How The Cross Courted the Swastika For Eight Years
Edited by E. Haldeman-Julius
The Black International No. 3
- Chapter I – Socialism Empties The Churches
- Chapter II – The Pope Joins The Gang
- Chapter III – How He Helped Hitler In Austria
- Chapter IV – Hitler Exposes The Shame Of The Church
- Chapter V – The Pope Continues To Court Hitler
The aim of the Black International is to protect and augment the power and wealth of the Church. Since however, the clergy do not share their power, much less their wealth, with the laity, we may define this aim more sharply. It is to protect and augment their own wealth and power, especially that of the higher clergy and the Pope and his Court. History compels us to add that in pursuing this aim the Black International is not restrained by any considerations or sentiments which are not strictly ecclesiastical.
That statement, a Catholic may object, may be formally correct but it is malicious. The Church, he holds — because in this respect the priests have taken him into their confidence wants wealth and power only in order that it may more effectively promote the spiritual interests and eternal welfare of men. So we understood; and we understood also that that is why the priest must, whenever it is necessary, ignore all ordinary human emotions and interests. What are the things of time compared with those of eternity? It is a nice formula. The sufferings of 100,000,000 Chinese under the red hooves of the Japanese are doubtless sad to contemplate but the spiritual welfare of all Asia requires that the Pope shall not say so to his friend the Mikado. The first of Pacelli-Pius’s famous Five Peace Principles, which won the admiration of the world, is “the right to life and freedom of all nations, big and small, powerful and weak. But the spiritual welfare of the Abyssinians (and the Spaniards, Albanians, Greeks, Serbs, etc.) is much more important than life or freedom so he had no harsh words for his friend Mussolini.
We might, indeed, if we had leisure to go into these matters, inquire whether the enormous accession of wealth and power to the Church after the conversion of Constantine in the fourth century and again during the Renaissance was really followed by a great spiritual uplift or by a remarkable corruption of both people and Church. But we have not time for these digressions. Here we have to consider contemporary events.
Now we saw in the first booklet of this series that the need of the Black International to protect its wealth and power was never greater than it is today. In my Decay of the Church of Rome (1909) I proved to the satisfaction of everybody except Catholic’s, who have a short way of differing from me without reading me, that in the course of the nineteenth century the Church lost, in actual seceders and descendants of seceders, about 100,000,000 followers. It lost almost if not quite as many during the next 35 years, or between 1900 and 1935. The leakage steadily continued, even increased in all countries except those, such as Ireland and Poland in which the priests could keep then people in blinkers. The progress of Socialism, against which the Church had declared war to the death, made the leakage worse, and after the Russian Revolution it became a flood. In Spain, Italy, Austria, and Latin America we have the decisive evidence of electoral statistics, which show a world-loss of at least 60,000,000 since the last war. Even for a small country like Czecho-Slovakia Catholics, we shall see, admit a loss of about 2,000,000 in fifteen years, and the drift continued in America and Britain. Nor was it only a question of the humiliation of losing so many members. The Church in Germany was estimated to have a wealth of $20,000,000,000, and it was melting away.
These spectacular losses are the key to the policy which Pacelli followed, first as Secretary of State and then as Pope Pius XII. When you know of these indisputable losses, which are not obtruded upon public notice, you see that the line followed by the Black International was quite inevitable in view of its primary aim. It is the folk who do not know of the losses who are puzzled by the plain evidence of the Italian Church’s enthusiastic support of Mussolini in all his crimes, the Vatican’s open alliance with Japan, or the Pope’s strident call upon various governments to cooperate with him in the extinction, by war, of Bolshevism in Spain, Russia, China, and Mexico. Therefore in dealing with each country in which we trace the action of the Black International I give definite evidence from electoral statistics or Catholic admissions of the enormous losses of the Church. In the last book I showed this in the case of Italy and South America.
It is vitally necessary in the case of Germany. References to the Church in that country suggests to the reader at one moment that it is tremendously wealthy and powerful — a good third of the nation — and the next day represent it as cowering powerlessly under the Nazi lash. The American public his been particularly puzzled by Cardinal Mundelein making himself the chief spokesman of the Church. Here was a great Churchman, praised in the highest terms by the Pope and the warmest friend of Pacelli when he visited America, scourging the Nazis at a time when no statesman in the world ventured to warn his people of the coming evil.
The human side of these consecrated movements is always interesting. Mundelein sent larger sums to the Papal treasury than any other cardinal in the Church and promised even vaster funds when prosperity returned to Chicago. So the Vatican courageously refused to condemn him when requested by Hitler to do so. Besides, it was convenient to have a rather muddle-headed enthusiast assuring America that these charges of vice against the holy monks of Catholic Germany were wicked Nazi fabrications to cover a persecution of the Church. It was not necessary to tell Mundelein that, as we shall see presently, the Pope had already suppressed the whole body of these Franciscan monks in Westphalia for comprehensive corruption — they were all in jail Anyway — and that the Catholic bishop of Berlin had told Hitler in a published letter that the bishops of Germany admitted that there was a large amount of “moral perversity” in the monastic world. How could Mundelein know that the Vatican and the German hierarchy were still pressing Hitler to be friends? He had sworn to exterminate Bolshevism, after a kiss of betrayal, and there was nothing in the whole world that the Vatican more fiercely desired than the destruction of Bolshevism, by hook or by crook, in every country.
When the Pope, who would presently so solemnly assert “the right to life and freedom of all nations,” was asked to condemn the invasion of Norway, the beginning of Hitler’s monstrous enslavement of Europe, he objected that there were only 2,000 Catholics in Norway and he had to think of the consequences for the “30,000,000 Catholics of Germany.” What he meant was that, since the Church of Rome does not admit that a man can quit it when his reason or his conscience demands this, there were in Germany some 30,000,000 men and women and their children who had received Catholic baptism. In 1905 the Church claimed to have 25,000,000 members. Taking into account the beautiful fertility of Catholic parents these ought by 1940 to have grown to at least 35,000,000. In point of fact it is easy to show that there were at the latter date not more than 15,000,000 German Catholics, probably not more than 10,000,000. This implies a loss in the present generation of at least 15,000,000, probably 20,000,000; and this loss is not so much due to the action of the Nazis as to the rapid growth of Socialism and Communism since 1918. It implies also a proportionate loss of wealth.
The new world-conditions which led to the disintegration of the medieval Church everywhere — the advance of culture, universal free education, cheap literature and free libraries, the growth of urban and industrial populations, etc, — had had at least as devastating an effect in Germany as in Britain and America. Think of the huge circulation of such writers as Nietzsche and Haeckel. In cities like Berlin hardly a fifth of the inhabitants went to church. But in Germany the Roman Church had special conditions. Bismarck had switched off his attack on Catholicism from 1872 to 1881 and directed it to the Socialists, and he now had the enthusiastic alliance of the Church. Some say that Socialism is a crime, and some that it is folly, but the Church said that it is a sin; which, of course, is much more likely to got men to avoid it. The Catholics organized politically in a Center Party and a Bavarian People’s Party, and there was a very sharp line of division between. Catholic votes and those of the sinful Socialists and even worse Communists. Thirty years ago the Social Democratic Federation dropped its official opposition to all Churches, on the painfully familiar plea of Socialist leaders that this would shorten the path to power, but this did not affect the irreconcilable hostility between Socialists and Catholics. In fact, when Communism in turn became a powerful force, as it did in Germany, and in the Vatican policy Socialists and Communists were lumped together as Bolsheviks, the mutual antagonism was increased.
I have earlier explained that in the very promising new phase of German life between 1924 and 1930 the Catholics and Socialists cooperated politically, and when Nazism grew they had another link in hatred of their common enemy. Catholics for the first time rose to the highest offices in the state. But the bishops knew, and Pacelli who lived in Germany from 1917 to 1929 saw, that the leakage from the Church was now disastrous. Before the 1914-1918 war the Catholic vote had already fallen, in spite of the high Catholic birth rate. from one-fifth to one-sixth of the total electorate, whereas Catholic writers like the Jesuit Father Krose had estimated that by superior birth rate alone Catholics would raise their percentage of the population by one percent every decade. After the war their percentage, instead of rising, fell steeply, though the masses of Catholic peasants and farmers continued to have large families while the masses of non-Catholic urban workers increasingly practiced birth control. It is enough to quote the figures at the last democratic elections. In November 1932, when the last entirely free election was held, the combined Catholic vote was 5,326,583 in a total of 35,000,000 votes or not much more than one-seventh. In March, 1933, when Hitler was Chancellor and there was a good deal of trickery and intimidation — but, we shall see, complete freedom for the Catholics — the Catholic vote was 5,496,054 in 39,316,873, or less than one- seventh. Catholics who were represented in American literature as one-third of the population could not in this supreme crisis get one-seventh of the adult community. Their proportion would have been even less if they had not had the energetic support of the Jews against Hitler, as the Catholic Emil Ritter shows in his work Der Weg des Politischen Katholizismus (1934). The Jews were ordered by their rabbis to vote with the Catholics, and in Berlin the Catholics ran a Jewish candidate.
