at the school because he could not afford to post a bond which the company President Ray Page,[11] insisted upon in the event the novice flyer were to damage the school's only trainer in the process.[12] Thus in order to both gain some needed experience and earn money for additional instruction, Lindbergh left Lincoln in June to spend the summer and early fall barnstorming across Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana as a wing walker and parachutist with E.G. Bahl, and later H.L. Lynch. During this time he also briefly held a job as an airplane mechanic in Billings, Montana, working at the Billings Municipal Airport (later renamed Billings Logan International Airport).[13][14] When winter came, however, Lindbergh returned to his father's home in Minnesota and did not fly again for over six months.[15]

Curtis JN-4 "Jenny"

Lindbergh's first solo flight did not come until May 1923 at Souther Field in Americus, Georgia, a former Army flight training field to which he had come to buy a World War I–surplus Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny" biplane. Even though Lindbergh had not had a lesson (or even flown) in more than half a year, he had nonetheless already secretly decided that he was ready to take to the air by himself. And so, after just half an hour of dual time with a pilot who was visiting the field to pick up another surplus JN-4, Lindbergh flew on his own for the first time in the Jenny that he had just purchased there for $500.[16][17] After spending another week or so at the field to "practice" (thereby acquiring five hours of "pilot in command" time), Lindbergh took off from Americus for Montgomery, Alabama, on his first solo cross country flight, and went on to spend much of the rest of 1923 engaged in virtually nonstop barnstorming under the name of "Daredevil Lindbergh". Unlike the previous year, however, this time Lindbergh did so in his "own ship"—and as a pilot.[18][19] A few weeks after leaving Americus, the young airman achieved another key aviation milestone when he made his first nighttime flight near Lake Village, Arkansas.[20]

Lindbergh damaged his "Jenny" on several occasions over the summer, usually by breaking the prop on landing. His most serious accident came when he ran into a ditch in a farm field in Glencoe, Minnesota, on June 3, 1923, while flying his father (who was then running for the U.S. Senate) to a campaign stop which grounded him for a week until he could repair his ship. In October, Lindbergh flew his Jenny to Iowa where he sold it to a flying student of his. (Found stored in a barn in Iowa almost half a century later, Lindbergh's dismantled Jenny was carefully restored in the early 1970s and is now on display at the Cradle of Aviation Museum located in Garden City, New York, adjacent to the site once occupied by Roosevelt Field from which Lindbergh took off on his flight to Paris in 1927).[21] After selling the Jenny, Lindbergh returned to Lincoln by train where he joined up with Leon Klink and continued to barnstorm through the South for the next few months in Klink's Curtis JN-4C "Canuck" (the Canadian version of the Jenny). Lindbergh also "cracked up" this plane once when his engine failed shortly after take off in Pensacola, Florida, but again he managed to repair the damage himself.[22]

Graduation photo of 2nd Lt. Charles A. Lindbergh, USASRC, March 1925.

Following a few months of barnstorming through the South, the two pilots parted company in San Antonio, Texas, where Lindbergh had been ordered to report to Brooks Field on March 19, 1924, to begin a year of military flight training with the United States Army Air Service both there and later at nearby Kelly Field.[23] Late in his training Lindbergh experienced his worst flying accident on March 5, 1925 when he was involved in a midair collision eight days before graduation with another Army S.E.5 while practicing aerial combat maneuvers and was forced to bail out.[24] Only 18 of the 104 cadets who started flight training remained when Lindbergh graduated first overall in his class in March 1925 thereby earning his Army pilot's wings and a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Service Reserve Corps. With the Army not then in need of additional active duty pilots, however, Lindbergh immediately returned to civilian aviation as a barnstormer and flight instructor, although as a reserve officer he also continued to do some part time military flying by joining the 110th Observation Squadron, 35th Division, Missouri National Guard, in St. Louis in November 1925 and was soon promoted to 1st Lieutenant.[25]

Lindbergh later noted in "WE", his best selling book published in July 1927, just two months after making his historic flight to Paris, that he considered this year of Army flight training to be the critically important one in his development as both a focused, goal oriented individual, as well as a skillful and resourceful aviator.


"Always there was some new experience, always something interesting going on to make the time spent at Brooks and Kelly one of the banner years in a pilot's life. The training is difficult and rigid but there is none better. A cadet must be willing to forget all other interest in life when he enters the Texas flying schools and he must enter with the intention of devoting every effort and all of the energy during the next 12 months towards a single goal. But when he receives the wings at Kelly a year later he has the satisfaction of knowing that he has graduated from one of the world's finest flying schools."[26]

Air Mail pioneer and advocate

Large commercial corner cover flown by Lindbergh from Chicago to St. Louis on the opening day of CAM-2 (April 15, 1926).
Lindbergh's copy of a CAM-2 "Weekly Postage Report" for the week of February 6–12, 1927.

In October 1925, Lindbergh was hired by the Robertson Aircraft Corporation (RAC) in St. Louis (where he had been working as a flight instructor) to first lay out, and then serve as chief pilot for the newly designated 278-mile (447 km) Contract Air Mail Route #2 (CAM-2) to provide service between St. Louis and Chicago (Maywood Field) with two intermediate stops in Springfield and Peoria, Illinois.[27] Operating from Robertson's home base at the Lambert-St. Louis Flying Field in Anglum, Missouri, Lindbergh and three other RAC pilots, Philip R. Love, Thomas P. Nelson, and Harlan A. "Bud" Gurney, flew the mail over CAM-2 in a fleet of four modified war surplus de Havilland DH-4 biplanes. Two days before he opened service on the route on April 15, 1926, with its first early morning southbound flight from Chicago to St. Louis, Lindbergh officially became authorized to be entrusted with the "care, custody, and conveyance" of U.S. Mails by formally subscribing and swearing to the Post Office Department's 1874 Oath of Mail Messengers.[28] It would not take long for him to be presented with the circumstances to prove how seriously he took this obligation.

Wreck of Lindbergh's DH4 which crashed near Covell, IL, on November 3, 1926.

Twice during the 10 months that he flew CAM-2, Lindbergh temporarily lost "custody and control" of mails that he was transporting when he was forced to bail out of his mail plane owing to bad weather, equipment problems, and/or fuel exhaustion. In the two incidents, which both occurred while he was approaching Chicago at night, Lindbergh landed by parachute near small farming communities in northeastern Illinois. On September 16, 1926, he came down about 60 miles southwest of Chicago near the town of Wedron[29], while six weeks later on November 3, 1926, Lindbergh bailed out again about 70 miles further south hitting the ground in another farm field located just west of the city of Bloomington near the town of Covell.[30] After landing without serious injury on both occasions, Lindbergh's first concern was to immediately locate the wreckage of his crashed mail planes, make sure that the bags of mail were promptly secured and salvaged, and then to see that they were entrained or trucked on to Chicago with as little further delay as possible. Lindbergh continued on as chief pilot of CAM-2 until mid-February 1927, when he left for San Diego, California, to oversee the design and construction of the Spirit of St. Louis.

B.L. Rowe corner cover flown by Charles Lindbergh in the Spirit of St. Louis from Santo Domingo to Port-au-Prince (February 6, 1928) and Havana (February 8, 1928).

Although Lindbergh never returned to service as a regular Airmail pilot, for many years after making his historic nonstop flight to Paris he used the immense fame that his exploits had brought him to help promote the use of the Air Mail service. He did this by giving many speeches on its behalf, and by carrying souvenir mail on both special promotional domestic flights as well as on a number of international flights over routes in Latin America and the Caribbean which he had laid out as a consultant to Pan American Airways to be then flown under contract to the Post Office Department as Foreign Air Mail (FAM) routes. At the request of Capt. Basil L. Rowe, the owner and Chief Pilot of West Indian Aerial Express and a fellow Air Mail pioneer and advocate, in February 1928, Lindbergh also carried a small amount of special souvenir mail between Santo Domingo, R.D., Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and Havana, Cuba in the Spirit of St. Louis.

Autographed USPOD penalty cover with C-10 flown northbound by Charles Lindbergh over CAM-2 on February 21, 1928, and southbound on February 22.

Those cities were the last three stops that he and the Spirit made during their 7,800-mile "Good Will Tour" of Latin America and the Caribbean between December 13, 1927 and February 8, 1928, during which he flew to Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Cuba, spending 125 hours in the air.[31] The final two legs of the 48-day tour were also the only flights on which officially sanctioned, postally franked mail was ever carried in the Spirit of St. Louis. Exactly two weeks later, Lindbergh also "returned" to flying CAM-2 for two days so that he could pilot a series of special flights (northbound on February 20; southbound on February 21) on which many tens of thousands of self-addressed souvenir covers sent in from all over the nation and the world were cacheted, flown, backstamped, and then returned to their senders as a further means to promote awareness and the use of the Air Mail service. Souvenir covers and other artifacts associated with or carried on flights piloted by Lindbergh are still actively collected under the general designation of "Lindberghiana."

Pursuing the Orteig Prize

Charles Lindbergh (left) accepted his prize from Raymond Orteig (right) in New York on June 14, 1927

Designated to be awarded to the pilot of the first successful nonstop flight made in either direction between New York City and Paris within five years after its establishment, the $25,000 Orteig Prize was first offered by the French-born New York hotelier (Lafayette Hotel) Raymond Orteig on May 19, 1919. Although that initial time limit lapsed without a serious challenger, the state of aviation technology had advanced sufficiently by 1924 to prompt Orteig to extend his offer for another five years, and this time it began to attract an impressive grouping of well known, highly experienced, and well financed contenders. Ironically, the one exception among these competitors was the still boyish, 25-year-old relative latecomer to the race — Charles Lindbergh — who, in relation to the others, was virtually anonymous to the public as an aviation figure, had considerably less overall flying experience, and was being primarily financed by just a $15,000 bank loan and his own modest savings.

The first of the well known challengers to actually attempt a flight was famed World War I French flying ace René Fonck who on September 21, 1926, planned to fly eastbound from Roosevelt Airfield in New York in a three-engine Sikorsky S-35. Fonck never got off the ground, however, as his grossly overloaded (by 10,000 lbs) transport biplane crashed and burned on takeoff when its landing gear collapsed. (While Fonck escaped the flames, his two crew members, Charles N. Clavier and Jacob Islaroff, died in the fire.) U.S. Naval aviators LCDR Noel Davis and LT Stanton H. Wooster were also killed in a takeoff accident at Langley Field, Virginia, on April 26, 1927, while testing the three-engine Keystone Pathfinder biplane, American Legion, that they intended to use for the flight. Less than two weeks later, the first contenders to actually get airborne were French war heroes Captain Charles Nungesser and his navigator, François Coli, who departed from Paris - Le Bourget Airport on May 8, 1927, on a westbound flight in the Levasseur PL 8, The White Bird (L'Oiseau Blanc), although contact was lost with them after crossing the coast of Ireland and they were never seen or heard from again.

