From Flying Cardinal to International Pope: Pacelli on St. Peters's Throne

The project focuses on the election of Pope Pius XII in March 1939. Card. Eugenio Pacelli had previously been Secretary of State and Apostolic Nuncio to Bavaria. Pacelli’s election was the first papal election to be broadcast on Vatican Radio, which was launched in 1931 on the initiative of Pacelli himself, a close friend of Marconi. Eugenio Pacelli gave his first speech as Pius XII on March 3rd 1939 in a live transnational broadcast in Latin on Vatican Radio (even though by that time the radio broadcast programs in nine different languages). The coronation ceremony was held on March 12th 1939 and was broadcast live all over the world. Many churches were open to the public to permit believers to hear the ceremony, but in Germany broadcasting this event was prohibited by the Nazi regime. The papal election was simultaneously reported by other Vatican media, such as the newspaper L’osservatore romano. The research focus would be on the different ways the news of the election and related events (first speech, inauguration) were broadcast, in particular comparing Italy and Germany.

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