Lucky Lindy by Eric Lipps
says: what if Charles Lindbergh ran as a Republican Candidate? Please
note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the
views of the author(s).
On May 20th, 1927:
Charles A. Lindbergh set out on the first solo nonstop
trans-Atlantic airplane flight, from New York to Paris.
Part OneUpon his
successful landing the next day, Lindbergh became an instant world hero. His
celebrity would be compounded by the tragic kidnapping of his son and by his
collaboration with physician-inventor Alexis Carrel in developing a
perfusion pump which could keep organs alive outside the body.
In the late 1930s, Lindbergh became convinced that Nazi Germany possessed
unbeatable air superiority and began speaking out in favor of U.S.
isolationism in the face of the threat of another war in Europe. By 1939,
however, he had begun distancing himself from groups such as the America
First Committee, which had sought to recruit him as a spokesman and even a
third-party presidential candidate. Instead, Lindbergh explored a
presidential run as either a Democrat or a Republican. When it became clear
that President Franklin Roosevelt planned to run for an unprecedented third
term, Lindbergh chose the Republicans - who were more than happy to have
him, given the colorlessness of such leading GOP contenders as Thomas E.
Dewey and Wendell Willkie. Lindbergh easily captured the GOP presidential
nomination, choosing Willkie as his running mate in a ticket-balancing
The fall campaign was brutal. FDR's partisans did not shy away from hinting
that Lindbergh, who in addition to his vocal isolationism had paid a
high-profile visit to Germany in 1938 and received the Commander Cross of
the Order of the German Eagle from Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering.
Lindbergh's partisans retaliated with stories of alleged marital infidelity
on the part of the President, insinuations that his health was deteriorating
and bitter attacks on his political program. Lindbergh himself made several
speeches suggesting that FDR wanted to involve America in what, by then, had
gone from a mere threat of war to an actual conflict in which the famed
aviator's concerns about German air power seemed to have been borne out.
On November 5th, 1940:
Americans went to the polls bitterly divided. Roosevelt
had the support of liberals and many moderates, but Lindbergh was far more
popular with conservatives, especially in the South, where he had made a
point of campaigning on assurances that he would not meddle with white
supremacy or listen to "advisers whose background is alien to our Christian
American traditions", a thinly veiled reference to Jews.
also had the backing of powerful industrialists, among them the aging Henry
Ford, who had been feted in Germany shortly after the candidate, and Thomas
B. Watson of International Business Machines, whose company had established
a booming business providing the third Reich's bureaucracy with tabulating
machines. Lindbergh's slogan, "Real Jobs for a Strong America", was both a
slam at the make-wok character of many of the jobs provided by such New Deal
agencies as the Civilian Conservation Corps and an advertisement for his
"America Invincible" program, a massive military buildup aimed at making the
U.S. too strong militarily for any foreign power to dare attack, and this
free to remain isolated from the growing storm abroad.
That this program was likely to cost as least as much as the New Deal and
result in even greater expansion of governmental power counted less with
many on the right than getting "That Man," as they called FDR, out of the
Oval Office. Lindbergh also shrewdly appealed to those, mainly but not
exclusively on the right, who were troubled by Roosevelt's decision to break
the two-term tradition George Washington had begun, stoking fear and anger
by asking repeatedly whether FDR ever intended to leave office at all. FDR's
refusal to take the bait by promising that this would be his last race only
seemed to make the aviator-hero's point for him.
It would be six A.M. the following morning before the results were in:
Lindbergh had eked out a narrow victory, and would become the thirty-third
President of the United States of America. In the euphoria of the moment,
"Lucky Lindy" had no idea that his cherished dream of an invulnerable
America standing aloof from the world was already under siege, on an island
named Peenemunde and in the work of German physicists exploring the
frightening implications of a discovery made in late December of 1938.
says this story was originally posted on
Zach's Blog. To
view guest historian's comments on this post please visit the Today in
Alternate History web site for
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Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit
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