Charles Lindbergh did not believe the United States should take part in the war. He made many speeches calling for the United States to remain neutral. He said he did not think the other countries of Europe could defeat the strong military forces of Germany. He said the answer was a negotiated peace.
President Franklin Roosevelt did not agree. A Congressman speaking for the president called Lindbergh an enemy of his country. Many people also criticized Lindbergh for not returning a medal of honor he received from Nazi Germany. Charles Lindbergh no longer was America's hero.
Lindbergh stopped calling for American neutrality two years later, when Japan attacked the United States navy base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The attack brought America into the war.
Lindbergh spent the war years as an advisor to companies that made American warplanes. He also helped train American military pilots. Although he was a civilian, he flew about fifty combat flights.
Lindbergh loved flying. But flying was not his only interest. While living in France, he worked with a French doctor to develop a mechanical heart. He helped scientists to discover Maya Indian ruins in Mexico. He became interested in the cultures of people from African countries and from the Philippines. And he led campaigns to make people understand the need to protect nature and the environment.
Charles Lindbergh died in Nineteen-Seventy-Four, once again recognized as an American hero. President Gerald Ford said Lindbergh represented all that was best in America: honesty, courage and the desire to succeed.
Today, "The Spirit of St. Louis," the plane Lindbergh flew to Paris hangs in the Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. And the man who flew it, Charles Lindbergh, remains a symbol of the skill and courage that opened the skies to human flight.