Pope Benedict Issues a Peace Plan: August 1, 1917
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Though not one of the warring powers, Pope Benedict XV had received a copy of the peace note Kaiser Wilhelm had sent to the Allies in December 1916. Despite its haughty tone, and the fact that the Allied governments had rejected it, the kaiser’s peace note encouraged the pope. He began to promote his own plan for an end to the war.
Since Germany had been the first to seek peace, Benedict told his nuncio to Bavaria, Archbishop Eugenio Pacelli, to feel out the German government’s desire for peace. In June 1917, Pacelli met with German Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg.
In discussing Germany’s war aims, Bethmann-Hollweg said he could agree to four points for peace:
1. that all nations limit their armaments;
2. that international courts be established to judge grievances between the warring sides;
3. that Belgium be restored to independence; and that
4. Germany and France come to a peaceful settlement over Alsace-Lorraine. (more…)