Another KGB disinformation technique used in Cornwell’s Hitler’s Pope is revealed by the book’s cover. The dust jacket of the original British edition represents a deliberate and nasty deception. The cover is a photograph showing Nuncio Pacelli [Pius XII] leaving a reception given for German President Hindenburg in 1927. The caption given on the inside of the dust jacket of the British edition, however, dates the photograph as having been taken in March 1939.

This is not an honest mistake. This is intentional deception for a purpose. By March 1939 Hitler was Fuhrer, and Pacelli had been elected pope on March 2, 1939. A naive reader who had fallen for Cornwell’s slander could easily conclude that Pius XII rushed off to visit Hitler as soon as he was elected. That never happened – neither Pacelli nor Pius XII ever met Hitler.

This dramatic photograph shows Nuncio Pacelli, dressed in formal diplomatic regalia (which could easily be confused with papal garments), as he exits a building. In front of him stands a chauffeur saluting and holding open the square-looking door typical of old-fashioned, ceremonial automobiles from the 1920s. On either side of the nuncio stand solders of the Weimar Republic. Those who do not recognize the differences in uniform details could easily confused the Weimar soldiers with Nazi soldiers because of their distinctive helmets widely associated with Nazi-era German soldiers.

The American edition of Hitler’s Pope (and its later paperback version) has the correct date – 1927 – for the cover photograph, but the picture is cropped to eliminate two important points of reference: the soldier nearest the camera and the square door of the automobile. Both of these images provide clues to the true date of this photo, which Cornwell apparently wanted to avoid-he has admitted that he approved the photo. In the American addition, the photos background has also been significantly darkened and blurred, making it unlikely for the observer to notice that the remaining soldier is wearing a Weimar which Cornwell apparently wanted to avoid-he has admitted that he approved the photo. In the American addition, the photos background has also been significantly darkened and blurred, making it unlikely for the observer to notice that the remaining soldier is wearing a Weimar uniform, not a Nazi one. The chauffeur, with the cropping of the car door and the blurring, takes on the appearance of a saluting SS office. It all helped Cornwell establish his thesis.

Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa and Professor Ronald Rychlak, Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism (2013)

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