The Cross or the Swastika
by S.J. Tagliareni

The Cross or the Swastika

Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

The Cross or the Swastika is author ’s sequel to his popular WWII novel, Hitler’s Priest. Tagliareni continues where he left off in Hitler’s Priest, writing about many of the same characters, both fictional and real, weaving a complex story about the horrors of WWII and why so many political and religious leaders around the world and regular, everyday citizens, at first accepted the lies and propaganda spread by Hitler and other leaders of the Nazi party.

Through reading Hitler’s Priest and The Cross or the Swastika, readers will come to the realization that monsters and heroes are not born, they are made. Once a member of a political party or everyday citizen of a country accepts one premise, such as the Nazis did that Jews were responsible for them losing WWI, that can lead to another and yet another, until a person finds him or herself accepting notions that he or she would never have thought he or she would.

Tagliareni details Adolph Hitler’s thought processes, as he imagines them, as well as those of many other infamous Nazi political figures, like Goebbels. Hitler moved in his thinking from trying to make the Jewish population of Germany leave voluntarily, through making life as miserable as possible for them, to finally deciding that the best way to deal with what became known as the “Jewish problem,” was to eradicate them all.

Once again, Hans Keller, the German architect who became a Catholic priest to spy on the goings-on at the Vatican, is one of the major characters of The Cross or the Swastika, as he was in Hitler’s Priest. Tagliareni recaps how he became a Catholic priest, acting as a mole and spy for Hitler, and how he eventually wound up in a prison cell in London. Along the way, Keller accepts that he must do whatever it takes to please Adolph Hitler and make his mark in the Nazi party, even murdering his adopted parents, knowing that they only wanted the best for him.

Joseph Goebbels started out not particularly hating the Jewish people, but he was, as the author of The Cross or the Swastika puts it, an “opportunist.” He saw that one way the Nazi party could come to dominate all of Europe was by rallying the people of Germany behind a cause, and by blaming “every social, historical and economic woe that Germany was experiencing on the backs of the Jews.”

The novel The Cross or the Swastika also details why the Catholic Church, at first, anyway, was not prone to speak out against Hitler and the Nazi party. An influential party in Germany was one made up of Catholics, the Centrum Party. The Centrum Party opposed Hitler, and he wanted to discover a way to get rid of the party while not having the Vatican speak out loudly against him.

To accomplish this, Hitler had one of his closest advisers, Heinrich Schmidt, offer a proposal to the Vatican. Hitler did not care if what Schmidt told them was a pack of lies or not; he just wanted to have it seem as if he was a man of peace. The proposal was that the Centrum Party would be gotten rid of and the Nazi party would be legitimized, in return for Hitler allowing German Catholics to continue practicing their religion and remain unprosecuted. Hitler wanted the Pope to sign a Concordat to accomplish this, and the Holy Father felt that he had little choice but to do so.

The Cross or the Swastika is another masterful work from the pen of author S.J. Tagliareni. It is a novel that is epic in scope, combining fiction and fact to create an engrossing, page-turning read. When presented the choice between either accepting the cross or the swastika, it may seem to people living today that the choice is an obvious one. However, when presented with the realities that faced people back when Hitler was coming into power and WWII was raging, the choice was not that cut-and-dried. Check out The Cross or the Swastika today!

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