The concordat between the Holy See and the German Reich signed on 20 July 1933 was highly controversial from the start. The Vatican’s hopes that a concordat would secure a legal basis
for the embattled Catholic Church in Germany foundered on the rocks of the double game played by the Nazis, who in fact expanded their struggle against the Church with increasingly severe means at the
same time that they were conducting official negotiations. Despite these heightened tensions, however, neither of the two parties ever cancelled the agreement, which remains legally valid to this day.
Seventy-five years after the signing of the Reich Concordat, the once-searing debates have calmed and yielded to a more dispassionate assessment based on archival sources. The complete opening of the
Vatican files in the years 2003 and 2006, along with additional Roman and German Church archives, have helped to settle long-running arguments. Two of the most popular hypotheses have found no
confirmation in the sources: by concluding the Reich Concordat, the pope did not diplomatically recognize the Hitler regime, nor did he sacrifice the Center Party to achieve it.
This volume outlines the current state of scholarship, introduces newly accessible sources, and provides new assessments of controversies from the past (such as the debate
between Klaus Scholder and Konrad Repgen between 1977 and 1979) in the light of present-day awareness. The inclusion of edited notations by Rudolf Bultmann, director of the cultural section of the Reich
Interior Ministry, on his negotiations with Cardinal Secretary of State Pacelli between 1933 and 1935 over the implementation of the concordat makes available an important documentary collection on the
treaty’s reception history that was previously known only in a few of its parts.