Charles Lindbergh, photo by Harris & Ewing
|Born||)February 4, 1902
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
|Died||August 26, 1974) (aged 72)
Kipahulu, Maui, Hawaii, U.S.
|Cause of death||Lymphoma|
|Resting place||Palapala Ho'omau Church Cemetery|
|Education||Sidwell Friends School
Redondo Union High School
Little Falls High School
University of Wisconsin-Madison (left in second year)
|Alma mater||Little Falls High School (1918)|
|Spouse(s)||Anne Morrow Lindbergh (m. 1929)|
|Children||With Anne Morrow Lindbergh:
Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr.
Land Morrow Lindbergh
Anne Spencer Lindbergh (Perrin)
Reeve Lindbergh (Brown)
With Brigitte Hesshaimer:
Astrid Hesshaimer Bouteuil
With Marietta Hesshaimer:
With Valeska (surname unknown):
a son (name unknown)
a daughter (name unknown)
|Parents||Charles August Lindbergh
Evangeline Lodge Land Lindbergh
|Charles Augustus Lindbergh|
The Lone Eagle
|Born||)February 4, 1902
Detroit, Michigan, United States
|Died||August 26, 1974) (aged 72)
Kipahulu, Maui, Hawaii
|Place of burial||Kipahulu, Maui, Hawaii|
|Service/branch||United States Army Air Service Reserve
United States Army Air Corps Reserve
United States Air Force Reserve
|Years of service||1925-26 (USAASR)
|Awards||Medal of Honor
Congressional Gold Medal
Legion of Honour (France)
Air Force Cross (UK)
Distinguished Flying Cross (US)
Charles Augustus Lindbergh (February 4, 1902 – August 26, 1974), nicknamed Slim, Lucky Lindy, and The Lone Eagle, was an American aviator, author, inventor, explorer, and social activist.
As a 25-year-old U.S. Air Mail pilot, Lindbergh emerged suddenly from virtual obscurity to instantaneous world fame as the result of his Orteig Prize-winning solo non-stop flight on May 20–21, 1927, made from Roosevelt Field[N 1] 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 (5,800 km), in the single-seat, single-engine purpose-built Ryan monoplane Spirit of St. Louis. Lindbergh, a U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve officer, was also awarded the nation's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his historic exploit.
In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Lindbergh used his fame to promote the development of both commercial aviation and Air Mail services in the United States and the Americas. In March 1932, however, his infant son, Charles, Jr., was kidnapped and murdered in what was soon dubbed the "Crime of the Century". It was described by journalist H.L. Mencken, as "... the biggest story since the resurrection." The kidnapping eventually led to the Lindbergh family being "driven into voluntary exile" in Europe to which they sailed in secrecy from New York under assumed names in late December 1935 to "seek a safe, secluded residence away from the tremendous public hysteria" in America. The Lindberghs did not return to the United States until April 1939.
Before the United States formally entered World War II, Lindbergh had been an outspoken advocate of keeping the U.S. out of the world conflict, as had his father, Congressman Charles August Lindbergh, during World War I. Although Lindbergh was a leader in the anti-war America First movement, he nevertheless strongly 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 Franklin D. Roosevelt had refused to reinstate his Army Air Corps colonel's commission that he had resigned in April 1941.
In his later years, Lindbergh became a prolific prize-winning author, international explorer, inventor, and environmentalist.
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 third child of Swedish immigrant Charles August Lindbergh (birth name Carl Månsson) (1859–1924), and only child of his second wife, Evangeline Lodge Land Lindbergh (1876–1954), of Detroit. The Lindberghs separated in 1909. Lindbergh, Sr. was a U.S. Congressman (R-Minnesota (6th)) from 1907 to 1917 who gained notoriety when he opposed the entry of the U.S. into World War I. Mrs. Lindbergh was a chemistry teacher at Cass Technical High School in Detroit and later at Little Falls High School, from which Charles graduated on June 5, 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 a year or two) including the Force School and Sidwell Friends School while living in Washington, D.C. with his father, and Redondo Union High School in Redondo Beach, California while living there with his mother. Lindbergh enrolled in the College of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in the Fall of 1920, but dropped out in the middle of his sophomore year and headed for Lincoln, Nebraska, in March 1922 to begin flight training.
