The Lindbergh Kidnapping Hoax
IS TOMORROW HITLER'S?
200 Questions On the Battle of Mankind
By H. R. KNICKERBOCKER
Reynal & Hitchcock, New York 1941
Chapter 7 FIFTH COLUMNISTS
Q. What makes Lindbergh the way he is?
A. I am glad you asked this question because Lindbergh is our greatest native individual threat to American safety and so deserves careful scrutiny by his fellow citizens who some day may be compelled to decide what to do with him. There is nothing to be gained by abusing him, nor is there any merit in arguing that his sincerity ought to protect him against the charge that he assists America's Fifth Column.
Hitler's most effective Fifth Columnists in every country have for the most part been sincere men, but their sincerity has not relieved them of the verdict of the fellow citizens they betrayed, nor of the verdict of history. The President of the United States has delivered that verdict upon Lindbergh already. In the most polite and restrained language he classified Colonel Lindbergh as a "Copperhead," which was a Civil War name for a man in the North who sympathized with the Southern cause. Translated into today's situation it would mean an American citizen who sympathizes with the enemy of America, Germany.
You recollect the President was asked why Lindbergh, who was given a reserve commission in the Army Air Corps after his flight to Paris, had not been called into active service. The President replied that during the Civil War both sides let certain people go; that is, did not call them into service.
He said the people who were thus ignored were the Vallandighams, and explained that the Vallandighams were the people who from 1863 on, urged immediate peace, arguing that the North
could not win the war between the states. The President's reference to Vallandigham sent many to their reference books where they found that Clement Laird Vallandigham, an Ohio Congressman "in 1863, made violent speeches against the administration and was arrested by the military authorities, tried by military commission and sentenced to imprisonment. President Lincoln commuted his sentence to banishment and Vallandigham was sent into the Confederate lines, whence he made his way to Canada."
President Roosevelt was choosing his word carefully, in order to get the precise shade of meaning attributed to it. The President apparently tried to find in American history as accurate a parallel to the Lindbergh case as possible. His choice was significant. It would be interesting to know if the President had in mind that when this country is formally at war with Germany we shall incarcerate or deport members of the community who for whatever reason and with whatever motives hinder the prosecution of the war. The expulsion of Vallandigham to the enemy's territory raises the question of the physical possibility as well as the political expediency of deporting our Fifth Columnists to German-controlled territory after we are formally at war. Few of us will dispute the desirability of just such a radical solution.
Lindbergh replied to the President by resigning his commission in a letter saying, "I had hoped that I might exercise my right as an American citizen to place my viewpoint before the people of my country in time of peace without giving up the privilege of serving my country as an Air Corps officer in the event of war." Thereafter many professional critics of the President accused him of having attempted to gag Lindbergh. But the very opposite is the case since if the President had wanted to shut Lindbergh's mouth, all he had to do was to call him to active service where the rule is universal that serving officers may not make public political statements.
It should be remembered that Lindbergh, although a reserve officer, had violently attacked his Commander in Chief's actions in the field of foreign policy, which naturally involves military affairs, and this could certainly be regarded as a breach of discipline in the spirit if not in the letter of the officers' code. If President Roosevelt had wished not only to muzzle, but to discipline Lindbergh, nothing would have been easier than for the President to have ordered the Colonel to duty in some obscure, remote, or unpleasant post, a frequent method of discipline in the armed services of all countries. But the President did nothing of the sort. On the contrary, by accepting Lindbergh's resignation he released the flyer from any hindrance to the free speech which he has since been exercising so vigorously.
But Lindbergh is far more dangerous to American security than was Vallandigham a danger to the Union in our Civil War. Lindbergh is already the avowed candidate of our enormous crop of Copperheads for the Presidency of the United States. He has the applause of the enemies of democracy and of the United States throughout the world. A Belgian businessman, a devout "collaborationist" with the Nazis, told a friend of mine recently, " Lindbergh will be the next President of the United States. He could get along splendidly with Hitler. We are all for him." By "We" this Belgian meant the entire herd of Hitler followers, from his own disciplined legions to the servile rabble of Vichy France and the Copperheads of the United States. Whether Lindbergh welcomes it or not, he has the enthusiastic applause of the Nazi Bund, the Fascist societies, and of all the most violently antidemocratic groups in this country, from the followers of Father Coughlin to the most eccentric Kluxers.
Q. But are we being fair to Lindbergh in calling him a Copperhead and a Fifth Columnist?
Didn't you say yourself that there is nothing to be gained by abusing him?
A. Yes, I maintain there is nothing to be gained by abusing him, but there is much to be gained by identifying him. Nobody has done it any better than the country's wittiest enemy of our enemies, Alexander Woollcott, in his "Voice from a Cracker Barrel" broadcast, when he said: "By the pledges of both candidates in the last election, by the testimony of every poll yet taken by Dr. Gallup, by the action of our representatives in Congress and of the President himself, we pledged full aid to England. Ex-Colonel Lindbergh now argues that this assistance be withdrawn.
"He wants us to break our promise in the matter, to run out on the British, and, so curious is his mentality, he thinks to encourage us in such base desertion by assuring us that England is going to be defeated. On this point he may be right. I would not know about that. Neither would he. If the words of our retired eagle ever reach as far as England, Mr. Churchill must derive some comfort from his knowledge that all fighters in a tight place have heard such talk since the world began. Among Washington's discomforts during the long winter at Valley Forge was the repeated prediction from the Lindberghs of his day that he didn't have a chance. Yes, Lindbergh keeps announcing the doom of England, and always his statement is received with cheers and bursts of applause. This gives you a rough idea of what kind of people bulk large in his mass meetings.
"For here is a fact which Lindbergh and his colleagues of the America First Committee must face. Whether they admit it or not, whether they like it or not, whether, indeed, that is any part of their purpose, they are working for Hitler. Have you any doubt--any doubt at all--that Hitler would have been glad to pay Lindbergh an immense amount, millions, for the work he has done in the past year?
"Indeed, if Lindbergh shares the opinion of Hitler held by the rest of us-on this point, to be sure, he has thus far been ominously silent--his heart must skip a beat when, in the still watches of the night, he realizes that if he had returned to this country as Hitler's paid and trusted agent, his public activity would have been in every particular just what it has been to date.
"Now don't get me wrong about this. I doubt that Lindbergh has taken or would take German money. It so happens that we do not know, and, thanks to the reticence of General Wood, have been unable to find out just who has put up all the money for the costly goings-on of the America First Committee. But I should be greatly surprised to learn that any considerable part of that money came directly or indirectly from Hitler. That does not alter the fact that they are all working for him. For they, like the rest of us, are trapped in a tragic irony. In this world today there is no such thing as neutrality. You are either for Hitler or against him. You either fight him or you help him."
Q. Why can't we put Lindbergh away somewhere now, so he can't do any more harm?
A. It is certainly an index to the feelings of the vast majority of the American people that despite the fact that Lindbergh and Senator Wheeler can draw large crowds of their Copperhead followers, I have received hundreds of questions like the one you ask, and there seems to be little sectional, geographical difference in American feelings on the subject.
