Priest, Politician, Collaborator: Jozef Tiso and the Making of Fascist Slovakia

Overview

In Priest, Politician, Collaborator, James Mace Ward offers the first comprehensive and scholarly English-language biography of the Catholic priest and Slovak nationalist Jozef Tiso (1887–1947). The first president of an independent Slovakia, established as a satellite of Nazi Germany, Tiso was ultimately hanged for treason and (in effect) crimes against humanity by a postwar reunified Czechoslovakia. Drawing on extensive archival research, Ward portrays Tiso as a devoutly religious man who came to privilege the ...

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Priest, Politician, Collaborator: Jozef Tiso and the Making of Fascist Slovakia

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Overview

In Priest, Politician, Collaborator, James Mace Ward offers the first comprehensive and scholarly English-language biography of the Catholic priest and Slovak nationalist Jozef Tiso (1887–1947). The first president of an independent Slovakia, established as a satellite of Nazi Germany, Tiso was ultimately hanged for treason and (in effect) crimes against humanity by a postwar reunified Czechoslovakia. Drawing on extensive archival research, Ward portrays Tiso as a devoutly religious man who came to privilege the maintenance of a Slovak state over all other concerns, helping thus to condemn Slovak Jewry to destruction. Ward, however, refuses to reduce Tiso to a mere opportunist, portraying him also as a man of principle and a victim of international circumstances. This potent mix, combined with an almost epic ability to deny the consequences of his own actions, ultimately led to Tiso's undoing.

Tiso began his career as a fervent priest seeking to defend the church and pursue social justice within the Kingdom of Hungary. With the breakup of Austria-Hungary in 1918 and the creation of a Czechoslovak Republic, these missions then fused with a parochial Slovak nationalist agenda, a complex process that is the core narrative of the book. Ward presents the strongest case yet for Tiso's heavy responsibility in the Holocaust, crimes that he investigates as an outcome of the interplay between Tiso’s lifelong pattern of collaboration and the murderous international politics of Hitler’s Europe. To this day memories of Tiso divide opinion within Slovakia, burdening the country’s efforts to come to terms with its own history. As portrayed in this masterful biography, Tiso’s life not only illuminates the history of a small state but also supplies a missing piece of the larger puzzle that was interwar and wartime Europe.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In Priest, Politician, Collaborator, James Mace Ward has produced the definitive biography of one of twentieth-century Europe's most fascinating figures: the Slovak clergyman and wartime president, Jozef Tiso. Ward captures Tiso in all his complexity: as a true believer in Catholicism, a fervent Slovak nationalist, and a calculating politician determined to protect his own reputation and room to maneuver. Ward does not shy from the most controversial chapters of Tiso’s life—in particular, the Slovak leader’s wartime alliance with Nazi Germany and his responsibility for the expropriation, deportation, and ultimate murder of his country’s Jews. Nor does the book succumb to a simple black-and-white portrait of the man as a Nazi henchman or atavistic nationalist. Instead, based on a wealth of archival sources, Ward skillfully demonstrates the complexity and contradictions of Tiso’s thoughts and actions. Priest, Politician, Collaborator is a major achievement: a pathbreaking, impeccably researched work that fundamentally reorients our understanding of Tiso and the Slovak nation he aimed, and claimed, to lead."—Benjamin Frommer, Northwestern University, author of National Cleansing: Retribution against Nazi Collaborators in Postwar Czechoslovakia

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801449888
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 4/2/2013
  • Pages: 376
  • Sales rank: 606,258
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

James Mace Ward is Assistant Professor of History at DePauw University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

1. "For God and Our Homeland," 1887–1918

2 Turning National and Political, 1918–1939

3. “For God and Nation,” 1919–25

4. The Failure of “Activism,” 1925–33

5. The Lure of the World, 1933–38

6. Standing Up for the Truth, 1938–39

7. Sacred Convictions, 1939–44

8 Losing Battles, 1944–2011

Conclusion. The Crown of Thorns

A Note on Sources
Abbreviations
Notes
Index

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