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Arnold Foster on:
Lindbergh's Attraction to Nazi Germany

Arnold Foster 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 totalitarian concepts.

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.

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