Just as many have made the inquiry in California as in Texas or Pennsylvania. The answer is that we cannot, and if we reflect upon it, we do not want to put any limitations upon free speech for American citizens in peacetime. Until we are actually at war it is the right of every American to advocate, if he likes, that we should ally ourselves with Germany and go to war against Great
Britain. The distinguishing characteristic of democracy is not merely that the majority shall govern, but that the majority should always give to the minority exactly the same rights and privileges as the majority enjoys.
We often overlook the fact that this is the essential nature of democracy. Rule by majority may obtain under any successful dictatorship. Hitler undoubtedly has a strong majority of Germans behind him and will probably continue to have it until he falls by force from abroad. But that does not make his rule democratic. He refuses to give the minority opposing him any rights whatever. He considers it contemptible weakness of the democracies that they should protect the rights of their minorities, and even of minority groups who, if they were to come to power, would abolish democracy.
Here is our central difficulty. We recognize that Lindbergh and his followers, the Nazis and Fascists, as well as that other antidemocratic group, the American Communists, would destroy America as we know it if they were successful in their policies. Yet if we suppress them for anything less than formally treasonable acts, we shall have violated the most precious tenet of democracy. Giving aid and comfort to the enemy in wartime is a formally treasonable act, and we may take consolation in the fact that Wheeler and Lindbergh and their lesser associates are not likely to be able to continue after we have gone to war to render to Hitler the aid and comfort they now render him. At this moment, when we are not yet in a formal state of war, about the most effective control that can be exercised over Lindbergh and his associates is for the President to have identified him publicly as a "Vallandigham," and for others to do what they can to expose his purposes.
Q. Why do you single out Lindbergh for special attention, since there are many others of equal prominence who are also helping
Hitler, such as ex-President Hoover, Senators Wheeler and Nye, Congressman Fish, and so on?
A. No, they are not of equal prominence, not even the ex-President, because Lindbergh had something that appealed so profoundly to America that he has not lost it all yet, and he towers in influence above our other isolationists, some of whom are plainly patriotic but deluded citizens. Lindbergh, however, is, I am convinced, mainly responsible for the long hesitation of this country to go to war to defend its life. I do not intend to impugn Lindbergh's sincerity, but surely there is something wrong with a man who declares as he does that we should not go to war, among other reasons, because we are not united, then does his utmost to disunite us still further.
Mayor La Guardia, in his capacity as Director of Civilian Defense, pleaded at a mass meeting in Philadelphia for all Americans not in agreement with the Administration's foreign policy not to do or say anything that might give aid or comfort to a potential enemy. Exactly twenty-four hours later, stepping on La Guardia's heels, Lindbergh addressed another mass meeting in Philadelphia and attacked the President of the United States in terms so violent that they were widely interpreted as calling for a revolution against the Administration.
It was that famous speech which he was compelled to retract in part since it alarmed so many even of his followers. Mrs. Kathleen Norris, the novelist, a prominent member of the America First Committee, and present on the platform with Lindbergh, told reporters that afternoon, in answer to a question, that she could "swear that no member of the committee is mixed up with any subversive activity." "Subversive" means "tending to overthrow, upset, or destroy," which is precisely what Lindbergh's speeches attempt to do to the Administration of the United States.
None of the isolationist crowd can compare with Lindbergh
in importance to the Fifth Column in America. From the point of view of American national security and the future of this country he is America's Public Enemy Number One, because he was once so incomparably America's National Hero of Heroes, and some American people still hope that now from their former idol, politically unbranded, apparently disinterested, they can finally get the truth and the light. For the most part, Americans do not realize what has happened to their National Hero, although fortunately throughout the country there is a deep-seated distrust of anyone who has taken up an attitude so palpably favorable to the nation's enemies.
Q. What is the reason for the divorce between Lindbergh and the American people who used to worship him unanimously? The crowds he has at America First rallies may number thousands-mostly Nazis and their sympathizers, I take it--but Lindbergh used to have 130,000,000 Americans cheering him.
A. Yes, what is it that has happened to Lindbergh to cause such a radical change? In 1927 Coolidge called him "noble"; in 1941 Roosevelt said he was "not wanted." What a contrast! I have just finished reading for the first time Lindbergh book called We, as he referred to himself and his airplane, the Spirit of St. Louie, containing the story of his life and flight. It moves one to sadness to look back and remember the way that world of long ago reacted to the twenty-five-year-old American's feat. Many of us have forgotten that the flight itself became secondary to the world's intoxication over the event.
Lindbergh received a more spectacular ovation, attended by more persons, who were more excited, in France, Belgium, England, and the United States than had ever been given any human being in the history of the world by any of the multitudes which have welcomed conquerors and kings.
Consider the terms used by President Coolidge in referring to Lindbergh; "this sincere and genuine exemplar of fine and noble virtues"; "illustrious citizen"; "this genial, modest American youth with the naturalness, the simplicity and the poise of true greatness"; "this wholesome, earnest, fearless, courageous product of America." And as if this were not enough, Coolidge read off a list of "some of his qualities noted by the Army officers who examined him for promotion, as shown by reports in the files of the Militia Bureau of the War Department:
"'Intelligent,' 'industrious,' 'energetic,' 'dependable,' 'purposeful,' 'alert,' 'quick of reaction,' 'serious,' 'deliberate,' 'stable,' 'efficient,' 'frank,' 'modest,' 'congenial,' 'a man of good moral habits and regular in all his business transactions.'"
And then President Coolidge went on to say that "One of his officers expressed his belief that the young man 'would successfully complete everything he undertakes.' This reads like a prophecy."
Heaven protect the American people if Lindbergh succeeds in his present undertaking, because he has undertaken now to keep America from meeting her peril before it becomes overwhelming. He wants us to wait until the only allies left in the world for us are stricken down and we stand by ourselves to face a combination of powers stronger than we and unappeasably resolved to destroy us.
He has undertaken this task apparently as a sort of crusade. We are assured that his father before him, Charles Lindbergh, Congressman from Minnesota, also possessed the Lindbergh sincerity as he declaimed throughout the last war against American participation. We recognize sincerity, persistence, and courage as admirable qualities when linked with a just cause, but the possession of them only makes the matter worse when they are associated with a disastrous and cynical policy.
You ask "cynical"? Yes, Hitler, for example is a sincere cynic, and so is Lindbergh. His policy shamelessly declares we should
withdraw aid from Britain, coolly watch her fall, and then as quickly as possible trade with Hitler and make what we can out of the defeat of civilization. Lindbergh genuinely sees nothing to be ashamed of in advocating such a policy, and that makes him deserve the title "sincere." It is nevertheless as cynical as any Nazi could invent. We could stomach that if the cynicism were realistic. It is not. This would-be smart policy has no more chance to succeed than the would-be Machiavellian policy of Mussolini, who has given the world its least appetizing sight of the war: the avowed brute too feeble to be brutal.
Lindbergh's personality is important to us all, since he has assumed office as a member of what they would call in England "the disloyal opposition," and so it is not too minor a point to note that of all the qualities he was ever credited with, the quality of generosity is lacking. Witness his experience with France and England. To France and the French people he owed the beginning of the ovation which was to make his fame and fortune, and he acknowledged his debt this way in We : "The whole-hearted welcome to me--an American--touched me beyond any point that words can express. I left France with a debt of gratitude which, though I cannot repay it, I shall always remember." That was the old Lindbergh, or rather the young one, still unspoiled.
