Americans in all walks of life and of all religions today continued to voice their protests against Charles A. Lindbergh’s effort to inject the Jewish issue into his campaign for isolationism. Catholics and Protestants alike felt that the flier’s reflection on the Jews in his speech in Des Moines was unworthy and un-American.
Members of the clergy throughout the country sharply condemned Lindbergh for his slur on the Jews, and the press outspokenly accused the flier of inciting racial hatred. General Robert E. Wood, head of the America First Committee which sponsored the Des Moines meeting at which Lindbergh delivered his address, was asked to disavow, personally or in behalf of the America First Committee, the anti-Semitic attack made by the flier so as to clear himself of the responsibility for Lindbergh’s outpourings against the Jews.
Leading in the clergy’s fight against Lindbergh’s anti-Jewish assertions were the churchmen of the nation’s capital. Pastors of every church in Washington deplored the fact that the flier raised a racial issue in the discussion of America’s national problems. The same sentiments were expressed by Church leaders in almost every large city from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Rev. Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr, of the Union Theological Seminary, sent telegrams to twenty members of the America First Committee urging them to disassociate themselves from any action to incite racial and religious strife in this country.
AMERICA FIRST COMMITTEE TO MEET
Gen. Robert E. Wood, chairman of the America First Committee, stated that he will issue no statement for himself or the Committee “until after the Committee meets and takes up the matter.” “We are trying to get the National Committee ready for a meeting today, if possible,” he said.
Dorothy Thompson, famous columnist, charged Lindbergh with “playing the game of America’s enemies in typical Nazi fashion by making the Jews the scapegoats.” Francis E. McMahon, vice-president of the Catholic Association for International Peace, assailing Lindbergh’s attack on the Jews challenged the flier to a debate. Lewis W. Douglas, chairman of the policy group of the Committee to Defend America linked Lindbergh’s anti-Jewish allegations with the “characteristics of Nazism.”
Dr. Frank Kingdom, chairman of the New York Fight for Freedom Committee, addressing a gathering, denounced Lindbergh’s “voice of prejudice, intolerance and hatred.” District Attorney Thomas E. Dewey of New York, speaking before an audience of 2,500 at a picnic of the Republican party sharply challenged Lindbergh’s attack on Jews as “an inexcusable abuse of the right of freedom of speech which every American, regardless of his views, will wholly reject.”
PRESS CONTINUES TO ATTACK LINDBERGH
W.W.Waymack, editorial director of the Des Moines Register and Tribune, speaking on the radio over the Mutual Broadcasting System said: “Anti-Semitism has been fomented as a weapon of Nazi conquest, or of just dividing a potential resisting nation. This policy shows appalling irresponsibility on the part of the meal who would lead in the determining of national policies. I repudiate it. I think America does. But it is to be noted that no repudiation of this whole line has as yet come from the top isolationists. Until repudiated this stands as more then the special responsibility of a single isolationist leader and is far more ominous there fore.”
The New York Journal-American, a Hearst paper, wrote: “The raising of the racial issue by Charles A. Lindbergh in his Des Moines, Iowa, speech is the most unfortunate happening that has occurred in the United States since the present tense international situation developed. The assertion that the Jews are pressing this country into war is unwise, unpatriotic, and un-American. This astonishing statement, at total variance with the facts, is in nowise softened by Mr. Lindbergh’s condemnation further on in his speech of the atrocities committed against the Jews by the Nazis in Germany.”
The St. Louis Post Dispatch commented: “There is no place now, any more than ever before, for fomenting religious feeling in the United States. When freedom of religion-and therefore freedom from abuse because of one’s religious beliefs – is no longer a cardinal American tenet, our democracy will be gone.”
The Rochester Times-Union stated: “Every influence for tolerance and better understanding in these United States should resent Mr. Lindbergh’s attack on the Jews and condemn him for making it. We want nothing of Nazism in America. We want nothing of the anti-Semitism which can now number Mr. Lindbergh as its most distinguished American convert.
The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, commenting on Lindbergh said: “His charge that Jews as such, any more than Presbyterians, Methodists, Catholics or Unitarians, were a definite factor in American policy was an acceptance of a category that only Nazi propaganda accepts.”
The Newark Star-Ledger in an editorial declared: “Lindbergh’s comment on the Jews in his Des Moines speech was unworthy of a here. Lindbergh said that the Jews of America were seeking to splurge America into war in order to avenge themselves on Hitler. He offered no evidence. He merely deduced and inferred. He reasoned that since Hitler’s treatment of the Jews has been savage, they are necessarily desirous of revenge.”
Other newspapers from all parts of the country commented in similar vein.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.