- Lindbergh, Charles Augustus
- (1902-1974)Charles A. Lindbergh became a national hero after making the first singlehanded, nonstop transatlantic flight from New York to Paris in his airplane, The Spirit of St Louis, on 20 May 1927. He had previously flown in the Army Air Service and as an airmail pilot between Chicago and St. Louis. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his flight, and Time magazine made him its first “Man of the Year.” He subsequently worked to promote aviation and was employed by various airline companies. Lindbergh was in the headlines again in 1932 when his 20-month-old son was abducted and found dead two months later. A German-born carpenter, Bruno Hauptmann, was tried and executed for the murder in April 1936.The Lindbergh’s left the United States in 1935 to live first in England and then France. Lindbergh visited Germany in 1936, 1937, and 1938 on behalf of the U.S. Army to inspect the air forces in that country, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. He became convinced that Germany had a superior air force and that any war could destroy Western civilization. He had a number of meetings with the German air minister, Hermann Goering, and in 1938 was awarded the Service Cross of the German Eagle at a state dinner. He returned to the United States in 1939 and became a leading noninterventionist and a member of the America First Committee. He was highly criticized for comments that appeared anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi, particularly in a speech in September 1941 accusing the Jews of controlling the media.Upon U.S. entry into World War II in 1941, Lindbergh tested aircraft as a civilian. Nonetheless he flew combat missions in the Pacific in 1944. After the war, he continued to work for the U.S. air force and the Defense Department, and in 1954 President Dwight D. Eisenhower promoted him to brigadier general. His autobiography, The Spirit of St. Louis (1953), was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1954.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.