American air racer Clarence D. Chamberlin and Arctic explorer CDR (later RADM) Richard E. Byrd were also in the race. Although he did not win, Chamberlin and his passenger, Charles A. Levine, made the far less well remembered second successful nonstop flight of a heavier-than-air aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean between New York and Europe in the single engine Wright-Bellanca WB-2 Miss Columbia (N-X-237), leaving Roosevelt Field on June 4, 1927, two weeks after Lindbergh's flight and landing in Eisleben, Germany near Berlin 43 hours and 31 minutes later on June 6, 1927. (Ironically, the Chamberlin monoplane was the same one that the Lindbergh group had originally intended to purchase for his attempt but passed on when the manufacturer insisted on selecting the pilot.) Byrd followed suit in the Fokker F.VII tri-motor, America, flying with three others from Roosevelt Field on June 29, 1927. Although they reached Paris on July 1, 1927, Byrd was unable to land there because of weather and was forced to return to the Normandy coast where he ditched the tri-motor high wing monoplane near the French village of Ver-sur-Mer.[32]

Lindbergh's flight to Paris

Part of the funding for the Spirit of St. Louis came from Lindbergh's own earnings as an Air Mail pilot over the year before his nonstop flight to Paris. (January 15, 1927, RAC paycheck to Lindbergh)

Six well known aviators had thus already lost their lives in pursuit of the Orteig Prize when Lindbergh took off on his successful attempt in the early morning of May 20, 1927. Dubbed the Spirit of St. Louis, his "partner" was a fabric covered, single-seat, single-engine "Ryan NYP" high wing monoplane (CAB registration: N-X-211) designed by Donald Hall and custom built by Ryan Aeronautical Company of San Diego, California. Although the primary source of funding for the purchase of the Spirit and other expenses related to the overall New York to Paris effort came from a $15,000 State National Bank of St. Louis loan made on February 18, 1927, to St. Louis businessmen Harry H. Knight and Harold M. Bixby, the project's two principal trustees[33], and another $1,000 donated by Frank Robertson of RAC on the same day, Lindbergh himself also personally contributed $2,000 of his own money from both his savings and his earnings from the 10 months that he flew the Air Mail for RAC.[34]

Sample of the fine linen fabric that covered the Spirit of St. Louis.

Burdened by its heavy load of 450 U.S. gallons of gasoline (approximately 2,710 lbs) and hampered by a muddy, rain soaked runway, Lindbergh's Wright Whirlwind powered monoplane gained speed very slowly as it made its 7:52 AM takeoff run from Roosevelt Field, but its J-5C radial engine still proved powerful enough to allow the Spirit to clear the telephone lines at the far end of the field "by about twenty feet with a fair reserve of flying speed."[35] Over the next 33.5 hours he and the "Spirit"—which Lindbergh always jointly referred to simply as "WE"—faced many challenges including skimming over both storm clouds at 10,000 feet (3,000 m) and wave tops at as low at 10 ft (3.0 m), fighting icing, flying blind through fog for several hours, and navigating only by the stars (when visible) and "dead reckoning" before landing at Le Bourget at 10:22 PM on May 21.[36] A crowd estimated at 150,000 spectators stormed the field, dragged Lindbergh out of the cockpit, and literally carried him around above their heads for "nearly half an hour." While some damage was done to the Spirit (especially to the fabric covering on the fuselage) by souvenir hunters, both Lindbergh and the Spirit were eventually "rescued" from the mob by a group of French military fliers, soldiers, and police who took them both to safety in a nearby hangar.[37] From that moment on, however, life would never again be the same for the previously little known former Air Mail pilot who, by his successful flight, had just achieved virtually instantaneous — and lifelong — world fame.

Charles Lindbergh with the Spirit of St. Louis - 1927.

Although Lindbergh was the first to fly nonstop from New York to Paris, he was not the first aviator to complete a transatlantic flight in a heavier-than-air aircraft. That had been done first in stages between May 8 and May 31, 1919, by the crew of the Navy-Curtiss NC-4 flying boat which took 24 days to complete its journey from Jamaica Bay at Far Rockaway, Queens, New York, to Plymouth, England, via Halifax, Nova Scotia, Trepassey Bay (Newfoundland), Horta (Azores) and Lisbon, Portugal. The lighter-than-air (LTA) U.S. Navy airship USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) made a non-stop crossing from the Zeppelin Company works in Friedrichshafen, Germany to the U.S. Naval Air Station at Lakehurst, New Jersey from October 12 to 15, 1924.

The world's first non-stop transatlantic flight (albeit over a route far shorter than Lindbergh's, 1,890 miles vs. 3,600 miles,) was achieved nearly eight years earlier on June 14–15, 1919. Two British aviators, John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown, flew a modified Vickers Vimy IV bomber from Lester's Field near St. John's, Newfoundland on June 14 and arrived at Clifden, Ireland, the following day.[38] Both men were knighted at Buckingham Palace by King George V, in recognition of their pioneering achievement.[39]

Aftermath of the flight

Charles Lindbergh flight to Brussels.ogg
The Spirit's flight from Paris to Belgium.

The French Foreign Office flew the American flag, the first time it had saluted someone not a head of state.[40] Lindbergh made a series of flights in Europe using the Spirit before returning to the United States. Gaston Doumergue, the President of France, bestowed the French Légion d'honneur on the young Capt. Lindbergh, and on his arrival back in the United States aboard the United States Navy cruiser USS Memphis (CL-13) on June 11, 1927, a fleet of warships and multiple flights of military aircraft including pursuit planes, bombers and the rigid airship USS Los Angeles (ZR-3), escorted him up the Potomac River to Washington, D.C. where President Calvin Coolidge awarded him the Distinguished Flying Cross.[41][42]

"Lindbergh Air Mail" Stamp (C-10) issued June 11, 1927.

On that same day that Lindbergh and the Spirit arrived in Washington, the U.S. Post Office Department issued a 10-Cent Air Mail stamp (Scott C-10) depicting the Spirit of St. Louis and a map of the flight. On June 13, 1927, a ticker-tape parade was held for him down 5th Avenue in New York City.[43] The following night the City of New York further honored Capt. Lindbergh with a grand banquet at the Hotel Commodore attended by some 3,600 people.

Program cover for the "WE" Banquet given by the Mayor's Committee on Receptions of the City of New York on June 14, 1927

After the flight, Lindbergh became an important voice on behalf of aviation activities, including the central committee of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in the United States. He embarked on a three-month cross country tour on behalf of the Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics. The 1927 "Lindbergh Tour" culminated with visits to 48 states and 92 cities, where he delivered 147 speeches, and rode 1,290 miles in parades.[25] At the conclusion of the tour, Lindbergh spent a month at Falaise, Guggenheim's Sands Point mansion, where he wrote the acclaimed "We", a book about his transatlantic flight published by George P. Putnam.

The massive publicity surrounding him and his flight boosted the aviation industry and made a skeptical public take air travel seriously. Within a year of his flight, a quarter of Americans (an estimated thirty million) personally saw Lindbergh and the Spirit of St. Louis. Over the remainder of 1927 applications for pilot's licenses in the U.S. trebled, the number of licensed aircraft quadrupled, and U.S. Airline passengers grew between 1926 and 1929 by 3,000% from 5,782 to 173,405.[44] Lindbergh is recognized in aviation for demonstrating and charting polar air routes, high altitude flying techniques, and increasing flying range by decreasing fuel consumption. These innovations are the basis of modern intercontinental air travel.

The winner of the 1930 Best Woman Aviator of the Year Award, Elinor Smith Sullivan, said that before Lindbergh's flight, "people seemed to think we [aviators] were from outer space or something. But after Charles Lindbergh's flight, we could do no wrong. It's hard to describe the impact Lindbergh had on people. Even the first walk on the moon doesn't come close. The twenties was such an innocent time, and people were still so religious – I think they felt like this man was sent by God to do this. And it changed aviation forever because all of a sudden the Wall Streeters were banging on doors looking for airplanes to invest in. We'd been standing on our heads trying to get them to notice us but after Lindbergh, suddenly everyone wanted to fly, and there weren't enough planes to carry them."[45]

Marriage and children

Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906–2001) was the daughter of diplomat Dwight Morrow whom he met in Mexico City in December 1927, where her father was serving as the U.S. Ambassador. According to a Biography Channel profile on Lindbergh, she was the only woman that he had ever asked out on a date. In Lindbergh's autobiography, he derides womanizing pilots he met as a "barnstormer" and Army cadet, for their "facile" approach to relationships. For Lindbergh, the ideal romance was stable and long term, with a woman with keen intellect, good health and strong genes.[46] Lindbergh said his "experience in breeding animals on our farm had taught me the importance of good heredity."[47]

The couple was married on May 27, 1929, and eventually had six children: Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr. (1930–1932); Jon Morrow Lindbergh (b. August 16, 1932); Land Morrow Lindbergh (b. 1937), who studied anthropology at Stanford University and married Susan Miller in San Diego; Anne Lindbergh (1940–1993); Scott Lindbergh (b. 1942); and Reeve Lindbergh (b. 1945), a writer. Lindbergh also taught his wife how to fly and did much of his exploring and charting of air routes with her.

"The Crime of the Century"

The "wanted" poster

In what came to be referred to sensationally by the press of the time as "The Crime of the Century", on the evening of March 1, 1932, 20-month old Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr., was abducted by an intruder from his crib in the second story nursery of his family's rural home in East Amwell, New Jersey near the town of Hopewell.[48] While a 10-week nationwide search for the child was being undertaken, ransom negotiations were also conducted simultaneously with a self-identified kidnapper by a volunteer intermediary, Dr. John F. Condon (aka "Jafsie").[49] These resulted in the payment on April 2 of $50,000 in cash, part of which was made in soon-to-be withdrawn (and thus more easily traceable) Gold certificates, in exchange for information — which proved to be false — about the child's whereabouts. The search finally ended on May 12 when the remains of an infant were serendipitously discovered by truck driver William Allen about two miles (3 km) from the Lindberghs' home in woods near a road just north of the small village of Mount Rose, NJ. The child's body was soon identified by Lindbergh as being that of his kidnapped son. A month later the Congress passed the so-called "Lindbergh Law" (18 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(1)) on June 13, 1932, which made kidnapping a federal offense if the victim is taken across state lines or "uses the mail or any means, facility, or instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce in committing or in furtherance of the commission of the offense" including as a means to demand a ransom.[50]

Lindbergh testifies at the Hauptmann trial in 1935.

Assiduous tracing of many $10 and $20 Gold certificates passed in the New York City area over the next year-and-a-half eventually led police to Bruno Richard Hauptmann, a 34-year old German immigrant carpenter, who was arrested near his home in The Bronx, New York, on September 19, 1934. A stash containing $13,760 of the ransom money was subsequently found hidden in his garage. Charged with kidnapping, extortion, and first degree murder, Hauptmann went on trial in a circus-like atmosphere in Flemington, New Jersey on January 2, 1935. Six weeks later he was convicted on all counts when, following just eleven hours of deliberation, the jury delivered its verdict late on the night of February 13 after which trial judge Thomas Trenchard immediately sentenced Hauptmann to death.[51] Although he continued to adamantly maintain his innocence, all of Hauptmann's appeals and petitions for clemency were rejected by early December 1935.[52] Despite a last minute attempt by New Jersey Governor Harold G. Hoffman (who believed Hauptmann was guilty but also had always expressed doubts that he could have acted alone) to convince him to confess to the crimes in exchange for getting his sentence commuted to life imprisonment, the by then 36-year old Hauptmann refused and was electrocuted at Trenton State Prison on April 3, 1936.

