Religion and World War II
Can the Second World War be considered a religious war? How do nations at war seek to harness religious institutions, ideals, and believers? How did different faiths respond to the war? This workshop will offer an overview of religious history of Germany, the Soviet Union, the Vatican, Japan, and the United States in war-time. It will address several questions from a comparative and transnational perspective. What role did anti-Semitism play in the Holocaust? Why did so many German Christians support the Nazi regime? Why did the Vatican remain officially neutral during World War II? Why did the avowedly atheistic Soviet regime embrace the Russian Orthodox Church? Why were Japanese leaders so successful in turning Buddhism into a militant religion? How did religious values and beliefs motivate American GIs? Professor Piehler is completing a book examining the Religious Life of the American GI in World War II, and members of the workshop will have an opportunity to read selections from his unpublished manuscript.