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Lindbergh, Charles

Charles Lindbergh

Born: February 4, 1902
Detroit, Michigan
Died: August 26, 1974
Maui, Hawaii

American aviator

American aviator Charles Lindbergh became famous after making the first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean. He was criticized for insisting that the United States should not become involved in World War II.

Early years

Charles Augustus Lindbergh was born on February 4, 1902, in Detroit, Michigan, the only child of Charles August Lindbergh and Evangeline Lodge Land Lindbergh. His father was a congressman from Minnesota from 1907 to 1917, and his grandfather had been secretary to the King of Sweden. Lindbergh spent a great deal of time alone while young, with animals and then machines to keep him company. After attending schools in Little Falls, Minnesota, and Washington, D.C., Lindbergh enrolled in a mechanical engineering program at the University of Wisconsin.

Lindbergh became bored with studying; he was more interested in cars and motorcycles at this point. He left Wisconsin to study airplane flying in Lincoln, Nebraska, from 1920 to 1922. He made his first solo flight in 1923 and thereafter made exhibition flights and short trips in the Midwest. He enrolled in the U.S. Air Service Reserve as a cadet in 1924 and graduated the next year. In 1926 he made his first flight as an airmail pilot between Chicago, Illinois, and St. Louis, Missouri.

Famous flight

Lindbergh wanted to compete for the $25 thousand prize that a man named Raymond Orteig had posted for the first person to make a nonstop flight between New York and Paris, France. With money put up by several St. Louis businessmen, Lindbergh had a plane called the Spirit of St. Louis built. On the first lap of his flight to New York, he traveled nonstop to St. Louis in fourteen hours and twenty-five minutesrecord-breaking time from the West Coast.

On May 20, 1927, Lindbergh took off in his silver-winged monoplane (a plane with only one supporting surface) from Roosevelt Field in Long Island, New York, bound for an airport outside Paris. Better-equipped and better-known aviators had failed; some had even crashed to their death. But Lindbergh succeeded. He arrived on May 21, having traveled 2,610 miles in thirty-three and one-half hours. He immediately became a hero and received many honors and decorations, including the Congressional Medal of Honor, the French Chevalier Legion of Honor, the Royal Air Cross (British), and the Order of Leopold (Belgium). During a tour of seventy-five American cities sponsored by the Daniel Guggenheim Foundation for the Promotion of Aeronautics, he was greeted by wild demonstrations of praise.

In December 1927 Lindbergh flew nonstop between Washington and Mexico City, Mexico, and went on a goodwill trip to the Caribbean and Central America. During one tour he met Anne Spencer Morrow, the daughter of the U.S. ambassador (representative) to Mexico. They were married in 1929. The Lindberghs made many flights together. In 1931 they flew to Asia, mapping air routes to China. Two years later, in a 30,000-mile flight, they explored possible air routes across oceans.

Son murdered

In March 1932 the Lindberghs were shaken when their infant son was kidnapped. A $50,000 ransom was paid, but the baby was found dead. The nation's concern and horror resulted in laws that expanded the role of federal law-enforcement agencies in dealing with such crimes, including allowing the government to demand the death penalty for kidnappers who take victims across state lines.

The Lindberghs moved to Europe after the execution of their son's murderer in 1935. While in France Lindbergh worked with Alexis Carrel (18731944), an American surgeon (medical specialist who performs operations) and experimental biologist who had won the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1912. The two men perfected an "artificial heart and lungs," a pump that could keep organs alive outside the body by supplying blood and air to them.

Criticized for political opinions

In the late 1930s Lindbergh conducted various studies of air power in Europe. He toured German aviation centers at the invitation of Nazi (a political party that controlled Germany from 193345 and that attempted to rid the country of Jewish people) leader Hermann Göring (18931946), becoming convinced that the Nazi military was unbeatable. Also in the 1930s Lindbergh was on the Board of Directors of Pan-American World Airways. In 1939 he studied American airplane production as special adviser on technical matters. He also performed promotional work for aviation during this period.

