Smith was the U.S. military attaché in Berlin from 1935 to 1939, having had earlier tours in Germany and an interview with Hitler in 1922. He took the initiative in arranging for Colonel Lindbergh's first visit to Germany in 1936; on subsequent trips, Lindbergh helped Smith write favorable reports on the new Luftwaffe: "this miraculous outburst of national energy," proof of "the technical and scientific skill of the race." Because of his links to Lindbergh, Smith became a controversial figure, though always backed by General Marshall. Smith's observations are historically interesting, including Goering's remark to him in 1937: "Smith, there are only three truly great characters in all history: Buddha, Jesus Christ, and Adolf Hitler." At the height of the Sudeten crisis in September 1938, Lindbergh wrote to Ambassador Joseph Kennedy that a European war would "result in something akin to Communism running over Europe and, judging by Russia, anything seems preferable." Better to "permit Germany's eastward expansion than to throw England and France, unprepared, into a war at this time."