Book Description: Dust jacket notes: "The Vatican has recently been greatly criticized for its attitude toward the Fascist dictators: for giving its blessing to Mussolini's campaign in Abyssinia, for supporting Franco, for failing to denounce the 1940 Nazi invasion of five neutral countries, and above all, for its silence about the extermination of the Jews during World War II. Anthony Rhodes examines the validity of these grave charges in what Maurice Edelman, M.P. has called 'a monumental and scholarly work,' setting them in the context of the time, and in relation to the general policy of the Holy See toward all the great powers. The Vatican in the Age of the Dictators is the first thorough analysis of Vatican policy. Rhodes has had access to three important sources of new material: the German Foreign Office Documents (captured intact by the Allies in 1945), the British Foreign Office Documents, and the Actes et Documents du Saint-Siege relatifs a la Second Guerre Mondiale. Without defending specific mistakes of Vatican policy, he concludes that its basic concern was to ensure the freedom to carry out the pastoral work of the Church, and above all, to impart religious education to the young; from this perspective, Nazism, however detestable, appeared a lesser evil than Communism. Responding to the sensational charges of Hochhuth's play The Representative, Rhodes explores the nuances of Pius XII's attitude to the Jews of occupied Europe, especially his 'silence' during Hitler's 'final solution.'"