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The Vatican and Communism in World War II: What Really Happened? [Paperback]

By Robert A. Graham (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   199
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.87" Width: 5.28" Height: 0.71"
Weight:   0.62 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 31, 1996
Publisher   Ignatius Press
ISBN  0898705495  
EAN  9780898705492  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
The discrediting of Communism as a world ideology also put in crisis a certain way of writing history. That is why, a half-century after the end of World War II, the search is on for a fresh look. The European intellectual class is dismayed and disoriented. Their world, so dependent on Marxist-Leninist ideas, collapsed around them. In the United States writers never took the measure, ideologically, of the war. Rather, they allowed others to introduce Marxist-Leninist interpretations. The legacy is a massive load of manipulated history with a more or less hidden agenda. One of the victims of this process was the Catholic Church, specifically the Vatican and the Pope. Fr. Robert Graham illustrates with chapter and verse how the Communist interpretation grievously corrupted the record. Communism and its sister ideology, National Socialism, had this in common: a radical and venomous hostility to religion. It is time for cleaning up the fallout of the defunct ideologies of World War II. The perpetrators of this tenacious campaign of anti-Catholic propaganda were not merely men of Moscow but also their allies and sympathizers abroad. The material developed here is from studies published by Graham over the years in the Rome-based fortnightly La Civilta Cattolica, which was based on research in the Vatican archives and in official archives of Europe and the United States.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Communism ingores the Vatican and destroys Europe. News at eleven.  May 24, 2006
Everyone was confused during World War II. Jesuit scholar Robert Graham, past editor of American magazine, writes in "The Vatican and Communism in World War II: What Really Happened?", "Public confusion was greater than ever." The material cause and stuff underneath the confusion was the Russian version of Marxist Communism, "Bolshevism," and the German version of Marxist Communism, "National Socialism." Both versions of Communism shared the unique features of being "conspiratorial, clandestine... openly subversive and revolutionary." Graham writes, "Marxism and Nazism had the same roots: a materialist, this-world view of the meaning of life... War on religion was essential." The principal agents of the Russian and German brands of Communism were Joseph Stalin (1879-1953) and Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) both of whom "murdered by the million, terrorized by the hundred million", according to the Economist (pages 97, 9, 16 and 11; 23 Dec 99).

Pope Pius XI (1857-1939) published two encyclicals in 1937 in order to prepare readers for the demolition of Communism. "On Atheistic Communism" gave a warning about Russian Bolshevism and "On the Condition of the Church in Germany" alerted readers about German Socialism. Domenico Tardini, a Vatican diplomat, summarized the two encyclicals and said, "One devil is chasing the other" (pp. 20, 28).

History shows that the world leaders were confused about which brand of Communism to endorse. Spain supported Hitler because "the sympathies of the new Franco government were strongly pro-Reich, all the more since Spain was heavily dependent on Germany for economic reconstruction." Britain defended Stalin since, according to historian Barbara Ward, Russia was "a heroic fighter" and "a suitable partner in any alliance." Germany defended Hitler because, according to Lutheran August Marahens, he was "our leader" who "banished the Bolshevik danger from our country." America supported Stalin and President Roosevelt completed a "successful drive to extend military and economic aid to the beleaguered Soviets." French Communists defended Stalin and the Vichy French supported Hitler and "moved closer to Nazi Germany." Observing the above conflicting endorsements Graham writes, "One is aghast [and shocked] at the regrettable lack of knowledge in those days" (pp. 76, 30, 73, 40 and 115).

The confusion during World War II is analogous to an illness. Graham writes, "France went into a condition approaching schizophrenia." Just as an innocent person who is suffering from a mental illness needs to depend on supportive therapists in order to reduce the problems, the countries who were undergoing the destruction of Communism in the 1930's needed to depend on the 1937 encyclicals of Pius XI in order to "prepare for peace." And just as a schizophrenic usually rejects therapy and medication, so to the countries who assisted Stalin or Hitler rejected the advice of the Holy See. Graham writes, "At a time when all energies converge on the life-or-death politico-military aims of the war, the mission of the Holy See comes very close to being... wholly rejected" (pp. 84, 184 and 185).

A sign that just about everyone alive during World War II was confused about Communism and which brand to endorse is the "story in the [London] Times about "the imaginary interview of Hitler with a German priest on his good intentions," as if Hitler wasn't a totalitarian interested in paganism and the elimination of religion. Graham "charitably" states that "the immense confusion" in the article was caused by "those dark months of the bombardment of London" (p. 28).

What would motivate a person to accept Communism as a possible government and then wonder whether the German or Russian brand was best? According to Graham, it is a compulsion: "They believed it because they wanted to believe it." Forget about the facts, ignore the personal horror stories from Nazi and Bolshevist countries, and focus on the very weak possibility of communism working and on the false conclusion that the Vatican keeps getting in the way. Such widespread compulsions lead Luigi Maglione, Vatican Secretary of State, to say, "The Vatican sees nothing at the present moment that permits it to hope." Almost all of the Catholic priests who traveled to Germany and Russia during those years did not survive (pp. 153, 134).

