Pius XII - on German suffering?


I just thought I would ask this question to the forum because it is something I have been thinking about for a while, and wanted to get other’s opinions on. It concerns the role of Pius XII in the second world war. Of course, there is the well known controversy of what he did or did not do with respect to the suffering of the Jewish people caught in the conflict. I am fairly well resolved that he did what he could, where he could. But what I would like to explore is the other side. My question is, what did or did he not do to help with the suffering of the Germans, and if this part of Pius XII’s history is not buried because it does not fit the popular narratives. For instance, the ariel bombardment war that Churchill oversaw was of course very brutal towards the Germans, often targeting family homes. Was there a statement about this? I know something was said about the atomic bombs over Japan as indiscriminately targeting civilians. But was there a statement about the attacks over Germany? The firebombing of Dresden, Cologne, and Hamburg are some of the worst that come to mind. Also, before the war broke out, I seem to recall reading somewhere once that the Catholic Bishops where united in an opinion that the city of Danzig should be returned by Poland to Germany. A peaceful resolution such as this would have averted the whole conflict. Is this buried history? Another item of interest is, was there a sympathy by the Church towards the German’s invasion of the Soviet Union? Contrary to the standard narrative, I have read that the Germans liberated churches and freed priests during the invasion of Russia. Finally, if that isn’t enough to chew on, at the end of the war, Germans were expelled by the Polish from their native lands. The numbers of people driven out were very large, and it amounted to the largest incident of ethnic cleansing to have ever taken place. Was the Church silent on this?

These are not “popular” topics, and not really something seen on the history channel, but it is history nonetheless. I am interested on what people have to say.

Your knowledge of WWII history is very poor if you believe that giving Danzig to Hitler would have averted the war.

Well, I am not sure why you avert the entire topic by questioning by knowledge of history. And really, you have twisted my words. I never said anything about giving Danzig over to Hitler - he is one man, and my question involves the entirety of the German people - and Pope Pius. Nevertheless, the Church bishops were in favor of returning the German city of Danzig to the German nation. It was on moral grounds - Danzig was a German city. That certainly would have averted war with Poland. Averting war is something that the Catholic church is interested in - or no?

Better yet, I suggest that you get the facts as I did which resulted in this blog article. Someone Has Lied to You About Our Pope Pius XII

No, giving Danzig to Hitler would not have averted war. He wanted all of Poland, not just Danzig or the Polish corridor, as he wanted, (1.) a route to invade Russia, (2.) to kill the large number of Polish Jews, (3.) to destroy Catholic Poland.

A good basic history of the war is the British TV documentary series “The World at War.”

I have a book of Church History called “Popular History of the Catholic Church” by Philip Hughes. In his segment on World War One, he describes how the the pope at the time remained neutral as to which side was right, but when terrible bombings or other war crimes occurred he would speak out in protest against them, no matter which side committed them.

The author finished the book while World War Two was still happening, and remarks in his final paragraphs that the radio messages of Pope Pius XII promoting peace would go down in history as a great legacy of the papacy. If you google “pope pius xii radio peace message”, you’ll find several websites that host transcripts of some of these radio messages.

While I don’t see these radio addresses singling out any country for specific reprobation, they do reject Nazi ideology, they condemn the idea that aggression is a legitimate means of resolving differences, and they condemn “monstrous means of conducting hostilities,” which would seem to include the bombings you are wondering about.

Thanks dmar,

I will look into that radio broadcast.


I am well aware of the popular narrative to the war. You don’t need to refer me to British documentaries on the war. What I am trying to explore here is the TRUTH. Let the great axe fall where it may.

I think the criticisms of Pius XII are built on an incorrect understanding of the war, the rise of communism, the threat that meant for the church, and so on. If you view Pius XII with the lenses of the popular view of the war, I think it is easy to conclude that he “did not do enough”. If what you, PaulfromIowa are saying is true, then that Hitler wanted to destroy Catholic Poland, then Pius XII has a huge black eye. But this narrative doesn’t go with all the facts.

Whilst you are correct in most of your post (especially about ‘The World at War’), I think you are letting your own faith blind you to Hitler’s intentions on Christianity.
Despite what other atheists say about Hitler being a Christian, the more educated of us realise that he was very anti Christian per se. It was not just the Catholic faith.
Hitler realised the political power of the church in Germany…he needed them if he was to gain full power…therefore he ‘bastardized’ religion…his ‘Positive’ Christianity blended racial purity and Nazi ideologies with Christianity…and he focused on Jesus the man, as a freedom fighter against Jewish persecution, rather than Jesus, the son of God. All Jewish texts in the Bible were rejected, including the whole of the Old Testament!
So, Hitler was anti religious…not just anti Catholic.

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