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Critically evaluate the successes and failures of Mussolini’s domestic policies in Italy between 1922 and 1939.
The time period between 1922 and 1939 in Italy was the dictatorship of Mussolini. As a dictator Mussolini radically changed the government policies trying to improve the welfare and economic stability, and also to strengthen his power by influencing public mood. Some of his policies were successful, some were failures, but when Mussolini started to cooperate with Hitler he significantly lost the popularity and could not maintain power for much longer.
Mussolini’s domestic policies can be divided in two sectors – economic policies and social policies. So this essay will evaluate how successful were these policies and how successful was Mussolini in achieving them.
Mussolini regarded himself as an emperor or duce, he was really obsessed with trying to reform Italy as an empire just as huge and powerful as it was several centuries ago. He wanted Italy to become self – sufficient and self determined, so there had to be made huge reforms in economic policies.
Although most of his economic policies were unconsidered and thus failed still he did much for Italy’s economic improvement. First of all Mussolini significantly improved the private sector businesses by imposing the “laissez faire” policy thus decreasing the balance of payment deficit. Government also supported the industries by subsiding them and thus significantly increasing the output. All this turned even more effective as the overall European economy was experiencing the growth as there was greater stability after World War 1.
Mussolini also tried to reform the agricultural policy.
As he was trying to make Italy an self – sufficient state he did not want to be economically dependant on other countries imports. He ordered the farmers to grow wheat, so they could provide the country with it by themselves without importing the wheat. This was not a good idea – the Italy’s climate was not beneficial for the wheat and it would be much more effective to grow vegetables and fruits and import the wheat.
Although the wheat imports significantly decreased during the thirties still the farmers were unsatisfied and did not gain as much profit as they could. Other Mussolini’s failure was the money reform. He revaluated the Lira and announced it almost two times more valuable than the British pound. This did a really harmful effect on the Italian exports as the expenditures for exporting the goods were not covered by the profit gained. It significantly harmed the industry and thus Italy also became more vulnerable through the Great Depression. Although he managed to reduce the unemployment to some extend still the people were unsatisfied because of his other unsuccessful decisions that did much damage to Italy’s economy.
Other field of domestic policies where Mussolini tried to invent several reforms was the social policies. As being a dictator of course he had to deny the opposition and ban other parties. Also his propaganda was quite successful but only until Mussolini started to cooperate with Hitler. Then people starter to see what is really happening and no propaganda was that powerful to deal with it. This significantly damaged his authority and actually was the main reason for the end of his rule. Mussolini did much to improve the welfare to his people. Many modern flats were built, also new railway lines and other public facilities were made not to only produce new jobs but also improve the living standards.
He also subsidized many public works like aforestation and the draining of marches to help to improve the agriculture. However, this did not much help for the overall welfare because there were many defects in his policies that dragged or even stopped the improvement of welfare. Mussolini had almost no social guarantees – there was almost no signs of the health insurance not even talking about unemployment and other social guarantees. Also there was a huge corruption in the government instances so very often the money for good intensions just went into the pockets of many corrupted officials. And still there was huge unemployment problem even after Mussolini’s attempts to reduce it.
Looking at the Mussolini’s domestic policy one can assume that his failures was much greater than his successes. This happened because of several reasons. Mussolini blindly fancied to establish the autarchy not even thinking about that it was impossible because he had not enough resources and territories to do so. Not knowing much about economics he made some crude mistakes trying to reform Italy’s economy. Also his social polices were not well-rounded and workers and farmers were not satisfied enough but when Mussolini stared his foreign policy with Hitler the people totally lost faith in him and Mussolini lost power.
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