Call for Papers : Pope Pius XII and the Challenge of Totalitarianism in Yugoslavia, 1941–1958

International Conference, Belgrade 15–16 February 2024

The evidence on the pontificate of Pius XII in the archives of the Holy See sheds new light on the rather complicated history of Yugoslavia during World War II and the first decade of the Cold War. Yugoslavia was in the singular position of having endured two totalitarian regimes during the pontificate of Pius XII. Throughout the war, the Nazi puppet state of the Independent State of Croatia (ISC) was a fascist dictatorship of the Ustasha, whose objective was to cleanse their homeland by all possible means of Serbs, Jews, and Roma. The victory of Tito’s Partisans in the civil war that ravaged Yugoslavia during the German occupation brought about a communist dictatorship. These two regimes had contrasting policies towards Catholicism. While the Ustasha considered Catholicism the core of their national identity, Tito and his comrades did their best to subjugate the Catholic hierarchy in Yugoslavia. Moreover, the Ustasha’s ephemeral dictatorship was installed in the name of Catholicism, supposedly giving the pontiff an influence that he did not have anywhere else, with the exception of wartime Slovakia, while Tito tried to create an independent Yugoslav Catholic hierarchy in order to have absolute control of public life. After the Tito-Stalin split, communist Yugoslavia survived mainly thanks to Western economic and military support, limiting support for Pius XII’s policy of confrontation with Tito. Thus, Pius XII had to formulate a specific policy both for Croatia under the Ustasha and Tito’s Yugoslavia since both represented a specific challenge for Catholicism and its hierarchy in Yugoslavia.

The aim of the conference is to present and confront views and research on Pius XII’s policy towards the Independent State of Croatia and Tito’s Yugoslavia, focusing on the following issues:

1 The international context of Pius XII’s policy

  • Fascist Italy’s and Nazi Germany’s policies toward the ISC
  • The Holy See and the strategy of containment in Yugoslavia
  • The consequences of the Tito-Stalin split on the cooperation between the Holy See and Western democracies in Yugoslavia

2 The policy of the Holy See toward Yugoslavia

  • Yugoslavia’s place in the overall strategy of Pius XII
  • The decision-making process of the Holy See during the pontificate of Pius XII
  • Information on Yugoslavia that was available to Pius XII
  • The Holy See’s reaction to the events in the ISC (genocide, forced conversion to Catholicism, exactions against the Orthodox hierarchy)
  • The Holy See’s relations with the communist regime in Yugoslavia

The Conference is organized by the Institute for Balkan Studies of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts and funded by the Science Fund of the Republic of Serbia as part of the project Pope Pius XII and the Challenge of Totalitarianism in Yugoslavia, 19411958.

The proposals should include the title, a short biography and a summary of up to 2000 characters in English and should be submitted before 15th September 2024 to Accommodation, and in some cases travel expenses, will be paid by the organizers.

Citer ce billet
maddalenacataldi (2023, 7 juillet). Call for Papers : Pope Pius XII and the Challenge of Totalitarianism in Yugoslavia, 1941–1958. Pie XII : un pontificat en archives. Consulté le 17 juin 2024, à l’adresse

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