Now turn to the other side, At the time when the Church began to fight the Socialists the latter could poll only 349,000 votes. By 1907 the Socialist vote had risen to 3,010,800. The total number of voters had doubled: the Socialist vote had increased ten-fold: the Catholic vote had, taking into account the growth of population, considerably decreased. But again it will be enough to quote the final figures, just before the sun of freedom sank below the horizon. In November, 1932, the Socialists and Communists polled 13,712,292 votes, or much more than a third of the adult community, Before the March election Goering’s men had fired the Reichstag to raise the Communist scare and, as Hitler was Chancellor, Socialists and Communists were forbidden to hold meetings and their papers suppressed, so the Communist vote fell considerably and the Socialist vote slightly. Yet the two parties still cast 12,321,684 votes, or moire than twice as many as the combined (and free) Catholic parties and nearly a third of the whole. The Nazis, I may add, even in the final election, with the help of the Communist scare, the Pope’s blessing — as we shall see — and corrupt tactics, did not get one-half of the total vote (17,265,823 votes out of 39,316,873). Germany never voluntarily accepted Hitler. His party took power because it was the largest of ten.
The glibness with which works of reference continue year after year to say that Catholics in Germany are one-third of the population, or 25,000,000 out of 75,000.000, make the German puzzle worse than ever for most people. How could a group of men who set out upon one of the most colossal aggressive enterprises in history begin by defying and persecuting one-third of the nation in addition to a savage repression of the still larger body of Socialists and Communists? Why are all our experts (or oracles) convinced that the overwhelming majority of the German people support Hitler yet pay respectful attention to the shrieks of men like the late Cardinal Mundelein that the Catholic third of the nation is bitterly persecuted?
The truth is plainly shown in the above figures. As late as the November election of 1932 — we shall see presently what happened after it — the Catholic hierarchy was violently opposed to Socialism and Communism as well as to Hitler and insisted on Catholics voting for Catholic candidates. This was easy in Germany, where the main body of the Catholics is found in certain provinces where they form the great majority of the community. On this occasion, moreover, the appeal of the bishop to their flocks was the most urgent and solemn since Bismarck had fought the Church 60 years earlier. Is it seriously suggested that any large proportion of genuine Catholics voted, in so grave a crisis, either for the Socialists or for the bunch of apostates who, their leaders said, were just as anxious as the Socialists to abolish the Church? If you want to make an allowance for invalids and other possibilities remember that on the other hand the Catholics had the support of half a million Jews, who were too scattered to have their own candidates. In the circumstance’s the voting figures give us a much safer indication of the truth than any statements of writers.
These figures show that in 1932 Catholics were 13 percent, not 33 percent, of the adult community. A desperate apologist might suggest that in Germany, differently from in other countries, the young are more religious than the older folk and this would give the Church a larger total than the election figure’s suggest. Such an apologist would have to be very ignorant of German conditions. In Great Briton, priests publicly admit that in many towns 50 percent of the boys quit the Church when they leave the school. And in Britain the atmosphere is not quite as poisonous for the young, from the Church angle, as in Nazi Germany. You have heard of the Strength through Joy movement, but you may not have heard how youths have a song with the refrain, “On the heath and in the meadows I lose my Strength through Joy,” how working girls sing on the streets a hymn to Mary which suggests — I forget the exact words — that her name was probably Cohen and her baby was born on the wrong side of the blanket. But suppose we take a generous view. Thirteen percent of the nation in 1932 meant about 12,000,000 Catholics. Make what allowance you like for absenteeism from the polls (though every possible voter was whipped up) or other factors, but you cannot raise that figure to 15,000,000, which is only half what the Pope claims.
And it is admitted that since 1932 the Church has suffered further and catastrophic losses. The organization which held the Catholic body together is torn to shreds. Think of the numerous societies (Knights of Columbus, Daughters of Mary, etc.) which in America are extremely important in keeping the faithful loyal and docile to the clergy. They are all suppressed in Germany. The two political parties are dissolved. The Catholic press, the supreme instrument of the clergy, is ruined. “All that remains of the one- time great Catholic press of Germany,” said the Vatican Radio in March (1941), “are a few parish magazines, and even these have to be edited with the greatest care.” All Catholic schools in the Catholic provinces have been closed and all the charitable and other institutions which were one of the chief advertisements of the Church have been taken over. All religious brothers, nuns, etc., have been ignominiously expelled from education and every Catholic child knows from its Nazi playmates that this is said to be on account of a discovery of a plague of some kind of shameful wickedness amongst them. A ghastly reproach has been put upon the whole by jailing thousands of them for moral turpitude and seduction of the young. Then there is the economic pressure, as good jobs must be got from Nazi bosses, the social pressure, and so on. There cannot be more than 10,000,000 Catholics in Germany today, and that means a loss of at least 15,000,000, if not 20,000,000. The Catholic author of a special article in the London Daily Express (November 15, 1939) the most widely circulated paper in the world said that by 1936 priests in the Rhineland admitted that they had lost half their flocks and added that “if the Nazis remain in power another decade Roman Catholicism may be obliterated from Germany.” That is stronger language than I have used.
Any man who finds this difficult to understand may reflect on the following experience. A friend of mine, a person of high character and a Catholic by baptism, went in 1937 to pay a prolonged visit to relatives and friends in the Rhineland, his old home. Everywhere he found the Catholics speaking with genial disdain both of the Nazis and the Church. It was a mainly Catholic district, and when my friend asked what they thought of the charges of vice against the monks they laughingly replied that they had always had a suspicion about life in those institutions. Catholic belief, in other words, was never so deep amongst them as Catholic writers pretend. They just wanted to be left alone to drink and feed and smoke in the way of their fathers. How are such folk likely to have fared under the pressure of the last five years?
However that may be, stupendous losses are, as I said, admitted. And these losses are the key to the Vatican policy in Germany. It is to check them and to recover ground that, in spite of one deception after another, the Vatican has ordered German Catholics to submit and has tried year after year to enter into alliance with Hitler. That is why the Pope in spite of his discreet letters of sympathy to Queen Wilhelmina and King Leopold and his protests against the ghastly attempts to annihilate the Poles after they had been conquered, never uttered one word of straight moral condemnation of any one of the long series of cynical breaches of treaties, ruthless aggressions, and foul treatment of subject peoples by which the Nazi government has roused against itself the anger and disgust of the whole free world except its Catholic allies. That terrible indictment I will proceed to justify point by point.
We saw that two grave dilemmas confronted Pacelli when, in 1930, he became Secretary of State to the late Pope and took over the supreme control of the international policy of the Vatican. There was an acrid quarrel with Mussolini over the terms of the Treaty and Concordat he had signed and a request from Japan that the Papacy should recognize its annexation of Manchuria, which the conscience of the civilized world condemned. We saw how he resolved these dilemmas. He linked the Church firmly to two partners of the criminal Conspiracy; which would come to be known as the Axis. He had hardly accomplished this, when the third problem arose. Hitler, doubtless encouraged by the holy alliance with Italy and Japan, sent an emissary to ask for recognition of his share in the brewing plot against civilization. He got it. The Black International joined the gang.
When you sum up events in this bold fashion many folk shake their heads skeptically, so, although in the mad rush of life in our time it seems almost to be ancient history — it is less than ten years old — I must briefly repeat the evidence of what happened in 1932. Remember that Pacelli knew Germany thoroughly. He had left it, after twelve years close observation of its life, in 1929, and his new office as Secretary of State compelled him to watch carefully the critical course of events in that country.
Bitterly as he hated Socialism, because he expected it everywhere sooner or later to turn to the Russian model and declare religion “the opium of the people,” he was fully aware that in face of the Nazi threat and in view of the distress which the world- slump and the sudden cessation of loans had brought upon the country the Catholics were cooperating with the Socialists under a Catholic Chancellor, Bruning, and later the Catholic General von Schleicher. Bruning was a shrewd opportunist who leaned to the Right or the Left as occasion required, but he was a good statesman. As long as he held together the coalition of Liberals, Catholics, Jews, Socialists, and Communist the Nazi’s had no chance of success. It was in very large part the Vatican that ruined this defense and the leadership of Bruning by forcing him away from the Socialists and patronizing the Nazis.
