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The Successes And Failures Of Mussolini's Domestic Policies In Italy Between 1922 And 1939

1606 words - 6 pages

The Successes and Failures of Mussolini's Domestic Policies in Italy Between 1922 and 1939

Similar to those of Hitler, Mussolini’s main goals were to create an
Italian state with a strong identity and role within Europe with a
powerful military force. From the day he became Prime Minister on
October 29th, 1922 of a coalition government, he lacked a certain
skill in organization. It was not quite clear what exactly Mussolini
wanted to do, and it seemed as though he made decissions with no
previous planning, as opposed to Hitler and the Nazis who knew exactly
what they were striving for. Nevertheless, Mussolini knew that he
wanted to have full control over the Italian state and successfully
did as he introduced the ‘Legge Fascistissime’ – allowing Mussolini to
become a controlling dictator. He soon realized he wanted to carve
Italy into an Empire similar to that of the Ancient Romans. New
policies needed to be put in place to transform the Italian society
into a war machine while mainting a prospering economy to ultimately
fulfill the goals of the ‘Duce’.

Amongst Mussolini’s successful policies was the ‘Battle for Grain’.
With this project, Mussolini hoped to boost his prestige while
simultaneously helping Italy to become a self-sufficient state in
times of war. Before this project was applied, Italy had had to import
large ammounts of grain to sufficiently feed the population. In a time
of war, this could lead to starvation if import supplies were ever
stopped from abroad. Mussolini’s campaign was supported by government
grants for farmers to buy proper equipment. Other incentives included
free advice on farming techniques, and high buying prices for the
grain these farmers were to produce. Successfully, the grain
production increased from 5.5 million tonnes per annum in the early
1920s to 7 million tonnes per annum several years later. This allowed
grain imports to steadily decrease. Mussolini claimed credit, and
photographers were conveniently asked to document his successful
campaign.

At first appearance this campaign seems to have had a very positive
effect on the Italian economy and to Mussolini’s domestic aims.
However, there was a large side-effect to the whole scheme. Much of
the land had now been turned over to produce grain – land that was
very fit for this crop. The climate in Italy was more suited to grow
other crops such as citrus fruits, olives, or wine grapes. Now that
all this land had been used for the purpose of grain, there was a lot
less land to grow the more efficient crops. This resulted in a
reasonably strong decline in exports of traditional products. Although
Mussolini was now happy that Italy was more or less closer to
self-sufficiency, people now needed to pay more for bread as import
taxes for grain rose. Although this ‘Battle for Grain’ campaign...

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