Lindbergh's Fort Wayne speech (10-3-41)

3.10, Lindbergh's Fort Wayne speech V Norman

Portion of the speech:

When I speak to you, here in Fort Wayne tonight, I realize that it may be my last address. How much longer free speech will be possible in the United States, I do not know. But I do know that an administration, which can throw this country into an undeclared naval war, against the will of our people and without asking the consent of Congress, can by similar methods prevent freedom of speech among us. There are many signs that such actions may be taken in the near future with as little warning as accompanied the occupation of Iceland.

Those of us who oppose war do not know from one week to the next what censorship we will be subjected to. Pressure of every sort is brought to bear upon us. We find lecture halls closed to our speakers while the doors are wide open, even to foreigners who abdicate war. We find propaganda from Moscow in the banner headlines of most of our newspapers, while the facts and arguments against war are relegated to the back pages, if they are printed at all. Smear campaigns are organized against everyone who opposes intervention. When our arguments cannot be answered by logic, they are answered by bombasts.

If we have friends on the government payroll, we hesitate to be seen talking to them. Because we know, that as in the totalitarian countries, they may lose their jobs as a result. Even the newsreels are cut to distort the true facts of the war and the true stand of those of us who oppose intervention.

Now, the cry is being raised that in order to protect freedom and democracy throughout the world freedom of speech must be withheld at home. And so tonight, while I hope it may not be the case I shall speak to you as though this were my last address and I shall discuss the conditions which confront us and the procedure I believe we should follow if free speech ends in America.

If free speech ends in this country, it means that we are no longer a free people. It means that we are about to enter dictatorship and probably a foreign war. It means that we will be forced to do this against the will of our people.

Audio:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (October 4, 1941)

LINDBERGH SEES BALLOT SYSTEM PERILED

May be no election next year, flier says in Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne, Ind., Oct. 3 (AP) –
Charles A. Lindbergh asserted tonight before a capacity crowd in Gospel Tabernacle here that “the time has come when we must consider” whether there will be any elections next year.

He said:

Such a condition may not be many steps ahead on the road our President is taking us.

Earlier in his address, he expressed fear for freedom of speech in this country and charged that President Roosevelt and his administration:

…have been treating our Congress more and more as the German Reichstag has been treated under the Nazi regime.

Lindbergh said:

Congress, like the Reichstag, is not consulted.

Hall jammed by 4,000

The temple, with a seating capacity of 4,000, was filled 45 minutes before the scheduled start of the program, sponsored by the America First Committee. Doors were closed as soon as the hall was filled, and a special police detail stood guard.

It was the aviator’s first speech since his September 11 Des Moines address, in which he linked the British, the Jews and the Roosevelt administration as forces pressing the United States toward war. In tonight’s prepared speech, he did not mention the Jews.

Pleading again for “a destiny for America that is independent of these everlasting European conflicts,” Charles A. Lindbergh asserted tonight that the present generation’s American heritage has been destroyed by:

…the false promises of the interventionists and of our administration in Washington.

Fears for free speech

He said:

They [the interventionists] dare not tell us that to crush Germany means to invader Europe and that to invade Europe probably means the most devastating war of all history.

At another point, he said:

We must face the fact that you and I and our generation have lost our American heritage. It is no longer simply a case of defending it. It is a case of rebuilding it.

The speech, to which admittance was by ticket only, was broadcast over the NBC Blue Network. A special force of police was on duty at the temple. It was the aviator’s first platform appearance since his controversial speech.

Through an error in the program departments of WJAS and KQV, the Lindbergh address was listed for broadcasting over WJAS last night, The talk was broadcast by KQV.

Lindbergh said the address might be his last because he feared for the right of freedom of speech. He asserted that:

…an administration, which can throw this country into an undeclared naval war, against the will of our people and without asking the consent of Congress, can by similar methods prevent freedom of speech among us.

His "steps toward war"

He spoke of the closing of lecture halls too, and smear campaigns against “everyone who opposes intervention,” and said:

If we have friends on the government payroll, we hesitate to be seen talking to them. Because we know, that as in the totalitarian countries, they may lose their jobs as a result.

He denied that the will of the people was behind the national administration’s “steps toward war,” saying:

When the majority of Americans approved lifting the arms embargo, when they approved the transfer of battleships to England, when they approved the “Lease-Lend” bill, and all those other steps “short of war,” they approved them because the administration said that these were steps to increase the security of our nation, and to decrease the likelihood of war.

In other words, the people believed what was told them by their President and his administration… They had implicit faith in the promises of the President and his administration. They believed, and now they find they have been deceived.

Attacks "false promises"

Lindbergh continued:

The interventionists claim we have reached our present position by taking steps which the majority of the people approved of, and that therefore the will of the people has prevailed. The fact is that we have reached this position by following the false promises of the interventionists, and of our administration in Washington. Not one step the administration has taken in these last two years was placed honestly before the people as a step toward war.

The interventionist leaders knew that not one step could have been taken if it had been placed honestly before the people as a step toward war. And so they consciously and deceptively called them steps “short of war,” and for the purpose of American defense.

Asserting that the United States is “following a road which involves the abandonment of our most fundamental customs and traditions,” Lindbergh continued:

I believe it is now too late for us to avoid going through in an American way what the nations of Europe have been going through in a European way. We are about to meet the greatest test since the Civil War, and possibly the greatest test in our history. How we survive this test depends on our vision, our character and our courage.

He asked:

What if there are no elections next year?

The time has come when we must consider even that. Such a condition may not be many steps ahead on the road our President is taking us. I can only say that there is still, deep within this country, the spirit that built America; and on that, in the last analysis, we must rely.