That Pacelli was guilty of a criminal blunder must be admitted. He knew that Hitler had already given proof of his duplicity and of his infamous intentions but like Mussolini, he gambled on the success of Nazi militarism and the spinelessness of the democracies. All the world now knows how first the German industrialists, headed by Thyssen and Hagenberg, brought their millions to the Nazi treasury and used every means in their power to influence their Liberal and Radical workers in Hitler’s favor. The new Nazi Party emerged from as slimy a mess of intrigue and deception as one can imagine. Hitler had won a large body of the workers — the Nazi group had started as a semi-Socialist working- class movement, pure and simple — by promising to improve their condition at the expense of “the bloated capitalist.” By 1931 Hitler welcomed the gold of the capitalist — and any other gold that came along — and sold his semi-Socialism. Ambassador Dodd, who was then in Berlin, describes in his Diary how he saw the royalists and land-owners as well as the industrialists buzzing round the Nazi headquarters.
Hitler double-crossed them all. He took their money and rose in November, 1932, to the electoral strength which I have described. In 1930 the Nazi vote had been one-sixth of the whole. In 1932 it was one-third. But they had used up all their resources and were very dejected. They could get no more from the Liberals and Conservatives and they could not approach the Socialists and Communists, however ready they were to sell what soul they had to the devil. What about the Catholics?
Von Papen was the queerest figure in the bunch of Nazi leaders. His Catholic standing was such that he received a high decoration from the Vatican — he is a Chamberlain of the Papal Court — and he was a friend of the very conservative President Hindenburg and the Prussian aristocrats. In the summer of 1932 he had, through his influence with Hindenburg, got the Chancellorship away from Bruning, though he had in turn soon lost it to the Catholic General von Schleicher. Note carefully that Germany thus had three Catholic Chancellors (Premiers) in succession, an honor of which they had not hitherto dreamed, under the Liberal-Socialist coalition, which Pacelli helped to destroy in favor of the Nazis. Von Schleicher, in close touch with the German hierarchy, adopted an even more pronounced policy of cooperation with the Socialists against the Nazis than Bruning had followed. With their support he dared to publish the fact that the aristocratic Prussian land- owners had shamelessly dipped into the public funds, and Von Papen easily persuaded Hindenburg to protect their noble caste by dismissing Von Schleicher and making Hitler Chancellor. He would now control the next election; and the greasy Goering would do dirty work in the country for him.
About the same time, the beginning of 1933, Von Papen was sent to Rome to propose an alliance with the Vatican. It is quite stupid to affect to dispute these statements because Von Papen in a published speech (Der 12 November, 1933, p. 7), which I have read, actually boasts of his work. On November 9, 1933, he made this speech to a very large audience of Catholic working men at Cologne, speaking as one Catholic to others and rousing them to support Hitler. He said, unctuously: “Providence destined me to render an essential service in the birth of the government of the national regeneration.” As his bosom friends, Hitler and Goebbels, were apostates and half the secondary leaders were notoriously sodomists, I do not wonder that folk find this chapter of German history perplexing, but that Von Papen did in fact propose to Pacelli, in Hitler’s name, that he should order the German Catholics to drop their hostility to the Nazis in return for, when they attained power, a favorable Concordat with the Church — during his twelve years in Germany Pacelli had tried in vain to get this — and that Pacelli accepted is abundantly proved, and most clearly by the subsequent course of events.
Early in 1933 the statement was widely repeated. in the German Press that the bishops, meeting at Fulda, had received instructions from Rome to abandon the hostility to Hitler and had passed these on to the clergy. It is further stated in all histories of the time that in preparation for the March election only Catholics and Nazis were allowed to organize and appeal to the country. See, in particular, the account, which will certainly not be accused of anti-Catholic bias, in Seldes (The Vatican). He adds that one of the Catholic clerical leaders, Msgr. Kaas, was sent to Rome to advise Pacelli to agree and that he said of Hitler: “This man, the bearer of high ideal’s, will do all that is necessary to save the nation from catastrophe.”
I gather that there were already some in the German Church who were in favor of alliance with Hitler. A few years later one of the most important priests in Munich died and his funeral was officially honored by the Nazi government; and in the heat of the later struggle, when many German Catholics blamed Cardinal Faulhaber, head of their Church, the Valerist paper, the Irish Independent (August 13, 1938), which was in close touch with the clergy, said that “Cardinal Faulhaber was very friendly to National Socialism in the beginning” — in other words, until Hitler double- crossed the Vatican. Hitler had by this time begun to wash out any suspicion that he would, if returned to power, injure the Church. In one of his first speeches in the Reichstag, on March 23, 1933, he said that “as we see in Christianity the unshakable foundation of the moral life so it is our duty to continue to cultivate friendly relations with the Holy See and to develop them.”
The great majority in the Church could not so easily reconcile themselves to cooperation with a disreputable bunch of apostates and sodomists, and there were many complaints in the Catholic press when the bishops circulated the Papal order to observe at least benevolent neutrality. The terms of the order are, of course, not known but we may gather them from the result. The Annual Register for 1933, says, in recording Hitler’s triumph at the election: “The gigantic swing-over of the Catholic middle-class in West and South Germany to the Nazi Party broke the power of the old middle-class Catholic parties, the Center and the Bavarian People’s Party” (p. 169). The word “gigantic” will seem misplaced if you look back upon the electoral statistics I have given. The Catholic vote fell but not so heavily. But note that the writer is referring only to the middle class, and it is significant that the Catholic vote fell even by 20,000 when every party feverishly whipped all its supporters to the poll.
It is, at all events, another witness to the change of attitude of the Catholics under ecclesiastical direction, and a fourth, and still more important witness, is a French priest writing later in the French Catholic fortnightly, the Revue des Deux Mondes (January 15, 1935, article “Le catholicisme et la politique mondiale”) and boasting of it as one of the diplomatic triumphs of the Vatican.
But surely these witnesses are superfluous in view of the acknowledged fact that on July 20, 1933, Pacelli proudly signed the Concordat he had arranged with the Nazis. Does anybody suppose that the Nazis’ who are now represented as from the start a horde of irreligious blackguards, went out of their way after they had won their triumph, to promise Rome that they would respect rights which it claimed and that were drastically opposed to their principles? The man who writes history on suspicions and assumptions, cannot complain if his readers are skeptical, but the apologist who suggests such things as this must have readers who are incapable of ordinary judgment. Hitler’s aim was to form a totalitarian state in the most literal sense: a state in which every implement of instruction or mind-forming should be used by Nazi officials to instil racial pride and a readiness for aggressive war. Yet the first thing he does after securing power is to promise a Church which he hates that it shall control the education of millions of children, continue to have a press that is pledged to internationalism and peace, and draft its members into societies and fraternities for the cult of a Jewish Bible and a Gospel of Peace. He was carrying out a bargain; but one that he never had the least intention of honoring in practice.
We no more say that the Black International put Hitler in power than we say that it caused the war. We will not even linger to consider how much influence the Papal policy had amongst the various corrupt factors that put him in power. The point is that the Cross embraced the Swastika: the Pope joined the Gang. The Vatican sold its position as international moral censor as shamefully as it had sold it to the other partners of the Axis. Incredible? Then let the apologist quote any Papal condemnations of the appalling crimes against humanity and civilization that have been committed every year since Hitler seized power. I decline to count mild protests against actions which injured the Church.
The world, bemused by a press which could see nothing in the future except “the menace of Bolshevism,” took little notice of this at the time. But let it not now be suggested that perhaps Pacelli himself understood Nazism no more than the majority of folk. After twelve years in Germany for the single purpose of studying developments! A few years later editors began to profess that they wished they could penetrate the secret of Nazi policy. It was tragicomic. The substantial part of Hitler’s program — it was expanded when he saw the criminal sluggishness of Fiance and Britain — had been for years in Mein Kamph. In 1938 I put in the form of a program, in Hitler’s own words, statements of his aims which are scattered over, and often repeated in, that immense flood of twaddle. It will be of use if I reproduce the main part of it here.
“We must see that the strength of our people has, its roots, not in colonies, but in land of our own in Europe (p. 754). The regaining of our lost provinces cannot be achieved by solemn appeals to God as pious hopes but only by force of arms (708). The South Tyrol and our lost provinces can be won back only by a bloody struggle (708). The most sacred right in the world is the right to land that you can till yourself and the holiest sacrifice is the blood you shed for it (755). Our policy in the East [Russia] must be that we will win more land for the German people. Since we need strength for this, yet the mortal enemy of our people, France, strangles us mercilessly, we must make every sacrifice that is necessary to destroy the position of France in Europe (757). This policy can be carried out only by an alliance with England (689). There, is no English, American, or Italian statesman who was ever pro-German. Any man who says that we can form alliances with foreign nations in virtue of a pro-German spirit in the leading statesmen of those countries is either an ass or a liar (698). The alliance with England and Italy will enable Germany to make its case, under the shelter of such a coalition, all the preparations that are needed for a final settlement with France (755).”