Early aviation career
From an early age Charles Lindbergh had exhibited an interest in the mechanics of motorized transportation including his family's Saxon Six automobile, and later his Excelsior motorbike. By the time he started college as a mechanical engineering student, he had also become fascinated with flying even though he "had never been close enough to a plane to touch it." After quitting college in February 1922, Lindbergh enrolled as a student at the Nebraska Aircraft Corporation's flying school two months later and flew for the first time in his life on April 9, 1922, when he took to the air as a passenger in a two-seat Lincoln Standard "Tourabout" biplane trainer piloted by Otto Timm.
A few days later Lindbergh took his first formal flying lesson in that same machine with instructor-pilot Ira O. Biffle although the then 20-year-old student pilot would not 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 insisted upon in the event the novice flyer were to damage the school's only trainer in the process. In order to both gain some needed flight 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). When winter came, however, Lindbergh returned to his father's home in Minnesota and did not fly again for over six months.
Lindbergh's first solo flight did not come until May 1923 at Souther Field in Americus, Georgia, a former Army flight training field where he had come to buy a World War I surplus Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny" biplane. Even though Lindbergh had not flown in more than six months, he had already secretly decided that he was ready to take to the air by himself. 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 solo for the first time in the Jenny that he had just purchased for $500. 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. 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.
Lindbergh damaged his "Jenny" on several occasions over the summer, often breaking the prop on landing (which happened on May 18, 1923 outside Maben, Mississippi). 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. The accident grounded him for a week until he could repair his plane. In October, Lindbergh flew his Jenny to Iowa where he sold it to a flying student. (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). 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 Curtiss JN-4C "Canuck" (the Canadian version of the Jenny). Lindbergh also "cracked up" this aircraft once when his engine failed shortly after take off in Pensacola, Florida, but again he managed to repair the damage himself.
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. Late in his training Lindbergh experienced his most serious flying accident on March 5, 1925, eight days before graduation. He was involved in a midair collision with another Army S.E.5 while practicing aerial combat maneuvers and was forced to bail out. 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.
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.
With the Army not then in need of additional active duty pilots, however, following graduation 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. He was soon promoted to 1st Lieutenant.
Air Mail pilot and pioneer
Robertson Aircraft Corporation and CAM-2
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. 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. It would not take long for him to be presented with the circumstances to prove how seriously he took this obligation.
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 (97 km) southwest of Chicago near the town of Wedron, while six weeks later, on November 3, 1926, Lindbergh bailed out again about 70 miles (110 km) further south hitting the ground in another farm field located just west of the city of Bloomington near the town of Covell. 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 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.
Air Mail advocate
Although Lindbergh never returned to service as a regular U.S. Air Mail pilot, he used the immense fame that his exploits had brought him to help promote the use of the U.S. 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 (later Pan Am's chief pilot as well) 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.
Those cities were the last three stops that he and the Spirit made during their 7,800-mile (12,600 km) "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. 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 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
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 Charles Lindbergh, a 25-year-old relative latecomer to the race, who, in relation to the others, was virtually anonymous to the public as an aviation figure, who 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). Contact was lost with them after crossing the coast of Ireland and they were never seen nor 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 single-pilot flight of a heavier-than-air aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean 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 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 due to poor 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.
During the build up to his pursuit of the Orteig Prize and in preparation for his flight to Paris, Lindbergh found time to become a Freemason, the group to which he would remain a lifelong active member in various lodge bodies.
Lindbergh's flight to Paris
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 Friday, 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 B.F. Mahoney's Ryan Aircraft Company of San Diego, California. 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,[N 2] 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 U.S. Air Mail for RAC.
Burdened by its heavy load of 450 U.S. gallons (1,704 liters) of gasoline weighing approximately 2,710 lbs (1,230 kg), 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 (07:52) 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 [six meters] with a fair reserve of flying speed". 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 (whenever visible), and "dead reckoning" before landing at Le Bourget Airport at 10:22 PM (22:22) on Saturday, May 21. 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. From that moment on, however, life would never again be the same for the previously little known former U.S. Air Mail pilot who, by his successful flight, had just achieved virtually instantaneous—and lifelong—world fame.
The records set by Lindbergh's flight were officially certified by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) (the World Air Sports Federation). On 31 August 1927, the flight was "certified as the Class-C World Record for non-stop flight" for the distance of 5,809 kilometres (3,137 nautical miles; 3,610 miles).
