Regarding Charles Lindbergh's 1941 Radio Address; what historical precedents did Lindbergh cite to support his position?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Consistent with his approach to stay out of the war, Lindbergh took a couple of historical tracts to defend his point of view.  The first was pragmatic in that he argued that American forces could not beat the Germans.  His analysis was rooted in the visits he had made to Germany and the experiences he had while being a political guest of the Nazi government.  Lindbergh was considerably impressed with the German air force and what he believed to be "German work ethic."  He felt that the landlocked nature of Germany made it impossible for the Americans to launch an amphibious attack.  Another precedent Lindbergh cited did smack of Anti- Semitism.  In late summer of 1941, Lindbergh argued the following:  "Their greatest danger lies in [the Jews’] large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our Government. We cannot blame them for looking out for what they believe to be their interests, but we also must look out for ours."  This was one of those statements that revealed a presence, valid or not, of anti- Semitic tendencies that many of the isolationist movements possessed of the time period.  A few years earlier, Lindbergh wrote in a diary entry:  "a few Jews add strength and character to our country, but too many create chaos. And we are getting too many. This present immigration will have a reaction”  This type of sentiment emerged in his radio address in 1941, a few months before Pearl Harbor, making most of what Lindbergh said a moot point.

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