Throughout his time in power, Mussolini implemented new social and economic policies which varied in their success. Socially, his policies such as controlling workers worked in the short run as Dopolavoro numbers were high, however in the long run they were a failure, due to the lack of loyalty workers showed to Mussolini during his fall from power after world war one. Mussolini’s ‘Battles’ were the least successful aspect of his policies, with his youth policies also limiting success.
Nevertheless his social policy of propaganda through the media enabled him to depict these failures as success to a large degree, heightening the overall success of social policies. In addition to this Mussolini did achieve both economic and social success with his transport policies, achieving his aims, however overall there were limitations to success. The area in which Mussolini’s policies had the most limited success was his ‘Battle For Births’, ‘Battle For The Lira’ and ‘Battle For Grain’.
The aim of the 1927 Battle For Births was to increase the population to 60 million by 1950 with an ideal of 12 babies per family. Multiple incentives were put in place including married men with 6 plus kids were exempt from taxes, improved healthcare for women and in the 1930s, only opening promotion in the civil service to the fertile married men. Nevertheless this policy was a complete failure as until 1936 the birth rate declined and only rose slightly after, the rate of marriage remained unchanged and most importantly by 1950 the population had only increased by 7. million to 47. 5 million. Although not as unsuccessful as the Battle For Births, Mussolini’s 1927 Battle For Lira did have limited success. This is due to the fact the new rate of 90 lira to the pound resulted in high export prices causing export industries into depression, and due to tariffs on foreign imports, import prices did not become cheaper. As a result of this between 1926 and 1928 unemployment trebled, a significant economic failure. Nevertheless this policy did have some success from a social aspect.
Mussolini’s prestige with foreign bankers and the Italian public increased which is why the Battle For the Lira was not as unsuccessful as the Battle for Births despite its limited success. Although it still had limited success, the extent of both social and economic success for the 1925 Battle For Grain was greater than the Battle for Births and the Battle For The Lira. The aim of the Battle for Grain was to increase grain production to make Italy more self-sufficient.
Through the method of grants to farmers, advice on the latest farming techniques and farmers being guaranteed a high price for grain produced, the harvest rose from 5. 5 million tonnes to over 7 million tonnes 10 years later achieving the aim of increased grain production but it did not make Italy self sufficient. This was an economic success as grain import declined by 75% during 1925 and 1925 supporting domestic industries, as well as being a social success due to the positive propaganda he received from it.
However its success was limited as the conditions for producing grain was not ideal, therefore the farming of grain was not as productive as the farming of traditional exports such as oranges, which overall minimises the success of the Battle For Grain on the economy as exports of traditional harvests fell. It is therefore clear that Mussolini’s battles, although had some success, the success was limited due to the negative effects on the economy of the Battle for Grain and the Battle for the Lira, and also the failure of the Battle for Births to achieve its objectives, which was a social failure.
Not us unsuccessful as the Battles, Mussolini’s social policy of controlling the youth and education agrees with the statement that “Mussolini’s economic and social policies only had limited success”. Mussolini achieved success in that he promoted his cult of personality he created official texts and he created in theory a loyal group of teachers to to the 1929 oath of loyalty. Nevertheless it was not a success in reality, this is because teachers were forced to take an oath of loyalty and due to the fact that after his fall from power, they did not remain loyal it is clear that this was a failure.
In addition to this his aim of creating a loyal youth was not successful as firstly after his fall from power the youths did not remain loyal, in fact some contributed to his fall and secondly and most importantly his educational policies to create loyalty did not cover all the youths of Italy. This is because children often left school at 11 so Mussolini only had a limited number of years to indoctrinate.
In addition to this children spent more time at home than at school and would be more influenced by their parents views and lastly Mussolini’s control of education (and therefore social control of the youths) did not cover catholic or private schools. For the same reasons the ONB youth movement was limited in success as membership was compulsory at state schools, but as not all Italians went to state schools it could never fully indoctrinate the entire youth of Italy and therefore he could not be successful in creating a loyal youth.
