World Wars: Recommended resources


General books about soldiers, the home front, and faith in World Wars I and II (and sometimes other wars) include John Costello, Virtue Under Fire (1987); Gerald Sittser, A Cautious Patriotism (1997); Michael Burleigh, Earthly Powers (2005) and Sacred Causes (2007); Michael Snape, God and the British Soldier (2005) and God and Uncle Sam (2015); David Fromkin, A Peace To End All Peace (2009); Jonathan Ebel, Faith in the Fight (2010) and G. I. Messiahs (2015); and Philip Jenkins, The Great and Holy War (2014). 

Many books tell the stories of chaplains in both wars; among them John Smyth, In This Sign Conquer (1968); Donald Crosby, Battlefield Chaplains (1994); Richard Budd, Serving Two Masters (2002); Israel Yost, Combat Chaplain (2006); Alan Robinson, Chaplains at War (2008); Michael Snape, The Royal Army Chaplains’ Department, 1796–1953 (2008) and (coedited with Edward Madigan) The Clergy in Khaki (2013); Lyle Dorsett, Serving God and Country (2012); Michael Shay, Sky Pilots (2014); and Ronit Stahl, Enlisting Faith (2017). 

Read about the Inklings at war in John Garth, Tolkien and the Great War (2003); Janet Brennan Croft, War and the Works of J. R. R. Tolkien (2004); K. J. Gilchrist, A Morning After War (2005); and Joseph Loconte, A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War (2015). Conscientious objectors feature in Albert Keim, The CPS Story (1990); Jeffrey Kovac, Refusing War, Affirming Peace (2009); Mark Matthews, Smoke Jumping on the Western Fire Line (2009); Will Ellsworth-Jones, We Will Not Fight (2007); Amy Shaw, Crisis of Conscience (2009); and Karyn Burnham, The Courage of Cowards (2014). 

Learn more about Christians and Nazism in John Conway, The Nazi Persecution of the Churches (1968); Victoria Barnett, For the Soul of the People (1992); Doris Bergen, Twisted Cross (1996); Robert Ericksen and Susannah Heschel, eds., Betrayal (1999); Kevin Spicer, Resisting the Third Reich (2004), and (as editor) Antisemitism, Christian Ambivalence, and the Holocaust (2007); Richard Steigmann-Gall, The Holy Reich (2004); Susannah Heschel, The Aryan Jesus (2008); and Richard Weikart, Hitler’s Religion (2016). 

Catholics in Italy feature in John Pollard, The Vatican and Italian Fascism, 1929–1932 (1985), The Fascist Experience in Italy (1998), The Unknown Pope (1999), and The Papacy in the Age of Totalitarianism, 1914–1958 (2014); John Cornwell, Hitler’s Pope (1999); Carol Rittner and John K. Roth, eds., Pius XII and the Holocaust (2004); David Dalin, The Myth of Hitler’s Pope (2005); Robert Ventresca, Soldier of Christ (2013); and David Kertzer, The Pope and Mussolini(2014). 

Read about Jews in Holland and the Dutch Resistance in Werner Warmbrunn, The Dutch under German Occupation, 1940–1945 (1963); Jacob Presser, Ashes in the Wind (1968); Barth Hoogstraten, The Resistance Fighters (2008); and Jeroen Dewulf, Spirit of Resistance (2010). 

Books about the Orthodox in Romania and Russia include Harvey Fireside, Icon and Swastika (1971); Dimitry Pospielovsky, The Russian Church under the Soviet Regime, 1917–1982 (1984); Vladimir Solonari, Purifying the Nation (2000); Nathaniel Davis, A Long Walk to Church (2003); Steven Merritt Miner, Stalin’s Holy War (2003); Maria Bucur, Heroes and Victims (2009); Dennis Deletant, Hitler’s Forgotten Ally (2006); and Timothy Ware, The Orthodox Church (2016).  

More about Christian missionaries and soldiers on the Pacific front can be found in Weldon Rhoades, Flying MacArthur to Victory (1987); Gavan Daws, Prisoners of the Japanese (1994); Phyllis Thompson, China: The Reluctant Exodus (2000); Chuck Holsinger, Above the Cry of Battle (2001); Darren Micah Lewis, Captured By the Rising Sun (2014); and Arthur Herman, Douglas

MacArthur (2016). 

