Charles Lindbergh, the Nazis and American isolationism

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Charles Lindbergh is best known for being the first person to fly solo nonstop across the Atlantic in 1927. He earned more tragic notoriety a few years later when his son was kidnapped and killed in a case that gripped the US.

What many Americans forget is the central role Lindbergh played in the isolationist movement in the years leading up to the US entry into World War II. Lindbergh, Nazis and US isolationism

Author Lynne Olson argues that is because we tend to focus on what happened after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor when the "greatest generation" fought what is looked back on as "the good war".

In Those Angry Days she shows how divided America was between 1939-41, calling the political debate over the US role in the war the most violent of the 20th Century.

While President Franklin Roosevelt wanted to intervene to help the British in the fight against Germany, Lindbergh championed the isolationist cause.

Although Lindbergh was unashamedly pro-German and an anti-Semite, Olson told the BBC he was no Nazi sympathiser.

Produced by the BBC's Bill McKenna, Sune Engel Rasmussen and Marc Georges; edited by Bill McKenna. Video courtesy of British Pathe, archive.org and BBC library.

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