Mussolini's social and economic policies

Mussolini’s social and economic policies

Mussolini’s Social Policies

  • Mussolini aimed to establish a Totalitarian state where every aspect of life was controlled by the state. He believed in Fascism, a system where a single party, guided by a strong leader, governs the state.

  • He introduced the Charter of Labour in 1927, which made labour unions dependent on the Fascist Party. It deprived the workers of the right to strike and forced them into government-controlled syndicates.

  • The Fascist Party initiated a propaganda campaign to promote their ideology. The focus was on idealising Mussolini and promoting fascist ideals, such as the importance of obeying the state and the leader. This propaganda was widespread in schools, newspapers, radio, and public spaces.

  • Youth Programs were developed for shaping the minds of the young in preparation to serve the state. Physical education and military drills were popular in these programs, and the youth were regularly exposed to pro-fascist content.

  • Women were encouraged to adopt traditional roles as homemakers and mothers through the ‘Battle for Births’ program launched in 1927. Financial incentives were offered to large families, and contraceptive advice was suppressed to boost population growth.

  • Mussolini aimed to suppress the influence of the Catholic Church in Italian society and politics but understood its power. He signed the Lateran Agreement in 1929, which ended a long-running dispute between Italy and the Vatican, recognizing Vatican City as an independent state.

Mussolini’s Economic Policies

  • Mussolini aimed to transform Italy into a self-sufficient, corporatist state through autarky and had some success in certain areas such as reduction of unemployment.

  • In 1925, he appointed Giovanni Giuriati as minister for corporations, who oversaw the creation of 22 corporations representing different sectors of the economy. The idea was to create harmony between workers and employers through these corporations, but in reality, they largely favoured the employers.

  • Mussolini launched the Battle of the Grain in 1925 to make Italy self-sufficient in food production. This resulted in an increase in wheat production but negatively impacted the diversity of Italian agriculture and made them import other food items at a higher cost.

  • Furthering the goal of autarky, the Fascist Party initiated the Battle of the Marshes in 1928, which aimed to reclaim land through draining marshes for agriculture and housing.

  • The economic depression that occurred after the Wall Street Crash in 1929 badly affected Italy. The regime responded with larger public works programs to provide employment and stimulate the economy. These included the building of schools, hospitals, and transport infrastructure. However, these were paid for through higher taxes and borrowing, leading to a rising national debt.

  • By the late 1930’s Mussolini had shifted his economic policy towards war production in anticipation of World War II. This placed great strain on the Italian economy, and living standards for most Italians did not improve significantly under Mussolini’s rule.