Find out more about refugees and relief agencies in Michael Marrus, The Unwanted (1985); J. Bruce Nichols, The Uneasy Alliance (1988); Elliott Abrams, The Influence of Faith (2002), and Bruno Cabanes, The Great War and the Origins of Humanitarianism (2014). 

Experience sermons, poems, and reflections from the world wars in Basil Mathews, ed., Christ and the World at War (1917); G. A. Studdert-Kennedy, The Unutterable Beauty (1927); Ray Abrams, Preachers Present Arms (1933); Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship (1937); Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Why Does God Allow War? (1939); Harry Emerson Fosdick, A Great Time to Be Alive (1944); Herbert Butterfield, Christianity, Diplomacy and War (1953); and Dean Stroud, ed., Preaching in Hitler’s Shadow (2013). Finally separate myth from history about the Christmas truce with Stanley Weintraub, Silent Night (2001); Malcolm Brown and Shirley Seaton, Christmas Truce (2011); and Chris Baker, The Truce (2014). 

Biographies and memoirs of people whose stories we’ve told include: 

Alvin York: Douglas Mastriano, Alvin York (2014)

Corrie ten Boom: Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place (1971) and Tramp for the Lord (1974)

Edith Stein: Waltraud Herbstrith, Edith Stein (1992)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Charles Marsh, Strange Glory (2014)

Martin Niemöller: James Bentley, Martin Niemöller, 1892–1984 (1983)

John Birch: Terry Lautz, John Birch: A Life (2016)

Mitsuo Fuchida: Mitsuo Fuchida, From Pearl Harbor to Calvary (1959)

Ben VegoursScott Reardon and Ben Vegors, My Brightest Christmas Memory (2009)

Ludwig Wittgenstein: Roy Monk, The Duty of

Genius (1991)

Past Christian History issues

Read these past issues of Christian History online; some are still available for purchase:

• 7 and 88: C. S. Lewis

9: Heritage of Freedom

18: Russian Christianity

33: Christianity and the Civil War

32: Dietrich Bonhoeffer

50: American Revolution

52: Hudson Taylor

78: J. R. R. Tolkien

98: Chinese Christianity

113: Seven Sages

Videos from Vision Video

Videos related to this issue’s articles include A Light in the Darkness; Bonhoeffer; Corrie ten Boom; Dawn of War; Eric Liddell; Gladys Aylward; Hanged on a Twisted Cross; Heroes; Hidden in Silence; Hidden Heroes; Making Choices; Overlord; PAX Service; Sergeant York; Sophie Scholl; The Diary of Anne Frank; The Frank Jenner Question; The Hiding Place; The Reckoning; The Scarlet and the Black; Unbroken; World War I Military Chaplains; and World War II

Four children’s Torchlighters episodes have world war themes: Eric Liddell, Gladys Aylward, Corrie ten Boom, and Richard Wurmbrand. The Corrie ten Boom DVD has a companion biography for kids by Kaylena Radcliff.


Find documents and resources related to World War I history at, the British National Archives WWI site,, and the World War I Document Archive. World War II history can be found at World War II Database, the Avalon Project, the U. S. National Archives, and the Illinois Digital Archives World War II site. An excellent site devoted to the Civilian Public Service program is Read more about Pearl Harbor’s seventy-fifth anniversary at 

The Corrie ten Boom Museum has a website (it’s in Dutch, but an older version is also available in English), and there is also a site devoted to ten Boom’s life at The Edith Stein Circle is devoted to the study of Stein’s philosophy, and the Edith Stein House has other resources on her life. There is a Dietrich Bonhoeffer Center site, a site for the English-language section of the International Bonhoeffer Society, and a site for Bonhoeffer’s house. 

And if you’re interested in what exactly Niemöller said in his famous quote, a whole website by Harold Marcuse is devoted to the topic! CH

This article is from Christian History magazine #121 Faith in the Foxholes. Read it in context here!

By the editors

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #121 in 2017]

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