Lindbergh and the first Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua

Researching the way Lindbergh was depicted in editorial cartoons in the 1920s, I ran across this terrific website prepared by Michael Schroeder, professor of history at Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania, about the Sandino Revolution in Nicaragua.

One section of the website– “AirToons”-– is a gallery of editorial cartoons, mostly from US newspapers, criticizing the air war conducted by US armed forces in 1927 and 1928 against the rebels in Nicaragua, led by Augusto Sandino.   Many of the cartoons reference Lindbergh, usually in an ironic way, drawing a contrast between the uplifting “aviation achievements” he represented and the gruesome destructive power of aerial bombardment of rebel-held towns by US Marine aircraft.  [The cartoon here is from the Louisville Courier-Journal, 21 July 1927, and is entitled “Another American Aviation Achievement,” and refers to the Marine aerial bombing of Ocotal days earlier.  The sign at the bottom says: “200 Nicaraguans Killed.”]

Charles Lindbergh actually visited Nicaragua at the height of the rebellion in January 1928 as part of his “Goodwill Tour” of Central America and the Caribbean.  The “aerial diplomacy” tour was a public-relations extravaganza conceived by the American ambassador to Mexico, Dwight Morrow, in the wake of the ecstatic welcome Lindbergh, flying the Spirit of St. Louis, had received during his August-September 1927 tour of all 48 states.  (Morrow was the father of Anne Spencer Morrow, who met Lindbergh during his sojourn to Mexico CIty, and later became his bride.)

In this cartoon, from the January 6, 1928, edition of the Detroit News, a US Marine is telling a “Nicaraguan citizen” who is fleeing in terror from an approaching airplane, that “Lindy doesn’t carry bombs.”

2 thoughts on “Lindbergh and the first Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua

  1. Excellent piece this, pointing out how Lindbergh by his presence was tarred with the brush of US policy. Did he speak publicly about the intervention in Nicaragua, that would give any insight to how he looked at it?

  2. Thanks, Thomas: My guess is that CAL did not say anything about the US airstrikes in Nicaragua. He was politically quite naive at this point (he was 25 years old), and only later became an outspoken political figure.

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