The Lindberghs eventually grew tired of the never-ending spotlight on the family and came to fear for the safety of their then three-year old second son, Jon. Deciding, therefore, to seek seclusion in Europe, the family sailed from New York under a veil of secrecy on board the SS American Importer in the pre-dawn hours of December 22, 1935.[53] The family rented "Long Barn" in the village of Sevenoaks Weald, Kent, England. One newspaper wrote that Lindbergh "won immediate popularity by announcing he intended to purchase his supplies 'right in the village, from local tradesmen.' The reserve of the villagers, most of whom had decided in advance he would be a blustering, boastful young American, is melting."[54] At the time of Hauptmann's execution, local police almost sealed off the area surrounding Long Barn with "orders to regard as suspects anyone except residents who approached within a mile of the home." Lindbergh later described his three years in the Kent village as "among the happiest days of my life."[54] In 1938 the family moved to Île Illiec, a small (four-acre) island Lindbergh purchased off the Breton coast of France.[55]

Pre-war activities

Lindbergh became interested in the work of rocket pioneer Robert H. Goddard in 1929. By helping Goddard secure an endowment from Daniel Guggenheim in 1930, Lindbergh allowed Goddard to expand his research and development. Throughout his life, Lindbergh remained a key advocate of Goddard's work.

A Lindbergh perfusion pump, c. 1935

In 1930, Lindbergh's sister-in-law developed a fatal heart condition. Lindbergh began to wonder why hearts could not be repaired with surgery. When living in France, Lindbergh studied the perfusion of organs outside the body with Nobel Prize-winning French surgeon Dr. Alexis Carrel. Although perfused organs were said to have survived surprisingly well, all showed progressive degenerative changes within a few days.[56] Lindbergh's invention, a glass perfusion pump, named the "Model T" pump, is credited with making future heart surgeries possible. However, in this early stage, the pump was far from perfected. In 1938, Lindbergh and Carrel summarized their work in their book, The Culture of Organs describing an artificial heart[57] but it was decades before one was built. In later years, Lindbergh's pump was further developed by others, eventually leading to the construction of the first heart-lung machine.

Hermann Goering presents Lindbergh with a medal on behalf of Adolf Hitler; Anne Lindbergh is far left. Photo taken on July 28, 1936.

At the behest of the U.S. military, Lindbergh traveled several times to Germany to report on German aviation and the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) from 1936 through 1938.

Lindbergh toured German aviation facilities, where the commander of the Luftwaffe Hermann Göring convinced Lindbergh the Luftwaffe was far more powerful than it was. With the approval of Goering and Ernst Udet, Lindbergh was the first American permitted to examine the Luftwaffe's newest bomber, the Junkers Ju 88 and Germany's front line fighter aircraft, the Messerschmitt Bf 109. Lindbergh received the unprecedented opportunity to pilot the Bf 109. Lindbergh said of the fighter that he knew "of no other pursuit plane which combines simplicity of construction with such excellent performance characteristics." Colonel Lindbergh inspected all the types of military aircraft Germany was to use in 1939 and 1940.

Lindbergh's medal (Service Cross of the German Eagle)

Lindbergh reported to the U.S. military that Germany was leading in metal construction, low-wing designs, dirigibles and diesel engines. Lindbergh also undertook a survey of aviation in the Soviet Union in 1938. Lindbergh's findings found their way into air intelligence reports to Washington long before the European war began."[58]

The American ambassador to Germany, Hugh Wilson, invited Lindbergh to dinner with Göring at the American embassy in Berlin in 1938. The dinner included diplomats and three of the greatest minds of German aviation, Ernst Heinkel, Adolf Baeumaker and Dr. Willy Messerschmitt. For Lindbergh's 1927 flight and services to aviation, on behalf of Adolf Hitler, Göring presented him with the Commander Cross of the Order of the German Eagle. (Henry Ford received the same award earlier in July.) However, Lindbergh's acceptance of the medal caused controversy after Kristallnacht. Lindbergh declined to return the medal, later writing (according to A. Scott Berg): "It seems to me that the returning of decorations, which were given in times of peace and as a gesture of friendship, can have no constructive effect. If I were to return the German medal, it seems to me that it would be an unnecessary insult. Even if war develops between us, I can see no gain in indulging in a spitting contest before that war begins."

During this period, Lindbergh was back on temporary duty as a colonel in the Army Air Corps assigned to the task of recruitment, finding a site for a new air force research institute and other potential air bases.[59] Another role that he undertook was in evaluating new aircraft types in development. Assigned a Curtiss P-36 fighter, he toured various facilities, reporting back to Wright Field.[59]

Munich Crisis

At the urging of U.S. Ambassador Joseph Kennedy, Lindbergh wrote a secret memo to the British warning that if Britain and France responded militarily to German dictator Adolf Hitler's violation of the Munich Agreement in 1938, it would be suicide. Lindbergh stated that France's military strength was inadequate and that Britain had an outdated military overly reliant upon naval power. He recommended they urgently strengthen their air arsenal in order to force Hitler to turn his ambitions eastward to a war against "Asiatic Communism."[60]

In a controversial 1939 Reader's Digest article, Lindbergh said, "Our civilization depends on peace among Western nations... and therefore on united strength, for Peace is a virgin who dare not show her face without Strength, her father, for protection."[61][62] Lindbergh deplored the rivalry between Germany and Britain but favored a war between Germany and Russia. There is some controversy as to how accurate his reports concerning the Luftwaffe were, but Cole reports the consensus among British and American officials was that they were slightly exaggerated but badly needed.

"America First" Involvement


After Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Lindbergh resigned his commission as a colonel in the U.S. Army Air Corps on September 14, 1939 to campaign as a private citizen for the antiwar America First Committee.[63] He soon became its most prominent public spokesman, speaking to overflowing crowds in Madison Square Garden in New York City and Soldier Field in Chicago. His speeches were heard by millions. During this time, Lindbergh lived in Lloyd Neck, on Long Island, New York.

Lindbergh argued that America did not have any business attacking Germany and believed in upholding the Monroe Doctrine, which his interventionist rivals felt was outdated. Before World War II, according to Lindbergh historian A. Scott Berg, Lindbergh characterized that:

“the potentially gigantic power of America, guided by uninformed and impractical idealism, might crusade into Europe to destroy Hitler without realizing that Hitler’s destruction would lay Europe open to the rape, loot and barbarism of Soviet Russia’s forces, causing possibly the fatal wounding of western civilization.”[64]

Charles Lindbergh speaking at an AFC rally.

During his January 23, 1941, testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Lindbergh recommended the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Germany.

In a speech at an America First rally in Des Moines on September 11, 1941, "Who Are the War Agitators?" Lindbergh claimed the three groups, "pressing this country toward war [are] the British, the Jewish and the Roosevelt Administration" and said of Jewish groups,

"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. Tolerance is a virtue that depends upon peace and strength. History shows that it cannot survive war and devastation."[65]

In the speech, he warned of the Jewish People's "large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government", and went on to say of Germany's antisemitism, "No person with a sense of the dignity of mankind can condone the persecution of the Jewish race in Germany." Lindbergh declared,

"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. We cannot blame them for looking out for what they believe to be their own interests, but we also must look out for ours. We cannot allow the natural passions and prejudices of other peoples to lead our country to destruction."[66]

The speech was heavily criticized as being anti-Jewish.[67] In response Lindbergh noted again he was not anti-Semitic, but he did not back away from his statements.

Interventionists created pamphlets pointing out his efforts were praised in Nazi Germany and included quotations such as "Racial strength is vital; politics, a luxury". They included pictures of him and other America Firsters using the stiff-armed Bellamy salute (a hand gesture described by Francis Bellamy to accompany his Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States); the photos were taken from an angle not showing the American flag, so to observers it was indistinguishable from the Hitler salute.[68]

President Franklin D. Roosevelt disliked Lindbergh's outspoken opposition to intervention and Roosevelt's policies such as the Lend-Lease Act. Roosevelt said to Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau in May 1940, "if I should die tomorrow, I want you to know this, I am absolutely convinced Lindbergh is a Nazi."[69] To satisfy FDR's political interest in discrediting his prominent foreign policy critics, FBI Director Hoover, on his own authority, began to investigate Lindbergh's personal life. Hoover had his FBI agents look for anything that might discredit Lindbergh's reputation as a decent, moral man, such as information purporting that during Prohibition, Lindbergh had bootlegged whiskey in Montana and had consorted with pimps and prostitutes. While not ordering the FBI to look into Lindbergh, given his prejudices against the famous aviator, President Roosevelt all the same did not complain about the FBI director's efforts.[70]

Racism and suspected Nazi sympathies

Lindbergh elucidated his beliefs about the white race in an article he published in Reader's Digest in 1939:

"We can have peace and security only so long as we band together to preserve that most priceless possession, our inheritance of European blood, only so long as we guard ourselves against attack by foreign armies and dilution by foreign races."[71]

Because of his trips to Nazi Germany, combined with a belief in eugenics, Lindbergh was suspected of being a Nazi sympathizer.

Lindbergh's reaction to Kristallnacht was entrusted to his diary: "I do not understand these riots on the part of the Germans", he wrote. "It seems so contrary to their sense of order and intelligence. They have undoubtedly had a difficult 'Jewish problem,' but why is it necessary to handle it so unreasonably?"[72]

In his diaries, he wrote: “We must limit to a reasonable amount the Jewish influence...Whenever the Jewish percentage of total population becomes too high, a reaction seems to invariably occur. It is too bad because a few Jews of the right type are, I believe, an asset to any country.”

Lindbergh's anti-communism resonated deeply with many Americans while eugenics and Nordicism enjoyed social acceptance,[62] with enthusiasts such as Theodore Roosevelt,[73] and George S. Patton.[74]

Although Lindbergh considered Hitler a fanatic and avowed a belief in American democracy,[75] he clearly stated elsewhere that he believed the survival of the white race was more important than the survival of democracy in Europe: "Our bond with Europe is one of race and not of political ideology", he declared.[76] He had, however, a relatively positive attitude toward blacks (something that was scheduled to be fully revealed in an undelivered speech interrupted by the events that followed the attack on Pearl Harbor[77]). Critics have noticed an apparent influence of German philosopher Oswald Spengler on Lindbergh.[78] Spengler was a conservative authoritarian and during the interwar era, was widely read throughout Western World, though by this point he had fallen out of favor with the Nazis because he had not wholly subscribed to their theories of racial purity.

Lindbergh with Edsel Ford (left) and Henry Ford in the Ford hangar. Photo: August 1927.

