Der Vatikan und Hitler die geheimen Archive

by Peter Godman

Other authorsJens Brandt (Translator)
Paper Book, 2005



Call number

NQ 2320 G587



München Knaur-Taschenbuch-Verl. 2005


"For years, the policies of the Catholic Church during the rise and terribly destructive rule of the Nazis have been controversial. Pope Pius XII has been attacked as "Hitler's Pope," an anti-Semitic enabler who refused to condemn Nazism, much less urge Catholics to resist the German regime. The Church has been accused of standing by while the Nazis steadily revealed their evil designs. Yet all such arguments have been based only on sketchy evidence. The Vatican has kept its internal workings secret and locked away from scrutiny." "Until now. In February 2003, the Vatican opened its archives for the crucial years of the Nazi consolidation of power, up until 1939. Peter Godman, thanks to his long experience in Vatican sources and his reputation as an impartial, non-Catholic historian of the Church, was one of the first scholars to explore the new documents. The story they tell is revelatory and surprising and forces a major revision of the history of the 1930s. It is a story that reveals the innermost workings of the Vatican, an institution far more fractured than monolithic, one that allowed legalism to trump moral outrage." "Godman's narrative is doubly shocking: At first, the Church planned to condemn Nazism as heretical, and drafted several variations of its charges in the mid-1930s. However, as Mussolini drew close to Hitler, and Pope Pius XI grew more concerned about communism than fascism, the charge was reduced to a denunciation only of bolshevism. The Church abandoned its moral attack on the Nazis and retreated to diplomacy, complaining about treaty violations and delivering weak protests while the horrors of religious persecution mounted. As Godman demonstrates, the policies of Pius XII were all determined by his predecessor, Pius XI. The Church was misled not so much by "Hitler's Pope" as by a tragic miscalculation and a special relationship with the Italian government. Mussolini toyed with the Church, even proposing that Hitler be excommunicated. Yet in the end, when presented with further evidence of Nazi depredations, Pius XI could only comment, "Kindly God, who has allowed all this to happen at present, undoubtedly has His purpose.""--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member stevenschroeder
Drawing on archival sources, many of which have only recently become available, Godman presents a thorough and evenhanded picture that challenges simple descriptions of Pius XII as “Hitler’s Pope.” The result, neither flattering nor sensational, is a complex portrait of a human institution in
Show More
a difficult political context made up of persons with a variety of mixed motives. Godman shifts attention to the papacy of Pius XI and locates failure to clearly condemn National Socialism in a politics of caution, diplomacy, and anti-Communism rather than sympathy. He depicts Austrian Bishop Alois Hudal, a member of the Holy Office (known as the Inquisition from 1542-1908), as an appeaser and anti-Semite who became the Nazi Party’s “court theologian.” Eugenio Pacelli, the career diplomat who became Pius XII, is depicted as suffering “a martyrdom of patience.” Godman is clearly convinced that the Vatican could have spoken earlier and more forcefully against the racism that lay at the heart of Nazism; but, commendably, he maintains his focus on a measured presentation of evidence that will equip careful readers to make informed historical judgments about the period and draw meaningful conclusions about its significance today.
Show Less


Original language


Physical description

19 cm


3426778106 / 9783426778104
Page: 0.4173 seconds