Cover image for Hitler's pope : the secret history of Pius XII
Hitler's pope : the secret history of Pius XII
Cornwell, John, 1940-
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Publication Information:
New York : Viking, 1999.
Physical Description:
xii, 430 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
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BX1378 .C65 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
BX1378 .C65 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BX1378 .C65 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Biography

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"Eugenio Pacelli was not a monster; his case is far more complex, more tragic than that. The interest of his story depends on a fatal combination of high spiritual aspirations in conflict with soaring ambitions for unprecedented power and control."--from the PrefaceEugenio Pacelli, Pius XII--a man with unprecedented power for good and evil--was pope from 1939 to 1958. Today, still shadowed by his failure to condemn Hitler's Final Solution, he is at the same time nearing canonization. Backed by new research and exclusive access to a wealth of Vatican and Jesuit archives, John Cornwell tells for the first time, in depth, the truth about Pacelli's long career as a Vatican diplomat and the accord between Pacelli and Hitler that helped sweep the Nazis to unhindered power.Hitler's Pope shows how Pacelli's entire life and career led to this, from a brilliant young Vatican lawyer drafting new papal power for the twentieth century to his 1933 Concordat with Hitler that muzzled protest by Germany's Catholic community, the most powerful in the world. Cornwell's explosive conclusion is that without Pacelli's contribution, Hitler might never have come to power or been able to press forward with the Holocaust.As searing and provocative as David Wyman's The Abandonment of the Jews or Daniel Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners, Hitler's Pope conclusively documents Pius XII's anti-Semitism, narcissism, and calamitous mix of political and spiritual ambition--and it shows how many of Pacelli's policies are reasserting themselves today under the reign of John Paul II. It will surely spark a worldwide furor of controversy, both inside and outside the Catholic Church.

Author Notes

John Cornwell is Senior Research Fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge, England, and an award-winning journalist and author. His A Thief in the Night: The Death of Pope John Paul I was a world bestseller. He has profiled Pope John Paul II for Vanity Fair and the London Sunday Times magazine and has written on Catholic issues for many publications around the world.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Relying on exclusive access to Vatican and Jesuit archives, an award-winning Roman Catholic journalist argues that through a 1933 Concordat with Hitler, Pope Pius XII facilitated the dictator's riseÄand, ultimately, the Holocaust. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

A long-debated issue in recent history is whether Pope Pius X11, by taking a more forceful stand against the Nazis, could have saved many Jewish people from the Holocaust. Defenders have argued that bold opposition to Hitler would have brought serious reprisals; critics say the pope lacked moral leadership and courage to oppose evil. Cornwell (Jesus College, Cambridge) adds to the debate with a book highly critical of the pope's inaction. He describes Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli) as an ambitious, authoritarian churchman who sought to secure the advantage of the church throughout his career. Cornwell traces Pacelli's entire life, with emphasis on his many years of representing the papacy in Germany and his political policies as pope (1939-58). In Cornwell's view, Pacelli's negotiations with Germany allowed Hitler to neutralize the influence of the church during the Third Reich (1933-45). Hitler allowed the German church its religious practices but insisted that it cease all political activity; Pacelli responded with appeasement. Cornwell says that the pope was asked repeatedly by national representatives and Jewish spokespersons to condemn Nazi atrocities but that he only delivered platitudes that failed even to mention Jews or Nazis--hence the sensational title, Hitler's Pope. General readers and undergraduates. W. L. Pitts Jr.; Baylor University

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Prologuep. 1
1 The Pacellisp. 9
2 Hidden Lifep. 29
3 Papal Power Gamesp. 41
4 To Germanyp. 59
5 Pacelli and Weimarp. 80
6 The Glittering Diplomatp. 96
7 Hitler and German Catholicismp. 105
8 Hitler and Pacellip. 130
9 The Concordat in Practicep. 157
10 Pius XI Speaks Outp. 179
11 Darkness over Europep. 193
12 Triumphp. 205
13 Pacelli, Pope of Peacep. 219
14 Friend of Croatiap. 241
15 The Holiness of Pius XIIp. 268
16 Pacelli and the Holocaustp. 278
17 The Jews of Romep. 298
18 Savior of Romep. 319
19 Church Triumphantp. 336
20 Absolute Powerp. 347
21 Pius XII Redivivusp. 360
Sources, the "Silence" Debate, and Sainthoodp. 372
Acknowledgmentsp. 385
Notesp. 387
Select Bibliographyp. 413
Indexp. 419