Arnold Foster on: Lindbergh's Attraction to Nazi Germany
Q: What appealed to him about Nazi Germany?
AF: I thought he thought its strength, its military strength,
its single mindedness, its insistence on the destruction ultimately of Soviet
communism and all sloppy forms of civilized society. And that fit the
mentality of a single-minded individual, the thing that made him the successful
flyer across the ocean solo for the first time.
Q: What did the Nazis do to him, in Europe?
AF: The Nazis gave him the kind of respect and appreciation
that he was not getting in the United States. Here he was being condemned and
criticized as soft on anti-democratic ways of life. There, he was treated as a
veritable hero, which he had been here in this country, and was treated as a
hero till the day he died, even though his reputation had suffered major
deterioration because of his pro-Nazi position.
I think he understood them. And I think he agreed with them. And I think
the statements that he made on the other side of the pro-Nazi position were
uttered simply to give him an appearance of balance and a protective color
against the charge that he was a Nazi and anti-democratic. I simply never
believed, when all the record was in, that there was any point at which he
sincerely believed in democracy.
As I recall it, my memory may be playing tricks on me, a reporter once
asked him whether he had anything good to say about democracy. And his answer
was, revealingly, I have to think about it. Well, I don't have to think about
the values of democracy. Vis a vis Nazis or Communism or any of the
Q: Why do you think he said that?
AF: That's how sincere he was in his wrong headedness. He
believed that Nazism was the wave of the future. He believed it was right. He
believed that democracy was a careless political instrument. The order that
came out of Fascism and Nazism was not present. In democracy, we have a kind
of rebellious right to disagree. We are constitutionally protected in our
right to disagree, and to say that the majority is wrong.
You couldn't do that in Germany. You couldn't do that with Lindbergh. He
wouldn't accept that he could be wrong. So that he fit the pattern of those
who followed Nazism in Germany.