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Leaving Certificate French Predictions 2018

● As with all subjects, it is impossible to accurately predict what styles of question and topics will come up on the French paper

● It is possible however, to study the past papers and establish the most common features, and to look at current affairs that may have influenced the examiner 
You may also like: Complete Guide to Leaving Cert French or French in 90 words opinion piece collection (€)
1. Paper structure
● The French written paper is divided into three sections - aural comprehension, reading comprehension and written comprehension 
● For the aural and reading comprehension sections, the best way to prepare is to listen to and read as much French as possible in the run-up to the exam, and get comfortable with question styles by doing past papers 
● The written comprehension section:  ○ In this section, there are four questions, each with a choice between a part (a) and a part (b)  ○ You must answer one of the parts of question one, and two others out of questions 2, 3 and 4 -…

History: What were the main developments in church-state relations under Hitler and Mussolini? #625Lab


With both Fascist parties rising to power in Italy and Germany, they seized control of the state’s assets. However, they wished the win the minds and hearts of their people in order to create a totalitarian state in which loyalty to the state was a responsibility. Fear, terror and propaganda had been effective to a certain extent. However, another aspect of people’s lives influenced them, to support or oppose the regime. Who had power to rival the State? How could the Fascists control or destroy them?

The Catholic and Protestant Church were a major part of people’s lives in 20th Century Italy and Germany. Nearly everyone in Italy was Catholic and about sixty six percent of Germans were Protestant with a Jewish minority in each state. The Churches had a role in the education of the young and had authority over them. The relations with the Church were of utmost important as the Church had a history of interfering with government affairs such as when the Catholic Church urged Italians not to vote in the Italian elections. With power like this, the Fascist regimes needed to take action.

Mussolini had strongly opposed the Church at first, however he moderated his views. The Church was against the country of Italy after the capture of Rome in 1870. The Pope took to calling himself” the prisoner of the Vatican”. Mussolini wanted a strong unified Italy and thus needed to end the quarrel. In Germany, the Churches were critical of the Weimar Republic’s stress on individual freedom and were prepared to work with the Nazi Regime as they shared anti-Communist views. Hitler wished to remove the hold the Churches had over their flock. He was sensible enough to realise the strength of loyalty that Germans felt to their Church and wanted to avoid all-out conflict. His aims were debatable but it is probable the Nazis wanted to destroy the Churches.

How did the Italians and Germans approach Church-State relations? Mussolini made small gestures such as baptising his children and expressed that he shared the views that the Church had such as opposing abortion and divorce. Pius XI appreciated these gestures and wanted to end the dispute resulting in negotiations. These went on to form the Lateran Pacts in 1929 and the signing of a concordat, regulating Church-State relations. The Vatican State was created, Catholicism became the State religion and religious instruction became mandatory while the Church agreed that they could not become involved in politics, priests were not allowed join a political party and all Bishops had to be Italian and swear loyalty to the State. Mussolini succeeded in silencing Church criticism and the Church gave a lot of support to his regime while bringing great prestige and recognition both nationally and internationally. 

Meanwhile, the Nazis aimed to unify all 28 Protestant Churches of Germany into one Church as it would be easier for them to control. In July 1933, all 28 Churches were formed into the “Reichskirche”. In order to control it, the Nazis supported the racist, anti-Semitist German Christian Movement. Their leader, Bishop Ludwig Müller, become the head of the Reichskirche. Pastors with Jewish origin were removed and the Gestapo was allowed to monitor the content of sermons. Opposition such as The Confessing Church were dealt with and over 700 pastors were sent to concentration camps. The Catholic Church was willing to work with Nazis and a concordat was signed in July. Freedom of worship and Catholic education in schools were guaranteed and Catholic organisations were to be protected. In exchange, the Catholic Church withdrew from politics and the Centre party disbanded. Hitler was successful in dealing with the Churches as he had gained control over the Protestant institutions and silenced the Catholic Church’s involvement in German politics, while gaining similar recognition.

The prospect of the State and Church remaining on friendly terms was short lived. Mussolini became involved in a dispute with Pope Pius XI over the Church Organisation, Catholic Action, who he had accused of interfering in politics. His actions were criticised by the Pope. In the end, a compromise was made that ended the dispute. However this did not end the Pope’s condemnation of Mussolini’s totalitarian doctrines. He went on to forbid Catholics form reading the writings of leading Fascists and opposed the introduction Racial Laws against Italian Jews in 1938. 

The Nazis on the other hand broke the concordat they had signed. Gestapo kept a close eye on Catholic politicians, Catholic organisations were persecuted, and Catholic Youth groups banned. Parents were intimidated to stop sending their children to Catholic schools; a propaganda campaign was waged to discredit the Church, priests were arrested on trumped-up allegations of homosexuality and financial corruption. Bishops, priests and monks were arrested, attacked or gunned down by SA mobs, Church assets were seized. Pope Pius XI was worried by the Nazi Violations and condemned the Nazi regime in a Papal encyclical called “Mit Brenneder Sorge”. It was smuggled into Germany in hope of discrediting Hitler. However, despite the Nazis’ policies, Hitler’s popularity amongst Catholics was largely unaffected, with local Nazi officials receiving most of the blame. Both the Protestant and Catholic Church reached a compromise rather than risk more violent measures. They did not challenge the German anti-Jewish legislation and its actions such as Kristallnacht. Some church officials did challenge Nazi policies such as the Nazi euthanasia programme however it continued it secret when “officially” abandoned. 

Mussolini had succeeded in achieving his aims of ending the 60 year-feud between the State of Italy and the Catholic Church. However, Mussolini had failed in silencing Church criticism and did little to oppose the Church when they continued to speak out against his regime. The state religion remained Catholic and Mussolini had failed in removing Italian allegiance to the Church. Hitler was successful in his aims of controlling the Churches in Germany. He controlled the Reichskirche, monitoring what was said to the Protestant population and had a racist and anti-Semitist Protestant group lead the Reichskirche, spreading their ideals to the followers of the Church, although proved ineffective. He did manage to remove Catholic input in German politics. However, even after the anti-religious measures he took, the clergy still had great influence over their flock and there was an increase in Church membership during WW2. The Catholic-Protestant tension had reduced and the members two Churches became closer. The Nazi policy categorically failed in reducing religious allegiances and did not sever the Churches’ input into the everyday lives of the Germans.

Feedback on this essay:
  • The essay is a bit too short - you should try to bank on getting a full 60/60, try breaking some of the longer paragraphs into 2.
  • The essay is well-structured, with sufficient focus on both regimes.
  • Factual content is very good but a few quotations, either from historical figures or historians, would not go amiss.
  • Introduction needs to be clearer about where the essay is going - how did church-state relations develop? Explicitly state in the introduction that the essay will first look at the positive developments, and then at the more negative.
  • As a stylistic choice, I would advise against opening a paragraph with a rhetorical question.
  • Some paragraphs need to have a clearer theme sentence that explicitly states your judgement - eg. "In Italy, the first major development in church-state relations under Mussolini was quite negative as the new leader initially opposed the Church, just as the Church opposed the state."
  • The conclusion needs to be more clearly labelled as the last paragraph - if you don't want to use "in conclusion" or "to conclude", try using "overall", "finally", "in the end" or another phrase along those lines.
  • You may also like: H1 Leaving Cert History Guide

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