Thirteen years later, when France stood more in need of a friend than ever in her long and troubled history; when a mere gesture of American solidarity with her cause might have put heart in her bewildered troops and kept the enemy at bay; when the word of a Lindbergh could have been effective in the awakening of American public opinion to our obligation not to let France fall, for our own sake as well as for hers; Lindbergh spoke. He spoke against America's giving France any aid whatever. It was May 20, 1940 and the Germans stood on the Somme. Lindbergh's broadcast summarized everything he has had to say since: "Years ago we decided to stay out of foreign wars. We based our military
policy on that decision. We must not waver now that the crisis is at hand. There is no longer time for us to enter this war successfully."
I was with the French at that time and can testify that Lindbergh's words struck France like a blow between the eyes. The famous Lafayette Escadrille announced that it had deprived Lindbergh of his honorary membership. Lindbergh's response to England was identical. He took his child to England after he had suffered his great family tragedy in America, and in England he received everything he desired: quiet hospitality and all the privacy he has said he wanted. But when England stood with her back to the wall, and once again the American attitude to the war became decisive; and once again the voice of a Lindbergh could have worked powerfully to shake our people into the tardy realization that this time would be the last time and that if we did not awaken now we might never be given the chance again; when our people needed to realize that the fate of America was inextricably bound up with the fate of Britain, and that if Britain fell our hopes would all become forlorn; then Lindbergh spoke.
Now, he declared, we should cease to aid Britain in any manner, because Britain was beaten, Germany had won, and we had better make the best terms we could with the conqueror. With the total lack of shame which characterizes Hitler's and Lindbergh's political philosophy he declaimed in the same speech of June 16, 1940 that, "Fortunately, the wide wall of the Atlantic stands between us and the shooting that is going on." It is, of course, the strong wall of the British Navy that stands between us and the shooting that is going on, but Lindbergh has never admitted that the British Navy plays any role in keeping the Germans from crossing the Atlantic; his implication is that the water of the Atlantic constitutes the sole hindrance to German passage.
This incomprehension sometimes reaches a degree which is puzzling to an observer convinced that "at any rate Lindbergh is
sincere." Some obviously honest Americans argue that we can successfully hold aloof, but can any American really believe as Lindbergh said in his speech at the opening of the war, September 16, 1939: "These wars in Europe are not wars in which civilization is defending herself against some Asiatic intruder. There is no Genghis Khan or Xerxes marching against our Western nations. This is not a question of banding together to defend the white race against foreign invasion. This is simply one more of those age-old struggles within our family of nations."
If Lindbergh believes this, he has failed utterly to understand what Hitlerism is, or if he understands it, then he must approve of it; and we surmised some months later with the publication of Anne Lindbergh's The Wave of the Future, that he was indeed a convert. Surely it is not the color of Hitler's skin and of his Nazi warriors that make the difference, nor their geographic home. Lindbergh implies that if they were yellow-skinned and came from Tibet, he would understand and perhaps not oppose our fighting them, but being white and living in Central Europe they cannot, he implies, be enemies of civilization. This and other examples of Lindbergh's apparent naïveté, or as Raymond Clapper put it once, his childishness, are not the result of an obtuse mind, but the consequence of his having constantly to hide one element, the most important element in his political attitude, and that is his secret approval of the totalitarian idea and of the German Nazis' right to conquer.
This is too unpopular an idea to admit publicly now, and the concealment of it leads to the most glaring discrepancies in his arguments. Only a person who approved of Hitler could deny that he is waging a war against civilization. Only Lindbergh can tell how far he approves of Hitler's right to conquer. We can observe that in other countries, as France, men who talked before the defeat as Lindbergh does now, were elevated to power in Hitler's puppet government.
I was in England when Lindbergh delivered the first of his broadcasts calling it "just another war," and putting both belligerents on the same level. The British were hurt. They felt that a man whom they had considered a friend had let them down. They did not know that he had never been a friend, but beneath a serene, impenetrable demeanor had harbored an antipathy for England which has contributed to making him "the way he is."
This antipathy he has more than once documented, as in the Collier's article when he wrote the astounding sentence: "We in America should not be discussing whether we will enter the war that England declared in Europe. " Let those who set such store by the quality of sincerity ask themselves if anyone on earth, including a German, could sincerely define the present war as one "that England declared in Europe."
Q. But you still have not explained why Lindbergh is the way he is. You have only defined what he is.
A. Very well, but this is merely a personal interpretation of what built his character and formed his motives. I believe in the importance of emotional causes for most of men's attitudes, and so I should like to mention these causes first. The young Lindbergh, as one can discover from We, seems really to have been possessed of the virtues catalogued by President Coolidge. He became the Lindbergh of today only after his flight. First came the initial impact of the hysterical reaction of the world to his accomplishment. It is bound to have affected him, and it did, despite the fact that he appeared to the public as still the simple, modest, somewhat shy boy who carried with him on his flight an introduction to the American Ambassador to Paris.
It took the public a long time to learn otherwise, because from the moment of his landing in Paris until only a comparatively short time ago, Lindbergh was protected by the press of America
in a way that could happen only in this youthful country of heroworshipers. When America has a hero, he remains a hero of purest ray serene, and no flaw may be found in him, and if any are privately discovered by newspaper reporters, or others, they are carefully hidden. This is our standard behavior toward heroes, but in the case of America's hero of heroes the inhibitions voluntarily imposed by the press upon itself were Spartan.
In newspaper parlance a sacred cow is an individual who for reasons of policy must be protected from criticism. Every newspaper has its sacred cows. Lindbergh became the Supreme Sacred Cow of all the newspapers in America. Long after it became apparent to the working newspapermen who came in contact with him that he had succumbed to the adulation poured upon him and had completely lost that original modesty which had endeared him to the American public, perhaps above all his other qualities, and that he had, in fact, become impatiently egotistic, and convinced that he "knew it all," he still was represented as the unassuming young man who aspired only to be left alone. He complained that the press would not let him alone, gave him no privacy, harassed him. Publicity, he declared, he hated worse than anything in the world. Newspapermen nevertheless observed that he and Greta Garbo appeared to have the same technique, and that he managed always to behave himself in such a way as to receive the greatest amount of public attention.
The normal cycle of publicity received by a celebrity of the type of Lindbergh was summed up by Sinclair Lewis. He and I were standing at the bar in the Adlon Hotel in Berlin a few days after Lindbergh landed in Paris, and the world had gone mad over him. It seemed as though never had such adulation been poured upon the head of any young man, and those who were not joining in the almost universal blaze of hysterical feeling were curiously examining the blaze, wondering what made the world go crazy.
Surely there had been more heroic exploits, even in the realm
of aviation. The flight of Bleriot over the Channel in the primitive machine at his disposal in 1909 has been estimated a more important feat; while the flight of John Alcock and A. W. Brown from Newfoundland to Ireland, June 14, 1919, although almost forgotten in the din of Lindbergh's ovation, was not only the first transoceanic flight, but considering that it was made eight years before Lindbergh's with a machine correspondingly less modern, should rank as a greater feat. All these things were subjects of discussion, but Sinclair Lewis settled the matter by saying: "It doesn't matter. Lindbergh is the best-known man in the world today, but ten years from now he will go into a hotel in Detroit and sign the register, ' Charles A. Lindbergh,' and the room clerk will say ' Lindbergh? Yes, Mr. Lindbergh, Room 502. Boy! Show Mr. Lindbergh his room,' and the clerk won't know him from Adam's off ox. That's the way it is with fame. He has come by his with incredible speed; it will go the same way."
