Carrying a pistol visible in a shoulder holster, Lindbergh attended the trial in January 1935, sitting just a few seats away from the accused. After
Hauptmann's conviction and move for an appeal, Eleanor Roosevelt oddly and gratuitously weighed in, second- guessing the jury and announcing that she was a
"little perturbed" that an innocent man might have been found guilty. But the conviction stood, and Hauptmann would be executed in the electric chair in
In December 1935, in the wake of the trial, Charles and Anne, harassed and sometimes terrified by intrusive reporters as well as by would- be blackmailers,
fled to Europe with their 3-year-old son, Jon. "America Shocked by Exile Forced on the Lindberghs" read the three-column headline on the front page of the New York Times.
Would the crowd- shy Lindbergh and his wife find a calm haven in Europe? The Old World also has its gangsters, commented a French newspaper columnist,
adding that Europe "suffers from an additional disquieting force, for there everyone is saying, 'There is going to be war soon.'" The Nazi press, however,
took a different stance. "As Germans," wrote the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung with an absence of irony, "we cannot understand that a civilized
nation is not able to guarantee the safety of the bodies and lives of its citizens."
For several years the Lindberghs enjoyed life in Europe, first in England, in a house in the hills near Kent, and later on a small, rocky island off the
coast of Brittany. In the summer of 1936, the couple visited Germany, where they were wined and dined by Hermann Goering, second only to Hitler in the Nazi
hierarchy, and other members of the party elite. Goering personally led Lindbergh on an inspection tour of aircraft factories, an elite Luftwaffe squadron,
and research facilities. The American examined new engines for dive bombers and combat planes and even took a bomber up in the air. It was a "privilege" to
visit modern Germany, the awestruck Lindbergh said afterward, showering praise on "the genius this country has shown in developing airships." Photographers
snapped pictures of Charles and his wife, relaxed and smiling in Goering's home. Lindbergh's reports on German aviation overflowed with superlatives about
"the astounding growth of German air power," "this miraculous outburst of national energy in the air field," and the "scientific skill of the race
." The aviator, however, showed no interest in speaking with foreign correspondents in Germany, "who have a perverse liking for enlightening visitors on
the Third Reich," William Shirer dryly noted.
In Berlin, Lindbergh's wife, Anne, was blinded by the glittering façade of a Potemkin village. She was enchanted by "the sense of festivity, flags hung
out, the Nazi flag, red with a swastika on it, everywhere, and the Olympic flag, five rings on white." The Reich's dynamism was so impressive.
"There is no question of the power, unity and purposefulness of Germany," she wrote effusively to her mother, adding that Americans surely needed to
overcome their knee-jerk, "puritanical" view that dictatorships were "of necessity wrong, evil, unstable." The enthusiasm and pride of the people were
"thrilling." Hitler himself, she added on a dreamy, romantic note, "is a very great man, like an inspired religious leader-- and as such rather fanatical--
but not scheming, not selfish, not greedy for power, but a mystic, a visionary who really wants the best for his country and on the whole has
rather a broad view."