There, written nearly twenty years ago, is the whole program of duplicity, callousness, and aggression. As the current “translation” of Mein Kampf, subsidized by the Nazi government, was grossly fraudulent. I translated these sentences, which are expanded and justified at great length in the work, from the 1935 (mature) edition, and sent them to two editors of radical London papers, with a circulation of about 4,000,000 copies, who professed to be puzzled about Hitler’s intentions. Both refused to print my article, and Britain slumbered and blundered on.
If any man supposes that Pacelli and the Vatican did not know the contents of Mein Kampf, which already circulated by the million, he must have a singularly low estimate of the ability with which their work is conducted. Before Pacelli put his pen to parchment the Day of the Long Knife, about which Nazi youth’s had sung chants all over Germany for two years, occurred. More than 100,000 Jews, Communists, Socialists, Pacifists, etc., were barbarously treated and robbed of their possessions and in many cases their lives. Pacelli amiably continued to work out the details of his compact with the devil, and the church bells rang when it was signed. And the German bishops deputed Cardinal Bertram to assure Hitler that they were “glad to express as soon as possible” their joy at the agreement and their “sincere readiness to cooperate to their best ability with the new government” (the Catholic Universe, August 18, 1933). Hitler’s followers, especially the notorious pervert Roehm and his friends, scorned the concordat and insulted the Church, and infringements of the agreement began at once. But when Catholic writers say that Cardinal Faulhaber at once took a firm stand against the Nazi they gravely mislead their reader’s.
The sermons which Faulhaber delivered can be read in an English translation Judaism, Christianity, and Germany, 1933). They are a painful exhibition of moral cowardice and sycophancy. I have already quoted the Valerist organ saying that Faulhaber was favorable to Nazism “in the beginning.” It adds that “the fact that he found it impossible later not to oppose certain elements of their policy, hurt us as well as annoyed them.” What were these elements? Did he, as a Catholic prelate professes to regard as his duty, censure Hitler for his perjury in violating his solemn oath to preserve the Constitution? Did he denounce the brutality of the attack on Jews and Socialists? Not a word. His attack was purely theological. The Anti-Semitic language of the Nazis was opposed to the Catholic doctrine that the Old Testament was inspired and that Jehovah was the God of Christianity and was incarnated in the Jew Jesus. The Nazis laughed at him. Rosenberg, who had at that time some idea that because I admired pre-Nazi Germany I could be won to support them, sent me a copy of his drastic reply.
In the preceding book I said that Pacelli at this time wrote the most severe attack on Hitler that ever carne from a Papal source. He was engaged in his mission — not a “good will” mission but arranging a bloody Fascist reaction — in South America. From there he sent to Cardinal Schulte at Cologne a letter in which he roused German Catholics against the Nazi leaders. “When in Satanic pride, false prophets arise, pretending to be the bearers of a new creed,” he said, it behooved the faithful to stir themselves, I cannot trace that the Cardinal passed on the warning to his flock but, in any case, what was the point of the attack?
In June (1934) Hitler had surpassed his record of outrage to date by the infamous Blood Purge in which Catholic leaders like General von Schleicher and Strasser were murdered together with Roehm and other notorious perverts. The excuse was a confused plea that the party had to be morally purified and that there was a Plot against Hitler. But whereas in the Russian executions, about which the world press poured out streams of indignation, the conspiracy was proved in open court after trials which distinguished foreign lawyers declared unassailable, there was no pretense of a trial in Germany. Hitler, already under the influence of the semi-insane egoism that developed after his success, shouted “I am the law and justice in Germany”, and the men — hundreds of them — were shot down in their houses or their cells! Was this what Pacelli condemned? Not at all. He had heard that the Nazis were helping Catholics who favored them to found in Germany a National Catholic Church, acknowledging no obedience to Rome and finding room for Nazi doctrines. Notice carefully that Pacelli denounces the Nazis as “pretending to be the bearers of a new creed”. So it was with the protests of the German Catholic bishops which are quoted. They protested against the increasing violations of the Concordat by interference with their schools and their Catholic organizations.
We shall resume presently the revolting story of how the Pope, with Pacelli at his elbow, helped Hitler to consolidate his power in Germany but at this point it is necessary to turn aside and consider what was happening in Austria. Bavaria is a sister-state of Austria rather than of Prussia, and from Munich, its capitol, Pacelli had watched very closely the development in the southern Republic. It was of absorbing interest from the ecclesiastical angle. Austria was the only country in the world where a Catholic priest, Msgr. Seipel, a man of intense loyalty to the Vatican, had supreme power. During fourteen year’s after the war Seipel, a professor of moral theology and a leader of the Christian Socialist movement, was either himself Chancellor (President) or the power behind the Chancellor. He represented the Church, for it at once transpired that there was as much Socialism in Christian Socialism as there is science in Christian Science.
The state was thus a theocracy, the only one in the world except Thibet, and as such of profound interest to every Vatican official. This interest was all the greater from the fact that, while the state was Catholic, its capitol, Vienna, was Socialist and Atheistic. Socialism and Communism had made the same progress in Austria after the war and the expulsion of the emperor as they had made in Germany. In Vienna, Linz, and other industrial towns the Socialists had outvoted the Catholics and Liberals in the municipal elections and had won control and carried out their principles in a civic policy. Two features of their rule must be noted.
The first is that the Austrian Socialists were emphatically anti-Catholic. The well-known amiability (Gutmuthlichkeit) of the Austrian character saved them from the worst libels of Bolsheviks that were served upon the world-press, but the fierce hostility to them of the Church, which made fruitless constitutional efforts to capture Vienna, hardened their attitude to it. Here every vote cast for Socialist or a Communist was sternly pronounced a vote against the Church. “Even to this day,” says C.A. Macartney, a distinguished and conservative scholar of Rambridge University, “the real battle of Austrian Socialism is directed against the Church” (The Social Revolution in Austria, 1926, p. 54). And the Socialists continued to win, large numbers from the Church year after year and to gain ground in the country. At the 1927 election they polled 830,000 votes outside Vienna and increased their vote in Vienna by 120,000. Is it a mere coincidence that in that year the Christian Socialist government began to resort to persecution and violence?
The second feature was of no interest at all to churchmen but ought to have been — and was not — frankly described in the press. It is that while Austria as a whole under its clerical ‘statesmen’ was so badly administered that the League of Nations had to step in periodically to save it from bankruptcy, Vienna, in spite of the heavy depression caused by the mutilation of the country at Versailles, effected a very remarkable social improvement. I was in Vienna when it took 500 Kronen — a Krone used to be worth 50c — to buy a small apple, and a very small cake, or the cheapest postage stamp, and half the workers were so near “starving” that, the police told me, civil war was feared. Yet after years of this, and still seriously crippled economically, Vienna made extraordinary progress in education, housing, and other social reforms. I have described it elsewhere and need say here only that every impartial social student in Europe acknowledged it. Macartriey says that in a few months the Socialist Municipal Council “did more to better the condition of the masses than had previous decades of legislation from above”: Catholic legislation, you understand, A London daily which is opposed to Socialism said of this Socialist administration after the Catholics had treacherously destroyed it that it had been “a model of democratic government, as close to the ideal platonic Republic as the world has ever seen” (News-Chronicle, February 12, 1935).
The British editor was wrong on one point. Vienna was not closer to the ideal Republic than Moscow, and Madrid and (with reserves on account of the mass of illiteracy) Mexico City were approaching it under Socialist rule. If it seems rash to claim that this was of no interest from the ecclesiastical angle you have only to reflect on the facts. Had the Vatican, indeed in this case Catholics throughout the world, given any consideration to the actual social fruits of Bolshevism when from 1935 onward they shrieked for its extinction in Russia, Spain, and Mexico? The laity were obviously ignorant of the truth. Their Catholic press never mentioned countries or cities under Socialist rule except to repeat the most venomous libels about their social condition. Were the higher clergy equally ignorant? If you can suppose that they were, you have to conclude that they were blind to every issue but one — the wealth and power of the Black International.
