In 1939, realizing what was at stake, Pius had actually joined in a conspiracy by some German generals to overthrow Hitler and, if necessary, a high Vatican official told me, to kill him. He now had the full confidence of both the Vicar of Christ and the Antichrist, an incredible interworld feat. At the same time, in Germany, General Wolff managed to convince Hitler that he would have a hard time suppressing an uprising in Italy if the pope felt forced to speak out and had to be dethroned. The world, like the panzer soldiers, would be led to believe that the “Italians” were guilty. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google, Spanish Translations from Holocaust and Human Behavior, The Weimar Republic: The Fragility of Democracy, Conformity and Consent in the National Community, Storm Troopers, Elite Guards, and Secret Police, Letter of Saint Edith Stein to Pope Pius XI in 1933, Facing History Scholar Reflections: Bystanders and Resisters. Then troops of the Hermann Goering Panzer Division would surge into the Vatican to “rescue” the pontiff and kill the disguised SS men, assuming they were Italian assassins rather than SS compatriots. The Vatican quarreled with both Hitler and Mussolini on race, but hardly out of concern for the welfare of Jews. Meanwhile, other German diplomats—and, the Vatican would say, the pope’s nephew—urged an eminent priest, whom Berlin trusted, to write an urgent note to a cooperative German commander in Italy that was to be wired to Berlin echoing Cardinal Maglione’s warning. What were the short-term consequences of those options? However, the breakdown started in 1936 and ended with many Catholic priests being imprisoned. Is not this idolization of race and governmental power which is being pounded into the public consciousness by the radio open heresy? . . . Even Himmler, who had been meeting secretly with the German Resistance, was uncertain; he had to choose between striking the Church, which he hated, and seeking to improve his image in Allied eyes in case Germany lost the war. He also has sharp criticism for the “rigid” conservative Catholics who back them, The Daily Mail reports. The pope smiled forbearingly. Pope Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli) during World War II met with Hitler several times. As a minority in a country with a Protestant majority, Catholics had always felt vulnerable to accusations that they were not “true Germans” because of suspicions that they “took orders from Rome.” Over the years, they had protected their rights by organizing and supporting the Catholic Center Party. While it led some to question his character, he nevertheless passed an investigation by the Wiesenthal Center, clearing him of any accusation of antisemitism. Was Pope Pius XII secretly in league with Adolf Hitler? According to historian Doris Bergen, “Many German Catholic clergy were initially suspicious of Nazism. Wolff promised to do his best but was conflicted, feeling that such an operation could alienate Italy and the entire Catholic world. Feb. 12, 2013— -- When Benedict XVI ascended to the papacy after the death of Pope John Paul II in 2005, world Jewish leaders were nervous about the new German-born pope. Is not all this diametrically opposed to the conduct of our Lord and Savior, who, even on the cross, still prayed for his persecutors?2. Archives of this nature are typically not released until 70 years after a pope’s death, but Francis has decided to release them about a decade early. His newly released book, A Special Mission: Hitler’s Secret Plot to Seize the Vatican and Kidnap Pope Pius XII, is available from Da Capo Press. But in the end the plot fell through. The Duce was now to regain power in Nazi-occupied northern Italy, and Wolff would be sent to the capital in Fasano, near Salo, primarily to make sure that Mussolini followed the Nazi line. Pacelli first agreed to help Hitler in 1933, when as a Vatican diplomat he promised Hitler he'd disband a German Catholic political party in a deal that protected the Vatican's rights in Germany. Before he became Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger also spoke about the influence of the demonic in the life of Hitler — but explained that it absolved nothing. Clearly, the Fuehrer thought, the “Jew-loving” pope had encouraged King Victor Emanuel II and some rival fascist leaders to overthrow his Italian puppet. Pope Pius XII's actions to help persecuted Jews speak far louder than his alleged "silence," experts say. What compromises did he make? In her letter, she argued: Everything that happened [in Germany] and continues to happen on a daily basis originates with a government that calls itself “Christian.” For weeks not only Jews but also thousands of fearful Catholics in Germany, and, I believe, all over the world have been waiting and hoping for the Church of Christ [the Roman Catholic Church] to raise its voice to put a stop to this abuse of Christ’s name. The question of Joseph Ratzinger’s involvement with Nazi Germany and the Hitler Youth is important in consideration of the life of the man who became Pope Benedict XVI. Pope Pius XI did not respond to Edith Stein, nor did his successor, Cardinal Pacelli, who became Pope Pius XII in 1939. If the people learned that their pope had been abducted, Rahn told the Fuehrer and his chief lieutenants, they might rise up against the Germans. What effect did the concordat have on opposition to the Nazis within Germany? Hitler had even more reason to be satisfied. "1 Some who opposed the Nazis also urged great caution; they were fearful of attacks on priests and nuns. This number is freely available, Cornwell must have known it well: about 5,000. But Hitler trusted his secretary most, and it appeared that his advice would be taken. Wolff could perhaps also save his own life if Germany lost the war and he was tried for his war crimes. No, says Rabbi David G. Dalin but there was a cleric in league with Hitler: the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini. Get insight into the German public opinion on Hitler's invasion of Poland in 1939 with these primary source excerpts.Â, Learn about role the Soviet Union played in the Nazis’ plans for “space and race.”. Clearly, the Fuehrer thought, the “Jew-loving” pope had encouraged King Victor Emanuel II and some rival fascist leaders to overthrow his Italian puppet. Directed by Christopher Cassel. Besides, he worshipped power, and the pope, like Hitler, was one of the world’s most powerful leaders. The kidnap plot had failed, but it had helped to shape the policies and attitudes of the pope, Hitler, and their subordinates during a most important segment of World War II history. The problem is that the campaign against Pacelli is a defamation. The general rose, clicked his heels together—and raised his arm in the Nazi salute! What effect did it have on the way other nations perceived the Nazi government? Copyright © 1997-2011 by Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. The princess told me she rushed to the Vatican and, interrupting a papal mass, blurted the news to the pope, crying, “Only you can stop them!”, “But they promised me that they would not touch the Jews in Rome!” Pius exclaimed. He then ordered Cardinal Luigi Maglione, his secretary of state, to summon Ambassador Weizsaecker urgently and protest the action. The publisher's description of Hitler's Pope, (The Secret History of Pius XII) :. 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