Lindbergh developed a long-term friendship with the automobile pioneer Henry Ford, who was well-known for his anti-Semitic newspaper The Dearborn Independent. In a famous comment about Lindbergh to Detroit's former FBI field office special agent in charge in July 1940, Ford said: "When Charles comes out here, we only talk about the Jews."[79][80]

Lindbergh considered Russia to be a "semi-Asiatic" country compared to Germany, and he found Communism to be an ideology that would destroy the West's "racial strength" and replace everyone of European descent with "a pressing sea of Yellow, Black, and Brown." He openly stated, if he had to choose, he would rather see America allied with Nazi Germany than Soviet Russia. He preferred Nordics, but he believed, after Soviet Communism was defeated, Russia would be a valuable ally against potential aggression from East Asia.[78][81]

Lindbergh said certain races have "demonstrated superior ability in the design, manufacture, and operation of machines."[82] He further said, "the growth of our western civilization has been closely related to this superiority."[83] Lindbergh admired, "the German genius for science and organization, the English genius for government and commerce, the French genius for living and the understanding of life." He believed, "in America they can be blended to form the greatest genius of all."[citation needed] His message was popular throughout many Northern communities and especially well-received in the Midwest, while the American South was Anglophilic and supported a pro-British foreign policy.[84]

Holocaust researcher and investigative journalist Max Wallace, agrees with Franklin Roosevelt's assessment that Lindbergh was "pro-Nazi" in his book, The American Axis. However, Wallace finds the Roosevelt Administration's accusations of dual loyalty or treason as unsubstantiated. Wallace considers Lindbergh a well-intentioned but bigoted and misguided Nazi sympathizer whose career as the leader of the isolationist movement had a destructive impact on Jewish people.

Lindbergh's Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer, A. Scott Berg, contends Lindbergh was not so much a supporter of the Nazi regime as someone so stubborn in his convictions and relatively inexperienced in political maneuvering that he easily allowed rivals to portray him as one. Lindbergh's receipt of the German medal was approved without objection by the American embassy; the war had not yet begun in Europe. Indeed, the award did not cause controversy until the war began and Lindbergh returned to the United States in 1939 to spread his message of non-intervention. Berg contends Lindbergh's views were commonplace in the United States in the pre-World War II era. Lindbergh's support for the America First Committee was representative of the sentiments of a number of American people.

Yet Berg also notes that "As late as April 1939 – after Germany overtook Czechoslovakia – Lindbergh was willing to make excuses for Hitler. "Much as I disapprove of many things Hitler had done", he wrote in his diary of April 2, 1939: "I believe she (Germany) has pursued the only consistent policy in Europe in recent years. I cannot support her broken promises, but she has only moved a little faster than other breaking promises. The question of right and wrong is one thing by law and another thing by history." Berg also explains that leading up to the war, in Lindbergh's mind, the great battle would be between the Soviet Union and Germany, not fascism and democracy. In this war, he believed that a German victory was preferable because of Stalin's horrific acts, which, at the time, he believed were far worse than Hitler's.

Berg finds Lindbergh believed in a voluntary rather than compulsory eugenics program.[citation needed]

In Pat Buchanan's book entitled A Republic, Not An Empire: Reclaiming America's Destiny, he portrays Lindbergh and other pre-war isolationists as American patriots who were smeared by interventionists during the months leading up to Pearl Harbor. Buchanan suggests the backlash against Lindbergh highlights "the explosiveness of mixing ethnic politics with foreign policy."[85]

Lindbergh always preached military strength and alertness.[86][87] He believed that a strong defensive war machine, as well as his views about race, would make America an impenetrable fortress and defend the Western Hemisphere from an attack by foreign powers, and that this was the U.S. military's sole purpose.[88]

Many people acknowledge that Lindbergh helped keep American public opinion isolationist until 1941 by advancing the movement to keep America out of the war for as long as possible. At the same time, some praise Lindbergh for his prediction that an Iron Curtain descended upon Europe; many of the predictions which Lindbergh made about the war came before Hitler violated his non-aggression pact with Stalin and launched Operation Barbarossa.[89] Berg reveals that, while the attack on Pearl Harbor came as a shock to Lindbergh, he did predict that America's "wavering policy in the Philippines" would invite a bloody war there, and, in one speech, he warned that "we should either fortify these islands adequately, or get out of them entirely". Cole, Wallace and Buchanan all believe that Lindbergh was highly influential in ensuring that Hitler's war machine would advance toward the Eastern Front and inflict the most devastation there.

World War II

VMF-222 "Flying Deuces"

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Lindbergh sought to be recommissioned in the United States Army Air Corps. The Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, declined the request on instructions from the White House.[90]

Unable to take on an active military role, Lindbergh approached a number of aviation companies, offering his services as a consultant. As a technical adviser with Ford in 1942, he was heavily involved in troubleshooting early problems encountered at the Willow Run B-24 Liberator bomber production line. As B-24 production smoothed out, he joined United Aircraft in 1943 as an engineering consultant, devoting most of his time to its Chance-Vought Division. The following year, he persuaded United Aircraft to designate him a technical representative in the Pacific War to study aircraft performances under combat conditions. He showed Marine F4U Corsair pilots how to take off with twice the bomb load that the fighter-bomber was rated for and on May 21, 1944, he flew his first combat mission: a strafing run with VMF-222 near the Japanese garrison of Rabaul, in the Australian Territory of New Guinea.[91] He was also flying with VMF 216 (first squadron there) during this period from the Marine Air Base at Torokina, Bogainville British Soloman Islands. Several Marine squadrons were flying bomber escorts to destroy this Japanese stronghold. His first flight was escorted by Lt. Robert E. (Lefty) McDonough. It was understood that Lefty refused to fly with him again, as he did not want to be known, as "the guy who killed Lindbergh." Lindbergh was willing to engage the enemy, which the Marine pilots were told to avoid.

433rd Fighter Squadron "Satan's Angels".

In his six months in the Pacific in 1944, Lindbergh took part in fighter bomber raids on Japanese positions, flying about 50 combat missions (again as a civilian). His innovations in the use of P-38 Lightning fighters impressed a supportive Gen. Douglas MacArthur.[92] Lindbergh introduced engine-leaning techniques to P-38 pilots, greatly improving fuel usage at cruise speeds, enabling the long-range fighter aircraft to fly longer range missions. The U.S. Marine and Army Air Force pilots who served with Lindbergh praised his courage and defended his patriotism.[91]

On July 28, 1944, during a P-38 bomber escort mission with the 433rd Fighter Squadron, 475th Fighter Group, Fifth Air Force, in the Ceram area, Lindbergh shot down a Sonia observation plane piloted by Captain Saburo Shimada, Commanding Officer of the 73rd Independent Chutai.[91][93]

After the war, while touring the Nazi concentration camps, Lindbergh wrote in his autobiography that he was disgusted and angered.[94]

Later life

After World War II, he lived in Darien, Connecticut and served as a consultant to the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force and to Pan American World Airways. With most of Eastern Europe having fallen under Communist control, Lindbergh believed most of his pre-war assessments were correct all along. But Berg reports after witnessing the defeat of Germany and the Holocaust firsthand shortly after his service in the Pacific, "he knew the American public no longer gave a hoot about his opinions." His 1953 book The Spirit of St. Louis, recounting his nonstop transatlantic flight, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1954, and his literary agent, George T. Bye, sold the film rights to Hollywood for more than a million dollars. Dwight D. Eisenhower restored Lindbergh's assignment with the U.S. Army Air Corps and made him a Brigadier General in 1954. In that year, he served on the Congressional advisory panel set up to establish the site of the United States Air Force Academy. In December 1968, he visited the crew of Apollo 8 on the eve of the first manned spaceflight to leave Earth orbit. On July 16, 1969, Lindbergh and the "Spirit of St. Louis" constructor, Tubal Claude Ryan were present at Cape Canaveral to watch the launch of Apollo 11.[95]

Children from other relationships

From 1957 until his death in 1974, Lindbergh had an affair with German hat maker Brigitte Hesshaimer who lived in a small Bavarian town called Geretsried (35 km south of Munich). On November 23, 2003, DNA tests proved that he fathered her three children: Dyrk (1958), Astrid (1960) and David (1967). The two managed to keep the affair secret; even the children did not know the true identity of their father, whom they saw when he came to visit once or twice per year using the alias, "Careu Kent." Astrid later read a magazine article about Lindbergh and found snapshots and more than a hundred letters written from him to her mother. She disclosed the affair after both Brigitte and Anne Morrow Lindbergh had died. At the same time as Lindbergh was involved with Brigitte Hesshaimer, he also had a relationship with her sister, Marietta, who bore him two more sons – Vago and Christoph. Lindbergh had a house of his own design built for Marietta in a vineyard in Grimisuat in the Swiss canton Valais.[96]

A 2005 book by German author Rudolf Schroeck, Das Doppelleben des Charles A. Lindbergh (The Double Life of Charles A. Lindbergh), claims seven secret children existed in Germany. It says Lindbergh "came and went as he pleased" during the last 17 years of his life, spending between three to five days with his Munich family about four to five times each year. "Ten days before he died in August 1974, Lindbergh wrote three letters from his hospital bed to his three mistresses and requested 'utmost secrecy'", Schroeck writes, whose book includes a copy of that letter to Brigitte Hesshaimer.

Two of the seven children were from his relationship with the East Prussian aristocrat Valeska, who was Lindbergh's private secretary in Europe. They had a son in 1959 and a daughter in 1961. She had been friends with the Hesshaimer sisters and was the one who introduced them to Charles Lindbergh. In the beginning, they lived all together in his apartment in Rome. However, the friendship ended when Brigitte Hesshaimer became pregnant from him as well. Valeska lives in Baden-Baden and wants to keep her privacy, as mentioned in many German and International Reuter's newspaper articles, in Rudolf Schroek's book and a TV documentary by Danuta Harrich-Zandberg and Walter Harrich.

In April 2008, Reeve Lindbergh, his youngest daughter with wife Anne Morrow Lindbergh, published Forward From Here: Leaving Middle Age and Other Unexpected Adventures, a book of essays that includes her discovery in 2003, of the truth about her father's three secret European families and her journeys to meet them and understand an expanded meaning of family.[97]

Environmental causes

From the 1960s on, Lindbergh campaigned to protect endangered species like humpback and blue whales, was instrumental in establishing protections for the controversial[98] Filipino group, the Tasaday, and African tribes, and supporting the establishment of a national park. While studying the native flora and fauna of the Philippines, he became involved in an effort to protect the Philippine Eagle. In his final years, Lindbergh stressed the need to regain the balance between the world and the natural environment, and spoke against the introduction of supersonic airliners.

Lindbergh's speeches and writings later in life emphasized his love of both technology and nature, and a lifelong belief that "all the achievements of mankind have value only to the extent that they preserve and improve the quality of life." In a 1967 Life magazine article, he said, "The human future depends on our ability to combine the knowledge of science with the wisdom of wildness."