But it did not. Lindbergh saw to that by behaving so eccentrically at times that even his mother-in-law, Mrs. Dwight Morrow, has been heard to complain of it. I was in London at the time of the birth of his baby there. Lindbergh for reasons of his own withheld formal announcement of the birth until long after it had taken place and the fact was known to so many persons that eventually the newspapers, although with British reticence, carried the report and queried Lindbergh to his great annoyance.
"I said to Charles," Mrs. Morrow exclaimed to a friend, "if you want to avoid being bothered by the press, why don't you simply announce the birth of your child? After all he's normal and born within wedlock." Douglas Corrigan confirmed the judgment of Lindbergh's mother-in-law.
"Wrong-way Corrigan," who flew to Ireland in the alleged belief that he was flying to California, was a devoted disciple of Lindbergh. I met Corrigan in Dublin shortly after he landed, and I remember two things he told me which shed some light on Lind-
bergh's character. I was almost the first newspaperman to see Corrigan, and in our introductory conversation the little Irish flyer, whose flight in many ways was more remarkable than Lindbergh's, said: "I'm not going to do like Lindbergh and be hounded to death by newspapermen. He refuses to see them and won't say anything for quotation and makes himself so mysterious that they never have stopped going after him. If he had only opened up to them from the very first and never refused to see them, very soon they would have let him alone. That's what I'm going to do--tell you anything you want to know, and go on seeing anybody who wants to see me, and pretty soon you will all get tired of it."
Corrigan did just that and it all worked out exactly as he had planned. He was soon left in peace and never suffered from Lindbergh's complaint. If Lindbergh had behaved as Corrigan did, there never would have grown up between American newspapermen and himself the secret feud that required all his prestige as national hero to keep under cover. You may say that Corrigan's flight could not be compared to Lindbergh's in its sensational appeal as the first solo flight across the ocean. Yes, but in another way the obscure little Irishman's flight was the more audacious of the two. Lindbergh had a plane specially constructed, the finest money could buy. He had lavish financial backing, friends to help him at every turn. Corrigan had nothing but his own ambition, courage, and ability. His plane, a nine-year-old Curtis Robin, was the most wretched-looking jalopy.
As I looked over it at the Dublin airdrome I really marveled that anyone should have been rash enough even to go in the air with it, much less try to fly the Atlantic. He built it, or rebuilt it, practically as a boy would build a scooter out of a soapbox and a pair of old roller skates. It looked it. The nose of the engine hood was a mass of patches soldered by Corrigan himself into a crazy-quilt design. The door behind which Corrigan crouched for twenty eight hours was fastened together with a piece of baling wire. The
reserve gasoline tanks put together by Corrigan, left him so little room that he had to sit hunched forward with his knees cramped, and not enough window space to see the ground when landing. It had cost Corrigan $325, saved nickel by nickel.
The inspiration for all of Corrigan's sacrifice was his hero worship of Lindbergh. As a young mechanic Corrigan had helped build the Spirit of St. Louis in the Ryan Airlines plant in San Diego, California, and from that time on he had lived for but one ambition, to emulate his hero. The older flyer had millions of admirers but none could have been more fervent than the little mechanic who once wrote, "It was often necessary to work till midnight on the Spirit of St. Louis and then come back at eight the next morning, but everyone was glad to do that as they all seemed to be inspired by the fellow that the plane was being built for-- Lindbergh."
When Corrigan landed in Dublin, it was an event sufficiently sensational, and the "wrong-way" aspect of it so eccentric, that the world gave its attention and hundreds of cables and radiograms poured into the American Legation where the Minister, John Cudahy, had given Corrigan quarters. Every hour scores of congratulations were reaching Corrigan but he was visibly unhappy. I asked him what was the matter.
"No cable from Lindbergh," Corrigan replied. "That was the thing I wanted most of all. Maybe it will come later." It never did come. Lindbergh never found time nor inclination to send the single word which would have meant more to Corrigan than all the other applause and rewards he won. I have related this to friends of Lindbergh and their answer was, "Typical."
After the first uproar over Lindbergh's greatest flight had subsided somewhat, he made his good-will flights. His marriage to the gifted Anne Morrow, daughter of the brilliant Morgan partner, Dwight Morrow, linked him now with America's greatest financial house, and put the Swedish immigrant's son definitely in the category of those who have a stake to protect against social disturb-
ance, and the consequences of war. The fact that the marriage was a love match, and that his wife had every quality of a distinguished person and was a poet in her own right, helped establish Lindbergh even more firmly in the affections of the American public. The American feeling toward him had mellowed from hysterical hero worship to what seemed to be a love which would endure.
Then came the heart-breaking tragedy of the kidnaping and murder of his child. All fathers, all mothers, throughout the world suffered with the Lindberghs. Years later during the Spanish Civil War, when I was imprisoned by orders of the Gestapo in San Sebastian, with me was a Spanish workman who that night was taken from the cell and shot, and I remember how just before the door opened and he was summoned by his executioners, he was discussing the Lindbergh kidnaping.
The world-wide outpouring of sympathy with the Lindberghs during that woeful period of their lives was surpassed only by the intense, personal, national compassion of America for them in their pain. Now Lindbergh had become no longer just the national hero, but one for whom the nation felt the intimacy of suffering shared. He responded by leaving the country with his family to quit the scene of their sorrow, to find a sanctuary to heal their wounds, to escape public attention, and to find a safety for his children he felt he could not find in the United States.
This was the turning point of his relationship with his country. His country was ready to forgive because it felt it could understand his need for a refuge, but for Lindbergh his residence abroad was a true renunciation of democratic America, and this I believe to be the key to his subsequent political activity and his present defiance of the vast majority of his fellow citizens.
He found his sought-for refuge in England where he was given every consideration. The door of every home from Buckingham Palace down was open to him, but the British afforded him all the privacy he wanted. If it had been only privacy he sought, he could
have led a restful secluded life in the country home of Harold Nicolson, his father-in-law's biographer, and could have remained at peace until Hitler disturbed it. Lindbergh spent just enough time in England to convince him that England was soft, England couldn't take it, England would lose if it ever went to war. It was bad luck that Lindbergh should have lived in England during a time when it was soft, just as we are soft today. It was the England of pacifism, faith in the principle that if you want peace badly enough you can have it, just by refusing to fight. It was the England of the Oxford Union when the debating society boys voted not to fight "for King and Country." It was the England which needed waking up, just as we need it today. It was an England that could get hard, if it had the time, just as we can get hard too, if we have the time.
But Lindbergh formed his opinion of England then, and from his public speeches he seems too stubborn to allow even the epic heroism of England today in battle to change his judgment. Nicolson, long-standing family friend of the Morrows, mailed Lindbergh a postcard every week during the Battle of Britain, when the people of England were persevering under a hurricane of bombs and were calling it their "finest hour." Each postcard had the one sentence: "Do you still think we are soft?" Perhaps he still thinks so, long after the Germans have stopped thinking so. At any rate, he left England for a tour of the continent, and thereupon came the second turning point in the development of his political views.
