Can’t We All Just – Stop Calling the San Diego Airport After an Anti-Semite and Nazi-Lover?

by on September 13, 2019 · 11 comments

in San Diego

Originally posted on Sept. 13, 2019

There it was – the “L” word on the agenda of a local Ocean Beach community organization announcing a presentation about Terminal One by Airport Authority representatives. Ugh! “Lindbergh” as in Charles Lindbergh and as in “Lindbergh Field,” the San Diego Airport’s former name.

But ol’ Charles Lindbergh was an anti-Semite and Nazi-lover. So, can we all just stop calling the San Diego Airport after him? After someone who gushed antisemitism in his speeches and who was a big fan of Adolf Hitler and of Nazi Germany.

It’s not easy, I admit, to stop using titles that everyone’s used for decades. I slip up myself once in a while – but lately have been catching myself. Lori Weisberg, a well-known writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune, used the “L-word” about a year ago in an article about the airport. When I saw it, I was repulsed.

Then there’s the blinders of those who write about Lindbergh and never mention his dark side. Back in 2017, the San Diego Union-Tribune published a bunch of “rare, never-before-published photographic images of Charles Lindbergh on his way to becoming Charles Lindbergh,” while he was training in San Diego, photos that had been “hiding in storage for 90 years.” I scanned the May 7, 2017 article by John Wilkens for a paragraph about Lindbergh’s later controversies and found none, not a word – not even a hint.

It was of course in mid-May, 1927, that Lindbergh made the first-ever nonstop solo airplane flight across the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Paris, a total of 3,610 miles and he made it in 33 hours. The flight certainly  “turned him into one of the most famous and admired people on Earth,” … for a while at least. And voters in San Diego were so taken in by the young pilot and his local connections, that they passed a bond issue to pay for construction of an airport that would be called Lindbergh Field. And local enthusiasm and identification with the famous dude who flew “The Spirit of St. Louis” manufactured here in San Diego has apparently not waned – even though a few years later during the years leading up to World War II, Lindbergh’s fame would be severely tarnished.

For, there’s no doubt that Lindbergh had a dark side.

Just over a year ago, Kinsee Morlan at the Voice of San Diego, examined how “over the last several years, the Airport Authority dropped the Lindbergh Field name and removed a large mural of Charles Lindbergh, suggesting it was moving away from the aviation hero, who had a history of anti-Semitic and racist views.” Morlan wrote:

Charles Lindbergh was an aviation hero – and an anti-Semite and Nazi sympathizer. … The airport removed a large outdoor mural of Lindbergh a few years ago, suggesting the public agency that runs the facility was moving away from him. … In 1927, Lindbergh became a national hero when he made the first-ever solo nonstop transatlantic flight … Over the years, he also made anti-Semitic statements and, in his own speeches, diaries and letters, has discussed his support of eugenics and the superiority of the white race.

From KPBS on Anti-Semitism:

By 1939, the anti-Semites had two causes: keeping America out of the European war, and keeping European Jews out of America. And they had two famous men in their ranks.

Henry Ford was a true rags-to-riches hero. He was also an anti-Semite, who railed incessantly against “the Jewish plan to control the world” in his newspaper, the Dearborn Independent …

The other famous American was Charles Lindbergh, who may have been an anti-Semite, but most certainly claimed publicly that Jews were trying, partly through their ownership of the media, to draw America into the war. Lindbergh represented America First, the powerful isolationist organization that, in fact, ejected Henry Ford for his anti-Semitic views.

Here’s a sample of Lindbergh’s beliefs regarding the white race in a 1939 article in Reader’s Digest:

We can have peace and security only so long as we band together to preserve that most priceless possession, our inheritance of European blood, only so long as we guard ourselves against attack by foreign armies and dilution by foreign races.

Here’s one of his diary entries:

We must limit to a reasonable amount the Jewish influence … Whenever the Jewish percentage of total population becomes too high, a reaction seems to invariably occur. It is too bad because a few Jews of the right type are, I believe, an asset to any country.

He believed the survival of the white race was more important than the survival of democracy in Europe:

“Our bond with Europe is one of race and not of political ideology.”

“Racial strength is vital; politics, a luxury”.

At the time in the run-up to World War II and during, Lindbergh was suspected of being a Nazi sympathizer. His speeches and writings on race and religion similar to those of the Nazis; his many trips to Nazi Germany; his belief in eugenics. Apparently, Lindbergh loved Nazi Germany so much, he had planned to move to Berlin for the winter of 1938–39. But the first house he had found, he decided not to move in as it had been formerly owned by Jews. His Nazi friends encouraged him to call up ol’ Albert Speer, and Speer promised to build the Lindberghs a house anywhere they wanted.

As Europe was already at war in 1940, Lindbergh became the national spokesman of the non-interventionist America First Committee, which sought to keep America out of the war. In his speeches in public and on the radio, he argued that America had no business attacking Germany.  Later, he wrote:

I was deeply concerned that the potentially gigantic power of America, guided by uninformed and impractical idealism, might crusade into Europe to destroy Hitler without realizing that Hitler’s destruction would lay Europe open to the rape, loot and barbarism of Soviet Russia’s forces, causing possibly the fatal wounding of western civilization.

In 1941, before Congress as he opposed the the Lend-Lease bill, Lindbergh proposed that the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Germany. This was publicly condemned and described as views as those of a “defeatist and appeaser” by President Franklin Roosevelt.  Lindbergh – who had conducted some information-gathering for the US military prior to the war –  promptly resigned his commission as a colonel in the U.S. Army Air Corps.