In honor of Charles and his wife Anne Morrow Lindbergh's vision of achieving balance between the technological advancements they helped pioneer, and the preservation of the human and natural environments, the Lindbergh Award was established in 1978. Each year since 1978, the Lindbergh Foundation has given the award to recipients whose work has made a significant contribution toward the concept of "balance."

Lindbergh's final book, Autobiography of Values, based on an unfinished manuscript was published posthumously. While on his death bed, he had contacted his friend, William Jovanovich, head of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, to edit the lengthy memoirs.[99]


Charles Lindbergh's grave.

Lindbergh spent his final years on the Hawaiian island of Maui, where he died of lymphoma[100] on August 26, 1974 at age 72. He was buried on the grounds of the Palapala Ho'omau Church in Kipahulu, Maui. His epitaph on a simple stone which quotes Psalms 139:9, reads: "Charles A. Lindbergh Born Michigan 1902 Died Maui 1974". The inscription further reads: "...If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea... C.A.L."

Honors and tributes

The Spirit of St. Louis on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

The Lindbergh Terminal at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport was named after him, and a replica of The Spirit of St. Louis hangs there. Another such replica hangs in the great hall at the recently rebuilt Jefferson Memorial at Forest Park in St. Louis. The definitive oil painting of Charles Lindbergh by St. Louisan Richard Krause entitled "The Spirit Soars" has been displayed there.[101] San Diego's Lindbergh Field, which is also known as San Diego International Airport, was named after him and also displays a replica of the San Diego built Ryan NYP Spirit of St. Louis. The airport in Winslow, Arizona has also been renamed Winslow-Lindbergh Regional. Lindbergh himself designed the airport in 1929 when it was built as a refueling point for the first coast-to-coast air service. Among the many airports and air facilities that bear his name, the airport in Little Falls, Minnesota, where he grew up, has been named Little Falls/Morrison County-Lindbergh Field.

The original The Spirit of St. Louis currently resides in the National Air and Space Museum as part of the collection of the Smithsonian Institution.

"Longines" watch designed by Lindbergh after his transatlantic flight.
Statue in honor of Lindbergh, Nungesser and Coli at Paris - Le Bourget Airport.

In 1952, Grandview High School in St. Louis County was renamed Lindbergh High School. The school newspaper is the Pilot, the yearbook is the Spirit, and the students are known as the Flyers. The school district was also later named after Lindbergh. The stretch of US 67 that runs through most of the St. Louis metro area is called "Lindbergh Blvd." Lindbergh also has a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

In Lindbergh's hometown of Little Falls, Minnesota, one of the district's elementary schools is named Charles Lindbergh Elementary. The district's sports teams are named the Flyers and Lindbergh Drive is a major road on the west side of town, leading to Charles A. Lindbergh State Park. The Lindberghs donated their farmstead to the state to be used as a park in memory of Lindbergh's father.[102] The original Lindbergh residence is maintained as a museum, the Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site, and is listed as a National Historic Landmark.[103]

Lindbergh is a recipient of the Silver Buffalo Award, the highest adult award given by the Boy Scouts of America.

While Lindbergh was the first to make a solo nonstop transatlantic flight, his grandson, Erik Lindbergh, repeated this flight, 75 years later in 2002 in 17 hours, 17 minutes.

After his transatlantic flight, Lindbergh wrote a letter to the director of Longines, describing in detail a watch which would make navigation easier for pilots. The watch was manufactured to his design and is still produced today.

In February 2002 the Medical University of South Carolina at Charleston, within the celebrations for the Lindbergh 100th birthday established the Lindbergh-Carrel Prize,[104] given to major contributors to "development of perfusion and bioreactor technologies for organ preservation and growth". M. E. DeBakey and 9 other scientists[105] received the prize, a bronze statuette espressly created for the event by the Italian artist C. Zoli and named "Elisabeth"[106] after Elisabeth Morrow, sister of Lindbergh's wife Anne Morrow, died due to heart disease. Lindbergh in fact was disappointed that contemporary medical technology could not provide an artificial heart pump which would allow for heart surgery on her and that gave the occasion for the first contact between Carrel and Lindbergh.

Awards and decorations

Lindbergh received many awards, medals and decorations, most of which were later donated to the Missouri Historical Society and are on display at the Jefferson Memorial, now part of the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park, St. Louis, Missouri.

United States Awards

The Congressional Gold Medal authorized by the Congress on May 4, 1928, and presented on August 15, 1930 to Col. C.A. Lindbergh by President Calvin Coolidge at The White House, Washington, DC.

Non-US Awards

Medal of Honor

Lindbergh's Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve. Place and date: From New York City to Paris, France, May 20–21, 1927. Entered service at: Little Falls, Minn. Born: February 4, 1902, Detroit, Mich. G.O. No.: 5, W.D., 1928; Act of Congress December 14, 1927. Citation:

For displaying heroic courage and skill as a navigator, at the risk of his life, by his nonstop flight in his airplane, the "Spirit of St. Louis", from New York City to Paris, France, 20–21 May 1927, by which Capt. Lindbergh not only achieved the greatest individual triumph of any American citizen but demonstrated that travel across the ocean by aircraft was possible.[108]

Until World War II, the Medal of Honor was also authorized to be awarded for extraordinarily heroic actions by active or reserve service members made during peacetime as well as in combat.


The controversy surrounding his involvement in politics (and to a lesser extent, his personal life) sometimes overshadows the fact that he was an important pioneer in aviation from the 1920s to the 1950s. His 1927 flight made him the first international celebrity in the age of mass media. One U.S. Air Force general remembers Lindbergh's critical view of his own legacy. In the late 1940s, Lindbergh visited U.S. Air Force bases to evaluate American air power (of which he was a staunch supporter) in relation to the emerging Cold War. During this trip, he remarked "I think my flight to Paris came too soon for the civilizations of the world. They were suddenly thrown together by air travel and they weren't quite ready for it."[109]

Popular culture

A wall-mounted quote by Charles Augustus Lindbergh in The American Adventure in the World Showcase pavilion of Walt Disney World's Epcot.

Lindbergh's life has spurred the imaginations of many writers and others; the following list provides a summary of notable popular cultural references:

  • Charles Lindbergh was selected as Time Magazine's Man of the Year in 1927, becoming the first holder of that title. As of 2010, Lindbergh remains the youngest individual (age 25) to be named Person of the Year.[110]
  • A song called "Lindbergh (The Eagle of the U.S.A.)" was released soon after the 1927 flight. A multitude of songs with "Lucky Lindy" in the title were released in the aftermath of the Atlantic crossing. Tony Randall revived the song "Lucky Lindy" in an album of jazz-age and depression era songs that he recorded entitled Vo Vo De Oh Doe (1967).[111]
  • The dance craze, the "Lindy Hop" became popular after his flight, and was named after him.
  • In 1929, Bertold Brecht wrote a musical called Der Lindberghflug (Lindbergh's Flight) with music by Kurt Weill and Paul Hindemith. In 1950 because of Lindbergh's apparent Nazi sympathies Brecht removed all direct references to Lindbergh, and renamed the piece Der Ozeanflug (The Ocean Flight).
  • Woody Guthrie wrote a song called "Lindbergh" on "The Asch Recordings Vol. 1" recorded in the 1940s. The song was anti-Lindbergh, and included the line "they say America First but they mean America Next."
  • In the early 2000s, a full-length musical called "Baby Case", about the Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping and subsequent trial and media circus, was performed at the Arden Theater in Philadelphia to good reviews.


First Edition cover

Charles Lindbergh wrote two best selling books about the Spirit of St. Louis and his flight from New York to Paris. The first of these, "WE", was published by G.P. Putnam's Sons[112] in July 1927—a little more than two months after the historic flight—as both an "instant" autobiography of the suddenly world famous young aviator, and to provide his detailed first person account of the Ryan monoplane's conception, design, construction and transatlantic flight from New York to Paris. (Originally ghostwritten by New York Times reporter Carlyle MacDonald, Lindbergh was so dissatisfied with the manuscript's "fawning tone" that he completely rewrote it himself in a period of three weeks in late June and early July 1927.[113]) The book's simple one word "flying pronoun" title refers to Lindbergh's view of a deep "spiritual" partnership that had developed "between himself and his airplane during the dark hours of his flight."[114] Twenty-six years after writing "WE", Lindbergh penned a second, far more detailed account of the project. Published in 1953 and entitled The Spirit of St. Louis, the book won the 1954 Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction (autobiography).

In addition to aviation, Lindbergh also wrote prolifically over the years on other topics of interest to him including science, technology, nationalism, war, materialism, and values. Included among those writings were five other books: The Culture of Organs (with Dr. Alexis Carrel) (1938), Of Flight and Life (1948), The Wartime Journals of Charles A. Lindbergh (1970), Boyhood on the Upper Mississippi (1972), and his final book, Autobiography Of Values, which was published posthumously in 1978.[115]

The first of 20 Ted Scott Flying Stories (1927)

Lindbergh also influenced or was the model for characters in a variety of works of fiction. Shortly after he made his famous flight, the Stratemeyer Syndicate began publishing a series of books for juvenile readers called the Ted Scott Flying Stories (1927–1943) which were written by a number of authors all using the nom de plume of "Franklin W. Dixon" in which the pilot hero was closely modeled after Lindbergh. (Ted Scott duplicated the solo flight to Paris in the series' first volume entitled Over the Ocean to Paris published in 1927.) Another fictional literary reference to Lindbergh appears in the Agatha Christie book (1934) and movie Murder on the Orient Express (1974) which begins with a fictionalized depiction of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping.

In Eric Norden's alternate history novel The Ultimate Solution (1973), Norden speculates that Lindbergh would have been president of a Nazi-occupied American puppet state. The Philip Roth novel The Plot Against America (2004) is a speculative fiction novel which explores an alternate history where Franklin Delano Roosevelt is defeated in the 1940 presidential election by Charles Lindbergh, who allies the United States with Nazi Germany.


Verdensberømtheder i København (1939)[116] was a Danish short subject produced by the Dansk Film Co.[117] in which Charles Lindbergh as well as Hollywood actors Robert Taylor, Myrna Loy, and Edward G. Robinson all appeared as themselves. The 1938 Paramount film Men with Wings (Fred MacMurray, Ray Milland) featured a replica of the Spirit of St. Louis fashioned from a Ryan B-1 "Brougham"[118] similar to one presented to Lindbergh by the manufacturer, the Mahoney Aircraft Corporation, shortly after the Spirit was retired in April 1928.[119] The 1942 MGM picture Keeper of the Flame (Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy) features Hepburn as the widow of Robert V. Forrest, a "Lindbergh-like" national hero,[120] who was exposed after his death as a secret fascist intending to use his influence, especially over America's youth, to turn the country into a fascist state and eliminate inferior races.

Four years after its 1953 publication, Lindbergh's second book about his flying "partner" served as the basis for the namesake major Hollywood Cinemascope motion picture The Spirit of St. Louis directed by Billy Wilder and released on April 20, 1957, one month short of the 30th anniversary of the flight to Paris. The Spirit was "portrayed" in the film by three flyable replicas of the Ryan NYP, while Lindbergh was played[121] by veteran American actor and fellow Army aviator[122] James Stewart.