When he left America he left it embittered by the tragedy of his child, and he left convinced that it would never have happened except in a corrupt, gang-ridden democracy. It was, indeed, one of the lowest periods in America's public life, when kidnaping for ransom had become widespread for the first time in any modern civilized state, and the power of the gangs was a national humiliation. In a sense it was true that it was the fault of democracy, but the virtue of democracy is that slowly but almost always sooner or
later we correct the faults and bring under control the license which ever threatens democratic liberty. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, however, had not grown up when Lindbergh fled America.
He visited many places on the continent, but the visits to Germany and the Soviet Union were decisive. Here were crystallized the political ideas which had been fermenting within him ever since he felt the thrill that came with the first taste of power over the throngs of Americans gathered to adore him. In Russia he found the object of his political hatred: the poverty, squalor, dirt, inefficiency, and cruelty of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. He was treated well by the Bolshevik authorities, who as Russians regarded him as an artist, a genius of the air, a man who, like a great singer, could be considered outside of politics.
His political slate was up to that time blank. The Russians often welcome foreign celebrities supposed to be without politics. They gave Harpo Marx a cordial reception. Lindbergh was shown the Red Army, its Air Corps, the aviation factories, and no doubt the Bolsheviks thought he was impressed. A layman traveling through Russia is shocked at the wretched state of the people, their poor clothing, bad food, their brutal overcrowding. You may be sure that this was not the prime object of Lindbergh's attention. Lindbergh is not interested in human beings. He is interested in machines. In Russia he saw the poorest machine he had ever seen. He observed that the ponderous Bolshevik society operated with an unparalleled waste of man power and with unmatched inefficiency. He saw the Soviet Air factories, and declared he detected the slovenly workmanship which mars all Soviet production. He reviewed portions of the Red Army Air Corps and registered his opinion that most of the planes were obsolete or obsolescent.
In Nazi Germany Lindbergh found the object of his political admiration, even affection, for here at last he had found the perfect machine. Not only was it the antithesis in every material respect
of the Soviet Union, a streamlined, chromium-plated, eighteenjewel model of totalitarian clockwork, compared with the dilapidated Soviet jalopy, but the Nazi machine also promised to banish the Soviet menace from the face of the earth. Lindbergh had in Germany first an aesthetic delight in the efficiency of the machine, then a moral satisfaction in the thought that it would eradicate the blot of Bolshevism.
Finally a personal consideration came to him. The kidnaping and death of his baby could never have happened in Nazi Germany. Common crime was almost unknown in Nazi Germany. He failed to reflect that under the dictators crime is reserved as the monopoly of the State, and that from any normal human standpoint there is more crime committed in Nazi Germany in a year than in America in ten years of its most besotted gangster period, only in Germany it is all committed by the State. Lindbergh loved Germany.
He saw the great Army, then in the last stages of readying itself to spring upon Europe and set out to conquer the world. He saw the great Luftwaffe, and Goering himself "surprised" him by pinning the Service Cross of the Order of the German Eagle with Star on his breast before he could help himself. Lindbergh has not yet divested himself of his Nazi decoration. He laid down his commission because he quarreled with the President of the United States, but he has no quarrel with Hitler.
Lindbergh was so delighted with the whole atmosphere of this perfectly functioning totalitarian machine that he was contemplating making his residence in Berlin, where an American news agency reported that the apartment of a Jew, liquidated in the monster pogrom of November 1938, had been offered him. He stayed long enough to become convinced that the Nazis were the wave, which, whether we liked it or not, would eventually engulf the world. Lindbergh liked it. Here were no democratic gangsterism, corruption, private crime. Here were no Bolshevik slackness, squalor,
waste. Here was the New Order, of superior men, like himself, of tall, blond, blue-eyed Aryans, like himself, of Nordics, like himself. He felt among his own kind.
The Terror, the concentration camps, the murderous persecution of the Jews and political opponents, the supression of free speech, of the press, of worship, even of thought and conscience! What of it! This was only the scum on the wave of the future, and as for the suppression of the press, that at least was no scum, that was sheer progress. The literal enslavement of a whole population! Well, they like it, don't they? What of the fact that the entire machine and every part of it was built for war, and for war which if successful in Europe would eventually reach and thrust at the heart of America? Nonsense, the Germans could whip Europe all right, indeed Lindbergh declared his conviction they would, but they intended no harm to America. He knew, because hadn't they been nice to him, an American? Anyway, he wouldn't say anything about it in public, but if the truth be known, America could go a long way and do worse than by emulating some of the Nazis' virtues.
Liberty? Bah, Lindbergh would take order and efficiency any day ahead of liberty and inefficiency. Besides, Lindbergh was one of the class of superior men, superior in talent, ability, and comprehension of what society needs, who in a totalitarian state would enjoy all the freedom he wanted since his ideas would conform with those of the rulers and he would belong to the company of masters of the New Order. He had nothing to fear from a Nazi conquest.
With these thoughts in mind Lindbergh returned first to England and told them they had better give up because the Russians were no good and the Germans knew it, and the Germans were strong enough to conquer all Europe, and the proof was in the air forces he had just inspected. His advice was believed to have had something to do with the disaster of Munich, when Britain and France,
convinced their cause was hopeless, lost a war without fighting it. In every point of his argument Lindbergh had agreed with Hitler, and in every point Lindbergh and Hitler were correct, save in one point. They made a mistake about England.
When England recovered from the shock of Munich, she began to throw off her weakness and get tough. But Lindbergh had left for America. He did not have time to see England recover the manhood which seemed lost when he was there. Lindbergh came home now bursting with a message, eager to lead, anxious to play a political role, and resolved as he has been all his life to be content with nothing less than the greatest role. " Lindbergh will be the next President of the United States. He is our man." So said the Belgian friend of the Nazis. The British Lindbergh, Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists, is on the political bottom; he is in Brixton prison. Mosley is no less sincere a man than Lindbergh. Vidkun Quisling is on the political top; he is Hitler's man in Norway. The political future of Lindbergh will obviously depend largely upon whether Germany or our side wins the war.
Q. Why did Lindbergh attack the Jews?
A. Because anti-Semitism is an integral part of Hitlerism. If you are not against Hitler you are for him, and if you are for Hitler you will be compelled, sooner or later, and whether you intend it or not, to become an anti-Semite. Every country now under Hitler's heel has officially sponsored and promoted anti-Semitism. It was easy to read Lindbergh's anti-Semitism between the lines of his references to the "foreign" influences at work in America. He waited only until he thought the time ripe for his public announcement, but the results proved his calculation wrong. His statement against the Jews brought a roar of repudiation from all creeds and classes of the nation, and the only approval came from the group around Lindbergh who constitute what might be called the America
First's Quisling Committee. Lindbergh's anti-Semitism could be sufficiently explained on the ground of temperament. He admires, he understands, and loves only machines and he could hardly be expected to understand or appreciate, much less approve, the spiritual values which for thousands of years have upheld the Jews through adversities which would have annihilated scores of more numerous but less faithful communities.