Other contemporary transatlantic flights
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 world's first non-stop transatlantic flight (albeit over a route far shorter than Lindbergh's, 1,890 miles (3,040 km) vs. 3,600 statute miles (5,800 km)) was achieved 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. Both men were knighted at Buckingham Palace by King George V, in recognition of their pioneering achievement.
The lighter-than-air 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.
Aftermath of the flight
The French Foreign Office flew the American flag, the first time it had saluted someone not a head of state. 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.
On the 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. The following night the City of New York further honored Capt. Lindbergh with a grand banquet at the Hotel Commodore attended by some 3,700 people.
After the flight, Lindbergh became an important voice on behalf of aviation activities, including the central committee of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), an appointment made by President Herbert Hoover. 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 (2,080 km) in parades. 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. tripled, 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. Lindbergh later charted both polar and South American air routes, developed techniques for high altitude flying, and during World War II demonstrated how to increase flying range by developing techniques of refining flight attitudes and leaning fuel mixture to decrease the rate of gasoline consumption and improving efficiency.
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."
Marriage and children
Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906–2001) was the daughter of Dwight Morrow who, as partner at J.P. Morgan & Co., had acted as financial adviser to Lindbergh and who had been appointed U.S. Ambassador to Mexico in 1927. Lindbergh was invited by Morrow on a goodwill tour to Mexico, and he met Anne in Mexico City in December 1927. According to a Biography Channel profile on Lindbergh, she was the only woman who he had ever asked out on a date. In Lindbergh's autobiography, he derides womanizing pilots he met as "barnstormers," and Army cadets 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. Lindbergh said his "experience in breeding animals on our farm had taught me the importance of good heredity."
The couple were 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"
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.[N 3] 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"). 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 the serial numbers of which had been recorded, in exchange for information about the child's whereabouts which proved to be false. The child's remains were found by chance by a passing truckdriver six weeks later on May 12 in roadside woodlands near Mount Rose, NJ.
In response to the highly publicized crime, the Congress passed the so-called "Lindbergh Law" on June 13 which made kidnapping a federal offense under certain circumstances. Known formally as the "Federal Kidnapping Act of 1932" (18 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(1)), the new statute provided for federal jurisdiction over all future kidnappings in which any victim(s) were taken across state lines and/or (as had occurred in the Lindbergh case) the kidnapper(s) used "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.
The assiduous tracing of the serial numbers of $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. (Hauptmann was identified by the license plate number of his automobile which a gas station attendant had written on the bill after receiving it from him in payment for services.) 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 11 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. Although he continued to adamantly maintain his innocence, all of Hauptmann's appeals and petitions for clemency were rejected by early December 1935. 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, but by then 36-year-old Hauptmann refused and was electrocuted at Trenton State Prison on April 3, 1936.
Self exile in Europe (1936–1939)
An intensely private man when it came to his family life, Lindbergh became exasperated by the unrelenting press and public attention focused on them in the wake of the kidnapping and Hauptmann trial. Particularly concerned for the physical safety of their then three-year-old second son, Jon, by late 1935 the Lindberghs secretly came to the decision to voluntarily exile themselves in Europe. Consequently in the pre-dawn hours of Sunday, December 22, 1935, the family "sailed furtively" from Pier 60 (West 20th St, Manhattan) for Liverpool, England, as the only three passengers on board the United States Lines freighter SS American Importer. To help maintain the strict secrecy, Lindbergh insisted upon for their departure, the family traveled under assumed names and using diplomatic passports which had been issued just a week earlier through the personal intervention of Treasury Secretary Ogden Mills.
News of the Lindberghs' "flight to Europe" did not break until a full day later in an exclusive front-page story by New York Times aviation editor Lauren "Deac" Lyman, a longtime family friend, supporter, and confidant, published in the paper's final Monday morning edition although Lyman intentionally withheld the identity of the ship as well as its time and port of departure from that initial account. While Lyman included the information in his follow-up story published the next day, radiograms sent to Lindbergh on the American Importer were nevertheless all returned with the notation "Addressee not aboard."
Although Lindbergh had "offered no public explanation" for the family's unannounced departure, shortly before they sailed he had told Lyman in a private interview: "We Americans are a primitive people. We do not have discipline. Our moral standards are low. It shows up in the private lives of people we know — their drinking and 'behavior with women.' It shows in the newspapers, the morbid curiosity over crimes and murder trials. Americans seem to have little respect for law, or the rights of others." For those reasons, Lindbergh told Lyman, he had decided to take his family to England to "seek a safe, secluded residence away from the tremendous public hysteria" that surrounded him in America. The Lindberghs arrived in Liverpool on December 31, 1935 where they secluded themselves before later departing for South Wales to stay with relatives.
