Pius XII and the Holocaust Research Papers
Paper Masters examines history and war in light of many different aspects of what was going on during the era that a student is studying. For example, using the papacy of Pius XII as an analytical framework, Paper Masters suggests your research paper should be a discussion that will consider the role of church-state relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the international community during the period now referred to as the Holocaust. Here is how to construct your research paper:
- First, a brief summary of Pius XII’s tenure as Pope will be recounted.
- Then, the arguments both supporting and condemning Pius XII’s positions and actions during this era will be explicated and analyzed.
- In conclusion, an overarching assessment of the implications of the Church’s actions during this period for the overall direction of church-state relations will be presented.
Born in Italy in 1876, Eugenio Pacelli entered the priesthood in 1899. The majority of his career in the Church was centered within the administrative hierarchy of the Vatican until 1917, when, as a Bishop, he served as nuncio to Bavaria. He spent the next two decades serving in various capacities throughout Germany and Prussia. As cardinal, Pacelli negotiated with the Nazi government after it gained control of the country. Pacelli was named Pope in 1939, the first Roman candidate in two centuries.
Pius sought Diplomacy
Throughout the tumult of World War II, Pius sought to retain open communications with all of the nations involved in the conflict, even if their wartime policies overtly contradicted the principles set forth in Catholic Church doctrine. Pius took the position that maintaining a diplomatic and political relationship with all governments was more expedient than severing ties in symbolic protest. Although Pius was largely praised for his actions during this period, future generations have been less sympathetic to him. In recent years, the reassessment of Pius’ legacy has been the subject of heated controversy among Catholics, historians, Jews, and members of the general public.
Pius and the Nazi Party
Arguably the single most devastating event of the twentieth century, the Holocaust resulted from the rule of the xenophobic Nazi party. During the execution of the chilling “final solution,” an estimated 6 million men, women, and children lost their lives to the systematic genocide perpetrated by the Nazis. The majority of those killed were Jewish, but members of many other groups were also targeted for genocidal eradication, including non-Aryan ethnic minorities, foreign nationals, artists, political dissidents, the elderly, the infirm, and homosexuals. In short, any person who did not conform to the Nazi ideal of Aryan ideology, vigor and productivity was vulnerable to persecution.