Q. What is to be the fate of the Jews?
A. If Hitler's power is not destroyed, if Hitler were to win, all Jews under his domination would be condemned to slow death. Why slow? Why doesn't Hitler kill them all at once? Because he enjoys watching them suffer, has a sadistic pleasure in it; because he needs their labor power for the menial tasks to which he assigns them; and because he probably feels that until he conquers the whole world it would be wiser not to outrage what there is left of world opinion.
Besides, Hitler finds the Jews useful wherever he wishes to divide a conquered population, as in France where the hostages he shoots are for the most part called Jews or Communists. Every time he shoots a Jewish hostage he says to the non-Jews, "You see, if it were not for your Jews, you and I could get along perfectly together!" By this device of making the Jew the scapegoat, he works to arouse anti-Semitism among the vanquished and antiSemitism in any form anywhere is the most faithful handmaid of Hitlerism.
Therefore, he has not completely eliminated the Jews from any part of his territories, but has allowed to remain, under conditions of the most abject servitude, 200,000 out of the original 660,000 in Germany proper; 40,000 out of the original 190,000 in Austria; 100,000 out of 380,000 in Czechoslovakia; 20,000 out of 156,000 in Holland; 30,000 out of 63,000 in Belgium; an estimated 380,000
native and foreign Jews in France, occupied and unoccupied; 750,000 in Hungary, including everyone with one-quarter Jewish blood; 300,000 in truncated Rumania; 97,000 in Latvia; 177,000 in Lithuania; 5,000 in Esthonia; and 100,000 in Greece. These figures are cited by The American Hebrew. Poland must come in a separate category since there Hitler has apparently set out to exterminate the 3,000,000 Jews without the restraint he seems to have put on himself elsewhere.
Nobody knows how many of the Polish Jews have died; their fate is only more dreadful than that inflicted upon the entire Polish population. Sober observers believe that twenty per cent of the Polish population as a whole have been killed or have died as a result of the two years of German and Russian occupation. If this is true, then of the 6,000,000 dead, one must reckon that at least 1,000,000 are Jews. Whether this figure is too high or too low, the obvious intent of the Germans in Poland is to wipe out the Jews altogether, and the wonder is that any at all are living today.
In Soviet Russia the 5,000,000 Jews are not subject to any official discrimination, but suffer as the rest of the population from the generally wretched conditions of life aggravated by the war. These conditions of life in the Soviet Union would be intolerable under normal circumstances, especially since the Jews, like other faiths, have been deprived of the facilities formally to practice their religion, but now that Europe under the Nazis has become a charnel house for Jews, the Soviet Union must seem like a haven of refuge. There seems to be no alternative for the Jews except that they suffer death at the hands of Hitlerism, or that Hitlerism be destroyed. It can be destroyed better with the outspoken, avowed help of the Jews of the world, and especially the Jews of America.
It is shocking, indeed, to observe the names of a few Jews on isolationist committees, and one wonders what mental processes have brought them there. Do they imagine that if America remains aloof and Hitler wins the rest of the world, that the Jews, or any
other Americans, will be safe? No, if Hitler wins the rest of the world, the Lindberghs of America will boldly put their anti-Semitism to work, and the fate of the Jews in America will approximate that of their brothers abroad. There is no choice for the Jews of America but to put all the strength of their bodies and souls and purses to work against the enemy of all mankind. There is no reason for them to apologize for fighting the universal scourge. The antiSemite is a friend of Hitler. The friend of Hitler is the enemy of the United States.
Q. I would like to read you a passage from a speech of Lindbergh delivered shortly after the German invasion of Russia, and ask you what you think of it, as it is quite confusing to me. The passage reads: "The longer this war in Europe continues, the more confused its issues become. When it started Germany and Russia were lined up against England and France. Now, less than two years later we find Russia and England fighting France and Germany. Winter before last, when Russia was fighting Finland, the interventionists demanded that we send all possible aid to Finland. Now, when Russia is fighting Finland again they demand that we send all possible aid to Russia. . . . Finland and France are now our enemies; Russia our friend. We have been asked to defend the English way of life, and the Chinese way of life. We are now asked to defend the Russian way of life. . . . Judging from Europe's record, if we enter this war, we can't be sure whether we will have Germany or Russia for a partner by the time we finish it. We don't even know whether we will end up with France or England on our side. It is quite possible that we would find ourselves alone fighting the entire world before it was over."
A. The confusion is of Lindbergh's own making. There is a simple key to all the apparent contradictions he brings out. The key is that Hitler Germany was, is, and will remain the enemy until
Hitlerism is destroyed. The correct way to express the relationships which Lindbergh has put so confusingly is: All nations fighting Germany are fighting on our side; all nations fighting on the side of Germany are fighting against us. When a nation, for any reason, switches sides, for or against Germany, it automatically switches sides for or against us. The question of friendship, of liking for any of these nations, or of approval of their "way of life" does not decide the matter. The matter is decided solely by the effect the particular nation is having on Germany's war.
Let us examine each of Lindbergh's statements in turn. He says the longer the war continues, the more confused its issues become. Not at all--the longer it lasts the more plain it becomes that the issue is: Germany against the world. Do not be confused by the fact that some countries which were fighting Germany, now come out on Germany's side. As Germany conquers one country after another, she attempts to force them into fighting for her, as in the case of France. No matter what Hitler's puppet government in France does, we know that the true France is no friend of Germany, but an implacable enemy. Napoleon at one time had half a dozen armies raised from among the peoples he had conquered, marching under his banners. But the moment Napoleon suffered reverses, they revolted. So it will be with Hitler.
Finland's position is easy to understand if you reflect that she was so much subject to Hitler's coercion that she had to behave almost as though she too had been conquered. It would have been suicide if Finland, resisting Germany's demands that she join the German side, should have had to fight both the German and the Russian armies. That way Poland was torn to pieces. It would have been unthinkable that Finland, so recently mutilated by Russia, should have admitted the Red Army to her territories. It was inevitable that Finland should choose the lesser of two evils. And so we, understanding Finland's plight, must classify her on Germany's side and embargo goods to her. But we can still think
of her as a friend, and only as a technical enemy by force of circumstances.
The position of Russia is equally clear. Bolshevik Russia, the Soviet Union, is nobody's friend, and never pretended to be. She, like Germany, is "against the world," and by making the pact with Germany at the beginning of the war she expected to see the world eventually collapse and become her loot. Now that Germany has forced Russia to fight, Russia should enjoy every material aid we can give her. As long as she continues to fight Germany, we should do all we can to help her blows injure our enemy. So it is only in order to confuse us that Lindbergh phrases it the way he does: "Finland and France are now our enemies; Russia our friend."
Lindbergh says we are asked to defend the English, the Chinese, and now the Russian way of life. It would not make any difference to us if the English, the Chinese, and the Russians lived like lizards, crocodiles, and alligators, so long as they were aiding directly and willingly as the British, or directly though unwillingly, as the Russians, or indirectly as the Chinese, to protect us by opposing our enemies. We are only helping ourselves when we help them.
Lindbergh ends: "It is quite possible that we would find ourselves alone fighting the entire world before it was over." No, it is not just "quite possible," it is absolutely certain that we will find ourselves fighting the entire world if we do not intervene to save some part of the world to fight on our side.
Q. In one of Lindbergh's speeches he made the statement that "the only reason we are in danger of becoming involved in this war is because there are powerful elements who desire us to take a part." Is this true?