Lindbergh has also been the subject of numerous screen, television, and other documentary films over the years including Charles A. Lindbergh (1927), a UK documentary by De Forest Phonofilm based on Lindbergh's milestone flight, 40,000 Miles with Lindbergh (1928) featuring Charles A. Lindbergh, and The American Experience – Lindbergh: The Shocking, Turbulent Life of America's Lone Eagle (1988) PBS documentary directed by Stephen Ives.

Postage stamps

Scott C-10 and #1710 with May 20, 1977 First Day of Issue CDS

Charles Lindbergh and the Spirit have been honored by a variety of world postage stamps over the last eight decades including two issued by the United States. Less than three weeks after the flight the U.S. Post Office Department issued a 10-cent "Lindbergh Air Mail" stamp (Scott C-10) on June 11, 1927 with engraved illustrations of both the Spirit of St. Louis and a map of its route from New York to Paris. (This was also the first U.S. stamp to bear the name of a living person.) A half-century later, a 13-Cent commemorative stamp (Scott #1710) depicting the Spirit flying low over the Atlantic Ocean was issued on May 20, 1977, the 50th anniversary of the flight from Roosevelt Field.

See also


  1. ^ Every, Dale Van and Morris DeHaven Tracy. Charles Lindbergh: His Life. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1927 (reprint 2005), pp. 60, 84, 91, 208. ISBN 1-4179-1884-5.
  2. ^ Air Distances Between World Cities in Statute Miles
  3. ^ "Charles Lindbergh Medal of Honor." Retrieved: February 15, 2010.
  4. ^ Innovators: Charles Lindbergh Chasing The Sun, PBS/KCET. Retrieved: April 3, 2008.
  5. ^ Larson 1973, pp. 31–32.
  6. ^ Larson 1973, pp. 208–209.
  7. ^ Lindbergh 1927, pp. 19–22.
  8. ^ Berg 1998, p. 22.
  9. ^ Lindbergh 1927, p. 23.
  10. ^ Lindbergh 1927, p. 25.
  11. ^ Richter, Bob. "Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame: Ray Page.", . Retrieved: January 7, 2010.
  12. ^ Lindbergh 1927, pp. 26–28.
  13. ^ Lindbergh 1927, pp. 29–36.
  14. ^ Westover, Lee Ann. "Montana Aviator: Great Grandfather Bob Westover and Charles Lindbergh in Montana." The Iron Mullett, 2008. Retrieved: February 15, 2010.
  15. ^ Lindbergh 1927, pp. 36–37.
  16. ^ Lindbergh 1927, pp. 39–43.
  17. ^ "Charles Lindbergh's First Solo Flight & First Plane." Charles Lindbergh official site. Retrieved: February 15, 2010.
  18. ^ Lindbergh 1927, pp. 44–45.
  19. ^ "Daredevil Lindbergh and His Barnstorming Days." American Experience, PBS (WGBH), 1999.
  20. ^ Lindbergh 1927, pp. 63–65.
  21. ^ "Lindbergh's 'Jenny' Exhibit." Cradle of Aviation Museum, Garden City, L.I., NY. Retrieved: February 15, 2010.
  22. ^ Lindbergh 1927, pp. 84–93.
  23. ^ Berg 1998, p. 73.
  24. ^ Lindbergh 1927, pp. 144–148.
  25. ^ a b "Charles Lindbergh: An American Aviator." Retrieved: February 15, 2010.
  26. ^ Lindbergh 1927, p. 125.
  27. ^ "Robertson Aircraft Corporation." Retrieved: February 15, 2010.
  28. ^ "Certificate of the Oath of Mail Messengers executed by Charles A. Lindbergh, Pilot, CAM-2, April 13, 1926." Retrieved: February 15, 2010.
  29. ^ Sky Kings. "Wedron, Illinois." Retrieved: February 17, 2010
  30. ^ Sky Kings. "Covell, Illinois." Retrieved: February 17, 2010.
  31. ^ "Lindbergh, Charles A.: To Bogata and Back by Air" National Geographic Magazine, May 1928. Retrieved: February 15, 2010.
  32. ^ - The Ditching of the "America." Retrieved: February 15, 2010.
  33. ^ Harry H. Knight, Harold M. Bixby, Maj. William B. Robertson, Maj. Albert B. Lambert, Earl C. Thompson, Harry F. Knight, E. Lansing Ray
  34. ^ Lindbergh 1953, pp. 25, 31.
  35. ^ Lindbergh 1927, p. 216.
  36. ^ Lindbergh 1927, pp. 218–222.
  37. ^ Lindbergh 1927, pp. 224–226.
  38. ^ "Alcock and Brown: The First Non-stop Aerial Crossing of the Atlantic." The Aviation History Online Museum. Retrieved: July 17, 2009.
  39. ^ "Captain Jack Alcock (1892–1919)." Collections Department, Museum of Science & Industry, Manchester, UK. Retrieved: July 17, 2009.
  40. ^ Costigliola 1984, p. 180.
  41. ^ Mosley 1976, p. 117.
  42. ^ Lindbergh 1927, pp. 267–268.
  43. ^ Charles Lindbergh: His 1927 Nonstop Solo Transatlantic Flight
  44. ^ Diamandis, Peter H. "Our Story: The X Prize Heritage." The X-Prize Foundation, 2004. Retrieved: April 26, 2008.
  45. ^ Jennings, Peter and Todd Brewster. The Century. New York: Doubleday, 1998. ISBN 0-385-48327-9.
  46. ^ Lindbergh 1977, p. 121.
  47. ^ Lindbergh 1977, p. 118.
  48. ^ Gill, Barbara. "Lindbergh kidnapping rocked the world 50 years ago." The Hunterdon County Democrat, 1981. Retrieved: December 30, 2008. Quote: So while the world's attention was focused on Hopewell, from which the first press dispatches emanated about the kidnapping, the Democrat made sure its readers knew that the new home of Col. Charles A. Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh was in East Amwell Township Hunterdon County.
  49. ^ Dr. John F. Condon
  50. ^ 18 U.S.C. § 1201
  51. ^ Linder, Douglas "The Trial of Richard "Bruno" Hauptmann: An Account"
  52. ^ State of New Jersey v. Hauptmann, 115 N. J. L. 412, 180 Atl. 809 (Ct. Err. & App.), cert. denied, 296 U.S. 649 (1935)
  53. ^ "Hero & Herod." Time (magazine), January 6, 1936.
  54. ^ a b Ogley, Bob. "American hero who found refuge in village." Gravesend Reporter, January 23, 2008. Retrieved: July 27, 2008.
  55. ^ Our visit to Ile Illiec by Geoffrey Batten
  56. ^ The Development of Cardiopulmonary Bypass
  57. ^ Frazier O.H. et al. "Cardiac Surgery in the Adult" Total Artificial Heart. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003. pp. 1507–1514.
  58. ^ Cole 1974, pp. 39–40.
  59. ^ a b Mosley 1976, p. 249.
  60. ^ Cole 1974
  61. ^ Lindbergh, Col. Charles A. "Aviation, Geography, and Race."Reader's Digest, November 1939.
  62. ^ a b Rosen, Christine. Preaching Eugenics: Religious Leaders and the American Eugenics Movement. New York: Oxford University Press (USA), 2004. ISBN 978-0-19-515679-9.
  63. ^ Mosley 1976, p. 257.
  64. ^ Gordon, David. America First: The Anti-War Movement, Charles Lindbergh and the Second World War, 1940–1941. Bronx Community College, CUNY Graduate Center, September 26, 2003. Retrieved: July 22, 2008.
  65. ^ America First Speech
  66. ^ Extract from: Des Moines Speech (PBS)
  67. ^ "Jew Baiting". Time, September 22, 1941.
  68. ^ Birkhead, L.M. "Is Lindbergh a Nazi?"
  69. ^ Cole 1974, p. 131.
  70. ^ Douglas M. Charles, J. Edgar Hoover and the Anti-interventionists: FBI Political Surveillance and the Rise of the Domestic Security State, 1939-45 (Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 2007), pp. 43–47, 77-78.
  71. ^ Burrell, Joseph. Republican Treason: Republican Fascism Exposed, p. 228. Algora Publishing, 2008. ISBN 0-87586-666-2. Retrieved on September 16, 2009.
  72. ^ Wallace 2005, p. 193.
  73. ^ "Eugenics – Breeding a Better Citizenry Through Science."
  74. ^ Patton's Quotes
  75. ^ Lindbergh, Charles A. "Election Promises Should Be Kept: We Lack Leadership That Places America First.", May 23, 1941.
  76. ^ Two Historic Speeches October 13, 1939 & August 4, 1940
  77. ^ Lindbergh, Charles A. "What Do We Mean by Democracy and Freedom?"
  78. ^ a b "Eagle to Earth." Time, January 12, 1942.
  79. ^ Collier and Horowitz 1987, pp. 205 and note, p. 457. The citation is from the FBI file of Harry Bennett.
  80. ^ Forward: Fantasies of a Fascist America
  81. ^ MacDonald, Kevin. "The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements."
  82. ^ Cole 1974, pp. 81–82.
  83. ^ Cole 1974, p. 82.
  84. ^ Gordon, David. "America First: the Anti-War Movement, Charles Lindbergh and the Second World War, 1940–1941." New York Military Affairs Symposium, September 26, 2003.
  85. ^ Buchanan, Pat. "Buchanan's Response to Abe Foxman's Attack." Washington Post, October 12, 1999.
  86. ^ Lindbergh, Charles A. "Air Defense of America.", May 19, 1940.
  87. ^ America First Speech
  88. ^ Charles Lindbergh's Noninterventionist Efforts & America First Committee Involvement
  89. ^ Glazov, Jamie. "Appeasement Then and Now.", December 13, 2002.
  90. ^ "Charles Lindbergh in Combat, 1944." EyeWitness to History, 2006. Retrieved: July 20, 2009.
  91. ^ a b c Mersky 1993, p. 93.
  92. ^ Charles Augustus Lindbergh Helps the 5th Air Force During WW2
  93. ^ Charles Lindbergh and the 475th Fighter Group
  94. ^ Lindbergh 1977, pp. 345–350. Note: In a stream of consciousness manner, Lindbergh detailed his visit immediately after World War II to a Nazi concentration camp, and his reactions.
  95. ^ "Private Pilot Textbook GFD" Jeppesen
  96. ^ "The Lone Eagle’s Clandestine Nests: Charles Lindbergh’s German secrets." The Atlantic Times, June 2005
  97. ^ Lindbergh, Reeve. Forward From Here: Leaving Middle Age and Other Unexpected Adventures.. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008. ISBN 978-0-7432-7511-8.
  98. ^ Bower, Bruce. "The strange case of the Tasaday: were they primitive hunter-gatherers or rain-forest phonies?" Science News, May 6, 1989.
  99. ^ Goldman, Eric F. "Flyer's Reflections." New York Times, February 5, 1978.
  100. ^ Choosing Life: Living Your Life While Planning for Death: Charles Lindbergh
  101. ^ "The Spirit Soars"
  102. ^ Westfall, Donald A. "Charles A. Lindbergh House." Minnesota Historical Society.
  103. ^ Minnesota Historic Sites: Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site
  106. ^ Alexis Carrel Foundation
  107. ^ "Around the World." Time (magazine), August 29, 1927. Retrieved: September 24, 2007.
  108. ^ Charles Lindbergh Medal Of Honor, 1998–2007. Retrieved: March 26, 2008.
  109. ^ Major General Earl L. Johnson — How I First Met Charles Lindbergh
  110. ^ The original Time (magazine) article
  111. ^ Tony Randall Biography
  112. ^ Lindbergh's publisher, George P. Putnam, would also promote the career (and eventually marry) another almost equally famous flyer of the era, the ill-fated American aviatrix Amelia Earhart.
  113. ^ Wohl 2005, p. 35.
  114. ^ Lindbergh 1927, Dust jacket note, First Edition July 1927
  115. ^ Goldman, Eric F. "Flyer's Reflections" (A review of Autobiography Of Values) The New York Times Review of Books, February 5, 1978.
  116. ^ Verdensberømtheder i København (1939) IMDb
  117. ^ Dansk Film Co. IMDb
  118. ^ Cassagneres 2002, p. 140.
  119. ^ "B.F. Mahoney was the 'mystery man' behind the Ryan company that built Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis." Joseph D. Tekulsk
  120. ^ Hoberman, J. "Fantasies of a Fascist America." The Jewish Daily Forward, October 1, 2004.
  121. ^ James Stewart was 47-years of age when the film was made, almost twice as old as the then 25-year old Lindbergh that he played.
  122. ^ Both Lindbergh and Stewart retired from the U.S. Air Force Reserve at the grade of Brigadier General.
  • Berg, A. Scott. Lindbergh. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1998. ISBN 0-399-14449-8.
  • Charles, Douglas M. "Informing FDR: FBI Political Surveillance and the Isolationist-Interventionist Foreign Policy Debate, 1939–1945", Diplomatic History, Vol. 24, Issue 2, Spring 2000.
  • Cassagneres, Ev. The Untold Story of the Spirit of St. Louis: From the Drawing Board to the Smithsonian. New Brighton, Minnesota: Flying Book International, 2002. ISBN 0-911139-32-X.
  • Cole, Wayne S. Charles A. Lindbergh and the Battle Against American Intervention in World War II. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1974. ISBN 0-15-118168-3.
  • Collier, Peter and David Horowitz. The Fords, An American Epic. New York: Summit Books, 1987. ISBN 1-893554-32-5.
  • Costigliola, Frank. Awkward Dominion: American Political, Economic, and Cultural Relations With Europe, 1919–1933. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, First edition 1984. ISBN 0-8014-1679-5.
  • Davis, Kenneth S. The Hero Charles A. Lindbergh: The Man and the Legend. London: Longmans, Green and Co. Ltd., 1959.
  • Friedman, David M. The Immortalists. New York: Ecco, 2007. ISBN 0-06-052815-X.
  • Gill, Brendan. Lindbergh Alone. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1977. ISBN 0-15-152401-7.
  • Larson, Bruce L. Lindbergh of Minnesota: A Political Biography. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1973. ISBN 0-15-152400-9.
  • Lindbergh, Charles A. Charles A. Lindbergh: Autobiography of Values. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1977. ISBN 0-15-110202-3.
  • Lindbergh, Charles A. Spirit of St. Louis. New York: Scribners, 1953.
  • Lindbergh, Charles A. "WE" (with an appendix entitled "A Little of what the World thought of Lindbergh" by Fitzhugh Green, pp. 233–318). New York & London: G.P. Putnam's Sons (The Knickerbocker Press), July 1927.
  • Mersky, Peter B. U.S. Marine Corps Aviation - 1912 to the Present. Annapolis, Maryland: Nautical and Aviation Publishing Company of America, 1983. ISBN 0-933852-39-8.
  • Milton, Joyce. Loss of Eden: A Biography of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. New York: Harper Collins, 1993. ISBN 0-06-016503-0.
  • Mosley, Leonard. Lindbergh: A Biography. New York: Doubleday and Company, 1976. ISBN 0-395-09578-3.
  • Schroeck, Rudolph. Das Doppelleben des Charles A. Lindbergh (The Double Life of Charles A. Lindbergh). München, Germany/ New York: Heyne Verlag/Random House, 2005. ISBN 3-453-12010-8.
  • Smith, Larry and Eddie Adams. Beyond Glory: Medal of Honor Heroes in Their Own Words. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003. ISBN 0-393-05134-X.
  • Winters, Kathleen. Anne Morrow Lindbergh: First Lady of the Air. Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. ISBN 1-4039-6932-9.
  • Wallace, Max. The American Axis: Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh and the Rise of the Third Reich. New York: Macmillan, 2005. ISBN 978-0-312-33531-1.
  • Wohl, Robert. The Spectacle of Flight: Aviation and the Western Imagination, 1920–1950. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-300-10692-0.

