Sept., 1941 – Lucky Lindbergh – America’s hero falls from favor

Cal Alley, K.C. Journal

Charles “Lucky” Lindbergh, thrilled the world in 1927 with his transatlantic flight from New York to Paris.  He was a national hero and the recipient of many awards including the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Cal Alley, K.C. Journal

In the late 1930s however, Lindbergh expressed strong doubts that the U.S. military could win a war against Germany.  He and his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, spent much time in Germany and came to admire the German military and people.
In 1938, Lindbergh was awarded a German Service Cross for his contributions to aviation.  The sight of an American hero wearing a Nazi decoration repulsed many Americans and Lindbergh was viewed as having Nazi sympathies and anti-Semitic beliefs.
In 1940, the America First Committee (AFC) was organized to oppose America’s intervention in a foreign war and Lindbergh was a prominent spokesman for the group.

In addition to Lindbergh, the isolationists referred to here are Senators Burton Wheeler, Gerald Nye and D. Worth Clark.

With his hero status already tarnished, Lindbergh delivered a speech in Des Moines in September of 1941 that fully knocked him off his pedestal.  Lindbergh identified what he saw as three pressure groups pushing the U.S. into war — “the British, the Jewish and the Roosevelt Administration.”
The speech met with outrage from the press and public. Lindbergh was denounced as anti-Semitic and non-patriotic.  His hometown of Little Falls, Minnesota even removed his name from their water tower.
Lindbergh never admitted he was wrong about the Nazis, but he did serve his country admirably once war became a reality.  He tried to join the military, but his old foe, FDR, wouldn’t allow it.  So instead, Lindbergh worked as a private consultant to Henry Ford, a man who’d also drawn fire for his anti-Semitic and isolationist views.

Ford was manufacturing B-24 bombers and Lindbergh was sent to the Pacific as an observer. But he did far more than observe and flew more than 50 combat missions.  At age 42, Lucky Lindy often bested pilots half his age in feats demanding intense physical ability and extraordinary piloting skills.

These cartoons are all by Cal Alley, then with the Kansas City Journal. The Journal folded in 1942 and Alley went to work for the Nashville Banner.


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1 Response to Sept., 1941 – Lucky Lindbergh – America’s hero falls from favor

  1. Norie says:

    Hello. Do you know who might have the copyright to the image of Lindbergh on the eagle? I just checked with the Memphis Public Library which Cal Alley’s family donated most of his art works but they didn’t have anything prior to 1940. I need to get in touch with the copyright holder to use the image for a history program.

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