In Church of Spies Mark Riebling writes that “the Church's essential role … was to save souls. But in practice, the spiritual purpose entailed a temporal one: the achievement of political conditions under which souls could be saved” (p. 25). According to Riebling, Pope Pius XII and churchmen close to him conspired to implement that task by collaborating with the German resistance on three occasions in attempts to assassinate Hitler and overturn the National Socialists. Riebling vividly recounts the detailed planning, painstaking implementation, and violent aftermath of each plot, interjecting the role of Vatican encouragement. Events featured well-known players: the 1939−1940 efforts of Abwehr chief Admiral Wilhelm Canaris and his deputy Hans Oster to mobilize a coup; Colonel Henning von Tresckow and Lieutenant-Colonel Heinz Brandt's March 1943 effort to blow up a plane carrying Hitler; and Claus von Stauffenberg's ill-fated July 20, 1944...

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