Pope Pius XII, born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli, was the Pope of the Catholic Church from 2 March 1939 to his death. Before his election to the papacy, he served as secretary of the Department of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, papal nuncio to Germany, and Cardinal Secretary of State, in which capacity he worked to conclude treaties with European and Latin American nations, most notably the Reichskonkordat with Nazi Germany.
While the Vatican was officially neutral during World War II, Pius XII maintained links to the German Resistance, used diplomacy to aid the victims of the war and lobby for peace, and spoke out against race-based murders and other atrocities. The Reichskonkordat and his leadership of the Catholic Church during the war remain the subject of controversy—including allegations of public silence and inaction about the fate of the Jews. After the war, he advocated peace and reconciliation, including lenient policies towards Axis and Axis-satellite nations. He was also a staunch opponent of Communism and of the Italian Communist Party.