The Collaboration of Neutrals: Vatican-American Diplomacy, 1939-1941
Keywords:Vatican-American relations, Pope Pius XI, Pope Pius XII, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Catholic church foreign policy, World War II
As events in Europe continued to devolve after the Munich Pact of 1938, two influential, neutral states were becoming increasingly vocal in putting to an end the continent's downward spiral. The Vatican in Rome, led first by fiery Pope Pius XI before the succession of Pope Pius XII in March 1939, recognized a war would be catastrophic for Christianity in Europe, not to mention its fears of the tremendous loss of life which would be inflicted upon Europeans of all faiths. Across the Atlantic Ocean, President Franklin Roosevelt, hamstrung by isolationist policies imposed by Congress after involvement in the First World War, understood the necessity of making his voice heard in the name of peace before it was too late. The Vatican and the United States indirectly worked with each other throughout 1939 before officially joining forces in early 1940.