As I have written at length elsewhere, particularly in the Appeal to Reason Library No. 5., on the development in Austria I sum up the events briefly, with the addition of a few details that have since transpired. The most important of these additions is that we have now to review all these events since 1930 in the light of Pacelli’s scheme to have Socialism destroyed by alliance with anti-Socialist powers, however criminal and unsavory they might be. In 1934 his plan was not fully developed. He saw Socialism spread in Germany but the destructive power was still almost below the political horizon when he left the country. He saw it spread, with devastating consequences to the Catholic missions, in China, and he linked the Papacy with Japan. He saw it in South America and went there to bring the Church and the wealthy to a practical agreement. He saw it in Mexico but, for lack of definite evidence, we do not say that in his visit to the States he encouraged the idea of a beautiful Catholic-Wall-Street alliance. He saw it in Spain and promoted the slowly maturing plot to destroy it. He saw it in Russia, but until 1936 he still dreamed of a friendly alliance with the Soviet authorities, and it was only when he definitely abandoned this hope that he gave the Church the slogan: Extinguish Bolshevism in Russia, China, Mexico and Spain. It was already extinct, with his assistance, in Germany and Italy.
In 1933 his plans were still piecemeal, and Austria was the next obvious, province for his intrigues. By this time it was evident that in a field of fair propaganda and free discussion the Socialists won every time, and it could not plausibly be said in the case of Austria, as it was lyingly said of Italy and Germany, that Socialism led to distress and disorder. The only serious criticism I have seen of the fine social work done in Vienna is that it was financed by foreign loan’s which were advanced for a different purpose. That is false The city council at Vienna never received any part of the advances. They went to the Christian Socialist government, which means in large part to the Church. Vienna paid its way by taxes and a financial system of great ability.
There was a special difficulty in the case of Austria: the mutual jealousy of Mussolini and Hitler, who still hated and distrusted each other and each wanted control of Austria. The Vatican favored Italy, especially as before the end of 1933 Hitler betrayed his duplicity and Austria was predominantly Catholic. In 1931 the Pope, assisted by Pacelli, had issued an Encyclical to the effect that the Italian corporative state was (especially as it bowed to Canon Law, put education under the Church, and heavily subsidized the clergy) the model for Catholic countries. The corporative state meant, of course, the destruction of Socialism and Trade Unions, the workers being drafted into corporations under the firm hand of Church and State, and the recognition of the capitalists right of private property (or all the wealth he could make) with a right of the state to conscript such of the wealth as it needed. Portugal had adopted the scheme, as France and Spain have since done.
Hitler, though he affected to despise the Austrians, was by no means willing to see it pass under Italian influence or, as the Catholics wanted, restore the imperial rule, but he was not yet in a position to force a bargain upon Mussolini. As I quoted, he had written long before this in Mein Kampf that Germans must win back by force of arms even the South Tyrol from Italy, which had been awarded it, at Versailles. This meant the annexation of Austria. He cynically watched the Church coquetting in Austria with Italian Fascism. If they chose to destroy Socialism for him, so much the better. And Socialism was, in spite of its steady progress, doomed from 1927. It not only mocked the financial ineptness of the national government but it brought to light a series of grave scandals in connection with the government and its supporters. Seipel rallied to his support all the industrialists and landowners and looked round for a knight in shining armor like Mussolini or Hitler.
Prince Starhemberg, a conceited puppy of the type of Ciano or Suner, but a wealthy noble, chose himself for the part. By Seipel’s treacherous connivance and with Italian assistance he was allowed to create a private Fascist army, the Heimwehr — “created in its final form by Seipel,” says the Annual Register, and Seipel did nothing independently of the Vatican — which very obviously intended to attack the Socialists and Communists. In fact, Starhemberg provoked a clash prematurely, but the Catholic government had so small a majority in the Reichsrath that it was beaten. Seipel was driven from the Chancellorship and streams of Austrians quitted the Church (1933).
Seipel and the Church put into the Chancellorship a priest- ridden little man of peasant extraction and no particular ability whom the American press came to glorify as “gallant little Dollfuss.” You may remember how he “stood up to Hitler”; though it was not clearly explained at the time that in resisting Nazism he was defending Fascism. In his first budget as Chancellor he admitted a deficit of $70,000,000, a colossal sum for so small a state and after all the loans, and he rarely had a majority of more than one in Congress. The railway-men, who were very largely Socialists, disclosed the fact that, against international agreement, he was allowing Italy to use Austrian railroads to send arms secretly into Hungary; which also Italy and the Vatican wanted to make Fascist and allied to Italy. Dollfuss solemnly assured France and Britain that the traffic should cease, but he secretly maintained it, and the Socialists again exposed it. So “the Socialist watch-dog had to be destroyed.” That is the language of the Annual Register in its impartial summary of the events of 1933.
Dollfuss went to Rome and had long talks with Mussolini and Pacelli; with, incidentally, a talk to the Almighty in St. Peters. You will, of course, not for a moment suspect that he discussed with Pacelli the plot to destroy Austrian Socialism. The Church never interferes in polities. But the course of the events that followed the return of Dollfuss to Vienna clearly shows that this second step in Hitler’s march to world-domination was facilitated, like the first, by the Black International. And in order to avoid all suspicion of the use of tainted sources I will give a short summary of these events as they are described, objectively, in the Annual Rdgister, which certainly does not lean to Socialism or Atheism.
Before he had set out for Rome Dollfuss had given a solemn engagement (his second) to France that he would take no action against the Socialists for disclosing the Hungarian-Italian traffic. France and Britain feared Civil war in Austria and were assured that all parties would be forbidden to store arms. They were probably aware that both parties were collecting arms, but while the Fascist Heimwehr was encouraged and made no secret of its armament, the government took every measure to hamper the Socialists, who had to store arms very secretly in their model tenement-blocks. On his return, however, Dollfuss, the idol of the clergy, disowned his solemn engagements and assumed dictatorial powers. Mussolini had promised to see him through.
He closed the Reichsrath (Congress) and announced that Austria was to be “a corporative authoritative state.” He suspended the Mayor of Vienna and abolished the municipal government or paralyzed it by cutting off its financial resources. He allowed Starhemberg’s army to take over provincial towns and to show itself openly in Vienna. There is, in fact, evidence that agents of the Heimwehr offered to sell pieces of artillery to the Socialists in order to encourage them to rebel. It wits obvious that they were very seriously threatened with extinction, but the prospect of success against the government and the Heimwehr (which had artillery), with Mussolini in the background, was so poor that there was no agreement on a plan of revolt when the Catholic Fascists put into circulation a report that they were in a few days going to enter the blocks of workers tenements in search of the hidden arms and Dollfuss publicly supported the Heimwehr, large numbers of the Socialists and the Communists decided to fight. Dollfuss lied to the world about the struggle he had provoked. He announced that 137 men, women, and children were killed. The number was at least 1500. Eleven of the leaders were executed and 1188 men and women were imprisoned; and many of these prisoners testified in court that they were tortured in jail in the traditional and almost invariable fashion of clerical counter-revolutions. So sordid was this chapter of Catholic history from beginning to end that the impartial writer in the Annual Register (1934, p. 194) concludes his account in these ironic words:
“At the cost of hundreds if not thousands of lives . . . the Heimwebr Fascist movement, which was created in its final form by the late Chancellor Msgr. Ignaz Seipel, achieved in 1934 its oft- proclaimed aim of the destruction of the Social Democratic Party, their violent ejection from the control of Vienna to which two- thirds of the people had elected them, and the sweeping away of parliamentary government in Austria. Thus culminated the anti- Socialist policy inaugurated by the late Msgr. Seipel in 1926.”
Seipel had died in 1922, and “gallant little Dollfuss” had, after a visit to the Vatican, carried his policy to its logical conclusion. Whatever difficulty we may have in some cases in tracing the intrigues of the Black International there is none here. The struggle was ecclesiastical. It was directed by priests and aimed at restoring the power of the Church from beginning to end. Pacelli had won his first campaign in his war for the extinction of Bolshevism.
The Socialists had taken the chief part in the revolution of 1919 against Church and State. It had been, a Socialist historian says, “the most peaceful and the most humane of all revolutions,” for the successful republicans “had not hurt a hair of anybody’s head.” The only error of this writer is his claim that it was a unique revolution in its humanity. Five democratic revolutions in Spain during the nineteenth century. several in Italy and Portugal, and all the revolutions of 1848 had had the same character; and the Spanish revolution of 1932 had lived up to the democratic tradition. And the treachery and truculence of the clerical counter-revolution of 1934 had followed the model of all such movements. Yet journalists and essayists everywhere continued to speak of the Reds as dangerously prone to violence and the Church as the world’s noblest guardian of peace, humanity, and justice. Who are the real Reds?
