Nová žena v útoku a obrane. Druhá svetová vojna v časopise Katolíckej jednoty žien

Nová žena Journal in Attack and Defence: WWII in the Catholic Women's Union Journal

The paper focuses on the war career of the Nová žena journal, more precisely, on war-time strategies applied by a journal exhibiting specific features. The first one is that the Nová žena was not only for women, but entirely women´s – written and run by women only. The next typical feature was the lasting political and ideological orientation towards neutral Vatican, which was a source of permanent contradictions with the official propaganda contents preferred by the war-time Slovak state. The most interesting fact about the journal is that it managed to preserve space for opinions, which were not aligned with the state propaganda; on the other hand, the editors avoided radical nationalist, anti-Semitic and militarist messages promoted by the regime. Particularly interesting is that the editorial policy was not decided by the board of editors but issued centrally by the Holy See. The editors did not need any extreme civic courage, since there were always some shields around protecting them from radicals. The strongest of them was neutrality proclaimed by the highest Catholic authority, which the war-time ‘Christian' Slovak state did not dare to challenge openly. Moreover, there were close family relations of the editors with important members of political elites. However, admirable is their determination, personal exposition and fortitude, with which they occupied and enlarged their manoeuvring space and how they used it in ways they considered right. Even though they did not face physical punishment, they received low sympathies from the government and the state-party, were offended by the more radical political forces and lived under threat of being ostracised for alleged insufficient patriotism. They did not limit their editorial policy to implementing and localising general Catholic agenda, but simultaneously pursued their own particular agenda. What deserves special attention are their strategies in utilising the authority of the supranational church organisation (Catholic Action) for support to their current and partial agendas embedded in areas in which they felt danger from the leading state authorities, e.g. the issue of limited access of girls to education and women to their professional career).