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Life — a culmination of the past, an awareness of the present, an indication of a future beyond knowledge, the quality that gives a touch of divinity to matter.

Charles Augustus Lindbergh II (4 February 190226 August 1974) was an American aviator and writer who rose to fame after he piloted the first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927. An isolationist prior to the US entry into World War II, and in later years an environmental activist, he was the husband of Anne Morrow Lindbergh.



Our ideals, laws and customs should be based on the proposition that each generation, in turn, becomes the custodian rather than the absolute owner of our resources and each generation has the obligation to pass this inheritance on to the future.
  • The readiness to blame a dead pilot for an accident is nauseating, but it has been the tendency ever since I can remember. What pilot has not been in positions where he was in danger and where perfect judgment would have advised against going? But when a man is caught in such a position he is judged only by his error and seldom given credit for the times he has extricated himself from worse situations. Worst of all, blame is heaped upon him by other pilots, all of whom have been in parallel situations themselves, but without being caught in them. If one took no chances, one would not fly at all. Safety lies in the judgment of the chances one takes. That judgment, in turn, must rest upon one's outlook on life. Any coward can sit in his home and criticize a pilot for flying into a mountain in fog. But I would rather, by far, die on a mountainside than in bed. Why should we look for his errors when a brave man dies? Unless we can learn from his experience, there is no need to look for weakness. Rather, we should admire the courage and spirit in his life. What kind of man would live where there is no daring? And is life so dear that we should blame men for dying in adventure? Is there a better way to die?
    • Journal entry (26 August 1938); later published in The Wartime Journals (1970)
Now, all that I feared would happen has happened. We are at war all over the world, and we are unprepared for it from either a spiritual or a material standpoint...
  • Shall we now give up the independence we have won, and crusade abroad in a utopian attempt to force our ideas on the rest of the world; or shall we use air power, and the other advances of modern warfare, to guard and strengthen the independence of our nation?
    • A speech on “Air Power” (29 August 1941)
  • The three most important groups who have been pressing this country toward war are the British, the Jewish, and the Roosevelt Administration.Instead of agitating for war, Jews in this country should be opposing it in every way, for they will be the first to feel its consequences. Their greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government.
    • Speech in Des Moines, Iowa lobbying for American isolationism (11 September 1941)
  • Now, all that I feared would happen has happened. We are at war all over the world, and we are unprepared for it from either a spiritual or a material standpoint. Fortunately, in spite of all that has been said, the oceans are still difficult to cross; and we have the time to adjust and prepare... We can, of course, be raided; but unless we let ourselves go completely to pieces internally, we cannot be invaded successfully.
    But this is only one part of the picture. We are in a war which requires us to attack if we are to win it. We must attack in Asia and in Europe, in fact, all over the world. That means raising and equipping an army of many millions and building shipping, which we have not now got. And after that, if we are to carry through our present war aims, it probably means the bloodiest and most devastating war of all history.
    • Journal entry (11 December 1941); later published in The Wartime Journals (1970)
Here was a place where men and life and death had reached the lowest form of degradation. How could any reward in national progress even faintly justify the establishment and operation of such a place?
  • We talk about spreading democracy and freedom all over the world, but they are to us words rather than conditions. We haven't even got them here in America, and the farther we get into this war the farther we get away from democracy and freedom. Where is it leading us to, and when will it end? The war might stop this winter, but that is improbable. It may go on for fifty years or more. That also is improbable. The elements are too conflicting and confused to form any accurate judgment of its length. There may be a series of wars, one after another, going on indefinitely.
    Possibly the world will come to its senses sooner than I expect. But, as I have often said, the environment of human life has changed more rapidly and more extensively in recent years than it has ever changed before. When environment changes, there must be a corresponding change in life. That change must be so great that it is not likely to be completed in a decade or in a generation.
    • Journal entry (11 December 1941); later published in The Wartime Journals (1970)
  • Here was a place where men and life and death had reached the lowest form of degradation. How could any reward in national progress even faintly justify the establishment and operation of such a place?
It is not the willingness to kill on the part of our soldiers which most concerns me. That is an inherent part of war. It is our lack of respect for even the admirable characteristics of our enemy... We hold his examples of atrocity screamingly to the heavens while we cover up our own and condone them as just retribution for his acts.
  • The intense artillery fire has stripped the trees of leaves and branches so that the outline of the coral ridge itself can be seen silhouetted against the sky. Since I have been on Owi Island, at irregular intervals through the night and day, the sound of our artillery bombarding this Japanese stronghold has floated in across the water. This afternoon, I stood on the cliff outside our quarters (not daring to sit on the ground because of the danger of typhus) and watched the shells bursting on the ridge. For weeks that handful of Japanese soldiers, variously estimated at between 250 and 700 men, has been holding out against overwhelming odds and the heaviest bombardment our well-supplied guns can give them.
    If positions were reversed and our troops held out so courageously and well, their defense would be recorded as one of the most glorious examples of tenacity, bravery, and sacrifice in the history of our nation. But, sitting in the security and relative luxury of our quarters, I listen to American Army officers refer to these Japanese soldiers as "yellow sons of bitches." Their desire is to exterminate the Jap ruthlessly, even cruelly. I have not heard a word of respect or compassion spoken of our enemy since I came here.
    It is not the willingness to kill on the part of our soldiers which most concerns me. That is an inherent part of war. It is our lack of respect for even the admirable characteristics of our enemy — for courage, for suffering, for death, for his willingness to die for his beliefs, for his companies and squadrons which go forth, one after another, to annihilation against our superior training and equipment. What is courage for us is fanaticism for him. We hold his examples of atrocity screamingly to the heavens while we cover up our own and condone them as just retribution for his acts.
    • Journal entry (21 July 1944); later published in The Wartime Journals (1970)
I have seen the science I worshiped, and the aircraft I loved, destroying the civilization I expected them to serve.
  • What the German has done to the Jew in Europe, we are doing to the Jap in the Pacific.
    • Journal entry (21 July 1944)
  • It was a love of the air and sky and flying, the lure of adventure, the appreciation of beauty. It lay beyond the descriptive words of men — where immortality is touched through danger, where life meets death on equal plane; where man is more than man, and existence both supreme and valueless at the same time.
    • Thoughts on his first parachute jump in The Spirit of St Louis (1953)
In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia.
  • Life — a culmination of the past, an awareness of the present, an indication of a future beyond knowledge, the quality that gives a touch of divinity to matter.
    • "Is Civilization Progress?" in Reader's Digest (July 1964)
  • If I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes.
    • "Is Civilization Progress?" in Reader's Digest (July 1964)
  • I have seen the science I worshiped, and the aircraft I loved, destroying the civilization I expected them to serve.
    • Of Flight and Life (1948)
  • In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia.
    • "The Wisdom of Wilderness" LIFE magazine, (22 December 1967)
If I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes.
  • Our ideals, laws and customs should be based on the proposition that each generation, in turn, becomes the custodian rather than the absolute owner of our resources and each generation has the obligation to pass this inheritance on to the future.
    • New York Times Magazine (23 May 1971)
  • Man must feel the earth to know himself and recognize his values... God made life simple. It is man who complicates it.
    • As quoted in Reader's Digest (July 1972)
  • I realized that the future of aviation, to which I had devoted so much of my life, depended less on the perfection of aircraft than on preserving the epoch-evolved environment of life, and that this was true of all technological progress.
    • Forword to The Gentle Tasady : A Stone Age People in the Philippine Rain Forest (1975) by John Nance, a book on the Tasaday of Mindanao (7 April 1974)
  • I owned the world that hour as I rode over it... free of the earth, free of the mountains, free of the clouds, but how inseparably I was bound to them.
    • On flying over the Rocky Mountains, as quoted in Lindbergh (1978) by Leonard Mosley
  • Living in dreams of yesterday, we find ourselves still dreaming of impossible future conquest...
  • Real freedom lies in wildness, not in civilization.
    • As quoted in Lindbergh (1998) by A. Scott Berg, p. 510
  • Is he alone who has courage on his right hand and faith on his left hand?
    • As quoted in 1927 (2000) by Robert P. Fitton
  • What kind of man would live where there is no danger? I don't believe in taking foolish chances. But nothing can be accomplished by not taking a chance at all.
    • As quoted in Lindbergh: Flight's Enigmatic Hero (2002) by Von Hardesty
  • Life is like a landscape. You live in the midst of it but can describe it only from the vantage point of distance.
    • As quoted in Lindbergh: Flight's Enigmatic Hero (2002) by Von Hardesty

