The Crown of Thorns
This concluding chapter reviews Tiso's life and presents some final thoughts. It argues that Tiso is best understood as a “Christian-National Socialist,” or a cross between a Christian Social and a generic national socialist. As the former, Tiso was committed to a profound social transformation that based its moral legitimacy not only on the primacy of God but also on notions of progress. But, after the breakup of Austria-Hungary, the actor for bringing about this transformation changed for him from the Christian community to the Slovak nation. In addition, we can profitably understand Tiso's life and histories as expressions of three “theologies.” The first is a Catholic theology in which vices and virtues are clearly delineated, in which priests function as moral experts, and in which God is the final object of man's “exile on earth.” The second is a modern vision of morality in which notions of progress supplant religion. The third is a contemporary moral system in which the Holocaust serves as an icon of evil, a negative goal for man's activities.
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