Click for material on the Vatican during World War II.

Alvarez, David.

1. "Faded Lustre: Vatican Cryptography, 1815-1920." Cryptologia 20, no. 2 (Apr. 1996): 97-131. And in Selections from Cryptologia: History, People, and Technology, eds. Cipher A. Deavours, David Kahn, Louis Kruh, Greg Mellen, and Brian J. Winkel, 191-225. Boston, MA: Artech House, 1998.

"Between 1815 and 1920 the Vatican lagged behind other states in responding to developments in cryptographic practice."

2. "The Papal Cipher Section in the Early Nineteenth Century." Cryptologia 17, no. 2 (Apr. 1993): 219-224. And in Selections from Cryptologia: History, People, and Technology, eds. Cipher A. Deavours, David Kahn, Louis Kruh, Greg Mellen, and Brian J. Winkel, 155-160. Boston, MA: Artech House, 1998.

Alvarez, David. "A German Agent at the Vatican: The Gerlach Affair." Intelligence and National Security 11, no. 2 (Apr. 1996): 345-356.

Monsignor Rudolf Gerlach was a Bavarian priest and "private chamberlain and confidant of Pope Benedict XV." He was also "a conduit for covert German subsidies" to anti-interventionist newspapers during the period before Italy entered World War I. It is also likely that he engaged in espionage activities while at the Vatican.

Alvarez, David. Spies in the Vatican: Espionage and Intrigue from Napoleon to the Holocaust. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2002.

Peake, Studies 47.1 (2003), views this work as "well documented and well told." The author "tells about Vatican involvement in a wide variety of intelligence functions, from espionage and counterintelligence to codebreaking and propaganda." Alvarez believes that the "intelligence capabilities of the Papacy" have been exaggerated, concluding that "the Vatican had 'neither the ability nor the appetite to employ ... espionage and clandestine operations' to the degree imagined by others."

According to Brooks, NIPQ 19.3, the author "spends more time enumerating the various espionage attempts by world powers against the Vatican than [he] spends detailing the very limited capabilities of the Pope's tiny diplomatic service." (emphasis in original)

Hess, JIH 3.2, notes that "with the disappearance of the Papal States [in 1870,] the Pope's intelligence capabilities largely vanished." From World War I through World War II, "the world and certainly its European and North-American regions underwent an intelligence revolution.... 'This intelligence revolution completely bypassed the Papacy.'" Spies in the Vatican "provides fascinating reading," is written in "elegant and at times witty and always precise language," and "needs to be read together with the extensive notes. They contain many stories and details, which would otherwise evade the reader's attention."

For Keefe, I&NS 18.3, "[t]his entertaining and thought-provoking study will provide the Papacy's critics and supporters with an unique perspective and some convincing arguments about the place of the Vatican in the world of espionage." Schwab, IJI&C 18.1 (Spring 2005), is somewhat more negative about this work, noting that "the lack of a clearly stated thesis is surprising.... From a stylistic perspective, Spies in the Vatican is an uneven work." Nonetheless, the author "has produced a useful work for students of diplomatic and intelligence history to consult."

Alvarez, David. "Vatican Communications Security, 1914-18." Intelligence and National Security 7, no. 4 (Oct. 1992): 443-453.

During World War I, the Vatican "depended upon the ordinary mails or, where possible, the diplomatic messengers of other states.... [P]apal cryptography during the war ... was a modest effort.... [T]here can be little doubt that throughout the war the Holy See was plagued by poor communications security."

Frattini, Eric. The Entity: Five Centuries of Secret Vatican Espionage. New York: St. Martin's, 2008.

Peake, Studies 54.4 (Dec. 2010), and Intelligencer 18.2 (Winter-Spring 2011), finds that this work examines "Vatican espionage and security practices around the world from the 16th century to the present." The author "identifies two papal intelligence institutions: the counterespionage and security service called Sodalitium Pianum (formally named in 1913) and the foreign intelligence service called the Holy Alliance (origin unknown, renamed the Entity in 1930). The Holy See ... denies that either exists. The Vatican archives and other reliable sources ... suggest otherwise."

Koehler, John O. Spies in the Vatican: The Soviet Union's War against the Catholic Church. New York: Pegasus, 2009.

Goulden, Washington Times, 6 Sep. 2009, and Intelligencer 17.2 (Fall 2009), finds that the author "identifies by name a staggering number of priests who spied on their own masters, either because of blackmail or ideological weaknesses.... But there were Vatican [counterintelligence] successes as well." This is a "must-read that ranks with [Koehler's] earlier book on the Stasi." Peake, Studies 54.2 (Jun. 2010) and Intelligencer 18.1 (Fall-Winter 2010), notes the author's conclusion that the "Soviet Union, with Bulgarian cooperation, was the force behind the attempt to assassinate Pope John Paul II."

Phayer, Michael. Pius XII, the Holocaust and the Cold War. Bloomington & Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press, 2008.

According to Kirby, I&NS 26.1 (Feb. 2011), the author's "interpretation" implicates Pope Pius XII "in nefarious and covert activities protecting war criminals that were tolerated by the United States." Phayer's account includes "a notable amount of speculation, informed certainly, but speculation still. He does, however, provide a good read."

West, Nigel [Rupert Allason]. The Third Secret: The CIA, Solidarity and the KGB's Plot to Kill the Pope. London: HarperCollins, 2000. 2001. [pb]

At http://www.nigelwest.com/thethirdsecret.htm, West describes this work thusly: "The rise of the Solidarity movement in Poland in the 1980s, which began the undermining of the Soviet Bloc and the defeat of international communism, was essentially funded by the CIA covertly, through the Vatican. Pope John Paul II (elected in 1978) had a deep interest in mysticism and long believed in 'the third secret' -- the third piece of advice given to the eldest of the three children at Fatima (Portugal) in 1917 by an apparition of the Virgin Mary. This secret, written down by the last surviving child, who became a nun, was revealed by the Pope in 1980 and described an avoidable apocalyptic catastrophe in Europe. Thereafter the Pope began his ideological offensive against the Soviet Bloc."

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