Anti-Catholic feelings were still strong in the 1940s, and the American government could not create formal diplomatic ties with the Vatican. President Franklin D. Roosevelt went about creating informal and personal ties with the Vatican by appointing Myron C. Taylor as his personal representative to Pope Pius XII.
Tittmannís children attended school in neutral Switzerland and came to Rome for vacations under Italian secret police guard. In 1943, the children could not return to Switzerland due to the worsening situations with the Italian government and Allied air raids on trains. The children stayed with their parents, who had to move with other allied diplomats to neutral Vatican City. After the war, Harold Tittmann penned memoirs about his time in Rome as the United Statesí top diplomat in residence to the Vatican. His two sons, Harold III and Barclay, edited and provide side information to their fatherís memoir, Inside the Vatican of Pius XII. Several photos are included, some taken by the Tittmann sons.
Tittmann, a Protestant, provides wonderful firsthand information on the diplomatic front - how the Vatican tried its hardest to prevent the war and, when the war started, in helping to end it quickly and save as many lives as possible. The Vatican tried very hard to keep Italy out of the war. When it did go to war, they tried to protect the civilians as much as possible, encouraging the Italian government to seek a separate peace with the Allies.
The Vatican ran up against opposition to this not only from Mussolini but also from the British government, who would not forget that the Italian government asked Germany to join them in bombing England in 1940. The Vatican also tried to get Rome declared an open city but was opposed by the Allies since the Axis powers were using Rome for transporting soldiers and equipment. The Pope did succeed in persuading the Allies (Britain reluctantly) to limit the bombing of Rome.
Tittmann discusses a bit about Pope Pius XII reasons for not speaking out more forcefully against the Nazis: The Pope had been informed that when he did speak out, Catholics and others suffered even more, so he decided to limit his protests to safeguard lives. He has since been criticized for this but he believed he was doing the best he could.
Tittmannís memoirs are recommended to those interested in World War II, diplomatic history, diplomatic intrigue, Catholic Church history, and in some ways to those interested in the Pius XII and Jewish question.