ZIMSEC O Level History Notes: Dictatorship in Europe: Dictatorship in Italy: Benito Mussolini: Mussolini’s Domestic Policy and Achievements
One of Mussolini’s major aim was economic self-sufficiency with policies like the battle for grain, the battle for babies and the battle of the LIRA.
Battle of Grain
- Mussolini encourage wheat production.
- Some vine yards and olive yards were turned into wheat fields.
- Useless land was reclaimed and the Pontine Marshes were drained and land put to wheat production.
Battle of Babies/Births
- Mussolini encourage large families and babies were valued as the nation’s future manpower.
- Bachelors were heavily taxed and parents of large families rewarded.
- Contraceptives were also banned and couples with 6 or more children were exempt from taxation.
Battle of the LIRA
- Mussolini revalued the Lira and attempted to strengthen it by controlling wages and inflation but the revaluation had adverse effects especially on exports as Italian goods became expensive on the world markets.
- As a result orders of Italian goods decreased, many industries operated for only 3 days a week, the number of tourists declined and wages were reduced by 10%-20%.
- Mussolini reduced unemployement by embarking on public works such as roads, railways, canals, draining marshes, constructing buildings such as flats, schools and hospitals.
- In 1926 trade unions were banned and replaced by organized worker’s and employer’s cooperations.
- In 1929 Mussolini signed the Lateran treaty (Lateran Accords) with the Pope which ended hostility between the Church and the Sate.
Details of the Treaty
- The Church was to be exempt from tax.
- Catholicism was recognized as the official religion of the state.
- Religious education was placed under the Church.
- In return the Church recognized Mussolini’s rule of Italy.
Other policies brought about under Mussolini’s dictatorship
- New industries were built under the government’s Industrial Reconstruction Program.
- The government also funded big industries for example car manufacturing, iron and steel and production, ship building and fertilizer production.
- Education in schools and universities was controlled by the state.
- Textbooks were rewritten and teachers were to wear uniforms to work.
- Children could report teachers to the party.
- In August 1926 all children were conscripted into the Youth brigades which involved quasi-military training and taught Il Duce was always right. (indoctrination)
- The Fascist party also controlled sports like tennis and soccer.
- The party controlled the Olympic Games committee.
- When the depression hit Italy in 1933 Mussolini enlarged the army in a bid to reduce unemployment.
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