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date: 23 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The first fascist movement to come to power, Italian fascism, did so in a country that was 99 per cent Catholic and the seat of the papacy, and ‘clerical fascist’ movements came to power in another two overwhelmingly Catholic countries, the first Slovak Republic and the Croatian Independent State. Fascist movements and regimes in other European countries also entered into relations with the Roman Catholic Church, and in broader terms, many Catholics, individually and collectively, were closely involved with fascist movements and regimes in the inter-war years. This article analyses the complex relationships between fascism, the institutional church, and Catholics more generally. It examines the initial attitudes of fascist movements to Catholicism/the Catholic Church, the encounter between fascism and Catholicism, and the interests and common enemies that brought them together in this encounter.

Keywords: Italian fascism, Catholic Church, papacy, Slovak Republic, Croatian Independent State, fascist movements

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