The catholic version of «Civilization’s war»: the contribution of clerical ideology to fascist antisoviet propaganda

Author(s):  Giorgio Scotoni, Voronezh State Pedagogical University, Voronezh, Russia,

Issue:  Volume 37, №1

Rubric:  Topical issues of russian history

Annotation:  The article summarizes the peculiar conceptions of «clerical fascism» about the war on the Soviet-German front. Unlike German nazism, Italian propaganda to convince mass of soldiers of the necessity to fight against USSR used the Vatican’s anti-Bolshevik rhetoric. In orienting the public opinion toward the «war of civilizations» fascism had to abandon geopolitical interests and agree on the option of «clerical fascism». Organs of the regime used exactly the same slogans of religious rhetoric – «the Holy crusade of the twentieth century», «the war of Europe against Anti Europe», «the war of European civilizers», etc. Press of the Catholic Church, denouncing «godless nature» of communism, seek to prove that the attack on the USSR was a «crusade against the godless». The priests and military chaplains stressed that Italian troops reached the Soviet front is not as aggressors, but with the aim to free people from the tyranny of Bolshevism and to reconvert Russia to Christianity. When performing those challenges the Vatican calls for military service Madonna herself. Thus, in consequence of clerical propaganda among the Italian troops there was difference between morale and motivations of Italian soldiers and morale and motivations of their allies: the Italians were moved by the ideas of proselytism, of «Eastern mission» of the Church of Rome

Keywords:  Second World War, Catholic Church, clerical-fascism, Italian antisoviet propaganda

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