German Catholicism at war, 1939-1945

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Colleges, School and Institutes


This book is a study of German Catholics’ mentalities and experiences during the Second World War. Taking the German Home Front, and most specifically, the Rhineland and Westphalia, as its core focus, the book explores Catholics’ responses to developments in the war, their complex and shifting relationships with the Nazi regime, and religious practices. Drawing on a wide range of source materials stretching from personal diaries to pastoral letters and Gestapo reports, this study explores the attitudes of laypeople, lower clergymen and the episcopate alike, and enriches our understandings of the roles played by religious belief and community in wartime German society. Individual chapters analyse how German Catholics responded to the outbreak of war, Bishop Galen’s protests against ‘euthanasia’ in summer 1941, and the turning tide of war during the years 1942-44. Thematic chapters explore the social and cultural histories of religious practice on the German Home Front, and a final section addresses the German Church’s transition from war to peace in 1945.


Original languageEnglish
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages288
ISBN (Print)9780198827023
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2018

Publication series

NameOxford Historical Monographs
PublisherOxford University Press


  • The Third Reich, Second World War, German Catholicism, history of religion, practice of religion