The family eventually 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." 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." In 1938, the family moved to Île Illiec, a small four-acre island Lindbergh purchased off the Breton coast of France.
Although Charles and Anne Lindbergh had made a brief unannounced holiday visit to the US in December, 1937, the family (including a second son, Land, born in London in May, 1937) would continue to live and travel extensively in Europe for more than three years before finally returning to reside again in the United States in April, 1939, settling in a rented seaside estate at Lloyd Neck, Long Island, NY. The timing of the family's return came primarily as the result of a personal request by General H. H. ("Hap") Arnold, the Chief of the United States Army Air Corps in which Lindbergh was a Colonel in the Reserves, for him to accept a temporary call up to active duty in order to help evaluate that service's readiness for a potential war. Lindbergh's brief four-month tour was also his first period of active military service since he had graduated from the Army's Flight School 14 years earlier in 1925.
In 1929, Lindbergh became interested in the work of rocket pioneer Robert H. Goddard. 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.
In 1930, Lindbergh's sister-in-law developed a fatal heart condition. Lindbergh began to wonder why hearts could not be repaired with surgery. Starting in early 1931 at the Rockefeller Institute and continuing during his time 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. 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 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.
Lindbergh toured German aviation facilities, where the commander of the Luftwaffe, SA-Gruppenführer Hermann Göring convinced Lindbergh the Luftwaffe was far more powerful than it was. With the approval of Göring 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 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."
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 Baeumker 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, an anti-Jewish pogrom that broke out in Germany a few weeks later. 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. 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.
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 over-reliance 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."
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." 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
In late 1940, he became spokesman of the antiwar America First Committee. 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. In his autobiography he wrote:
|“||I was deeply concerned 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.||”|
In his January 23, 1941, testimony in opposition to the Lend-Lease Bill before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Lindbergh proposed that the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Germany. President Roosevelt publicly criticized Lindbergh's views on neutrality three months later during a White House press conference on April 25, 1941, as being those of a "defeatist and appeaser" and compared him to U.S. Rep. Clement L. Vallandigham (D-OH), the leader of the "Copperhead" movement that had opposed the American Civil War. Three days later Lindbergh resigned his commission as a Colonel in the U.S. Army Air Corps in an April 28 letter to the President in which he said that he could find "no honorable alternative" to his taking such an action after Roosevelt had publicly questioned his loyalty.
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.||”|
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". However, he went on to condemn Nazi 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.||”|
The speech was heavily criticized as being anti-Semitic. In response Lindbergh stated again he was not anti-Semitic, but he did not back away from his statements.
Lindbergh's wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh had concerns about the reaction to the speech and how it would affect his reputation, wrongfully in her view. From her diary:
|“||... I have the greatest faith in [Lindbergh] as a person — in his integrity, his courage, and his essential goodness, fairness, and kindness — his nobility really ... How then explain my profound feeling of grief about what he is doing? If what he said is the truth (and I am inclined to think it is), why was it wrong to state it? He was naming the groups that were pro-war. No one minds his naming the British or the Administration. But to name "Jew" is un-American — even if it is done without hate or even criticism. Why?||”|
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 American flag); the photos were taken from an angle not showing the flag, so to observers it was indistinguishable from the Hitler salute.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt disliked Lindbergh's outspoken opposition to intervention and his administration'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." FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, on his own authority, began to investigate Lindbergh's personal life. Hoover had his agents look for anything that might discredit Lindbergh's reputation, 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, Roosevelt all the same did not complain about Hoover's efforts.
Thoughts on race and racism
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.
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?" Lindbergh had planned to move to Berlin for the winter of 1938–39, just after Kristallnacht, a time when many Americans reacted with revulsion at the barbarism. He had provisionally found a house in Wannsee, but after Nazi friends discouraged him from leasing it because it had been formerly owned by Jews, it was recommended that he contact Albert Speer who said he would build the Lindberghs a house anywhere they wanted. On the advice of his close friend the eugenicist Alexis Carrel, he cancelled the trip.
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."
Although Lindbergh considered Hitler a fanatic and avowed a belief in American democracy, 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. Critics have noticed an apparent influence of German philosopher Oswald Spengler on Lindbergh. 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 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."
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 that 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.