A. There are powerful elements who desire us to take part, namely all the intelligent patriotic Americans who wish to defend their
country while there is yet time, but that is not what Lindbergh meant. He is using veiled language to express what his admirers, the Nazi Bundists, the Fascists, and the Kluxers say openly when they charge that America is being "driven into war by the Jews, the international bankers, and the armaments manufacturers." It is a rule of the politics of this era, as Alexander Woollcott pointed out, that if you are not against Hitler, you are for him, and sooner or later, willingly or unwillingly you become lined up for all the things he stands for, some of which you may not have wished to embrace, as racial hatred, anti-Semitism, and the rule of the man with the gun.
The rich men in the America First Committee of Lindbergh and General Wood, fancy they are protecting their investments by lining up against beating Hitler, but if they permit him to win they will lose their wealth as surely as if they had helped run up the Red Flag.
Q. Can you give us a brief, objective resumé of Lindbergh's argument against our entering the war?
A. Yes, he has set it forth very clearly in his "Letter to America" published in Collier's magazine, where his principal ideas are summed up, without any omission save the fact of his contempt for the democracies and his admiration for the totalitarian system. It runs as follows: England and France have only themselves to blame for their defeat. (He takes for granted that England is defeated.) First, because they did not make a reasonable adjustment with Germany while there was still time. Second, because they made the Versailles treaty too harsh to appease Germany and too lenient to hold her down. Third, because when Germany rose under Hitler they did not take advantage of the last chance to stop him when they could, at his reoccupation of the Rhineland in 1936. They were always too late, and now we in America are too late to stop
him. We are unarmed and unable to fight. We have not as many thoroughly modern fighting planes in our Army and Navy combined as Germany produces in a single week. "If we enter the war now, it would mean humiliation and defeat." It is impossible for us to invade Europe. On the other hand, it is impossible for Germany to invade us. They cannot invade us by air over Greenland because it is too cold, nor by way of South America because it is too far, and the South Americans with our aid could prevent them from constructing landing fields. We can stay out of the war, make ourselves impregnable, and afterward force other nations to trade with us. That should be our policy.
Counterattacking, he demands to know if we enter the war, first, how are we to defeat Germany? Second, how are we to "impose our ideology" on our enemies? Third, what would it cost to win the war in American lives and how long would the war last? Fourth, what are our war aims? But he always comes back to the question: "How could we win the war if we entered it?"
Q. How can we win?
A. I have an answer. There are too many surprises in warfare-witness the German attack on Russia--for anyone, including the military experts, to be sure of anything, and I am not a military expert. But I should like to preface my reply to Lindbergh's whole argument by remarking that he assumes we have a choice in the matter, and that we can avoid going to war if we want to. I do not believe we have any choice except in the matter of timing. I should like to ask Lindbergh if he believes that by adopting his complete program, even withdrawal of all aid to Britain, thus insuring British defeat, we could thereby induce Hitler to grant us better terms? Leaving aside all national honor and pride, suppose we were to switch our policy completely and not only abandoned Britain but like Vichy France made clandestine war upon her, or openly
stabbed her in the back with a declaration of war à la Mussolini. Even in that case can anyone believe we would receive any better treatment than Hitler has in store for Vichy France or his ally Italy? It is plain that all we should gain by such conduct would be an increase in the unbounded contempt he already has for us.
We have not the choice of war or isolation. We have only the choice of war or surrender.
Let us take his points one by one. First, that England and France have only themselves to blame for their defeat. But England is not defeated, and I am convinced that she can be defeated only by our defection on the lines advocated by Lindbergh. She was to blame for her refusal to see her danger in time, and for the same reason France was to blame for her defeat. I agree to this, but to waste time now in such recriminations is folly. Lindbergh says England and France were always too late and that now we in America are too late to save England. But it is our Lindberghs who are making us late. We are still not armed, agreed, but how can we win the time to arm? We can gain the time to arm only by upholding Britain, keeping her fighting, and keeping the Germans out of control of the Atlantic. We can do that now by going to war with Germany and reinforcing Britain with all the force at our disposal, which is adequate when ranged beside the present strength of Britain but inadequate to fight alone. Only our entry into the war now, before it is too late, can guarantee that Britain stands, and as long as Britain stands we can build our arms in perfect security until the combined British and American might is strong enough to defeat Germany. Lindbergh's argument is that if we fight beside Britain now we lose; if we fight alone later, we win.
He says we cannot be invaded: "I believe that we can build a military and commercial position on this continent that is impregnable to attack." But in the preceding paragraph he says that for us to win a war we must prepare for it "not for one year, or for two, but for ten years or for twenty as Germany has done." Does
he imagine that Hitler would give us twenty years to prepare for war, or ten, or two, or even one after he had beaten Britain?
But they cannot get at us, says Lindbergh, citing the difficulty of air-borne invasion by Greenland or South America. Nobody imagines an exclusively air-borne invasion of America is possible. But if the British lose the war before we complete our two-ocean navy in 1947, sea power goes to the Germans. Lindbergh at no time discussed this all-important fact. Nor the fact that a defeated Britain, like defeated France, would be yoked into the Nazi war machine to be used against the last enemy, ourselves. Does he really believe that if this happens within the next year or eighteen months, much less in shorter time, we shall be able alone to repel a German attack on this hemisphere, an attack supported by all the navies and warplanes left on earth except our own? We have already set forth the fact that after conquest of Britain Germany would possess shipping to transport millions, twenty to thirty thousand tanks, five or six times the number of warplanes we shall be able to produce in eighteen months, and the most formidable army the world has ever seen, driven by the indomitable will of Hitler to conquer the globe or die.
Leave aside, though, the possibility of direct invasion of the continental United States, and let us discuss with Lindbergh the possibility of German invasion of South America. He declares this, too, would be impossible "in opposition to the armed forces of Brazil backed by our own Army, Navy and Air Corps." But it is 4,258 miles from New York to Pernambuco, Brazil, the place nearest to us where the Germans might want to land, while it is only 3,847 miles from New York to London. Lindbergh advocates that we should attempt to defend Pernambuco though it is 400 miles farther from New York than London, which he says we should not defend because, among other things, of the difficulty of sending an expeditionary force so far. Does Lindbergh truly think Pernambuco easier and more worth while for us to defend than
London? Does he really believe after Germany had conquered Europe and Britain that Brazil or any other South American state would oppose Germany or invite us to help it fight Germany?
But he demands to know, how can we defeat Germany if we do go to war? He knows the answer to that better than anyone. We can defeat Germany only by obtaining mastery of the air over Germany, then destroying the German air force; once the Luftwaffe is destroyed, the impact of that blow alone may cause the first crack in the military and civilian morale of Germany and lift the morale of the conquered peoples to aid in expelling their conquerors. Let me reiterate that the conquered peoples will never revolt until they see the possibility of successful revolt and that will come only with the first serious military setback of the Germans.
Would we have to send an expeditionary land army? We probably shall have to send our best units, and do it quickly, to prevent German seizure of the West African ports and islands affording springboards to America. Our troops would be useful now in North Africa and the Near East. Wherever contact with the enemy can be had, we should be represented as strongly as possible. It is also likely that we shall need to send an A.E.F. to the continent, although not necessarily as large as in the last war. If we can get air superiority, it will mean the war is practically won. I should expect Germany then to crack up.
