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We should start this brief analyze with focusing on the background of the dictators’ way to power. In both countries, Germany and Italy, the blow of 1929s Wall Street crisis proved to be very tough, however the economic situation inside states wasn’t good after the end of World War the First. Unemployment and budget deficit helped Mussolini with taking power in 1922. Hitler became a chancellor in 1933 when Germany suffered the most from the 1929s crisis. A conclusion comes to mind: financial crisis is very likely to cause rapid growth of radical movements and to increase society’s tolerance towards government’s actions.
As it comes to reducing unemployment rate, both Hitler and Mussolini achieved success, however Mussolini’s actions were insufficient in case of The Great Depression. In numbers; Hitler reduced unemployed people from 6 millions to 200 000, whereas Mussolini’s from 500 000 to 120 000 (later in 1934, the number increased to 1 million). The methods were similar; mostly public works (7000 km of motorways in Germany were built, 5000 km of railway tracks got an electrification) and also, in Germany, decreasing the number of women participating in labour-market.
The success of re-industrialization, Hitler turned out to be quite a good strategist. Between 1932-38 the total production of coal increased from 118.6 to 186.4 millions of tones; iron ore from 2.6 to 12.4 millions of tones, pig iron from 6.1 to 18.1 millions tones and steel from 8.2 to 21.9 millions tones. Meanwhile the army budget boosted from 1.9 to 17.2 billion reichsmarks – the economy was dominated by war preparations, as rearmament tended to be the prime objective of Hitler’s policy.
In Italy, mostly because it wasn’t even comparable with Germany in terms of economic power, only some achievement in that case are noticeable: increase of electricity and motor and grain production (the last mentioned changed from 60 to 80 millions of quintals between 1930-39). It’s worth to admit that right for strike was abolished.
Among financial reforms, in Germany were made some decisions. There were few laws established to protect small farms from monopolization (it finally failed; value of lands owned by monopolists grew from 40 to 70%), Hjalmar Schacht blocked leaking foreign currency reserves by paying debts in reichsmarks, also after few trade agreements, Germany used its own currency in trade. At the same time in Italy, the annual growth decreased to only 0.8%, GDP per capita dropped from 3079 to 1829 lire between 1929-34 (to return to previous value in 1937).
In both countries the great impact was put on families’ and workers’ issues. We can say about special profits for workers, and rapid rise of birth rate. In Italy, bachelors had to pay more taxes than families did.
As it comes to anti-semitism, only in Third Reich the possessions of Jews were being confiscated by the government and were under attack. Mussolini’s attitude to Jews was rather neutral.
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