Hitler, Mussolini and the Vatican

Hitler, Mussolini and the Vatican : Pope Pius XI and the Speech That Was Never Made

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Translated by CARL IPSEN The Vatican against Nazism and Fascism on the eve of the Second World War. A tired pope watching the crisis unfold and considering what action to take against the new enemies of Christianity. Pius XI died on February 10th, 1939, just after finishing the address he hoped to deliver to the Italian bishops on the tenth anniversary of the Lateran Pact. That text dealt harshly with Nazism and Fascism and was written in solitude. It was a discourse that Mussolini feared and that the pope did not survive to deliver. This moment captures the spirit of Emma Fattorini's book, a work that employs newly available and unpublished documentation from the Vatican Secret Archive to rewrite a fundamental page of 20th history. Pius XI came to view the 1930s as a conflict of civilizations,' a crisis which could only be resolved by a return to the Christian roots of the West. He was a pope who strongly defended the Jews because, in contrast to other elements in the Catholic hierarchy, he held the theological conviction that Jews and Christians shared a common origin: spiritually we are all Semites.' So wrote Pius XI in the last years of his life as he contemplated the direction in which the world was headed and came to the conclusion that Nazi and Fascist totalitarianism could be stopped by the Vatican.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 220 pages
  • 160 x 232 x 30mm | 598.74g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Translation
  • 0745644880
  • 9780745644882
  • 569,572

Review quote

"Simply put, this is the most thorough and best documented study yet to appear on Pius XI." America Magazine "This excellent new book unearths and magisterially exposes new evidence - a key document for those interested in Europe's turbulent pre-war history." Hugh O'Shaughnessy , Review 31 "A first-rate study." American Historical Review "Now the most comprehensive work on the Vatican s relations with states and national churches in western and central Europe in the 1930s." European History Quarterly "Insightful, provocative and original. Fattorini's examination of Pius XI's evolving attitudes toward totalitarian states is complex and convincing." The Journal of Modern History "A revealing insight into European politics in the 1930s, and the first scholarly attempt to look at the Church's relationship with Fascism and the Nazis during that period." Birmingham Jewish Recorder "A crucial new perspective on the relationship between the Vatican, Mussolini's Fascism, and National Socialism. The tendency to focus exclusively on Eugenio Pacelli, the future wartime pope Pius XII, has obscured the troubled papacy of Pius X1 between 1922 and 1939. Professor Fattorini's narrative, in the light of the recent release of Vatican documents of the period, is sure to breathe new life into this controversial era of Church-state relations on the brink of world war." John Cornwell, University of Cambridge "Emma Fattorini's remarkable work extends our understanding of how the leadership of the Catholic Church grappled with fascism and Nazism. She does so by drawing on riveting documentation recently released from the Vatican Secret Archive and by focusing on the relatively overlooked pontificate of Pius XI. " Michael R. Marrus, University of Toronto "Fattorini's objective and scholarly volume helps to demolish the long-prevailing belief that Pius XI and his secretary of state Eugenio Pacelli - later his successor as Pius XII - concurred in the policy to pursue towards fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. She demonstrates, on the basis of solid documentation, that, while Pius XI increasingly perceived the need for confrontation with these regimes after 1936, Pacelli preferred conciliation and impartiality - policies he pursued during World War II and the Holocaust." Frank Coppa, St John's University "Emma Fattorini has produced an important work on the activities of the Vatican in the years leading up to World War II. She portrays a pope whose spirituality, rather than political views, led him increasingly to speak out against Nazism. Her book adds to a slowly increasing body of literature which illustrates that, while the Vatican may have been slow in speaking out about the persecution of the Jews, no one in the secretariat of state harbored any sympathy for Hitler." Gerald Fogarty, University of Virginiashow more

Back cover copy

Translated by CARL IPSEN The Vatican against Nazism and Fascism on the eve of the Second World War. A tired pope watching the crisis unfold and considering what action to take against the new enemies of Christianity. Pius XI died on February 10th, 1939, just after finishing the address he hoped to deliver to the Italian bishops on the tenth anniversary of the Lateran Pact. That text dealt harshly with Nazism and Fascism and was written in solitude. It was a discourse that Mussolini feared and that the pope did not survive to deliver. This moment captures the spirit of Emma Fattorini's book, a work that employs newly available and unpublished documentation from the Vatican Secret Archive to rewrite a fundamental page of 20th history. Pius XI came to view the 1930s as a 'conflict of civilizations, ' a crisis which could only be resolved by a return to the Christian roots of the West. He was a pope who strongly defended the Jews because, in contrast to other elements in the Catholic hierarchy, he held the theological conviction that Jews and Christians shared a common origin: 'spiritually we are all Semites.' So wrote Pius XI in the last years of his life as he contemplated the direction in which the world was headed and came to the conclusion that Nazi and Fascist totalitarianism could be stopped by the Vatican.show more

About Emma Fattorini

EMMA FATTORINI is Professor of Modern History at the University of Rome La Sapienza'.show more

Review Text

"Simply put, this is the most thorough and best documented studyyet to appear on Pius XI." America Magazine "This excellent new book unearths and magisterially exposes newevidence - a key document for those interested in Europe sturbulent pre-war history." Hugh O Shaughnessy , Review 31 "A first-rate study." American Historical Review "Now the most comprehensive work on the Vatican'srelations with states and national churches in western and centralEurope in the 1930s." European History Quarterly "Insightful, provocative and original. Fattorini s examination ofPius XI s evolving attitudes toward totalitarian states is complexand convincing." The Journal of Modern History "A revealing insight into European politics in the 1930s, and thefirst scholarly attempt to look at the Church s relationship withFascism and the Nazis during that period." Birmingham Jewish Recorder "A crucial new perspective on the relationship between theVatican, Mussolini s Fascism, and National Socialism. The tendencyto focus exclusively on Eugenio Pacelli, the future wartime popePius XII, has obscured the troubled papacy of Pius X1 between 1922and 1939. Professor Fattorini s narrative, in the light of therecent release of Vatican documents of the period, is sure tobreathe new life into this controversial era of Church-staterelations on the brink of world war." John Cornwell, University of Cambridge "Emma Fattorini s remarkable work extends our understanding ofhow the leadership of the Catholic Church grappled with fascism andNazism. She does so by drawing on riveting documentation recentlyreleased from the Vatican Secret Archive and by focusing on therelatively overlooked pontificate of Pius XI. " Michael R. Marrus, University of Toronto "Fattorini s objective and scholarly volume helps to demolishthe long-prevailing belief that Pius XI and his secretary of stateEugenio Pacelli - later his successor as Pius XII - concurred inthe policy to pursue towards fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Shedemonstrates, on the basis of solid documentation, that, while PiusXI increasingly perceived the need for confrontation with theseregimes after 1936, Pacelli preferred conciliation and impartiality- policies he pursued during World War II and the Holocaust." Frank Coppa, St John s University "Emma Fattorini has produced an important work on theactivities of the Vatican in the years leading up to World War II.She portrays a pope whose spirituality, rather than politicalviews, led him increasingly to speak out against Nazism. Her bookadds to a slowly increasing body of literature which illustratesthat, while the Vatican may have been slow in speaking out aboutthe persecution of the Jews, no one in the secretariat of stateharbored any sympathy for Hitler." Gerald Fogarty, University of Virginiashow more

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