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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 10, 2021

Il rumore delle onde

L’atteggiamento di Pio XII verso la Germania attraverso la radio. Il caso delle Opzioni sudtirolesi

Camilla Tenaglia

Abstract

This essay addresses the relations between Pius XII and Germany at the beginning of his pontificate through the role of Vatican Media, especially Vatican Radio. During the interwar period, the Vatican media system (media ensemble) underwent major transformations, including the creation of a radio broadcasting station in 1931. Pacelli was one of the main agents of these improvements: as Secretary of State supporting Guglielmo Marconi’s project, as Pope through his extensive use of the mass media at his disposal, from radio to cinema. At the end of the 30s the difficult diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the Third Reich also had an impact on mass media, as shown by the election of Pacelli in March 1939. The role of Vatican Radio in Vatican diplomacy towards Nazi Germany was already clear during the events surrounding the Anschluss in 1938 and it became a tool for unofficial communication to convey more explicit stances on the regime during World War II. The same strategy was employed during the Option in Südtirol in 1939, when Catholics were able to deliver anti-Nazi propaganda thanks in part to radio in the attempt to avoid the voluntary resettlement of German-speaking Italian citizens from the area. The Holy See maintained a neutral position throughout the events, but at the same time Vatican Radio broadcast programmes in German about the condition of the Catholic Church under the Nazi regime. These broadcasts supported the efforts especially of the Archbishop of Trento Celestino Endrici and his clergy, who opposed the resettlement. Once again Vatican Radio proved a crucial tool for conveying unofficial communications while maintaining the neutral stance typical of the Holy See‘s foreign policy.

Published Online: 2021-11-10
Published in Print: 2021-11-05

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