How far had Mussolini achieved his aims in domestic policy by 1939? Essay
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In order to assess how Mussolini achieved his objective in domestic policy, one must traced back to the moment when he first became the prime minister in 1922. While the timeline is important to know, the central role of World War 1 must also be considered. The aftermath of World War 1 had ravaged Italy’s political situation the most, paving the way for Mussolini to appear and create a Fascism state as Italy was desperate for a saviour to rescue her, combined with Mussolini’s opportunistic and charismatic personalities, he had a high chance in achieving his domestic policies successfully.
In his first year as prime minister, Musollini hold very limited power and not to say, he was leading a coalition government which the Fascist party represented the least membership in the parliament. Coalition government can be seen as undesirable and most of the parties would want to avoid it since it was an obstacle to achieve its aim. He therefore needed to alter this unfavourable circumstance decisively and carefully to take control of the parliament as a means to establish a totalitarian state which was the core in his domestic policy. In the totalitarian ideology basis, the supremacy over the individual rights of its citizens shouldn’t be questioned as the popular Fascism slogan stated, “Everything within the State, nothing against the State, nothing outside the State.”. This means liberalism was seen as the national enemy.
In his domestic view, Mussolini saw that by having a liberal mind, people would soon voiced out their opinions and soon, his dictatorship would be in the stage of shattering. Moreover, this point serves as the basic foundation in the early years of totalitarianism in Italy as he needed to constraint the citizens’ mind before enforcing his totalitarianism rule. Mussolini also rekindled his relationship with the Roman Catholic Church as religion plays a significant role in the Italians’ daily life and also the world as the Vatican was the nucleus of the Christian world. Hence, he won major supports from the citizens and was able to prevent revolution for the time being. This successful domestic policy of his preceded his fascism dream state.
In addition, we must consider the fact that the establishment Acerbo Law of 1923 by Mussolini provides as a tool to make way for the Fascist to control the parliament. Appropriately, Mussolini hold an election in 1924 to make his government more legal and also to ensure Fascist Party control in the parliament. Two thirds of the seats in parliament will be given to the party who won in the election and consequently, there was a sense of unfairness and discrimination in this case.
The opposition party had every reason to be concerned as this will made the administration even more corrupted than before and illegitimate, however, Mussolini cleverly manipulated the whole situation for his own good. Mateotti crisis was a clear illustration of it that he managed to kill two birds in one stone. Besides crushing his main political opponent, he also used this incident to send as a warning to the other opposition parties if they went against the Fascist. This may explained why Aventine Secession soon followed. Even though Mussolini kept saying that he was not involved in the crime, most of the historians agreed that he actually was part of it. Since he wanted to create a fascism state, mostly his domestic policy may derived from his wish. Historians may see his domestic policy as harsh and unjust but it is effective in ceasing absolute power in the Italy’s parliament.
Another significant piece of evidence to show how far did Mussolini achieved his domestic policy is the fact that Mussolini had intruded into the Italians’ daily life considerably. The press censorship stands as one of the key principle of totalitarian ideology and so, the Fascist implemented the complete monopoly of all means of communications. Again, this is to ensure the citizens won’t have the freedom of speech and have the chance to exercise their liberal mind. If the press media were to air, the materials must be related about the glory of Fascism. Not to say, Mussolini’s cult of personality was promoted even further as children in schools were taught to think that “Mussolini is always right” and his pictures were everywhere in Italy.
People were also instructed to stand and salute at the mere moment of hearing Mussolini’s name. Ethically, Mussolini had changed people’s usual life especially the younger generation because their minds are easy to be brainwashed and they also held a massive influence in the Italy’s society that can shape Italy in the future. That is exactly what Mussolini was thinking about by implementing his unethical domestic policy. In some circumstances, it can be said as a success but only for a short period of time as Mussolini was overthrown in 1943. Thereby his domestic policy is successful, only to a certain extent in which he was able to manipulate the Italians’ life.
In conclusion, to a large extent, Mussolini was successful in carrying out his domestic policy and he had carved his name as one of the most formidable politicians in Italy’s history. While Italy’s messy condition enables Mussolini to execute his domestic policy smoothly, his military background should also be considered. As he was a veteran of World War I, he knew how to appeal to the people as they just survived from the great war, strengthening their nationalism even more. Thereby, it is because of his pragmatic and manipulative approach as well as his personal life experience that enabled Mussolini to achieve his domestic policy successfully.