Just prior to World War II (193945; a war fought between the Axis powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan and the Allies of England, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States), as a member of the America First Organization, Lindbergh warned that United States involvement could not prevent a German victory. He was criticized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt (18821945) for radio broadcasts urging America not to fight in "other people's wars." As a result, Lindbergh resigned his commission in the U.S. Air Force. After Japan attacked the United States in 1941, Lindbergh supported the American effort, serving as a technician for aircraft companies. After the war he once again became a technical adviser for the U.S. Air Force, and eventually he was again commissioned a brigadier general in the Air Force Reserve.

Later years

Lindbergh's association with the Nazis had severely damaged his reputation, but the popularity of the books he and his wife wrote helped restore some of what he had lost. Lindbergh wrote several accounts of his famous 1927 flight. We (1927) and The Spirit of St. Louis (1953), for which he received the Pulitzer Prize for biography, are descriptions of his early life and accomplishments. With Carrel he coauthored Culture of Organs (1938), and in 1948 he wrote Of Flight and Life.

Lindbergh's later works included The Wartime Journals of Charles A. Lindbergh (1970) and Boyhood on the Upper Mississippi: A Reminiscent Letter (1972). An Autobiography of Values (1977) was published after his death. Toward the end of his life Lindbergh grew increasingly interested in the spiritual world and spoke out on environmental issues. He spent his final years with his wife in a house they had built on a remote portion of the island of Maui. He died there on August 26, 1974.

After her husband's death, Anne Morrow Lindbergh continued to publish books of her diaries and letters. She retired to Darien, Connecticut, where a series of strokes weakened her. In 1992 she discovered that a woman whom her children had hired to manage her affairs was stealing money from her. The state of Connecticut joined with the Lindbergh children in pressing charges against the woman.

For more information

Bak, Richard. Lindbergh: Triumph and Tragedy. Dallas: Taylor, 2000.

Giblin, James. Charles A. Lindbergh: A Human Hero. New York: Clarion Books, 1997.

Kent, Zachary. Charles Lindbergh and the Spirit of St. Louis. Parsippany, NJ: New Discovery Books, 1998.

Lindbergh, Charles A. The Spirit of St. Louis. New York: Scribner, 1953. Reprint, 1998.

Mosley, Leonard. Lindbergh: A Biography. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1976.

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Charles Augustus Lindbergh

Charles Augustus Lindbergh

Charles Augustus Lindbergh (1902-1974), American aviator, made the historic first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

Charles A. Lindbergh was born on February 4, 1902, in Detroit, Michigan. His father was a congressman from Minnesota (1907-1917). After attending schools in Little Falls, Minnesota, and Washington, D.C., Lindbergh enrolled in a mechanical engineering program at the University of Wisconsin. He left to study flying in Lincoln, Nebraska (1920-1922). He made his first solo flight in 1923 and thereafter made exhibition flights and short hops in the Midwest. He enrolled in the U.S. Air Service Reserve as a cadet in 1924 and graduated the next year. In 1926 he made his first flight as an airmail pilot between Chicago and St. Louis.

Lindbergh wanted to compete for the $25, 000 prize that Raymond Orteig had posted for the first nonstop flight between New York and Paris. With financial backing from St. Louis businessmen, Lindbergh had the Spirit of St. Louis built. On the first lap of his flight to New York, he traveled nonstop to St. Louis in 14 hours and 25 minutes—record-breaking time from the West Coast.

On May 20, 1927, Lindbergh took off in his silverwinged monoplane from Roosevelt Field, Long Island, bound for Le Bourget Airport outside Paris. Better-equipped and better-known aviators had failed; some had even crashed to their death. But Lindbergh succeeded. He arrived on May 21, having traveled 2, 610 miles in 33 1/2 hours. He was immediately acclaimed a hero and received numerous honors and decorations, including the Congressional Medal of Honor, the French Chevalier Legion of Honor, the Royal Air Cross (British), and the Order of Leopold (Belgium). During a 75-city American tour sponsored by the Daniel Guggenheim Foundation for the Promotion of Aeronautics, he was greeted by wild demonstrations.

In December 1927 Lindbergh flew nonstop between Washington and Mexico City and went on a goodwill trip to the Caribbean and Central America. During one tour he met Anne Spencer Morrow, the daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, and married her in 1929. The Lindberghs made many flights together. In 1931 they flew to Asia, mapping air routes to China, and two years later in a 30, 000-mile flight they explored possible trans-oceanic air routes.

