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Nazi Germany - Fascist Italy

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Autor:  anton  11 November 2010
Tags:  Germany,  Fascist
Words: 1505   |   Pages: 7
Views: 1120

During a world economic crisis, two similar totalitarian regimes were able to emerge in Germany and Italy. The fascist party was led by Benito Mussolini in Italy, while the National socialists were led by Adolf Hitler in Germany. The education played a key role in these two nations, as since the future of Italy and Germany was in the schools. The public image of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini were key factors in the popularity of the two leaders. Propaganda was an essential tool in both countries because it allowed for the political parties to sway the viewpoints of the public to their liking. These two natural allies, Italy and Germany, however very diverse from each other, can be equated in many respects.

Largo ai giovani, Italian for "make way for the young" was one of many mottos used by Mussolini's regime. This saying highlights an extremely vital aspect of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, the education system. One of the main, if not key purposes in the education system was the creating of future soldiers. Another chief element in the education system was the existence of after school youth movements. Another interesting aspect was the role females served in the education system under both dictatorships. The education systems in Hitler's Germany and Mussolini's Italy were both very similar.

The main priority in the education system of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany was the creation of future soldiers. In Italy, boys were told that, "War is to the male what childbearing is to the female." The boys were stressed that fighting was as natural to the male as giving birth to the female. In Germany, the Nazis had modified the science curriculum to include the study of the principles of shooting, military aviation science, bridge building and the impact of poisonous gasses. (History) In both nations, physical training was a major part of school. If students did not pass these tests, they would be expelled from the school. Those with outstanding physical fitness were placed into special schools where they were to become high-ranking military officers or members of the SS. According to Hitler, "a young German must be as swift as a greyhound, as tough as leather, and as hard as Krupp's steel."

Another important component of the education system was the after school youth movements which students participated in. In Italy, there existed the Opera Nazionale Balilla (ONB). The goal of the ONB was to create "Fascist soldiers who would be conservators of national values and to secure military garrison of the new Italy." In the ONB, boys participated in many military exercises such as marching and using imitation guns. Benefits were included in the ONB; members were promised a head start in their careers and special treatment in their military services. In Germany, students were part of the Hitler-Youth. The task of the Hitler-Youth was to prepare boys for military service. In this program, some of the exercises boys participated in were marching, bayonet drills, grenade throwing, trench digging, map reading, gas defense, use of dugouts, how to get under barbed wire, and pistol shooting. (History) These youth movements were important parts of the education system and society as a whole.

An interesting ingredient of the education system in these two regimes is the role females played. The main objective of teaching girls was to produce ideal mothers. In Italy, activities for girls consisted of courses in first aid, exercises, games, competitions, trips, and lectures on fascism. (History) In Germany, the girl's curriculum included domestic science and eugenics. In domestic science girls were taught how to become the perfect mother and wife, while in eugenics they were taught how to find the perfect husband. (History) Girls even had their own section in the Hitler Youth, where they were prepared for motherhood. In both countries, girls were taught to bear as many children as possible. The role females played in the education system of these two nations are solely for producing the epitome of the perfect mother.

One thing every great leader must have is a strong public image. Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini are no exceptions. Hitler stressed his public image as an almost divine superman. Likewise, Mussolini stressed his public image as an aggressive macho man. Both of these figures placed strong emphasis on their public image.

Adolf Hitler paid excessive attention to maintaining his ideal public image. Hitler always kept select posture and style during his public engagements. He never allowed the public to see any human faults, such as wearing glasses. His celibacy was portrayed as the sacrifice of personal happiness for the welfare of the nation. It also stressed his bachelor status which was used to favor his popularity with the female population. This bachelor image was again stressed by that fact that he was never seen in public with his long time girlfriend Eva Braun. Pictures of Hitler constantly portrayed him as aloof, proud, sexless, distant, and almost divine. (Pollard) At the time, Hitler, with the aid of propaganda, was successful in creating his ideal public image.

As well, Benito Mussolini spent extensive time in building his public image. However, his image slightly differed from the Nazi leader. Mussolini's public image showed him as an aggressive, even macho man. Many of the photos or posters depicting Mussolini show him in extraordinary, theatrical, natural poses. These pictures and posters show Mussolini in many different ways. He could be the Renaissance man, military man, the family man and even the common man. (Pollard) Mussolini's public image was successful and was the cause of his popularity in Italy at the time.

"The essence of propaganda consists in winning people over to an idea so sincerely, so vitally, that in the end they succumb to it utterly and can never escape from it." The above quote by Germany's Minster of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, describes a key building block in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, propaganda. In the schools, where the most easily influenced were found, propaganda strived. In Germany, existed the Reich Chamber of Commerce, where everything published had to be approved by a Nazi official. In addition, films were used as one of the strongest forms of propaganda. Both dictatorships used the power of propaganda to sway public opinion in their party's favor.

Propaganda heavily influenced the education system in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Textbooks were rewritten to include fascist and Nazi propaganda. In Italy, students were taught that the great days of modern Italy started in 1922 with the March on Rome and that Mussolini was the only man that could lead Italy back to greatness. In Germany, students were taught that the German defeat in 1918 was explained as the work of Jewish and Marxist spies who had weakened the system from within; the Treaty of Versailles was the work of nations jealous of Germany's might and power; and that the hyperinflation of 1923 was the work of Jewish saboteurs. (History) Biology was used to show the Nazi's viewpoint on racial superiority and history was used to glorify Germany. The use of propaganda in the schools was successful in that it created a nation loyal to its political party.

In Germany, the Reich Chamber of Commerce was established as a Propaganda tool to monitor everything published. In order to publish anything, one had to become a member of the Reich Chamber. In order to become a member, one had to be approved by the Nazi Party. Because of this system, the Nazis had a strong form of censorship. This insured that nothing damaging to the Nazi party could be published, therefore opposition would be minimal. This propaganda tool was extremely successful for Nazi Germany in that everything the public could see came from the Nazi party.

One of the strongest forms of Propaganda in Nazi Germany was the film industry. All films released were controlled by the Nazi Party. Propaganda films centered on many issues, including the Jews, the greatness of Hitler, and the way of life for a true Nazi. Influential propaganda films helped sway public opinion in favor of the Nazis, but also against other political parties. One such film is "Hitlerjunge Quex" which told the story of a boy brought up in a communist family in Germany who broke away from this background, joined the Hitler Youth and was murdered by the Communists in Germany for doing so. Other propaganda films include "The Eternal Jew" which slandered the Jewish population. (History) The use of propaganda films was exceedingly triumphant in that they heavily influenced the public's opinion on many issues.

There is a definite comparison in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. The education system serves its role in both countries as producing soldiers for the males and mothers for the females. The public image of the leaders of these two nations played a vital role in their popularity among the people. Propaganda allowed for the Nazi and Fascist parties to maintain power and popularity and also persuade the public to their liking. Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy are two comparable totalitarian regimes.

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