Even if she did not break down at once, the demoralization entailed by loss of control of the air would be so great that landings on the continent should be feasible at almost any place the Allies chose. Lindbergh persistently asks where we could land an expeditionary force. The answer is that if we get there in time we shall have an excellent base of operations across the seas, Great Britain. From there the coast of Nazi Europe presents hundreds of opportunities for invasion, once the Nazi air force is eliminated.
Lindbergh demands to know how long it would take to win if
we think, contrary to his judgment, that we can win. I should think it would take a minimum of three years after we enter the war, maybe four, possibly five or six. It can be accomplished only by expanding our present aircraft production program, which has orders now for 80,000 planes, to whatever dimensions prove necessary. This depends on how many planes the Germans are able to produce from their own and conquered factories, including all the facilities of their conquests in the East. We shall certainly have to think in terms of hundreds of thousands of planes. We and the British will have to supply the pilots and crews and ground crews for these planes, and it may be that our Air Corps will number upwards of a million before we are through. We have the men and the machines to do it.
"How much would it cost in American lives?" Lindbergh demands. Who can tell? We know only that until the Germans went into Russia the casualties in this war had been inconsiderable compared with the last war. As long as combat was confined to the air and the sea, the numbers of combatant lives lost were in the thousands compared with the hundreds of thousands of soldier lives lost in comparable periods in the land fighting of the last war. The bombardment of civilians has been ghastly, but the number of lives lost has been on the whole surprisingly small-41,900 persons killed in Britain from January 1940 to June 1941. It has even been asserted that in Britain, despite the hardships, war has so elevated the tone, the spirit of the population, that death by disease has declined until the gain has made up for the loss of life by bombardment. The relatively small number of deaths is explained by Mr. Churchill as the result of air raid precautions. After the bloodiest month of the Battle of Britain, September 1940, Mr. Churchill made a remarkable analysis.
"We are told," he said, "by the Germans that 251 tons of explosives were thrown upon London in a single night, that is to say, only a few tons less than the total dropped on the whole country
throughout the last war. Now we know exactly what our casualties have been. On that particular Thursday night 180 persons were killed in London as a result of 251 tons of bombs. That is to say it took one ton of bombs to kill three-quarters of a person. We know, of course, exactly the ratio of loss in the last war, because all the facts were ascertained after it was over. In that war the small bombs of early patterns which were used killed ten persons for every ton discharged in the built-up areas. That is, the mortality is now less than one-tenth of the mortality attaching to the German bombing attacks in the last war. . . .
"What is the explanation? There can only be one, namely the vastly improved methods of shelter which have been adopted. . . . Whereas when we entered this war at the call of duty and honor we expected to sustain losses which would amount to 3,000 killed in a single night and 12,000 wounded, night after night, and made hospital arrangements on the basis of a quarter of a million casualties merely as a first provision; whereas that is what we did at the beginning of the war, we have actually had since it began, up to last Saturday, as a result of air bombing, about 8,500 killed and 13,000 wounded." This was after three months of the Blitz; today with the figure of 41,900 as the total dead, the Prime Minister's point is all the stronger as he concluded: "This shows that things do not always turn out as badly as one expects." Mr. Churchill might have been speaking directly to Lindbergh.
Q. But if air bombardment is as ineffective as these figures of Churchill indicate, how do you expect us to he able to heat Germany by winning air superiority and destroying the German air force? Isn't there a discrepancy in your argument?
A. No, because Britain has come off so lightly precisely because the Germans never have gotten air supremacy over Britain. If they ever did, it would mean they would win the war, just as if we ever
get air supremacy over Germany, it will mean that we will win the war. Air supremacy means you can come over in the daytime, and bomb with precision. Antiaircraft guns are unable to prevent bombing. If there are no fighters to beat off the bombers, the bombers can do just about as they like. They can dive-bomb and destroy any objective they choose with about ninety per cent accuracy. If the Luftwaffe is ever destroyed, British and American planes can annihilate the entire German war industry and then what will it avail Hitler to be the conqueror of all Europe, or of Asia, too?
The R.A.F. has never been out to bomb civilians. The Germans have proved how useless civilian bombing is against a brave people. The R.A.F. has preferred the more difficult job of bombing military objectives and already it has affected the Reich's war-making capacity. British bombs on the invasion ports had much to do with Hitler's postponement of his trip to England. With the addition to the R.A.F. of hundreds of thousands of American machines, and with our own hundreds of thousands in the American Air Force, there is no reason to doubt that eventually the German military apparatus can be smashed.
Q. What damage have the Germans done to the British war machine; or to the buildings of London? Lindbergh insists Britain is already beaten to her knees.
A. Exactly! Well, you have seen the loss of civilian life, amazingly small. Now Mr. Churchill has given us an interesting estimate on the damage to London. He said: "Statisticians may amuse themselves by calculating that after making allowance for the working of the law of diminishing returns, through the same house being struck twice or three times over, it would take ten years at the present rate, for half of the houses of London to be demolished. After that, of course, progress would be much slower. Quite a lot
of things are going to happen to Herr Hitler and the Nazi regime before ten years are up. . . . Neither by material damage nor by slaughter will the people of the British Empire be turned from their solemn and inexorable purpose." Does Lindbergh really think the British are beaten?
But you may object, surely we shall not have to suffer bombing of our civilian population. No, not if we enter the war in time to keep it on the other side of the ocean. The oddest thing of all about the Lindbergh policy is that it would wait for the war to come to us, so that the bombs should fall on our homes, not on the homes of our enemies. He represents precisely the fatal "Maginot line policy" which he so decries in the French. He advises us to sit behind our Maginot Atlantic and dream of our security until the Germans break through.
Finally Lindbergh demands that we "define our war aims," and tell "how we are to impose our ideology on Germany, Russia, Italy and Japan." We do not wish to "impose our ideology" on anyone. All we wish at the moment is to preserve our nation, keep from becoming slaves of the Nazis, and prevent Hitler from imposing his ideology upon us. We want only to make the world safe for the United States, which means also for the friends and allies of the United States, and if victory is ours we shall attempt to include in the circle of security all the nations of good will on earth. If this means "policing the earth," let it mean that. The first step to organize common security was taken when men agreed to have a police force and for it sacrificed their individual right to exercise individual justice, and agreed to pay taxes for the protection. We are just now vigilantes trying to rid the community of bandits.
It is a troublesome matter and after it is settled we may have sense enough to organize at least for transient tranquillity and hope against hope that education may help us to permanent peace. I have not much hope of that myself, but if we, the United States of
America, were to put our heart into the effort, I would have hope. Unless we do there is no hope at all.
Q. But how many lives could it cost America?
A. Nobody can say how many lives it will cost us to preserve our liberty and independence. Maybe surprisingly few, maybe heart-breakingly many. But is this a matter for bargaining? Does Lindbergh ask us to say: "We, the United States of America will give so and so many American lives in order to preserve our national independence, our institutions, our children's lives and our liberty, but we will give so many and no more? If it costs more, we will surrender! If it takes two years to win, we will make the trade; if it costs ten, we give in!" If that is our attitude, we are beaten before we begin. It is not America's attitude. It was Vallandigham's, but not America's.
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