In March 1932 tragedy struck the Lindbergh family when their infant son was kidnapped. A $50, 000 ransom was paid, but the baby was found dead. The nation's concern and horror resulted in legislation expanding the role of Federal government law-enforcement agencies in dealing with such crimes, specifically empowering the government to demand the death penalty for kidnapers taking victims across state lines. After the execution of the convicted murderer in 1935, the Lindberghs moved to Europe. While in France, Lindbergh worked with Alexis Carrel, an American surgeon and experimental biologist who in 1912 had won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. The two men perfected an "artificial heart and lungs, " a perfusion pump to keep organs alive outside the body by supplying blood and air to them.

In the late 1930s Lindbergh conducted various air-power surveys in Europe. He toured German aviation centers at the invitation of Nazi leader Hermann Göring and became convinced of Nazi military invincibility. Also in the 1930s he was on the Board of Directors of Pan-American World Airways. In 1939 he surveyed American airplane production as special adviser on technical matters. He performed noteworthy promotional work for aviation during this period.

Just prior to World War II, as a member of the America First Organization, Lindbergh warned that United States involvement could not prevent a German victory. He was criticized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt for radio broadcasts urging America to refrain from fighting in "other people's wars." As a result, Lindbergh resigned his commission in the U.S. Air Force. After the Japanese attack in 1941, he supported the American effort, serving as a civilian technician for aircraft companies in several theaters of war. After the war he once again became a technical adviser for the U.S. Air Force and eventually was recommissioned a brigadier general in the Air Force Reserve.

The great aviator's Nazi sympathies severely damaged his reputation in the public eye. But the popularity of his and his wife's books helped restore some of the esteem he had lost due to his infatuation with Hitler. Lindbergh wrote several accounts of his epic-making 1927 flight. We (1927) and The Spirit of St. Louis (1953), for which he received the Pulitzer Prize for biography, are interesting and modest summaries of his early life and accomplishments. With Carrel he coauthored Culture of Organs (1938), and in 1948 he wrote Of Flight and Life His later works included The Wartime Journals of Charles A, Lindbergh (1970) and Boyhood on the Upper Mississippi: A Reminiscent Letter (1972). An Autobiography of Values (1977) was published posthumously. Toward the end of his life he grew increasingly interested in the spiritual realm. He also spoke out on environmental issues. He spent his final years with his wife in a house they had built on a remote portion of the island of Maui. He died there on August 26, 1974.

After her husband's death, Anne Morrow Lindbergh continued to publish books of her diaries and letters. She retired to Darien, Connecticut, where a series of strokes sapped her of her faculties. In 1992, she was the victim of an embezzlement scam devised by a woman whom her children had hired to manage her adily affairs. The state of Connecticut joined with the Lindbergh children in pressing charges against the perpetrator.

Further Reading

The Wartime Journals of Charles A. Lindbergh was published in 1970. An early account of Lindbergh is George B. Fife, Lindbergh: The Lone Eagle (1927). Kenneth S. Davis, The Hero: Charles A. Lindbergh and the American Dream (1959), is informative and provocative and also excellent for Lindbergh's association with the America First Organization. Walter S. Ross, The Last Hero: Charles A. Lindbergh (1968), is a well-documented book, especially informative about the mysterious postkidnaping period of Lindbergh's life in the 1930s. A comprehensive biography, published soon after the famed aviator's death, is Leonard Mosley, Lindbergh: A Biography (1976). A more recent study of the famed aviator is Walter L. Hixson, Charles A. Lindbergh: Lone Eagle (1996). □

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Lindbergh, Charles

CHARLES LINDBERGH

Young and handsome, modest and daring, Charles Lindbergh was probably the first mass-media celebrity. After performing the amazing feat of flying solo from New York to Paris, France, in his small airplane in 1927, Lindbergh became an international hero, adored by millions and hounded by the press. Lindbergh gained fame not only for his flight, but because he represented qualities of adventurous boldness that were highly valued during the 1920s. It was a time of new achievements and modern inventions, and, by flying across the Atlantic Ocean, Lindbergh had opened up a new world of possibilities.