The Church followed up its victory with the customary inhumanity. All funds and buildings belonging to the workers were confiscated, and the arbitrary arrests of Socialists continued. By the beginning of 1937 there were 24,000 political prisoners, largely men and women who had had no trial, in the jails of Austria. In that year Miss Margery Fry, a very sane and respected British prison-reformer, Wm. Rackham of Cambridge University, and Professor Kimberg, a high authority on prisons, traveled over Europe on a tour of inspection. They were not permitted in any country to see how political prisoners were treated, and were not allowed to visit any jails in Austria, Italy, Germany, and Portugal. But they brought back and told in the British press a horrible story of overcrowded jails in Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, and Yugo-Slavia, of the use of torture and brutality by jailers and police, of semi-starvation and cruel conditions, of tens of thousands who had never had any sort of trial. On the very day on which I write this a cautious Liberal British paper (News Chronicle, September 25, 1941), describes just such brutality in Spanish jails today. And the world-press still refused to see in these things the shadow of things to come.
That was the new situation in Austria: overcrowded jails, refusal of trials, torture, and brutality by Catholic jailers. And over it all the Church waved its blessing. Cardinal Innitzer issued a special address to the workers, saying that their Holy Mother the Church affectionately welcomed them back to the fold. There was not much tenderness about the process, for the Church at once set up an intolerable tyranny. Every government employee must attend church regularly or be fired. Every teacher must go to confession at least once in three weeks. The splendid system of education which, to the admiration of the educational world, the Socialists had created was destroyed and text books of the most mendacious Catholic type were substituted. Socialist efficiency was replaced by Catholic-Fascist inefficiency. Though the worst of the world-depression had now passed. Austria fell into a condition of semi-famine, and the priests used even this for their purposes. The Annual Register tells us that the priests at first refused all foreign aid so as to “force those in distress to apply to Catholic organizations”, and two Englishmen were arrested for giving money to starving people. Fifty out of sixty seats on the State Cultural Council were allotted to Catholics.
How Pacelli must have rubbed his hands! So did Hitler. On the ruins of the Socialist-Communist movement the Nazis of Austria quickly grew in power. They murdered Dollfuss, whom the priests replaced with the unhappy and purblind Schuschnigg. Hitler drew nearer to Mussolini and bought off his interest in Austria by promising him, with his usual brazen dishonesty, that be should not only have Savoy, Coisica, and Tunis from France and Dalmatia from Yugo-Slavia but he should continue to be the dominant power in Hungary and in all countries south of the Danube. That suited Pacelli. The Catholics of Austria added to the Catholics of Germany would give the Vatican a stronger hand in its new deals with the Nazis, and there might be a glorious bloc of Catholic powers from Portugal (when the new revolution was accomplished in Spain) to Bulgar. If I were a man of pinity I should be disposed to quote the old Latin adage: Those whom God wishe’s to destroy he first makes mad. The destruction of Socialism in Austria and enslavement of the whole country to Cardinal Innitzer was a most beneficent removal of obstacles to Hitler’s annexation of the country. To this and the share of the Black International in it we will return later.
Pacelli had soon repented of the hasty attack on Hitler which he had sent from South America to Cardinal Schulte. Apart from weak complaints that the Nazis did not observe the Concordat and a sharper note when he saw the Gestapo men annihilating his treasured Polish Church by castration and other gentle Nazi methods, he has never condemned Hitler. Certainly he has never condemned Nazi crime and bestiality as such, though all the world recognizes that he had a magnificent field for moral censorship. And his restraint, if you like to call it that, was not due to any better observance of the Concordat in Germany. On the contrary, Catholic schools and associations were disappearing. But to challenge Hitler would lead at once to more drastic treatment of the Church and he must try to win a compromise.
An opportunity occurred in 1935. The rich Saar province had at the Congress of Versailles been entrusted to the League of Nations — really to the exploitation of French industrialists — for 15 years, and the time had now expired. The inhabitants were to vote whether or no they would return to Germany. They were overwhelmingly Catholic so that an issue that was of the greatest possible importance to Hitler was to be decided by the Church; for it would be preposterous to suggest that in so delicate a matter the local hierarchy would act without instructions from the Vatican. On January 6 the bishops of Speier and Trier, the heads of the local Church, Issued a letter of instruction that was to be read in every Catholic Church of the province. Whether or no you call this interfering in politics they ordered their people to vote for Hitler. “As German Catholics,” they said, “it is out duty to uphold the greatness, the Welfare, and the peace of our Fatherland.” On the following Sunday, 13th, the voting day, special prayers were said after Mass for a victory for Hitler (London Times, January 18). On the same day (18th) the Catholic Times boasted that Hitler owed his triumph to the Catholics of the Saar, and it remained to be seen how grateful he would prove. The bells rang in every Catholic Church when the overwhelming vote in favor of Hitler was announced; just as they had rung in every Church of Italy for the triumph of Mussolini.
Hitler made no change in his policy of ignoring the Concordat. More Catholic schools and associations were closed, and Cardinal Faulhaber vaguely threatened in one of his sermons to excommunicate the Nazi leaders: not for their crimes, of course, but for interfering with Catholic education. Hitler had directed that Catholic parents in Munich should vote whether they wanted to send their children to Catholic or to national schools. As a result of the vote the pupils attending Catholic schools fell from 36,464 to 19,266, and the pupil’s of Nazi schools rose from 33 to 65 percent of the whole. Every priest knew that this meant further enormous leakage from the Church.
It must have put Pacelli in a painful dilemma when, soon after this, Hitler demanded a vote of confidence from the entire country. He had just, in defiance of France and the League of Nations, taken a very serious step in the realization of his aggressive plan. He had sent troops to occupy the Rhine provinces which by the terms of the Treaty were to remain demilitarized. The German people were to pronounce upon his entire policy: his crimes to date and the aggressive campaign of which, as everybody knew, the defiance of Versailles was the first clause.
One would have thought that here was a fine opportunity to take refuge in the worn cliche that the Church never interferes in politic’s, but the German hierarchy composed a letter that was to be read in every Church before the vote was taken. It is one of the many clerical masterpieces of improper advice masquerading as evasion, which the last ten years have produced. The bishops recognized the painful dilemma of the faithful. If they voted for Hitler they might seem to approve of various “measures antagonistic to the Church” which he had ordered. So they are free to vote as they will. But if any of them care to vote for Hitler they could do so with a clear conscience by saying to themselves: “We give our vote to the Fatherland but that does not signify approval of matters for which we could not conscientiously be held responsible” (Catholic Times, March 27, 1936). In other words, Vote for Hitler. We recognize the accents of Pacelli-Pius.
The vote of confidence was a farce as such. The point of interest is that the Black International which had helped to put Hitler in the saddle in 1933 still supported him in spite of all his outrages and his open menace to the world’s peace. This was in gratitude for favors to come, and it is one of the most acute ironies of the time that while the priests were instructing the Catholic laity in the moral acrobatics by which they could vote for Hitler that most brazen of adventurers since Caesar Borgia was actually at work on a measure that would deal the German Church and the Papacy the most terrible blow they had suffered since Luther had nailed his theses to the Church door at Wittenberg.
This was the revelation that monasteries which were represented in Catholic literature — even in works that circulated in America — as fragrant gardens of piety and virtue were cesspools of moral perversity and that the vice was widespread amongst the parochial clergy. I have given an account of the early stages of this exposure in the Haldeman-Julius booklet Vice in German Monasteries (1937), which is, as far as I can ascertain, the only lengthy account in the English language. Had so spectacular an exposure, on so vast a scale, been made in regard to any other body or Church than the Roman Catholic the press would have erupted into its largest scare-type and its warmest moral indignation. Such is the backstairs influence of the Black International in America and Britain that journalists had to suppress, or publish lies about the greatest sensation of the year 1936. Here let me round off the story and set it in the light of later disclosures.
All that the great majority of Americans knew about the matter was that Cardinal Mundelein of Chicago, as part of his indictment of the Nazis for persecuting the Church — which was itself conducting a far worse persecution in Poland and Austria and soon would be in Spain — charged them with fabricating an atrocious libel against the German clergy and said that of the 25,635 priests of Germany only 58, or a quarter of 1 percent, had been arrested on a vice-charge. This was a statement (which no one in America could cheek) made by the German bishops, and it was an audacious evasion, if not untruth. The B.U.P. and Reuter message which conveyed the words of the bishops added, significantly, that “eleven Roman Catholic priests were arrested in Munich this week-end” and told of two other arrests for assaults on little girls a few days later. The figure is preposterous but the implication is worse. The “thousands” of offenders of whom the Nazis spoke were not priests. They were monks or what the Catholic calls lay brothers.