The Jesuit scholar Graham has written an excellent book for people who were alive and experience confused during World War II, young students today who are curious about World War II and politicians who wonder if Communism can work. "The center of world communism in Moscow collapsed." German communism was "snuffed out." And Pope Pius XI accurately forecasted in 1937 what seems so obvious today: "It is evident that all the propaganda and state power had failed to root out belief" in the Church with "a mission given her by Jesus Christ" (pp. 9, 10, 131, and 186). Both brands of Communism are gone, the Catholic Church is still here and people are free to pay attention or ignore the Church. And if you meet someone who wonders whether Communism might work and the Church might go away, then Graham's "The Vatican and Communism in World War II: What Really Happened?" will be the perfect gift.
Stalin's Pope?  Jun 24, 2001
The Rev. Robert A. Graham, S.J., author, former editor at America magazine and co-editor of the 11 volumes of the Vatican's wartime documents, Actes et documents du Saint Siege relatifs a la Seconde Guerre Mondiale, published this book shortly before his death. Several of the chapters are partial or complete translations of articles that Graham published in the Vatican journal. La Civilta Cattolica over the decades. Graham's sole purpose is to show Communist propaganda and Marxist interpretations of history are primarily responsible for allegations that the Pope supported the Nazis during World War II. Perhaps the most important article of faith in the creed of Vatican critics is that the Pope so feared Communist expansion into Europe that he was willing to turn a blind eye to the crimes of Nazism, so Hitler's troops could destroy the Soviet Union for him. In short, we are told that Pius XII saw the Nazis as a "bulwark" against the Soviets. To the leftist mind and those who conditioned to hate the Catholic Church, this line sounds both reasonable and probable. Fr. Graham shows how this theory doesn't hold water. He notes that both sides eagerly awaited the Pope's first public speech after Nazis invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. Would he give any words of encouragement to the Nazis? The New York Times correspondent Herbert Matthews carefully scrutinized the speech and concluded that the Pope said nothing that could be interpreted as support for the invasion. The Vatican's silence in this matter outraged the Nazis and Fascists. In September 1941, Dr. Bernardo Attolico, Italy's Ambassador to the Vatican, personally lobbied the Pope and his deputy, Msgr. Domenico Tardini to back the invasion or, at least, repeat a public condemnation of Communist doctrines. Attolico sent an account of his meeting with the Pope to the German Foreign Ministry. "But if I should talk of Bolshevism, and I would be fully prepared to do so," the Holy Father said to Attolico, "should I say nothing of Nazism? The situation in Germany . . . has become infinitely worse since my own departure from Berlin." In the same month, President Franklin Roosevelt sent Myron Taylor, his personal representative to Pius XII, to the Vatican. Roosevelt wanted to extend military aid, through the Lend Lease program, to the Soviet Union, so it could have the strength to beat back the Nazis. However, the President's efforts were being successfully frustrated by many Catholics. Graham writes that Roosevelt wanted the Pius XII to tell Catholics in the United States that they could support the extension of Lend Lease to the Soviets. Roosevelt believed that there was a difference between helping Communism and helping the Russian people, who were the innocent victims of Nazi aggression. Surprisingly, the Pope agreed. Msgr. Tardini sent secret instructions to Msgr. Amleto Cicognani, the apostolic delegate in the United States, telling him about the difference between helping Communism and the Russian people. In turn, Cicognani consulted with the Archbishop of Detroit and the head of the National Catholic Welfare Conference. They then recruited Archbishop John McNicholas of Cincinnatti, who gave a well publicized speech saying that Catholics could endorse the President's plans. After that, Catholic opposition to extending Lend Lease to the Soviets soon vanished - thanks to the intervention of Pope Pius XII (recently condemned as "Hitler's Pope"). You won't find this episode discussed in books written by papal critics such as Friedlander, Carlo Falconi, Michael Phayer, Susan Zuccotti and John Cornwell? Why? Because it blows a huge hole in their preconceived theories. If the Pope wanted the Nazis to destroy the Soviet Union for him, then wouldn't he have refused Roosevelt's request? Perhaps as the war progressed and Germany was pushed back, Pius XII began to have second thoughts? According to Graham, the Pope granted an audience to Hungarian Premier Nicholas Kallay in April 1943. In his both his report to the Hungarian government and his memoirs, Kallay quoted the Pope as condemning the Nazi persecution of the Jews, saying that the Nazis were far worse than the Communists and that a Nazi victory would mean the end of Christianity in Europe. The month before, the Vatican sent a long letter to German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop protesting the Nazi persecution of the Catholic Church in Poland. Graham writes that the note was so strong that the Pope expected the Nazis to cut off diplomatic relations with the Vatican. Graham devotes a chapter to Germany's Ambassador to the Vatican, Ernst von Weiszacker. From mid-1943 until the near end of the war, Weiszacker sent at least nine dispatches to the German Foreign Ministry reporting that the Pope was so frightened by Communism that he was wishing for a Nazi victory in the East. Authors such as Friedlander accept these reports at face value. Graham convincingly shows that Weiszacker was playing to a propaganda campaign orchestrated by Dr. Joseph Goebbles, the German Minister of Propaganda. To divide the Allies and win the support of neutral nations, Goebbels portrayed Nazi Germany as the savior of Europe from Joseph Stalin. Weiszacker was trying to induce Germany to use the Vatican as intermediary to negotiate a peace agreement with the Western Allies in an attempt to save his nation from defeat. The Nazis never took this seriously. They always considered the Vatican an enemy. Graham observes that in none of Weiszacker's dispatches were any direct words from the Pope expressing hope for a Nazi victory in the East. His reports show that he often got his information from second and third hand sources - hardly conclusive evidence of Vatican attitudes. Other chapters in The Vatican and Communism, including the Nazis' seizures over a papal speech on the Fatima prophecies, are also illuminating and add to the historical record. I hesitate to give this book five stars because it lacks precise citations. By contrast, Graham's articles in La Civilta Cattolica and other books are solidly documented. Nevertheless, The Vatican and Communism is an excellent book, written by a great scholar.

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