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Britain and the Vatican during the Second World War

Britain and the Vatican during the Second World War


  • Date Published: September 1988
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521368254

£ 32.99

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About the Authors
  • The book studies the use made by the British government of its envoy, immured inside the Vatican from 1940 to 1944, and what the envoy made of such opportunities during the Second World War to help the Allied cause. We see the Vatican, the Fascist Italy, from 'inside', and so gain a new and rare perspective into the predicament of the papacy. Owen Chadwick gives insight into the workings of the Vatican, including such questions as the struggle to keep Italy out of the war, the relations between the Vatican and the Fascist government, the use which the British sought to make of Vatican radio, the question of condemning atrocities, the bombing of Rome, the fall of Fascism, the armistice between the Allies and Italy, the German occupation of Rome, and the escape line for British prisoners of war. The author has used several groups of hitherto unexplored archives, and makes a fresh contribution both to the history of the Second World War and to the modern history of the papacy.

    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is one of the most interesting books so far written about the Second World War … a strange tale wonderfully told by the master of the art of writing history.' Robert Blake, Illustrated London News

    'The whole narrative is full of … fascinating details, and they are told with great skill … [The volume] gives us a completely new insight into the inner workings of that Vatican, and the human story of the relationship between two exceptional men is sheer delight.' Denis Mack Smith, The Times Literary Supplement

    'With this book, Owen Chadwick had quite simply changed the agenda for historians who really want to understand what the Vatican was up to during the war.' Peter Hebblethwaite, Guardian

    '… admirably succinct and readable account of diplomatic life in the Vatican … his lively narrative provides a fascinating picture of the Vatican under siege'. Daily Telegraph

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 1988
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521368254
    • length: 344 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 152 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.57kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Britain and the Vatican in the last years of Pope Pius XI (1935–39)
    2. The conclave of 1939
    3. The peace plans of Pius XII
    4. The winter war, 1939–40
    5. The Italian entry into the war
    6. First months in the Vatican
    7. Surveillance I
    8. Surveillance II: the bag
    9. The Jews in 1942
    10. The bombing of Rome
    11. The Italian armistice
    12. The German occupation
    13. Aftermath
    Select bibliography

  • Author

    Owen Chadwick

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