Friday, October 10, 2008

Fascism, Catholicism, and Vichy France

It is just a coincidence that I am writing more articles on the relationship between fascism and the Roman Catholic Church at a time when Joe Biden, a Catholic, looks likely to be elected Vice-President of the United States of America. Joe Biden does not strike me as religious. I am more worried that his record as a Senator seems to be mainly acting as a servant for Mastercard/Visa. He also helped broker the deals that allowed banks to combine with stock brokerage houses during the Clinton administration, a key ingredient in much of today's troubles.

I have been writing and gathering notes on the thesis that Fascism is closely bound up with the Catholic Church for decades. Then I found a used book, The Vatican In World Politics, by Avro Manhattan. I recently finished reading the book, and am now adding essays to using information from the book supplemented or fact-checked with more standard histories, for instance Alfred Cobban's A History of Modern France, volume 2.

Yesterday I posted Pius XI, Petain and the Rise of Fascist Vichy France. This outlines the Catholic influence on French fascism, and that means the influence of Pius XI. It adds another nail to the thesis that Pius XI was the architect of modern fascism. He and his Secretary of State (later Pius XII) and other representatives worked closely with each of the major fascist leaders (Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, Francisco Franco, Philippe Petain) and many minor ones. While not all fascists were Catholics, all of the fascists who became dictators were.

Again, coincidentally, the old disputes about Pius XII failing to do much to save the Jews in fascist Europe from the Holocaust is in play because the current Pope, Hitler-youth graduate Benedict XVI, is trying to make Pius XII a saint. The mainstream coverage of the dispute is typically shallow. Pius XII was not some well-intended religious figure overwhelmed by those terrible Nazis. He was an engineer of the Holocaust, at least in the sense that he worked tirelessly during the 1930's to bring fascists to power.

It is often argued that Mussolini was not such a bad fascist, and that Hitler's persecution of the Jews went against the wishes of the Catholic Church. This is why a look at Petain and fascist Vichy France is so important. Fascism in France was an almost exclusively Catholic phenomena. Vichy France policy and practice therefore reflects the wishes of the Catholic hierarchy and Pius XII. In Vichy France the Catholic Church was the state Church. And Vichy France persecuted Jews, and everyone who was not Catholic, including non-Catholic Christians. If Vichy France did not put Jews in ovens, that had more to do with timing than with intent. Before Petain and crew could get around to doing it, the Russians were rolling the German army back towards Poland and the Allies were kicking Axis armies in North Africa and then Italy. Petain's thugs were too busy trying to kill Resistance fighters (many of whom were Jews) to build ovens.

If you want to learn more about fascism, I have gathered my essays on the topic on my Fascism main age. I'll be adding more essays there as I have time to write them. Did you know that Poland had a fascist regime before Hitler attacked it? It was also Catholic, but Pius XII decided to sacrifice it for the greater good: Hitler's promise to exterminate the atheist communists of Russia.

Where is this going? President George W. Bush accused militant Islam of being "Islamic Fascism." Leftists have accused George W. Bush of being a fascist. In this name game fascism just means "bad." There is little or real analysis added by the word. Fascism has something in common with all governments, and would-be governors: the use of force. Comparisons of any government or political groups to the fascism of Pius XI, Mussolini, Hitler, or Franco can be enlightening, but only if we know what that old fashioned fascism really stood for.

1 comment:

  1. We have been traveling on different roads but are reaching the same destination. I will be improving my http://JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/RCscandal site with material you have been publishing on the web.