Lindbergh, Charles A. & von Gronau, Hans Wolfgang


“The Lone Eagle” in  Berlin in 1936 meets famed German pilot Hans Wolfgang von Gronau, 2 pioneer aviators!


Type:  Signed envelope
Description: Charles A. Lindbergh (1902-1974) The Lone Eagle, pioneer American aviator, 1st to fly solo nonstop transatlantic flight in 1927 on “The Spirit of St. Louis”. Controversial 1930’s political figure.  Hans Wolfgang von Gronau  (1893-1977) German aviation pioneer, son of artillery General Hans von Gronau, joined the German Navy before WW I and was put in charge of a flying boat squadron. On 18 August 1930 he flew a transatlantic flight on an old D-1422 flying boat Amundsen had flown earlier, reaching NYC after covering 4,670 miles in 47 flight hours. On 21 July 1932 von Gronau flew from Germany around the world on another Dornier Wal flying boat (“Grönland Wal”, Greenland Whale) with a crew of 3. He returned 111 days later, on Nov. 10, having flown 2,700+ miles. He won the 1932 Harmon Trophy. In 1934 he became president of the German Aero Club and in 1935 VP of the International Aeronautic Federation. Von Gronau was posted at the German Embassy as air attache in Tokyo shortly before the outbreak of WW II, living as a diplomat in Japan until the end of WW II having reached the rank of Major General when the Third Reich ended. In 1947 von Gronau moved to Upper Bavaria. Greenland’s Gronau Nunataks and Gronau Glacier were named after him.

3 ½ x 6 German envelope with 2 light green German airmail stamps featuring an eagle flying above the Earth, a swastika behind the globe, one postmarked Zentralflughafen (central airport, i.e. Templehof) and one postmarked Berlin Staaken (military air field outside Berlin), July 22 1936, stamped legend in German: “Col. C. A. Lindbergh/Besucht [visited] Berlin”. The envelope is signed by Lindbergh and celebrated German pioneer aviator Hans Wolfgang von Gronau. There is a stamped address of a Swiss collector at lower left and on verso and a light pencil address of one Julius B. Bock, Templehof Airfield. On the verso is Bock’s stamped name adding “Air Mail Specialist/ Berlin-Halensee, Germany”. With copy of July 23 1936 New York Times article on the Lindberghs’ arrival in Germany and a copy of a 1936 photo of Lindbergh and von Gronau conversing.

Rare German-related item signed by Lindbergh who would lead the America First Committee campaign to keep the US from becoming entangled in the 2nd world war in Europe. In June 1936, Lindbergh visited Germany on behalf of the US government in an effort to learn more about how far German aviation had come. Lindbergh also sat near Hitler during the opening ceremonies of the 1936 Berlin summer Olympic Games but, by all accounts, did not communicate with him. After this, Lindbergh became a pariah in the US, as he called for neutrality and nonengagement in the war with Germany, often attracting German American Bund (a US pro-Nazi organization) members to his speeches. Lindbergh was careful never to admit to Nazi sympathy, and to some extent, he may not have been a sympathizer, but his position was confusing for the US public, and his reputation undoubtedly suffered from it.

Condition: Very good

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