The difference is important. Priests in Germany as in America have parochial duties, an important part of which is visiting homes in the husband’s absence and being visited by girls and women, like ministers of other denominations. All of them have female domestic servants in their houses. When they are disposed to violate their vow of chastity they have ample opportunities, and of this sort of indulgence the German law takes no more cognizance than the American law does, as long as they do not seduce minors under their charge. Their circumstances do not particularly incline them to sodomy. It is in the monastic communings, especially of lay (or non-priest) brothers, who are devoted to teaching and the care of the sick, mentally feeble, etc., that the pretense of special holiness breaks down. The word “monk” is not a technical but popular word, and it is applied to these in Catholic literature. The large communities and work of charity are particularly recommended in Catholic literature as proof of the Church’s inspiration, and they and the nuns number, or numbered, ten’s of thousands in Germany. Those of the Franciscan Order were particularly praised, and the largest community of them, at Waldbreitbach, in Westphalia, were described as a holy institution to which no other religion could show a parallel.
It was just here, at Waldbreitbaeb and other Franciscan communities, that the police were busy gathering evidence at the very time when the bishops were telling Catholics to vote for Hitler, and proof was accumulating that these holy places were not only comprehensively but revoltingly corrupt. Father-confessors seduced for years the young novices who came in. Monks confessed in the witness-box how on the holiest days (when all monks feed and drink most) they reeled along the corridors to the chapel and halted in dark corners I have told all that from their own confessions in court. There is nothing like it in Boccaccio or Rabelais; and it had been going on for an indefinite time. There had been prosecutions early in the century, but in those days one quickly let the Catholic curtain fall again if it revealed anything nasty.
One point only must be repeated here. The charge that the trials of the monks were travesties of justice, on a level with the Berlin trial of the Communists for the burning of the Reichstag, is entirely false. The public is apt to assume this, since the Nazi variety of justice is notorious and the plain man has no means of checking statements about Germany. But men like Mundelein or the German-American priests who assisted him must have known better. One such priest visited Germany to ascertain “the truth” in 1938 and lingering in Britain to communicate this personally ascertained “truth” to the British press — and Catholics, as usual, got replies to him excluded from the press — he returned in triumph to America. His verdict was just what Mundelein said: Less than 60 priests in Germany had been prosecuted, and the rest was Nazi fabrication. This priest knew that the German bishops from whom he got his figure admitted the depravity in monasteries’s of religious brothers, that the Vatican also admitted it by suppressing whole provinces of them for irregularity of conduct, and that the Catholics of Germany fully admitted it.
There can be very little doubt that Hitler directed the prosecution. He knew that he had in this epidemic of vice a ground that would go very far even in the eyes of Catholics to justify his refusal to honor the terms of the Concordat he had signed. But he also knew that he would give the bishops a means to stir the Catholic body bitterly against him instead of winning its support unless such charges were proved beyond cavil. He took care that this was done.
The arrests and trial’s were, in the first place, almost entirely in the Catholic provinces where these communities are most numerous and, as it proved, most vicious; as the small communities in Protestant provinces are as critically watched as in America and Britain. All the police-officials charged with the preliminary inquiries and the arrests were Catholics and the courts predominantly Catholic. Every witness against the monks was a Catholic, and nearly every one of the accused pleaded guilty, blaming the morbid conditions of the life and the drunkenness that was permitted. The trials were held, in the normal form, in the high courts of the capitals of these Catholic provinces (mostly Cologne, Bonn, Coblentz, and Munich) and were reported daily in the chief papers of the provinces, which have three Catholic reader’s to one non-Catholic; and these papers fully sustained the verdicts and admitted the guilt.
Are these just Nazi allegations? Not at all. During 1936 and 1937 I followed the trials in these papers — effectively, Catholic papers — chiefly the Koinische Zeitung and the Westfalische Kurier checked by Berlin and Munich papers, and got the details from them. They even sometimes rapped their own prelates on the knuckle’s for trying to gloss over or deny the ugly facts. I read fairly lengthy reports of scores of individual trials of monks, priests (sometimes of high rank), and even a nun (for seducing boy-pupils). Nine out of ten of the monks were convicted of sodomy, as were most of the priests, though some were charged with indecent relations with young girls (down to 12 or 13) and were proved by their parishioners to have done this over a period of many years.
The charge was generally sodomy, and this, as I said, fully explains why there were, comparatively, so few priests. Fornication is not an offence in law, and so the priests do not as a rule come under the notice of the police. There were a few arrests of zealous priests for attacking the government (over the Concordat) in sermons and many prosecution for smuggling currency out of Germany. The police found that the Church used demure looking nuns and venerable friars, their holy costumes stuffed with notes, to make a profit in the sternly forbidden exchange-transactions or to smuggle money to Rome. But in the overwhelming majority of cases the charge was sodomy, and the next most frequent charge the corruption of young girls. The World Almanac for 1939 says (p. 236):
“Up to October, 1938, more than 8,000 Catholic monks and lay brothers had been arrested by Nazi officials, approximately 50 percent of the 16,000 members of German monasteries, on various charges, including immorality, sedition, breaches of exchange laws, abuse of the pulpit, collecting fund’s without government permission, or failure to fly the Swastika flag on national monuments. Forty-five monks, 176 lay-brothers, and 21 monastery employees were sentenced on immorality charges: 188 priests were acquitted or released without trial.”
It is pleasant to find that an American publication had the courage to print so much — no British publication had, and I failed to get a publisher for a book — but the details are misleading. “Arrested by Nazi officials” does not mean the Gestapo, but, generally, Catholic policemen and officers. The list of charges is misleading because sodomy far outnumbered the others; and the last sentence is particularly unfortunate. Over the period of nearly two years in which I followed the trials 90 percent were for vice, and very few of the accused escaped, and then only in virtue of an earlier amnesty. Many of these were priest-monks, though of the 400 Franciscan monks of the Westphalian province, who were the first to be arraigned, 61 (mostly the directing priests and superiors) got secret warning and fled the country (many to Rome), which left a disproportion of priests to monks in the 276 who were arrested. The province was found to be wholly corrupt and the Pope abolished it after a few trials. The non-monastic priests who were arrested were scattered over Germany and only casually mentioned in the press, but of the cases I collected nine-tenths again were for vice (boys and little girls), hardly one in ten was acquitted. Later there were more numerous arrests for “sedition” or criticism of the “persecution of the Church”.
Hitler is a rotten speaker: raucous in voice, graceless in gesture, and loose in the composition of his speeches. It is not “personal magnetism” that makes him a power with the young — the older are mostly driven to his gatherings — but a belief in his genius that is artificially created by years of the most elaborate and most persistent boosting. The most effective speech he ever made was on January 1, 1939, when he replied to the Vatican and world-complaint that he persecuted the Church. There was, of course, a fallacy in his argument. Unquestionably he wanted to change the Catholic Church in Germany in a sense which the Vatican could not possibly accept and of this he said nothing, but his direct reply to the charge of persecution of religion was effective.
The German government has always subsidized the Churches but Hitler had more than trebled the subsidy. Between 1933, when he took office, and 1938 it rose from 1,50,000,000 Marks to 500,000,0,00 a year. What was your subsidy to the Churches, he asked of France, Britain, an America? He had never closed a church, and he left the Roman Church the richest land-owner in south and west Germany. It drew 1,500,000,000 Marks a year from its property alone. (German papers give its wealth as $20,000,000,000). All that he asked was that priests should behave themselves as respectably as other citizens. “Paederasty and the corruption of children,” he said, “are punished by law like other crimes in this state.” The roars of applause in this case expressed the sentiment of practically the whole of Germany.
And the Black International knew it. In foreign countries they dare not stake their case on the question whether the vice-trials were or were not genuine. An impartial press-inquiry would soon settle that. They preferred to use their censorship of the press to prevent any mention of them or to confuse the public with a vague charge of persecution and talk about smuggling currency and criticizing the Nazis. I cannot speak for the American press but as far as I could ascertain no British paper even mentioned the Sensational trials that were spread over 1936 to 1938 and then extended to Austria. Was there ever such self-denial on the part of newspaper men? You know why.
At the Vatican and in Germany this was clearly recognized. The trials had begun at the end of May (1936). After ten trials the Pope suppressed the Westphalian province of the Franciscan Order, its largest and richest province, for irregularity: a step without precedent in modern times and so grave that only a desperate hope of disarming Hitler can have prompted it. But the trials went on until the influx of foreigners for the Olympic Games made it advisable to suspend them. Some of these foreigners might be able to read German and learn how monks of pure Aryan blood talked indecency to children under ten on the steps of their houses, raped helpless youths in their hospitals . . . In the period of suspension, with 260 friars still in prison awaiting trial, the bishops, who probably knew how far the search for culprits would reach — for evidence had been given in court that youths had reported the matter to ecclesiastical authorities and been silenced — approached Hitler. The British press reported in August that they had conferred with Hitler on the “currency-charges” against priests and monks. There were then few currency-charges but hundreds of vice-charges, so we know what they wanted; especially as there was nothing to protest against in the fines for smuggling currency.
