Dan Rattiner's Stories

The Connection: Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Adolph Hitler and Charles Lindbergh

Lindbergh's relationship with Hitler led him to die in ignominy.

Regarding Trump’s meeting with Putin early last week, I think nobody is seeing what they are looking at. Putin’s operatives interfered with our election to help get Trump elected president, an aggressive act that, if laws kept up with the technology, would be considered an act of war. But Trump, who has repeatedly said how much he admires Putin, went to meet him and, in my opinion, thank him for doing that. He’s already raising money for 2020.

But this explanation is true only if Trump looked on in wonder as Putin did his thing and didn’t solicit Putin to put him over the top. We don’t know that for sure. If it is for sure, then Trump, the candidate, committed treason.

Is there a smoking gun? On one particular morning a few months before the election, Trump made a speech in which he said, “Russians, if you are listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” Later that same day, the FBI revealed last week, the Russians tried hacking a domain used by Hillary Clinton’s personal office.

So Trump now went to Putin to shake a finger at him? Are you kidding me?

This brings to mind the time Adolph Hitler ordered a Nazi medal be pinned on the chest of Charles Lindbergh. In 1927, Charles Lindbergh, at age 25, flew an airplane solo across the ocean from Long Island to Paris. It had never been done before. Many thought it impossible. The world went crazy over him.

At the time, he was a U.S. Mail pilot and an officer in the U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve. Afterwards, he was promoted to colonel. It was the least we could do.

What is little known about Lindbergh is what happened later on, after Hitler came to power in the 1930s.

Some said Lindbergh should run for president. He made speeches. Handsome in his Air Force uniform, he unburdened how he felt. He was an America Firster. He was against going to war. America shouldn’t send its young men to fight the Germans again as they did in World War I.

He, Lindbergh, had lived in Europe for a time in the 1930s, and had become an admirer of what Hitler had done for the Germans. What a strong leader this Mr. Hitler was.

“I have never in my life been so conscious of such a directed force,” he wrote. “It is thrilling when seen.”

He said no power in Europe or America would ever be able to defeat Hitler. Better to befriend him.

“There were three groups advocating for war: the British, the [American] government, and the Jewish race,” he declared in a speech before thousands of people in Des Moines, Iowa. “Their greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government. I am not attacking either the Jewish or the British people. Both races, I admire. But I am saying that the leaders of both the British and the Jewish races, for reasons which are as understandable from their viewpoint as they are inadvisable from ours, for reasons which are not American, wish to involve us in the war.”

Lindbergh began to think that, given his celebrity, he could work out a peaceful settlement with the Nazis. He went back to Europe.

Charles Lindbergh receives his medal from Hermann Goering
Charles Lindbergh receives his medal from Hermann Goering, Photo: Library of Congress, Public Domain

There is a famous photo of a smiling Charles Lindbergh in Berlin standing straight up, his chest out, as Germany’s Air Force Chief and Hitler’s second in command Hermann Goering pins a medal, the Commander Cross of the Order of the German Eagle, on his chest. The following week, Hitler ordered Kristallnacht, the smashing of the windows of all stores and buildings owned by Jews in Germany.

President Roosevelt asked Lindbergh to return this medal. Lindbergh refused to do so, saying it was given him in good faith. He would keep it.

Then came Pearl Harbor. Four days after that, Germany declared war on the United States. America had no choice but war now, and Colonel Lindbergh, seeing his mistake, prepared to fly warplanes against the Germans.

As a result, President Roosevelt demanded that Lindbergh resign his commission. America will take care of Hitler without Lindbergh. And it did.

Lindbergh, in the end, died in disgrace.

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