It is therefore clear that Mussolini’s aim to create a generation of warlike loyal soldiers, through youth indoctrination was not a successful social policy which agrees with the view that Mussolini’s social policies only had limited success. Although Mussolini’s policy of controlling workers had short term success, resulting in a more successful policy than his battles and his youth policy, in the long term it was a failure as the workers did not retain their loyalty to him as was his aim. Resulting in the policy of controlling workers having limited success, more so than his policies of controlling media and his transport policies.
Mussolini aimed to control workers outside of work to create loyal Italians in all aspects of society. His method of doing this was the creation of the Dopolavoro in 1925. This did have success as by the 1930s he controlled all soccer clubs, 1350 theatres, 2000 drama societies and more. Every town and village had a Dopolavoro clubhouse and by 1939 he had 4 million members. However although there was success in that Italians were going to the Dopolavoro after work which Mussolini controlled, the success was limited as it did not increase loyalty to Mussolini.
This is because members only paid lip service to fascist ideas and there was an emphasis on having a good time, not on propaganda. Therefore this limited success meant that his aim of creating loyal Italians was not achieved by this policy. In addition to this Mussolini’s social policies of the ‘the salute’, his aim to stop women wearing trousers and the changing of voi to lei were failures, supports the statement that Mussolini’s social policies had limited success. People did not participate in these new social policies as they saw them as petty and interfering.
Therefore, by implementing them ordinary people lost support for the regime and Mussolini which highlights the lack of success this policy had in creating loyal fascists. It is therefore clear to see that there was some success in that Dopolavoro membership was high and it controlled many social areas of society, making it a more successful policy that the battles. But, overall the policies success was extremely limited as all his policies to create loyal Italians who were controlled outside of the workforce were a failure as this did not happen, highlighted by the clear lack of loyalty during Mussolini’s fall to power.
Mussolini’s policy of controlling media was successful in that he had full control and used it as a powerful, successful propaganda machine which for many years created and sustained support for the Fascist regime. The use of propaganda through the media enabled Mussolini to create an image of himself as an invincible, hardworking god-like figure. He managed to turn the economic failure of the Battle For Grain into a propaganda success by only printing positives and publishing pictures of himself helping out.
In addition to this he was pictured helping to drain the pontine marshes to aid Italian success, which to both through the foreign press and domestically increases his support which leads to this policy having social success. In addition to this social success is increased when one considers the fact that no alternative ideas to his rule or propaganda not controlled by Mussolini could be printed, therefore there was no social unrest due to emerging political rivalries who had gained support through propaganda.
Mussolini’s success of propaganda through his control of media was therefore a successful social policy, more so than his policies to control workers and battles which had limited success. Therefore in the case of propaganda as a social policy, it does not agree with the statement that ‘Mussolini’s social policies only had limited success’ as it was an incredibly successful aspect of Mussolini’s rule. Nevertheless it is not the most successful policy as it is only a social success, whereas Mussolini’s transport policies were economic and social success and were far more long lasting (far past Mussolini’s fall from power).
Mussolini implemented transport policies which included the construction of bridges, canals and major road systems. These have been a long term economic success due to the fact that it has enabled the North South divide to decrease. In addition to this the transportation of goods is far easier enabling increased access to foreign trade which, although was not a success due to Mussolini’s autarky policy, in the long term has been a success in Italy. The decrease in the North South divide which has come about due to he increased infrastructure has been a social success. Therefore it is clear that this policy created long term economic and social success which weakens the statement that “Mussolini’s economic and social policies only had limited success. ” In conclusion, Mussolini’s economic and social policies did have limited success. This is due to the failures of the battles, his inability to create a loyal workforce and his inability to fully control the youth.
Nevertheless it is not true to say that they only had limited success as there were some successful aspects to his policies such as the social and economic success of transport policies, which are still in place today and his social success of creating powerful propaganda through his control of the media. Therefore the statement “Mussolini’s economic and social policies only had limited success” is not valid as he did have success in some policies, albeit with a higher degree of failures in others.