The Public Decides

Charles Lindbergh was a very private man, totally unprepared for his fame. His marriage to Anne Morrow and the birth of their first child became national events. In 1932 his infant son was kidnapped and murdered, and the eventual trial of the accused kidnapper became a media circus. Seeking privacy he took his family to live in Europe. There he was impressed by growing German military power, and by the apparent lethargy of France and England. Returning to the United States, he campaigned against American entry into any European war—an ill-fated campaign that gained the name "America First." This caused many Americans who had previously glorified him to now brand him a traitor and a Nazi sympathizer. During World War II, he demonstrated his patriotism by flying combat missions as a civilian advisor to the military, but many still vilified him for his political views. In the post-war years he confounded many of his former supporters even more by becoming an ardent conservationist.