Italian broadcasting, Radio Vaticana and the Roman Catholic Church, 1910-1945
2014-12-15T10:44:42Z (GMT) by
This doctoral dissertation critically examines the development of Radio Vaticana, the official broadcasting voice of the Vatican State and the Papacy, from its founding in 1931 through to the end of the Second World War in 1945. Exploring the relationship of Radio Vaticana to the Vatican itself, as well as defining the radio's broadcasting content, is essential for any understanding of this particular broadcaster's essential role as the international voice of the Papacy's foreign and domestic policy. Although it is outside the scope of this dissertation to include a parallel study of the official newspaper of the Vatican, L'Osservatore Romano, periodic reference is made to its articles as a comparative tool in illuminating the serious, if not traumatic, issues the Church faced during this challenging period. The study is set against the historical background of the Roman Catholic Church's loss of its long political and educational dominance of the Italian peninsula after the establishment of the Italian state in the 1870's under Count Cavour and King Victor Emanuel, all too soon to be followed by the Church's enforced relationship with Italy's post-world war Mussolini-led Fascist government. Charting the Church's re-establishment of its influence and accommodation with Fascism during such a critical period of Italian history is of paramount importance in understanding just how far Church's objectives were fulfilled in the following years. Such objectives, the main one being the continuity of the survival of the Church and the expansion of its influence worldwide, were implemented through the use of the Vatican media. However, the Vatican had more to worry about than its relationship with Mussolini, for the rise of Fascism across Europe threatened the Catholic faithful from Spain to Germany. 1920- 1943 was a formative period in the history of media development in Italy as well, as it witnessed the rise and fall of Fascism, the arrival of the Allied Forces, and the establishment of the new Italian state under the hegemony of the Christian Democratic Party (DC). Similarly, the years preceding and immediately following the Second World War epitomize a phase of great transition, danger, and change for the Catholic Church. After re-affirming its influence over the Italian masses with the help of Fascism, the Vatican played a careful balancing act between the Allies and the Axis forces in order to survive the world conflict and 'protect the faithful' around Europe.