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Hitler and Mussolinis

domestic/foreign policies: paper

Mussolinis domestic policies
Political: elements of political revolution and political continuity
Fascist ideology defined in 1932 Political and Social doctrine of Fascism
as anti-communist and anti-socialist as well as anti-democratic but divided
between different fascist groups e..g technocrats, national syndicalists,
rural fascists = gap between support and the leader of ideology, protected
ideology after the 1924 Matteotti crisis
- One-Party system destruction of the Italian liberal state after 1925:
Fascist revolution 1928 one-party state law, 1926 Mussolini is empowered
to govern by decree which is used 100,000 times by 1943,
- Only 7% of seats in parliament in 1922
- Did not attack authority of the church, the army and the monarchy e.g.
1929 Concordat/Lateran Treaty
- Repression: squadristi was limited by the party prefects but 1926 Law on
the Defence of the State, use of the OVRA secret police = use of coercion
to enforce the oppression of political opponents and the policy of antiSemitism
Stephen J. Lee: ideology was a makeshift alliance of different interests
Payne: no fascist revolution but rather, an authoritarian compromise,
even the use of coercion was not murderous and bloodthirsty
Lyttelton: Mussolini deliberately fostered untidiness and illogicality in the
structure of government to balance such elements under his rule,
strength of Fascism depended upon weakness of fascist institutions

Economic: towards war

Effect of Great Depression Corporative system from free enterprise to
state control
- War economy: from 1936 achieving autarky is the greatest priority, policy
of centralization e.g. 1925 Battle for Grain, 100% increase between 1922
and 1939, Battle for Births to stimulate workforce
- Only really benefited small class of industrialists
Lee: geared to the needs of war but with corporativism never fully
Cassells: corporativism was a travesty of what it purported to be
Pollard: a vast, useless apparatus

Social: indoctrination of the population


To guarantee popular support : speeches, sloganizing e.g. Believe!Obey!

Fight! , propaganda
Sought to establish a new national identity through personality cult
especially after invasion of Ethiopia in 1935

Slow changes made to educational system but accelerated in 1936 e.g.

books under state control, 1938 racism is openly practised and taught in
schools, 1939 Fascist school charter
Youth groups: 1926 Opera Nazionale Banilla (ONB) but 40% of 8-18 years
olds managed to avoid
Press suppressed by decrees in 1926, 1928
1934 Office for Cinematography supported private films which did not
convey state propaganda
Promotion of anti-Semitism: at first gave legal protection to the Jews in
1932, but by 1938 draws up a Manifesto on Race proclaiming Italy to be of
Aryan descent followed by decrees banning intermarriage between Jews
and non-Jews
Status of women was repressed
Lee: indoctrination was never fully completed
A.J.P Taylor views Mussolini as a buffoon however Lee states he mirrored
the needs of the Italian population, they accepted the cult of his
Lee: Cultural output was more diverse than in Germany
Pollard: There was no such thing as a Fascist culture
De Felice: Introduction of anti-Semitism was to strengthening alliance with
Germany even though Pollard says there is no evidence to show Hitler put
pressure on Mussolini competition Italy souhght with Germany

Hitlers domestic policies

Political: establishment of an authoritarian regime
Propaganda and indoctrination used to strengthen nationalist ideology
1936 Berlin Olympics , 6 million members by 1945
- Ideology + violence = reflected in racial policies: Nuremberg laws of 1935,
Kristallnacht 1938, forced emigration meant that half of Jewish population
in Germany ahd left before the war, Wannsee conference 1942
- Hitler had limited political influence rivalries between groups of Nazi
Rich: master of the Third Reich vs a weak dictator (Mommsen)
Repression according to E. Kogon a state within a state, 250,000 strong
although Eric Johnsen argues that Gestapo did not create a climate of

Economic: towards war


Initial situation = 5.6 million unemployed by 1932

Economic recovery 1933-36 = Schacht, only 1.6 million unemployed by
1936, 40% increase in GDP, New Plan of September 1934 = control over
the economy
- Dependence on big businesses Four Year Plan 1936: Schacht resigns,
urges de-armament Autarky under Hermann Goring, by 1938 big
businesses are just junior partners
The German economy must be fit for war within 4 years (Adolf Hitler)
1938-39 17% of budget spent on military expenditure, guns or butter?
Marxist historian Tim Mason argues that Nazi economy was under
increasing strain from 1937.

Social: control of the population


Ethnic classification incorporated into national curriculum, 1939

compulsory membership for Hitlers Youth
- Religion: cult of Hitlers personality + teutonic paganism (non-Christian
ancient beliefs of Germany) which failed as only 5% in 1939
- Women: 10% of university places reserved for women, population policy
1933-45, policy failed as by 1939, 33% of workforce is constituted by
women, Lebensborn/racial purity
- Culture: burning of the books May 1933, Reich Chamber of Culture
established in 1933 = anti-semitisim, militarism and glorification of war,
nationalism, cult of the Fuhrer, anti-modernism, blood and soil ideology
- 15, 000 homosexuals imprisoned
J. R. C. Wright Churches were severely handicapped but not destroyed
Education and Youth: Education is dangerous Every educated person is
a future enemy (Adolf Hitler),
Gisela Bock views Nazism as secondary racism to women