At an America First rally in September, Lindbergh accused three groups of “pressing this country toward war; the British, the Jewish, and the Roosevelt Administration”.

Their [Jewish people] greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government.

San Diego hasn’t been the only city in the country with an airport named after ‘what’s his name.’

Ten years ago, people in Minneapolis wanted to get rid of the airport’s Lindbergh name. The airport management decided to install new signage and many felt that it was “an ideal opportunity to eliminate the Lindbergh name from all prominently displayed signs. …  For many people, seeing the name ‘Lindbergh’ on public signs makes them cringe.”

Citizens of the city believed that, “Despite his contributions to aviation and land conservation, many Americans can’t forget what he didn’t do: recant the anti-Semitic language he spewed prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor.”

His cold, isolationist views led President Franklin Roosevelt’s Secretary of the Interior, Harold Ickes, to suggest he have a heart transplant, and earned him the nicknames Lone Eagle and Lone Ostrich.

Besides a disclosure decades later that Lindbergh had had two mistresses in Germany and had fathered three children with one – all the while being married to Anne Morrow Lindbergh, a famous writer in her own right (their marriage drove her to seek psychiatric care), Lindbergh was fascinated with eugenics.

Briefly, eugenics is a set of beliefs and practices that aim to improve the genetic quality of a human population by excluding certain genetic groups judged to be inferior, and promoting other genetic groups judged to be superior. The superior genetic groups are white, European – and you can guess the rest.

In a 1966 letter to his daughter, Lindbergh wrote:

“If I had to choose but one thing I could impress on my children from whatever wisdom I have gained in life it would be the importance of genetics in mating.”

Because of all this history, public agencies e are being asked to erase Lindbergh’s name and likeness from public view.

Okay, so the mural of the aviator was removed and the airport has a new, different and official name. Yet the Airport Authority has just installed a bronze statue of Lindbergh – “Charles A. Lindbergh: The Boy and the Man”. As their website says:

The Man” depicts a handsome, 25-year-old Lindbergh: tall, confident, introspective. Wearing his leather aviator’s jacket, sturdy shoes and a calf-length pants, he carries his aviator’s cap in one hand; the other hand is extended: this is the young Charles Lindbergh the world welcomed as a hero in 1927

No mention – or even hint, of course, that ol’ Charles baby had a deep, anti-Semetic past.

So, officialdom San Diego no longer refers to the airport as Lindbergh. It’s time for the rest of us to do the same. Stop calling the San Diego International Airport after an anti-Semite and Nazi-lover. As the folks in Minneapolis understand:

Naming public spaces after human beings is always a risky endeavor, but remaining silent after learning the truth is perpetuating false hero worship. It’s time to take the halo off Charles Lindbergh and tell our children that a lying, polygamist hypocrite and Nazi sympathizer is not someone they should aspire to emulate.

A source: Wikipedia


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

micporte September 15, 2019 at 5:41 am

most admiration for Dr. Seuss, too bad he wasn’t president at the time, but at least he taught several generations of Americans to read, with his intelligent, funny, incisive, simple books, he is in super high heaven now, maybe we should name airport after him… or better yet, as is the $an Diego way, sell the name to the highest bidder, year after year…


micporte September 15, 2019 at 5:48 am

you are still buying appliances and cars from retro-nazis corporate supporters, you stupid $an Diegans, ex: Mercedes, the triple-tip motto is in remembrance of the propellers that they fabricated for the nazi regime, then banned from them forever, so they made cars… dumb rich asses


micporte September 15, 2019 at 6:06 am

here is the first comment that I wrote, that didn’t seem to make it through the loops;
judge not, lest ye be judged..
it is hard to judge someone of the past in their context, a lot of people were supporting hitler, especially industrialists of the world, including Joseph Kennedy, father of John, to profit of the war industry, our current US war industry, in our humble country, is in the billions… lindberg, hero one day, victim the next, if anything the guy was courageous and innovative, not a defense, just a statement, and San Diego is homeland to pioneer aviation history, so, you be the judge, I cannot


Will September 15, 2019 at 6:09 am

It is interesting how someone like Lindbergh can go from hero to zero in a decade. How do people develop such crazy thoughts about others?

Can we acknowledge someone’s heroic deeds on one hand, and then reconcile their support of a murderous regime on the other? A conundrum for sure.

And let’s not forget we have a similar situation today. One of our presidential candidates is an apologist for the former Soviet Union. He actually honeymooned in the Soviet Union back in the day and he still sings their praises. The conundrum there is that the Soviets murdered tens of millions of their citizens for thinking wrong thoughts, yet this presidential candidate can’t confess that his support for the murderous communist dictatorship was wrong.

People are curious critters.


Socali Chris September 15, 2019 at 10:56 am

Do you know if any plan to change the name of Lindbergh elementary school?


Hopper Moss September 15, 2019 at 11:59 am

For a second there, I thought they changed the name of our airport to Ilhan Omar (D-Minn) International or Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich)Field.


Vern September 15, 2019 at 5:52 pm

Or Randy “Duke” Cunningham International Airfield.
(Apparently “Top-Gun Duke” is out of jail now and available for photo ops).


Carl January 3, 2020 at 5:41 pm

It hasn’t been called Lindbergh Field since 2003.


Frank Gormlie January 7, 2020 at 10:30 am

Newscasters and reporters still slip and call it after the anti-Semite.


kh January 7, 2020 at 3:04 pm

I don’t think historical figures should be judged based on today’s social standards.


Geoff Page January 8, 2020 at 12:12 pm

Gotta take issue with that one. His actions were contrary to the social standards of his own day.


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