Lindbergh said certain races have "demonstrated superior ability in the design, manufacture, and operation of machines." He further said, "The growth of our western civilization has been closely related to this superiority." 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 that "in America they can be blended to form the greatest genius of all." 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.
Holocaust researcher and investigative journalist Max Wallace in his book, The American Axis, agreed with Franklin Roosevelt's assessment that Lindbergh was "pro-Nazi." 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 on 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 nations ... in 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 he despised Joseph Stalin's regime, which, at the time, he believed was far worse than Hitler's.
Berg writes that Lindbergh believed in a voluntary rather than compulsory eugenics program. Wallace noted that it was difficult to find social scientists among Lindbergh's contemporaries in the 1930s who found validity in racial explanations for human behavior. Wallace went on to observe that "throughout his life, eugenics would remain one of Lindbergh's enduring passions." In Pat Buchanan's book 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 the attack on Pearl Harbor. Buchanan suggests the backlash against Lindbergh highlights "the explosiveness of mixing ethnic politics with foreign policy."
Lindbergh always preached military strength and alertness. He believed that a strong defensive war machine 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.
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."
World War II
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 Consolidated 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 Theater of Operations to study aircraft performances under combat conditions. He showed Marine Vought 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. He was also flying with VMF-216 (first squadron there) during this period from the Marine Air Base at Torokina, Bougainville Australian Solomon Islands. Several Marine squadrons were flying bomber escorts to destroy the Japanese stronghold of Rabaul. 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."
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 Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighters impressed a supportive Gen. Douglas MacArthur. Lindbergh introduced engine-leaning techniques to P-38 pilots, greatly improving fuel consumption 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.
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.
After World War II, he lived in Darien, Connecticut and served as a consultant to the Chief of Staff of the United States 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. Air Force 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 (the first manned spaceflight to travel to the Moon) the day before their launch. On July 16, 1969, Lindbergh and T. Claude Ryan (previous owner of the Ryan Flying Company that built the Spirit of St. Louis aircraft) were present at Cape Canaveral to watch the launch of Apollo 11. Lindbergh later wrote the foreword for Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins's autobiography, Carrying the Fire.
Children from other relationships
From 1957 until his death in 1974, Lindbergh had a relationship with German hat maker Brigitte Hesshaimer (1926–2003) 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. The two managed to keep the love 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." Brigitte Hesshaimer's daughter 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 (born 1924), who bore him two more sons. Lindbergh had a house of his own design built for Marietta in a vineyard in Grimisuat in the Swiss canton Valais.
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 by 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.
From the 1960s on, Lindbergh campaigned to protect endangered species like humpback and blue whales, was instrumental in establishing protections for the controversial 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.
Lindbergh spent his final years on the Hawaiian island of Maui, where he died of lymphoma 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
Terminal 1-Lindbergh 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 of the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis. The definitive oil painting of Charles Lindbergh by St. Louisan Richard Krause entitled "The Spirit Soars" has been displayed there. 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.
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, the students are known as the Flyers, and the school's marching band holds the title of the Spirit of St. Louis Marching Band. 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 Boulevard. Lindbergh also has a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.
In the 1970s, Charles A. Lindbergh Senior High School, in the Hopkins School District 270, located in a southwestern suburb of Minneapolis, was named for the Minnesota native and famed aviator. In 1980, Hopkins closed an older high school and renamed Lindbergh High as Hopkins Senior High School. The Lindbergh Center is located on the Hopkins High School campus.
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. The original Lindbergh residence is maintained as a museum, the Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site, and is listed as a National Historic Landmark.
On May 2, 2002, Lindbergh's grandson, Erik Lindbergh, celebrated the 75th anniversary of the pioneering 1927 flight of the Spirit of Ft. Louis by duplicating the journey in a single engine, two seat Lancair Columbia 200. The younger Lindbergh's solo flight from Republic Airport on Long Island, to Le Bourget Airport in Paris was completed in 17 hours and 7 minutes, or just a little more than half the time of his grandfather's 33.5 hour original flight.
After his transatlantic flight, Lindbergh wrote a letter to the director of Longines, describing in detail a watch that 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, given to major contributors to "development of perfusion and bioreactor technologies for organ preservation and growth". M. E. DeBakey and nine other scientists received the prize, a bronze statuette expressly created for the event by the Italian artist C. Zoli and named "Elisabeth
 after Elisabeth Morrow, sister of Lindbergh's wife Anne Morrow, died as a result of heart disease. Lindbergh, in fact, was disappointed that contemporary medical technology could not provide an artificial heart pump that 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 in St. Louis, Missouri.
