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A Catholic Cold War

Edmund A. Walsh, S.J., and the Politics of American Anticommunism

Patrick McNamara

Publication Year: 2005

This book is the first biography in 42 years of the priest and educator whomhistorians have called the most important anticommunist in the country.Edmund A. Walsh, as dean of Georgetown College and founder in 1919 of itsSchool of Foreign Service, is one of the most influential Catholic figures of the20th century. Soon after the birth of the Bolshevik state, he directed the PapalRelief Mission in the Soviet Union, starting a lifelong immersion in Soviet andCommunist affairs. He also established a Jesuit college in Baghdad, and servedas a consultant to the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal.A pioneer in the new science of geopolitics, Walsh became one of Truman's mosttrusted advisers on Soviet strategy. He wrote four books, dozens of articles, andgave thousands of speeches on the moral and political threat of Soviet Communismin America. Although he died in 1956, Walsh left an indelible imprint on theideology and practical politics of Cold War Washington, moving easily outside thetraditional boundaries of American Catholic life and becoming, in the words of onehistorian, practically an institution by himself.Few priests, indeed few Catholics,played so large a role in shaping American foreign policy in the 20th century.

Published by: Fordham University Press

A Catholic Cold War

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pp. v

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pp. vii

I began the dissertation on which this study is based at the suggestion of my mentor, Professor Christopher J. Kauffman, but I could not have completed it without his expert guidance and unceasing support. Professor Kauffman’s astute contextualization and his sensitive historical analysis make American Catholic history come alive, attributes ...


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pp. ix

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pp. xi-xix

In the photo insert to Richard Gid Powers’s 1995 history of American anticommunism, Not without Honor, two pages are devoted to images of significant Catholic anticommunists. At the top of the first page is a photograph of Patrick F. Scanlan, editor of the Brooklyn Tablet (1917–68), the preeminent anticommunist in the mid-twentieth ...

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Chapter 1: Edmund A. Walsh: Bostonian, Jesuit, Activist, and Educator

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pp. 1-22

Few historians would deny that 1919 was among the most tumultuous and eventful years in American history. Having emerged victorious from the First World War, the United States stood as a major power on the international scene. But when President Woodrow Wilson attempted at Versailles to establish a more equitable world order ...

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Chapter 2: ‘‘What Think Ye of Russia?’’: Walsh and Catholic Anticommunism in the 1920s

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pp. 23-61

Edmund A. Walsh was absent from Georgetown during the 1921–22 academic year. He was completing his tertianship (the period of Jesuit spiritual formation following ordination, which concludes with the ‘‘fourth vow,’’ a promise to undertake any mission, anywhere in the world, at the request of the Holy See) at the Jesuit community in ...

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Chapter 3: ‘‘The Two Standards’’: Walsh and American Catholic Anticommunisms, 1929–41

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pp. 62-106

During the 1920s, communism, whether domestic or international, failed to interest the American public. A complacent indifference toward foreign affairs permeated the decade. In the following decade, however, worldwide economic unrest, political shifts in Europe and Asia, along with the expansion of communism and fascism, the ...

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Chapter 4: ‘‘An American Geopolitics’’: Walsh and Wartime Catholic Anticommunism, 1941–45

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pp. 107-133

Throughout the Second World War, American Catholic Church leaders expressed ‘‘a cautious patriotism’’ that contrasted with popular support for the war. In an attempt to balance their prophetic role with their patriotic obligations, the American bishops avoided the jingoistic support tendered in previous wars and did not seek to ...

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Chapter 5: ‘‘The Spiritual and Material Menace Threatening the Present Generation’’: Walsh and Catholic Anticommunism in the Cold War, 1946–56

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pp. 134-168

Throughout most of 1952, at the peak of the Cold War, Edmund A. Walsh was busy lecturing to audiences nationwide on the Soviet threat to international freedom. In June, he summarized the progress of the conflict between the Soviet bloc and theWest for basic training graduates at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas: ‘‘Seven years of steady ...

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pp. 169-171

Walsh’s strokes removed him from the public arena just as Catholic anticommunism was reaching its high-water mark. By 1954, Mark Massa writes, ‘‘a deep fissure’’ had emerged among Catholics over JosephMcCarthy, his aims, and his tactics.1 Although many Catholics supported the senator, Catholic endorsement was never unanimous.2


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pp. 173-235


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pp. 237-267


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pp. 269-280

E-ISBN-13: 9780823247530
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823224593
Print-ISBN-10: 0823224597

Page Count: 302
Publication Year: 2005

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Subject Headings

  • Walsh, Edmund A. (Edmund Aloysius), 1885-1956 -- Political and social views.
  • Jesuits -- United States -- Biography.
  • Church and state -- Catholic Church.
  • Cold War -- Religious aspects -- Catholic Church.
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