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Assess the successes and failures of Mussolini's domestic policy.

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Introduction

Assess the successes and failures of Mussolini's domestic policy. Mussolini's primary aim in 1919 when he came into power was to fascitise the Italian nation as a whole, young and old; he wanted his nation to be utterly committed and disciplined towards the new fascist state rather than being passive and going along with everyone else. To achieve this goal, Mussolini set about trying to influence and ultimately change make domestic establishments more 'fascist', that is, to follow the principles of a very right-wing, nationalist totalitarian state in which the 'Duce is always right' and in which the principles of 'Believe, Obey, Fight' are considered paramount. Mussolini attempted to alter Church-state relations, to create the perfect fascist woman, to fascitise the educational system and the youths of Italy, to change Italy's economic and political structure, and to create a nation that would be respected by other nations, by using his strategies of the 'battle for land, grain and births' and by proving the strength of the nation through sporting achievements. However, Mussolini's policies failed to unite the country and fascitise the nation as a whole; his economic polices were disastrous, Italy was fairly weak politically, and women and teenagers failed to be heavily affected by a fascist state; Mussolini did handle the Church-State relations well however but in the larger scale of things, it is a relatively minor point. Although Mussolini was anti-clerical, a totalitarian state cannot allow another establishment with a powerful set of beliefs to survive, he realised that if he could actually win ...read more.

Middle

Women's sport was discouraged, as the regime believed that it would distract women from their primary function as child-bearers. They should also wear very simple clothes and be very obedient to their husbands. Linking in with this idea, Mussolini started his campaign called the 'Battle for births', an attempt to increase Italy's population by 23 million, to 60 million, by 1950, and to make Italy look like a great power. Mussolini demanded an increase in the Italian birth rate and implemented some changes in 1927. Large families were financially rewarded with marriage loans and reduced income tax for big families, prolific mothers were awarded with prizes in the annual ceremonies, and the quality of family health-care improved dramatically. On the other hand, bachelors experienced increased taxation, jobs were reserved for fathers, and abortion, contraception and divorce became illegal. The results of this battle were not what Mussolini wanted; the birth rate continued to fall, and the average age of marriage rose and even the marriage rate fell. Due to the improvement in health care the death rate did decrease, but this could not be taken advantage of due to the similar declining birth rate. The failure of the 'battle for births' was due to the fact that women were simply not affected by the regime's vision of the perfect women. As Willson says, '...the growth of mass culture broadened attitudes and aspirations.' The American culture of the glamorous model would have obviously affected young women not interested in being obedient toward the regime, who had more self-pride and self-confidence than this. ...read more.

Conclusion

These syndicates and officials reported their findings to the Fascist Grand Council, made up of 56 fascist party members, which was the 'organ of the state', the controlling body. However, Mussolini controlled what was discussed in this council, what the agenda was and even the membership; Italy was basically run by Mussolini. By January 1926, Mussolini was able to pass his own laws and even deprived the King the right to be able to choose the next Prime Minister by the end of 1928. To Mussolini, this political policy was a success, in that he was in complete control, a personal dictatorship. However, for the Italian people, it would no t have been seen as a success, as they had no political power and could not convey what they wanted and needed in life. Here we have a contradiction on Mussolini's part; how can he want to fascitise and unite the nation if he does not know what they want? He simply forces his policies upon his people, and expects them to follow them obediently and unquestioningly, which was never going to happen. Overall, Mussolini did not achieve his aim of fascistising the Italian population; many of his policies were ignored or discarded by the people, and his economic policy failed to show the world how great a nation Italy was. Mussolini was able to establish an individual dictatorship, but not able to rule the country effectively. ?? ?? ?? ?? Oliver Clarke ...read more.

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This is a very strong response which demonstrates excellent subject knowledge. It was well structured, with good support from historians and plenty of relevant evaluation. The conclusion could have been extended to reflect the quality of ideas in the essay itself. 5 out of 5 stars.

Marked by teacher Natalya Luck 22/05/2013

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