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Cult of the Dead

(642 words)

Author(s): Becker, Annette
Cult of the Dead Funeral ceremonies are an essential part of the grieving process for the dead. The obsequies of the 1920s and 1930s are to be understood as a way for the collective consciousness to understand the reality of death, and to deal with its constant reminders. Especially in the years right after the war, the war dead were remembered at national commemorations by their former comrades-in-arms, their families, their hometowns, their fellow worshippers, their workmates, and even by the stat…


(3,176 words)

Author(s): Becker, Annette
Religion During the First World War all participants were defending (or thought they were defending) great values – the values of one’s own country, faith, homeland, and one’s own family. These core values were severely tested by pain, fear, injury, and death. Whether as members of a community, as belonging to particular professional groups, or as inhabitants of a city or village, everyone bore an individual fate. By the fact of belonging to one’s land and/or church, this was imbedded in a collec…

Benedict XV

(414 words)

Author(s): Becker, Annette
Benedict XV (November 21, 1854, Genoa – January 22, 1922, Rome; formerly Giacomo della Chiesa), Pope. Giacomo della Chiesa was elected Pope following the death of Pius X in September of 1914. He took the name of Benedict in memory of the great legislator Benedict XIV. Even though the promulgation of the Codex Iuris Canonici in May 1917 was of considerable theological significance, Benedict made history as the “Pope of the Great War,” especially since he died only a few years after the war. His entire tenure was characterized by a keen awareness of …

Pacelli, Eugenio

(249 words)

Author(s): Becker, Annette
Pacelli, Eugenio (March 2, 1876, Rome – October 9, 1958, Castel Gandolfo), Italian clergyman and papal diplomat, later Pope Pius XII. Pacelli was born into a lower-class, Roman Catholic family that was closely connected to the Vatican. As a priest and jurist, Pacelli rose quickly to the higher offices within the Vatican administration. Ultimately in 1939, he was elected pope. In 1901 Pacelli joined the Papal State Secretariat of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, becoming its secretary in 1912. Pacelli climbed every rung of the career ladder. During t…

Bloy, Léon

(239 words)

Author(s): Becker, Annette
Bloy, Léon (July 11, 1846, Périgueux – November 3, 1917, Bourg-la-Reine near Paris), French writer. When the war broke out, Bloy was already nearing the end of his life. A passionate longing for the Absolute led the novelist to convert to Catholicism, and in his books and diaries (1892–1917) he battled against the “mediocre souls” who had betrayed Christ, the Virgin Mary, and humanity as a whole. For him, the war was a new source of inspiration. Indeed, with his apocalyptic mindset, Bloy was one o…