Next month the bishops, now clearly under Pacelli’s orders, made a fresh attempt. On September 12, 1936, the Nazionale Zeitung published a copy of a letter from the bishops to the faithful which was to be read in all the Catholic Churches of Germany next day. It trusted that Hitler would bury the past and admit Catholics to cooperate with him in the fight against the ever-increasing threat of world-Bolshevism which shows its sinister hand in Spain, Russia and Mexico. As they added that “guns are not enough to fight the Bolshevik danger — a sound lead is necessary to secure victory,” they very clearly wanted Hitler to crush Bolshevism in Russia by war and so consecrated his program of aggression. And as these words of theirs are an echo of words that the Pope had used a few weeks earlier it is obvious that Pacelli was the author. He had at last, in the summer of 1936, matured his program and found his slogan: the extinction of Bolshevism in Russia, Spain, and Mexico. Sometimes to give respectability to his Japanese alliance, he added — China. As I have earlier said, the A.F.L. defeated his plan to get America to attack Mexico, but it remains true that he wanted the war. The rest of his slogan stands. He was pledged to support the plans of aggressive war of Germany, Italy, and Japan, the foulest nations on earth.
Hitler ignored the bishops, but Pacelli still pressed. On November 4 the Times reported that Mussolini was pressing Hitler to come to terms with the Vatican, as this would not only give him more weight in the “clerical state” which Franco was to set up in Spain but would help him in his designs on Austria: a hint at the part the Church would play when the time came to annex that country. Mussolini was at this time a practicing Catholic once more. Also he had begun, with the enthusiastic support of the Black International his brutal campaign in Abyssinia and his hypocritical action in Spain.
A week later (Times, November 13, 1936) Hitler had a request for an interview from Cardinal Faulhaber. He received him grudgingly and more or less secretly, and when the Cardinal put before him the request of the bishops and asked in return for the control of Catholic education by the Church, the Minister of Education, whom, Hitler had invited to be present, advised him to refuse. The Churches were, he insisted, negligible allies, as they had lost their power over men’s minds in many part of the world.” The offer of the Church was refused, and the destruction of Catholic schools, as new vice-trials of the religious teachers gave a pretext, and associations continued.
Nevertheless the Vatican remained on such terms with Germany that when, in March, 1937, there was a mild rebuke of breaches of the Concordat in a new encyclical and Mundelein continued his violent campaign in America, the German government sent a complaint to Rome. Catholics boasted that the Vatican refused to listen, but there was no breach. Indeed, a month later Count Preysing, the aristocratic Catholic bishop of Berlin, addressed another appeal to Hitler (Times, July 3, 1937). It is in this that we get the admission of monastic corruption. It said that the bishop’s “do not deny that in certain orders of lay brothers many members had been drawn into a sphere of serious moral perversities.” Perhaps one could not expect a more strongly worded admission from such a source, but the shifting of responsibility from the priests to the lay brothers is very misleading. These lay brothers of the Franciscan Order, of whom nearly 300 in one province were arrested for sodomy, were under the direct authority of the clerical heads of the Order, were periodically examined by representatives of those authorities and were in each monastery ruled by a number of priest-monks. Evidence was given by the brothers in the trials that the epidemic of vice had been reported to the authorities in these periodical examinations which are (of the most intimate character) and no notice had been taken.
There was no modification of the Nazi policy. In December the Pope feebly complained to his cardinals, when they came to him with their Christmas greetings, of the persecution in Germany. The excuse was, he said, that the Church interfered in polities. Even the cardinals must have smiled when the aged and not very clear- headed Pope went on to say that “no fair-minded man” could Say that the Church ever interfered in politics. A few month’s earlier he had summoned the powers to crush by war the kind of government which the people of Spain and Mexico had freely chosen and supported at every election: the form of government which, whatever its beginning, had won the support of the entire Russian people, as all the world now realizes. At that very moment the Vatican was working with its murderous allies to change the political form of Spain, had mercilessly intervened in polities in Austria for years, had given, its blessing to the enslavement of the Abyssinian people, and had helped to establish Fascism in South America.
One might have expected that in these circumstances the Papacy would assert what was left of its moral dignity and abandon the dishonoring opportunism that had characterized its relations with the brutal Nazis since 1932. On the pretty theory of the Papacy which is put before the world its duty was to denounce the crimes of Nazi Germany and the menace to the world of its naked ambition and let German Catholics take such punishment from the criminals as Catholics are supposed to endure with heroism rather than bow the knee to iniquity.
It may be objected that at the most we can accuse Pacelli, who was entirely responsible for the policy of the senile Pontiff, of an error of judgment in a grave dilemma. That would be a misrepresentation of the position. He clung to his German, Italian, and Japanese allies, not singly to avert persecution from Catholics in their dominions — and we must remember that even in this the real concern of the Black International is the loss of members under the strain — but because his policy coincided with theirs. When the time comes for China to recover its territory, as it surely must come if the poison is to be got out of the veins of the world, Roman Catholic influence in the Far East will be very justly restricted. The Vatican has irretrievably pledged itself to the Japanese bully. in Italy it is not less firmly pledged to the support of Mussolini. What Cardinal Hinsley said, that if Mussolini falls the “cause of God” – of the Black International — falls, remains true. Socialism would get control of Italy, and the time has gone by for triumphant democrats to handle with kid gloves the reactionary elements that have shed blood whenever they temporarily recovered power; besides that Fascist Italy is indispensable to the Pope’s fantastic plan of a great bloc of Fascist-Catholic powers to offset the influence of the democracies, or their rich Catholic minorities, in the Church.
And beyond all this is the Church’s indispensable need of a Fascist atmosphere in any state in which it is to flourish. As I have shown, the apparent progress of the Church in such democracies as America and Britain is a fallacy. Not only does it lose instead of advancing if the birth rate is taken into account, but migration from backward Catholic countries is the adequate explanation of the apparent progress. In France, where there has been no such immigration on a large scale, the membership of the Church fell in 30 years from 30,000,000 to about 5,000,000 when (in 1871) the country became a democracy; and it was the same in Italy and Spain as long as they were democracies. There is not a single exception to the law that free discussion is fatal to the Roman system. Its effect is merely modified in America and Britain by the conspiracy of the Black International to intimidate editors, publishers, booksellers, librarians, etc., and the drastic law that. Catholics shall not read critics of the Church.
Hence in Germany a policy that is purely ecclesiastical and takes no account of moral and social considerations has to cling at all cost and in spite of all rebuffs to the hope of disarming the hostility of the Nazis and helping to maintain them in power. Both the rebuffs and the policy of appeasement continued. On October 15, 1938, the Volkischer Beobachter, a recognized Nazi organ, said: “We are armed to continue the battle against Catholicism to the point of total annihilation.” Vice-prosecutions multiplied, and the Nazis called for, and would presently obtain, the suppression of all Catholic schools in Bavaria. And remember that while Catholic influence in America could, by getting the essential facts concealed from the American public, represent this as a piece of wanton persecution of religion, every German knew that it was done on the ground judicially established in hundreds of cases, that the most respecter Catholic teachers, the brothers who were vowed to chastity and asceticism, were corrupt and corruptors. The philanthropic institutions-schools, orphanages, infirmaries, etc., of which the Church had been so proud were taken over by the authorities and entrusted to laymen.
I am in this booklet confining myself to Germany so that the reader may get a clear view of the strange situation in that country insofar as it concerns the Church. It must, however be understood that the humiliation of the proud Church in 1938 was far greater than we realize if we restrict our attention to Germany. In Spain the Vatican and the Nazis were actually cooperating in that holy war for the extinction of Bolshevism, which was now Pacelli’s ruling passion. In Austria and Czecho-Slovakia the Black International rendered even more useful service than cooperation. It prepared the way for those bloodies’s triumphs of the Nazis which history will record to the deep shame of the western democracies; the triumphs of lying by which Hitler preserved his armies for the attack on France, Britain, and Russia and gradually pressed all the rest of Europe into the position of bleeding slaves in his war-galley. How the Vatican helped him to do this, and how Pacelli became Pope in 1939 and contemplated the ghastly consequences of his policy yet persisted in it while the whole civilized and free world was filled with moral indignation will be told in a later book.