Church, nation and race

Catholics and antisemitism in Germany and England, 1918–1945

Author: Ulrike Ehret

This book compares the worldviews and factors that promoted or, indeed, opposed anti-semitism amongst Catholics in Germany and England after the First World War. As a prequel to books on Hitler, fascism and genocide, it turns towards ideas and attitudes that preceded and shaped the ideologies of the 1920s and 1940s. Apart from the long tradition of Catholic anti-Jewish prejudices, the book discusses new and old alternatives to European modernity offered by Catholics in Germany and England. Numerous events in the interwar years provoked anti-Jewish responses among Catholics: the revolutionary end of the war and financial scandals in Germany; Palestine and the Spanish Civil War in England. At the same time, the rise of fascism and National Socialism gave Catholics the opportunity to respond to the anti-democratic and anti-semitic waves these movements created in their wake. The book is a political history of ideas that introduces Catholic views of modern society, race, nation and the ‘Jewish question’. It shows to what extent these views were able to inform political and social activity.

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