United States awards
- Medal of Honor (1927)
- Langley Gold Medal from the Smithsonian Institution (1927)
- Distinguished Flying Cross (1927)
- Congressional Gold Medal (1928)
- Hubbard Medal (1927)
- Honorary Scout (USA, 1927)
- Silver Buffalo Award (USA)
- Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy (1949)
- Daniel Guggenheim Medal (1953)
- Pulitzer Prize (1954)
- Knight of the Legion of Honor (France, 1927)
- Knight of the Order of Leopold (Belgium, 1927)
- Royal Air Force Cross (UK) (1927)
- Service Cross of the German Eagle (Verdienstorden vom Deutschen Adler') (Germany Deutsches Reich, 1938)
- Official Royal Air Force Museum Medal (UK)
- Fédération Aéronautique Internationale FAI Gold Medal (1927)
- ICAO Edward Warner Award
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.[N 5]
- 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.
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.
- 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).
- The dance craze the "Lindy Hop" became popular after his flight, and was named after him.
- In 1929, Bertolt Brecht wrote a musical called Der Lindberghflug (The Lindbergh 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 (America First)" (video here) 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."
- Mickey Mouse imitates Charles Lindbergh in the 1928 short Plane Crazy in which the latter was previewed.
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[N 6] 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 The 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.) 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." In 1953 Lindbergh published The Spirit of St. Louis, a second, far more detailed account of the project which the following year garnered 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.
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.
Film and Television
Verdensberømtheder i København (1939) was a Danish short subject produced by the Dansk Film Co. 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" similar to one presented to Lindbergh by the manufacturer, the Mahoney Aircraft Corporation, shortly after the Spirit was retired in April 1928. 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, 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 those he deemed as 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 by veteran American actor and fellow Army aviator James Stewart. [N 7][N 8]
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.
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.
- Amelia Earhart
- Clyde Pangborn
- Douglas Corrigan
- First aerial crossing of the South Atlantic
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- List of people on stamps of Ireland
- List of Notable Freemasons
- List of peace activists
- List of Medal of Honor recipients during peacetime
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- Originally named the Hempstead Plains Aerodrome, the field was renamed Roosevelt Airfield in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt's son, Quentin, who was killed in air combat during World War I.
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- 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.
- In a stream of consciousness manner, Lindbergh detailed his visit immediately after World War II to a Nazi concentration camp, and his reactions. In the Japanese edition, there are no entries about Nazi camps. Instead, there is an entry recorded in his diary, that he often witnessed atrocities against Japanese POWs by Australians and Americans.
- In 1927 the Medal of Honor could still be awarded for extraordinarily heroic non-combat actions by active or reserve service members made during peacetime with virtually all such medals being awarded to active duty members of the United States Navy for rescuing or attempting to rescue persons from drowning. In addition to Lindbergh, Floyd Bennett and Richard Evelyn Byrd of the Navy, were also presented with the medal for their accomplishments as explorers for their participation in the first successful heavier-than-air flight to the North Pole and back.
- 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.
- James Stewart was 47 years of age when the film was made, almost twice as old as the then 25-year-old Lindbergh character he played.
- Both Lindbergh and Stewart retired from the U.S. Air Force Reserve at the grade of Brigadier General.
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- PBS companion site to The American Experience program on Charles Lindbergh
- Lindbergh's Public Statements Were More Troubling Than His Private Affairs
- The American Axis: Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh and the Rise of the Third Reich
- PBS Article: Charles Lindbergh in the 1940s
- America First: the Anti-War Movement, Charles Lindbergh and the Second World War, 1940–1941 presentation to The New York Military Affairs Symposium in 2003
- Chesler, Ellen. Better Above than Below. The New York Times, March 7, 1993
- Charles Lindbergh: September 11, 1941 speech at Des Moines, Iowa, transcript via PBS
- Lindbergh's Deranged Quest for Immortality
- Lindbergh's United States Air Service appointment certificate as 2nd Lt with rating as "Airplane Pilot", dtd March 14, 1925, and U.S. Department of Commerce civil airman's license as a "Transport Pilot".
- Booknotes interview with A. Scott Berg on Lindbergh, December 20, 1998.
- Photographs of Charles Lindbergh's Visit to Monterey, March 11, 1930 at The Bancroft Library