SEES LINDBERGH IN FÜHRER ROLE

Washington, Oct. 3 (AP) –
Senator Pepper (D-FL) said that the address of Charles A. Lindbergh at Fort Wayne, Ind., tonight made clear that the flier proposes to be the “führer of the United States.”

In a statement on Lindbergh’s address, Pepper asserted:

He is following the same path, the same argument and the same policies Hitler followed in Germany. His highway to power will be by arousing the people against their government and making them believe he is their only savior; by denunciation and persecution of the Jews, by stirring up class and race prejudices, and by drawing to his side the ambitious and the misguided people and deluded men of money.

The New York Times (October 4, 1941)

LINDBERGH CALLS '42 VOTE MENACED

He tells rally at Fort Wayne we now have one-man rule, with free speech imperiled

Fort Wayne, Ind., Oct. 3 –
Charles A. Lindbergh tonight told a rally sponsored by the America First Committee that President Roosevelt was leading the United States along a road which, “not many steps ahead,” might involve the suspension of the Congressional elections in 1942.

Speaking in Gospel Tabernacle, in an address nationally broadcast over NBC, Mr. Lindbergh charged that the country was already in fact:

…governed by one man who has consistently evaded the checks and balances on which representative government depends – a man who is drawing more and more dictatorial powers into his own hands.

He said:

We must face the fact that you and I and our generation have lost our American heritage.

…adding that freedom of speech and freedom of assembly lay under a threat which war would carry to its completion.

He continued:

If the time comes when we can no longer meet face to face as free men in a free country, we will meet together at the elections next year and, by our vote, clasp hands though we be a thousand miles apart.

But what if there are no elections next year?

The time has come when we must consider even that. Such a condition may not be many steps ahead on the road our President is taking us. I can only say that there is still, deep within this country, the spirit that built America; and on that, in the last analysis, we must rely. That spirit burns in men and women like you here tonight and that spirit is the strength and hope of our nation.

Says speech may be his last

Charging that “pressure” and “censorship” had been brought to bear against those opposing war, Mr. Lindbergh told his audience that he realized the speech might be his last address.

He said:

How much longer free speech will be possible in the United States, I do not know. But I do know that an administration, which can throw this country into an undeclared naval war, against the will of our people and without asking the consent of Congress, can by similar methods prevent freedom of speech among us. There are many signs that such actions may be taken in the near future with as little warning as accompanied the occupation of Iceland.

Those of us who oppose war do not know from one week to the next what censorship we will be subjected to. Pressure of every sort is brought to bear upon us. We find lecture halls closed to our speakers while the doors are wide open, even to foreigners who abdicate war. We find propaganda from Moscow in the banner headlines of most of our newspapers, while the facts and arguments against war are relegated to the back pages, if they are printed at all. Smear campaigns are organized against everyone who opposes intervention. When our arguments cannot be answered by logic, they are answered by bombast and calumny.

If we have friends on the government payroll, we hesitate to be seen talking to them. Because we know, that as in the totalitarian countries, they may lose their jobs as a result. Even the newsreels are cut to distort the true facts of the war and the true stand of those of us who oppose intervention.

Now, the cry is being raised that in order to protect freedom and democracy throughout the world freedom of speech must be withheld at home…

If free speech ends in this country, it means that we are no longer a free people. It means that we are about to enter dictatorship and probably a foreign war. It means that we will be forced to do this against the will of our people.

Mr. Lindbergh asserted that despite the Democratic Party platform at the last presidential election and President Roosevelt’s “actual promises of peace, stated again and again,” the administration “had not missed a single chance” to bring the United States closer to war.

He declared:

They have not only turned their backs upon their campaign promises, but they have been treating our Congress more and more as the German Reichstag has been treated under the Nazi regime. Congress, like the Reichstag, is not consulted. As a nation, we have been led along like children, with sugared promises and candied pills.

Declares facts are hidden

Meanwhile, he said, the interventionists did not dare to present “the facts” of what American participation in the war might involve – the conversion of the United States into “a military state on standards similar to those of Germany herself,” an army of “at least 10,000,000 men” and the eventual probability of “conditions in our own country far worse than those we went abroad to fight against.”

He said:

This is the picture that the interventionist leaders will not show you. Some of them do not show it because they cannot or will not face it themselves. Others will not show it because they know if you saw it, you would not accept it. They dare not put the issue clearly, and they dare not put it to your vote.

While they claim to be the defenders of democracy, in reality, they are afraid of it. They are afraid to put democracy to a test right here in their own country; otherwise they would put the issue of war or peace to Congress or to a referendum of the people.

Mr. Lindbergh defended his record in isolationist addresses over the past two years, asserting:

I do not know of a single statement I have made that has been proved false.

What I have said has been distorted, sentences have been removed from their context, motives and meanings have been falsely ascribed and words have been inserted that I never used, but the original record is there and on that I stand.

In making these address, I have had no motive in mind other than the welfare of my country and my civilization. This is not a life that I enjoy. Speaking is not my vocation and political life is not my ambition. For the past several years, I have given up my normal life and interests: first, to study the conditions in Europe which brought on this war and, second, to oppose American intervention.

I have done this because I believe my country is in mortal danger and because I could not stand by and see her going to destruction without pitting everything I had against that trend. I am moved by no personal interest or animosity. I do not speak out of hate for any individuals or people. But neither have I tried to avoid facts in order to have my speeches politically popular.

I have tried and I shall continue to try as long as it is possible to give you the truth without prejudice and without passion.