Critical Online Collection of Michael Cardinal von Faulhaber’s Diaries (1911-1952)


Michael Cardinal von Faulhaber (1869-1952) was the Archbishop of Munich, a prominent theologian, the opinionated visionary of political Catholicism and champion of church interests, a close friend of Pope Pius XII, but also the negotiation partner of a wide range of politicians including Hitler, Roosevelt, and Adenauer. In this project, his expansive diaries will be annotated and made available online to the general public. The Archiepiscopal Archive, Munich, which holds Faulhaber’s diaries, is a cooperative partner in the project.

Faulhaber’s influence stretched well beyond the borders of Germany and the Catholic Church. He travelled widely and had excellent international contacts to leaders in the church, political, and cultural worlds. The numerous conversation partners whom he received every day represented all sections of society. While Faulhaber was highly respected by many church members during his lifetime, he has been a controversial figure in research and public opinion ever since due to his contradictory behavior during the Nazi era.

Faulhaber was not only a major actor but also a keen observer and interpreter of events in a time of great upheaval. His writings were not originally meant for the public eye and therefore provide an authentic look behind the scenes. They reveal emotions and motives for action which were little known to researchers using only previously available sources. Socialized in a Catholic milieu of the German Empire and a convinced monarchist, Faulhaber is in many ways representative of large swathes of the Catholic populace.

Faulhaber mostly wrote using “Gabelsberger” shorthand. Since only a few experts can decipher it today, vast amounts of archival materials are in danger of becoming practically inaccessible. The project’s Gabelsberger training sessions for researchers will go far towards preserving this cultural knowledge. Thanks to the generous support of the Fritz-Thyssen-Stiftung, selected parts of the Faulhaber records could be transcribed for the DFG project application process.

It was a great stroke of luck that Faulhaber’s diaries were preserved without any gaps for the years 1911 through 1952 and have been available to researchers since April 2012. The source corpus is singular both in terms of quality and quantity. The diary entries are short and to the point, but Faulhaber inserted supplementary pages on important topics and conversations that are exceptional in their level of detail and reflection. The diaries and supplementary pages are to be compiled in their entirety, edited in accordance with historical-critical methods, annotated, and published in an online database.

The collection will provide many insights into fundamental issues in German and European history, while the universal structure of the Catholic Church will provide a scope for international comparison. The project will shed light on the relationship between religion and politics and the way the Catholic Church has dealt with totalitarian ideologies. It will also allow for new avenues of research into the history of theology and culture, with a view, for example, to personnel networks, forms of piety, views on war, and gender roles in Catholicism, as well as relations with other faith communities.

All parts of Cardinal Faulhaber’s edited diaries published so far can be accessed here:


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