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Hitler's Pope by John Cornwell
notes & commentary by William P. Meyers

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Hitler’s Pope, The Secret History of Pius XII by John Cornwell. Viking, New York, hardcover, 1999

About these notes: having already made notes on this subject on an earlier work by Avro Manhattan [See Pius XI and the Rise of Adolf Hitler] and by an attempted refutation by Peter Godman, I am only noting additional facts and point of interest.

On May 18, 1917, Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, set off from Rome to become the new Roman Catholic Archbishop of Munich. At a time when Germans were starving as World War I drew to a close, he took an “enormous quantity of embargoed foodstuffs” with him. Even Pope Benedict XV remarked on Pacelli’s extravagance. The nunciature where Pacelli lived was opposite the later cradle of Nazism, the Brown House. Pacelli promoted Benedict XV’s proposal to negotiate an end to WWI. [p. 62-63]

In 1919 Pacelli used Germany’s international desperation to get himself recognized as both Papal Nuncio to the German Reich, which was Protestant, and to Bavaria, a Catholic German state. This maneuver caused delays in the negotiation for a Concordat (treaty, covering religious as well as international issues) between the Vatican and Germany. German Church historian Klaus Scholder believed the failure to reach a Concordat “created the fatal starting point from which in 1933 Hitler was to force the capitulation of German Catholicism within a few weeks.” [90-91]

On June 30, 1920, Pacelli presented his new diplomatic credentials to the Reich state, saying, “For my part, I will devote my entire strength to cultivating and strengthening the relationships between the Holy See and Germany.” “(Thirteen years later, Hitler used the self-same phrase, word for word, when he promised an immediate readjustment of relations between Berlin and he Holy See in exchange for the Center Party’s acquiescence in the Enabling Act that awarded him dictatorial powers.)” [92]

In negotiating the (sub-national) concordat with the Bavarian state, Pacelli insisted that the government would be obliged to fire particular teachers if the Catholic bishop demanded it. The state would also guarantee that Catholic Bavarians would be subject to Roman Catholic cannon law. Weak from its loss of the war, the government capitulated and the concordat was signed in November, 1920. However, his tough negotiating tactics had alienated Protestants and the national government. [92]

Covers the Black Shame allegations of the German government and Vatican with regard to French African troops in the Rhineland, which Pacelli was involved in. As Pope Pius XII, “Twenty-five years later when he Allies were about to enter Rome, he asked he British ambassador to the Holly See to beg the British Foreign Office that “no Allied colored troops would be among the small number that might be garrisoned at Rome after the occupation.””[95]

In March 1930 Hindenburg appointed Heinrich Bruning (or Brüning), a (Catholic) Center Party leader, to be Chancellor. He tried to impose austerity measures, invoking Article 48 that allowed rule by presidential decree, but the Reichstag (Germany's Congress) rejected this, resulting in a general election. In the September 14, 1930 election the National Social Party won 6.4 million votes (in the prior election it got only 800,000), coming in second. Unemployment continued to rise in 1931. Bruning saw himself as a democrat, and (later) criticized the papal encyclical Quadragesimo Anno (1931). This was in contrast to the anti-union, Catholic industrialist Fritz Thyssen, who promoted a corporatist, fascist political model. [118-119]

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