Aviation, Geography, and Race (1939)

Reader's Digest (November 1939), pp. 64-67
  • Aviation has struck a delicately balanced world, a world where stability was already giving way to the pressure of new dynamic forces, a world dominated by a mechanical, materialist, Western European civilization.
  • Aviation seems almost a gift from heaven to those Western nations who were already the leaders of their era, strengthening their leadership, their confidence, their dominance over other peoples. It is a tool specially shaped for Western hands, a scientific art which others only copy in a mediocre fashion; another barrier between the teeming millions of Asia and the Grecian inheritance of Europe — one of those priceless possessions which permit the White race to live at all in a pressing sea of Yellow, Black, and Brown.
  • A great industrial nation may conquer the world in the span of a single life, but its Achilles' heel is time. Its children, what of them? The second and third generations, of what numbers and stuff will they be? How long can men thrive between walls of brick, walking on asphalt pavements, breathing the fumes of coal and of oil, growing, working, dying, with hardly a thought of wind, and sky, and fields of grain, seeing only machine-made beauty, the mineral-like quality of life. This is our modern danger — one of the waxen wings of flight. It may cause our civilization to fall unless we act quickly to counteract it, unless we realize that human character is more important than efficiency, that education consists of more than the mere accumulation of knowledge.
  • Air power is new to all our countries. It brings advantages to some and weakens others; it calls for readjustment everywhere.
    If only there were some way to measure the changing character of men, some yardstick to reapportion influence among the nations, some way to demonstrate in peace the strength of arms in war. But with all of its dimensions, its clocks, and weights, and figures, science fails us when we ask a measure for the rights of men. They cannot be judged by numbers, by distance, weight, or time; or by counting heads without a thought of what may lie within. Those intangible qualities of character, such as courage, faith, and skill, evade all systems, slip through the bars of every cage. They can be recognized, but not measured.
  • The forces of Hannibal, Drake and Napoleon moved at best with the horses' gallop or the speed of wind on sail. Now, aviation brings a new concept of time and distance to the affairs of men. It demands adaptability to change, places a premium on quickness of thought and speed of action.
    Military strength has become more dynamic and less tangible. A new alignment of power has taken place, and there is no adequate peacetime measure for its effect on the influence of nations. There seems no way to agree on the rights it brings to some and takes from others.
  • Our civilization depends on peace among Western nations, and therefore on united strength, for Peace is a virgin who dare not show her face without Strength, her father, for protection. We can have peace and security only so long as we band together to preserve that most priceless possession, our inheritance of European blood, only so long as we guard ourselves against attack by foreign armies and dilution by foreign races.
    We need peace to let our best men live to work out those more subtle, but equally dangerous, problems brought by this new environment in which we dwell, to give us time to turn this materialistic trend, to stop prostrating ourselves before this modern idol of mechanical efficiency, to find means of combining freedom, spirit, and beauty with industrial life — a peace which will bring character, strength, and security back to Western peoples.

Quotes about Lindbergh

A friend of the first man to fly an airplane, Lindbergh lived long enough in a fast-moving world to befriend the first man to walk on the moon. ~ A.Scott Berg
  • Lindbergh's arrival in Paris became the defining moment of his life, that event on which all his future actions hinged — as though they were but a predestined series of equal but opposite reactions, fraught with irony... In the spring of 1927, Lindbergh had been too consumed by what he called "the single objective of landing my plane at Paris" to have considered its aftermath. "To plan beyond that had seemed an act of arrogance I could not afford," he would later write. Even if he had thought farther ahead, however, he could never have predicted the unprecedented global response to his arrival.
    By that year, radio, telephones, radiographs, and the Bartlane Cable Process could transmit images and voices around the world within seconds. What was more, motion pictures had just mastered the synchronization of sound, allowing dramatic moments to be preserved in all their glory and distributed worldwide. For the first time all of civilization could share as one the sights and sounds of an event — almost instantaneously and simultaneously. And in this unusually good-looking, young aviator — of apparently impeccable character — the new technology found its first superstar.
    The reception in Paris was only a harbinger of the unprecedented worship people would pay Lindbergh for years. Without either belittling or aggrandizing the importance of his flight, he considered it part of the continuum of human endeavor, and that he was, after all, only a man. The public saw more than that... Universally admired, Charles Lindbergh became the most celebrated living person ever to walk the earth.
  • As the first American airman to exhibit "the right stuff," Lindbergh inspired his country's first astronauts by sheer example. But more than that, he was — unknown to the public — the man most responsible for securing the funding that underwrote the research of Dr. Robert H. Goddard, the inventor of the modern rocket. A friend of the first man to fly an airplane, Lindbergh lived long enough in a fast-moving world to befriend the first man to walk on the moon.
    • A. Scott Berg in Lindbergh (1998)
  • Lindbergh believed all the elements of the earth and heavens are connected, through space and time. The configurations of molecules in each moment help create the next. Thus he considered his defining moment just another step in the development of aviation and exploration — a summit built on all those that preceded it and a springboard to all those that would follow. Only by looking back, Lindbergh believed, could mankind move forward. "In some future incarnation from our life stream," he wrote in later years, "we may understand the reason for our existence in forms of earthly life."
    • A. Scott Berg in Lindbergh (1998)
  • Charles is life itself — pure life, force, like sunlight — and it is for this that I married him and this that holds me to him — caring always, caring desperately what happens to him and whatever he happens to be involved in.
  • Charles was a stubborn Swede, you know, and he himself never felt the need to explain his feelings about where he stood and about past statements. But I feel free now to elaborate on his actual attitudes. He never wanted to be regarded as a hero or leader, and he never had political ambitions. His prewar isolationist speeches were given in all sincerity for what he thought was the good of the country and the world. ... He was accused of being anti-Semetic, but in the 45 years I lived with him I never heard him make a remark against the Jews, not a crack or joke, and neither did any of our children.
  • The people of England are about finished with him. Americans are beginning to feel the same way, and the halo of hero worship around Lindbergh's head is getting pretty well tarnished.
    • New Jersey Attorney General David P. Wilentz (December 1936)

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Simple English

[[File:|thumb|Charles Lindbergh]]

Charles Augustus Lindbergh (February 4, 1902August 26, 1974), known as "Lucky Lindy" and "The Lone Eagle", was a pioneering United States airplane pilot famous for making the first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927.

Early life

Lindbergh was born in Detroit, Michigan. His parents were Swedish immigrants. He grew up in Little Falls, Minnesota. His father, Charles August Lindbergh, was a lawyer and later a U.S. congressman who was against the United States entering into World War I; his mother was a teacher. While he was young, he was interested in machines. In 1922 he joined a pilot training program with Nebraska Aircraft, bought his own airplane, and became a stunt pilot. In 1924, he started training as a pilot with the United States Army Air Corps.

After finishing first in his class, Lindbergh took his first job as pilot of an airmail route in St. Louis. He flew the mail in an airplane.

In April 1923, while visiting friends in Lake Village, Arkansas, Lindbergh made his first ever flight over Lake Village and Lake Chicot.

First solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean

File:Spirit of St. Louis
The Spirit of St. Louis on display at the Smithsonian.

Lindbergh gained fame around the world as the first pilot to fly solo (alone) and non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean. He flew from Roosevelt Airfield (Nassau County, Long Island), New York, USA to Paris, France on May 20-May 21, 1927 in his single-engine airplane The Spirit of St. Louis. He needed 33.5 hours for the trip. When he arrived back in the United States, many warships and aircraft escorted him to Washington, D.C. where President Calvin Coolidge gave him the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Lindbergh's act won him the Orteig Prize, which was 25,000 US dollars. A parade was held for him on 5th Avenue in New York City on June 13, 1927.[1] At the end of the year, he was named Time's first Man of the Year. His public respect following this flight was such that he became an important voice on behalf of aviation activities until his death. He served on a variety of national and international boards and committees, including the central committee of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in the United States. On March 21, 1929 he was presented the Medal of Honor for his historic trans-Atlantic flight.

Lindbergh is honored in aviation for mapping out polar air-routes, flying at high altitudes, and decreasing fuel use. These things are the basis of modern air travel.

Later life

Lindbergh married Anne Morrow in 1929. In 1932 he made headlines again, when his baby son, Charles Lindbergh III, was kidnapped and murdered. Bruno Hauptmann was convicted of the crime and later put to death in the electric chair. The Lindberghs later moved to Europe. He died on August 26, 1974.

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