CCharles Lindbergh And The First 9/11 – Isolationism Then And Now
By Don Feder
September 11, 2018
Strange how certain dates keep coming back to haunt us. September 11, 2001 saw the attack on the World Trade Center and the deaths of more than 3,000 Americans. On September 11, 2012, the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was besieged and four Americans murdered, including our ambassador to Libya.
On September 11, 1941 – 60 years to the day before the Twin Towers fell – Charles Lindbergh, a national idol and leader of the pre-World War II isolationist movement, made his infamous Des Moines speech before 8,000 in the city's Coliseum.
There were decent and honorable Americans involved in the America First movement. Charles Lindbergh wasn't one of them. Lindbergh wasn't just an isolationist, but an admirer of Hitler's New Order. The Lone Ostrich visited the Third Reich several times in the 1930s and declared: "I believe that Germany is in many ways the most interesting place in the world today, and some of the things I see here encourage me greatly." Lucky Lindy didn't say which things he found the most encouraging – the Gestapo, the Nuremberg Laws, or concentration camps.
Hitler, who knew a useful idiot when he saw one, presented the aviator with the Commander Cross of the Order of the German Eagle at a ceremony in Berlin. Lindy later rejected calls to return the medal after Kristallnacht. ("What good would it do?")
Like Hitler, Lindbergh was a eugenicist who believed government should discourage the breeding of "inferior races." Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was another prominent eugenicist of the era. It's no coincidence that today most abortion clinics are located in minority neighborhoods.
What shocked so many about the Des Moines speech (including his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, who begged him to delete certain inflammatory passages) was when he identified Jews as one of the groups pushing America into the European war. He also charged Jews posed a danger to this country, due to "their large ownership in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government." It was classic anti-Semitism – the stuff coming out of Goebbels Ministry of Propaganda at the time.
Germany's terror bombing of civilian populations and strafing of refugees didn't make a dent in his thinking. Harold Ickes, FDR's Secretary of Interior, mused that the aviator needed a heart transplant – because he didn't have one.
Lindbergh also believed that we could never defeat Germany's vastly superior military. After America entered the war, Germany was defeated in less than four years – not just beaten but reduced to a pile of smoldering rubble.
When war finally came, it wasn't because anyone pushed us into it – other than the Japanese, who understood that they had to destroy our Pacific fleet to achieve their territorial ambitions in Asia. Following its Axis ally, Germany declared war on us a few days after Pearl Harbor.
Lindy said that if we entered the war it would seal the fate of European Jews. In September 1941, the Holocaust was already well underway. Anne feared her husband's remarks would set off a wave of anti-Semitism. Instead, it set off a wave of revulsion to Lindbergh, whose name was removed from landmarks across the country.
The war did nothing to cure Lindy of his delusions.
In an absurd bit of moral equivalency, he insisted, "We who claimed that the German was defiling humanity in his treatment of the Jew, were doing the same thing in our treatment of the Jap." Besides slandering his own country, Lindbergh exonerated Japan for starting the war in the Pacific and for the horrors it inflicted on POWs and civilians – including the Bataan Death March and the Rape of Nanking. Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the war Japan started. Auschwitz and Dachau had one purpose only – killing Jews.
The Lone Jackrabbit was a contemptible human being whose love of Germany wasn't confined to propaganda speeches. In the 1950s, he had six children with three German mistresses. At least they were all "racially pure."
Isolationism isn't a relic of the 1930s. Each era has seen its appeasers, it prophets of doom and those Americans drawn to our enemies.
Jane Fonda posed with a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft battery and later told college kids that if we really understood communism, "We would pray on our knees that we would someday become communist" – words which should be carved on a memorial to the 1.7 million victims of the Cambodian Killing Fields. Prior to the first Gulf War, Sean Penn scurried off to Baghdad to pose before a portrait of Saddam Hussein.
Within days of 9/11, the left mobilized its blame-America-First campaign, including campus teach-ins. Hollywood heavy-thinkers like Susan Sarandon, Robert Redford, Oliver Stone and Gore Vidal were on board. Black nationalists like Louis Farrakhan and Rev. Jeremiah Wright (then Obama's spiritual guide) joined the chorus.
In the 1940s, they would have been called fifth columnists. Except now the damage they do is out in the open, not skulking in the dark.
Ex-Attorney General Ramsey Clark – who probably has a hammer and sickle tattooed on his buttocks – circled the globe indicting the U.S. for war crimes in every conflict we've been in since 1945.
He charged George H.W. Bush, Dan Quayle, James Baker, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf with "crimes against peace, war crimes." Pity the peripatetic Clark didn't get to spend time in a Japanese POW camp – or, better, Auschwitz. Then perhaps he'd know what war crimes and crimes against humanity really look like.
Like Lindbergh's Des Moines speech, the Jews also figured prominently here. Radical Muslims hate America because of our support for Israel, due to the influence of the so-called Zionist lobby, the left complained. (Of course, before 1948, brotherhood and harmony reigned supreme in the Middle East.) Like Nazism, Islam is a political religion which, since its inception, has seen the Jews as the epitome of evil.
Today's neo-isolationists/appeasers think appeals to national security are driven by xenophobia and paranoia. They would rather fight Islamophobia than Islamic terrorism. They believe immigration should be based on multiculturalism and non-discrimination, not our national interests.
As the movie "Darkest Hour" shows, Winston Churchill had his own Lindberghs – Viscount Halifax and former Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, members of his War Cabinet. In May of 1940, with France fallen and all of Britain's professional army trapped on the beach at Dunkirk, they came within a hair's breadth of convincing the government to open peace negotiations with Hitler, which would have meant the end of Western Civilization.
We couldn't afford isolationism in the 1930s and ‘40s, much less today. We have an enemy every bit as determined and dangerous – cruel and cunning – as the fascists. Like the Axis, international Islam believes history is on its side and it's destined to conquer.
The Lindberghs and Chamberlains of today dominate the Democratic Party, the mainstream media and celebrity-land. To follow them is to take the path of national suicide.
Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains a Facebook page.