Lindbergh was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1902. His father, a lawyer, and his mother, a science teacher, raised him in the small farm community of Little Falls, Minnesota, where young Charles learned independence very early. He began driving an automobile at the age of eleven and later dropped out of the University of Wisconsin to learn to fly airplanes. He loved flying and soon had a job flying mail from St. Louis, Missouri, to Chicago, Illinois. In 1927, when a New York hotel owner offered $25,000 to the first pilot to fly alone across the Atlantic, Lindbergh was determined at once to try. On May 21, 1927, he took five sandwiches and a bottle of water in his plane, the Spirit of St. Louis, and took off from New York's Roosevelt Field.

Lindbergh had sought to win money and fame for his accomplishment, but he had no idea what awaited him. When he landed, thirty-three hours later, in Le Bourget field in Paris, over 150,000 people had gathered to greet him. From that moment on he was a public figure, and newly created forms of mass media gave Lindbergh a kind of fame that no public figure had seen before. When Lindbergh returned to the United States, President Calvin Coolidge (18721933) presented him with medals. Millionaire Harry Guggenheim (18901971) paid for Lindbergh to fly his plane on a three-month tour of the United States, where he visited 48 states and gave 149 speeches in 92 cities. He was the hero of dozens of parades. Crowds followed him wherever he went. Admirers copied his clothes; his flight started a fad of wearing leather jackets and loose aviator pants. A popular new fast dance was called the "Lindy hop," because it made the dancers feel like they were flying. Several U.S. toymakers made "Lucky Lindy" dolls that looked like Lindbergh. When he married Anne Morrow (19062001) in 1929, reporters in motorboats followed them on their honeymoon cruise. A shy person, Lindbergh tried to avoid media attention when he could. He refused many offers that could have led to more fame, such as an offer from American newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst (18631951) of $500,000 to star in movies.

Lindbergh and Anne continued to fly and to speak in favor of aviation all over the world. People were enchanted by the beautiful young couple and followed their adventures closely. However, the Lindberghs' celebrity had tragic results. In March 1932 their twenty-month-old son, Charles III, was kidnapped, and his dead body was found ten days later. Lindbergh always blamed the constant focus of the press for drawing the kidnapper's attention to his family. The kidnapping and the trial that followed it in 1934 were huge media events, followed closely by people all over the world.

Trying to escape his own fame, Lindbergh spent several years in Europe. He visited Germany frequently, and Hermann Göring (18931946), a high Nazi official, presented him with a German medal of honor. When he came back he spoke out against the United States's involvement in World War II (193945). Many people thought his speeches were pro-Nazi and anti-Jewish, and Lindbergh's popularity fell dramatically. He did join in the war effort, in the Pacific, where he went as a civilian, or non-military, adviser and managed to fly fifty combat missions.

Lindbergh spent most of the rest of his life quietly with his family, though he continued to fly and to promote air travel. A lifelong inventor, he also helped a doctor friend invent a special pump for use in organ transplants. Lindbergh died of cancer on the island of Maui in Hawaii in 1974.

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Lindbergh, Charles Augustus (1902–74, American aviator)

Charles Augustus Lindbergh, 1902–74, American aviator who made the first solo, nonstop transatlantic flight, b. Detroit; son of Charles A. Lindbergh (1859–1924). He left the Univ. of Wisconsin (1922) to study flying. After service as a flying cadet, he was commissioned (1925) in the air force reserve and later became an airmail pilot. On May 21, 1927, Lindbergh astounded the world by landing in Paris after a solo flight from New York across the Atlantic in The Spirit of St. Louis. Upon his return to the United States he received an unprecedented welcome, was promoted to colonel, and made a nationwide tour to foster popular interest in aviation.

Lindbergh married (1929) Anne Morrow (see below), the daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico Dwight W. Morrow, and with her made several long flights. After the kidnapping and death of their son (see Hauptmann, Bruno Richard) in 1932, the Lindberghs moved (1935) to England. In 1936, Lindbergh collaborated with Alexis Carrel on the invention of a perfusion pump that could maintain organs outside the body.

After inspecting (1938) European air forces, Lindbergh became convinced of German air superiority; he favored a U.S. policy of isolationism with respect to the struggle threatening in Europe. He returned (1939) to the United States and made antiwar speeches for the America First Committee. When these were branded pro-Nazi, he resigned his reserve commission and quit the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. Upon U.S. entry into the war Lindbergh offered his services to the air force; he subsequently flew combat missions in the Pacific. In his later years he emerged as a spokesman on conservation issues.

