Q: Who was Charles Lindbergh?|
AF: Charles Lindbergh was a genius, in my judgement, of a
mechanic who found himself in an airplane instead of an automobile and mastered
it--fell in love with flying. And that kind of persistent, obstinate nature
that would deny failure, made him the hero. It got him across the Atlantic
Ocean in the "Spirit of St. Louis" and made him a great hero in America in the
twenties. I don't think, intellectually, he measured up to his position in the
Q: Why didn't he measure up? What was lacking in his character that
AF: Oh, I don't know, it was lack of character. I think it was a
lack of formal education. He was not a tutored person. I don't recall that he
went to college, for example, not that college makes the difference between an
educated and tutored person. But I think he was a mechanically minded.
Q: But where did that lead him astray, do you think?
AF: I think it gave him an oversimplified understanding of the
forces at play across the earth when Hitler came along, and when Soviet
communism was going to go face to face with it. He saw things in black and
white terms. I don't think he ever understood the evil of Nazism, or the evil
of Fascism, or the evil of that kind of Stalin communism.
Seeing things in black and white, being a simple guy intellectually, he
misunderstood the forces at play, and found himself on the wrong side.
Q: Where did that vision come from?
AF: I think Lindbergh was snowed by the Nazis. They knew
about his record. They felt a certain sympathy for their cause. They invited
him to Germany. That was in 1938. And that's where they did the snow job on
him, if I may use that cliche. They showed him a glamorous Nazi air force.
They showed him an undefeatable power. They showed him a military force that
had to conquer the world. And I think he was awed by it. And the political
implications skipped him.
When he returned home, he was convinced that Nazism and Germany were the
waves of the future. And he never let go, in my judgment, of that conviction.
As a matter of face, when Germany lost the war, he must have been the most
surprised, shocked man in America. And from the beginning of his political
life, if I may say it that way, until the day he died, he was convinced that
the only reason Germany lost was because the world overwhelmed, by propaganda,
the nations that joined in the effort to destroy Nazi Germany.
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