See his We (1927), Of Flight and Life (1948), The Spirit of St. Louis (1953; Pulitzer Prize), and The Wartime Journals (1970); memoir by his daughter, R. Lindbergh (1998); biographies by W. S. Ross (1968) and A. S. Berg (1998); T. Kesssner, The Flight of the Century: Charles Lindbergh and the Rise of American Aviation (2010).



His wife, Anne Spencer Morrow Lindbergh, 1906–2001, b. Englewood, N.J., grad. Smith College, 1927, was a writer and aviator. Her more than two dozen works include North to the Orient (1935) and Listen! the Wind (1938), both accounts of flights she made with her husband; The Wave of the Future (1940), a tract advocating isolationism; Gift from the Sea (1955), a poetic, highly personal, and best-selling study of the problems of women; The Unicorn and Other Poems (1956); a novel, Dearly Beloved (1962); and a volume of essays, Earth Shine (1969).

See her diaries and letters, Bring Me a Unicorn (1972), Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead (1973), Locked Rooms and Open Doors (1974), The Flower and the Nettle (1976), and War Within and Without (1980); biographies by S. Hertog (1999) and K. C. Winters (2007).

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Lindbergh, Charles

Lindbergh, Charles (1902–1974), U.S. flier, aviation consultant, author, and conservationist.An army‐trained pilot who also flew the mail, Lindbergh achieved world fame in 1927 for his New York–to–Paris flight, the first solo transatlantic air crossing. The hero was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Medal of Honor, and promoted to colonel in the Air Corps Reserve.

While in Europe in the 1930s, Lindbergh made several visits to Germany and was credited with obtaining valuable air intelligence for the United States. In 1938, the U.S. ambassador in London, Joseph Kennedy, asked Lindbergh to assess the military situation in Europe. Lindbergh argued against fighting Germany because he believed German airpower would be overwhelming.

Upon returning home in 1939, Lindbergh advised the Air Corps on its expansion. When war came in Europe, he spoke out against U.S. involvement and eventually joined the isolationist America First Committee. Denounced by President Franklin D. Roosevelt for his stand, he resigned his reserve commission. In a Des Moines speech (1941), he singled out the Roosevelt administration, the British, and the Jews as “war agitators.” The speech caused a furor in which Lindbergh was widely attacked as an anti‐Semite.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt blocked Lindbergh from serving in uniform. Nonetheless, Lindbergh joined the war effort. He became a consultant at the Willow Run bomber plant, and evaluated the F4U Corsair fighter for United Aircraft. Although a civilian, Lindbergh made his way to the Pacific and persuaded local commanders to allow him to fly in combat. He completed fifty missions and was credited with downing one Japanese plane.

Lindbergh traveled to Europe after V‐E Day to study German jets and rockets. As an air force adviser he inspected military units, helped select the Air Force Academy site in Colorado, and served six years on the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Department of Defense. In 1960, he retired as a reserve brigadier general, having been appointed to that rank in 1954.
[See also Academies, Service: U.S. Air Force Academy; Isolationism; World War II, U.S. Air Operations in: The Air War Against Japan.]

Bibliography

Charles A. Lindbergh , The Wartime Journals, 1970.
Wayne S. Cole , Charles A. Lindbergh and the Battle Against American Intervention in World War II, 1974.

Raymond H. Fredette

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Lindbergh, Charles Augustus (1859–1924, American Congressman)

Charles Augustus Lindbergh (lĬn´bûrg, lĬnd´–), 1859–1924, American Congressman (1907–17), b. Sweden; father of American aviator Charles Augustus Lindbergh. He was brought to Minnesota as an infant, and later practiced law in Little Falls, Minn. As a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives, he consistently attacked the methods of large industrial trusts and sponsored various reforms but incurred vilification by his denunciation of war propaganda and war profiteering. His outspoken book Why Is Your Country at War? (1917, repr. 1934) was suppressed and contributed to his defeat (1918) as candidate of the Nonpartisan League for the post of governor of Minnesota.

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Lindbergh, Charles Augustus

Lindbergh, Charles Augustus (1902–74) US aviator. He became an international hero when, in The Spirit of St Louis, he made the first non-stop transatlantic solo flight, from New York to Paris (1927) in 33 hours 30 minutes. In 1932, his baby son was kidnapped and murdered.

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