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Compare And Contrast The Domestic Policies Of Hitler And Mussolini

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Category: History Other

Autor: anton 28 November 2010

Words: 1471 | Pages: 6

Fundamentally, both Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler had the same burning desire to each make their nation a respected and economically impregnable Great Power. Mussolini wanted to return Italy to its glory days of the ancient Roman Empire, a domestic policy amongst others which was used as propaganda and to ultimately consolidate his power. A strong economy and a united state were vital for both countries in case of the outbreak of yet another catastrophic war. "Everything in the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state", stated Mussolini in need of desperate backup at home. Post WWI left both Germany and Italy with grave problems economically, which further repelled into social problems such as high unemployment and inflation, crucial issues which had to be dealt with domestically. In addition to this, Hitler wanted to implement his ideological aims which included German rearmament, racial purity and the consolidation of his power which were reflected in his domestic policies. This essay will compare the similarities and differences of the domestic policies of both Hitler and Mussolini, and state to what extent one leader was more successful than the other in achieving his policy.

To begin with, in economic terms both Hitler and Mussolini had a domestic policy of being autarkies. This meant that they limited trade with external nations and tried to rely on their own resources to achieve self-sufficient industries. Mussolini was aware of the fact that Italy was largely dependent on other countries to survive, and taking into consideration the fact that his main economic partners were Italy's neighbouring countries; Italy would have to become mainly self-sufficient in order to expand and rid of the barrier which they could impose on her. Grain imports fell by 75% between 1925 and 1935 as a result of Mussolini's plan called the "Battle for Grain". This policy encouraged farmers to expand their fields and increase their harvest, and aim for a much higher rate of production. Farmers received financial support and were honoured by the В‘Duce' when they achieved the states set-expectations. However, both Germany and Italy never actually succeeded in becoming completely self-sufficient. This domestic policy did manage to successfully increase Italian food production by 70% (average harvest rose from 5.5 million tonnes per year to 7 million.), although this was still not enough. In contrast, Germany did not reach its desired levels of oil and rubber production, as a result he still needed to import a third of the raw materials in 1939. Similarly both nations failed to achieve a state of autarky.

Mussolini rose to power in 1922 at the beginning of a boom, at the time Italy was exporting abroad goods such as cars and textiles, however by 1927 this was coming to an end. In 1927, to the difference of Hitler В‘Il Duce' introduced a policy called the "Battle for the Lira", whereby a revaluation of the Italian currency took place. The value of the Lira dropped dramatically back to the level it was at in 1922. The value of the lira to the pound dropped from 150 to 90. Heavy industries benefited such as armament and ship building industries, as they could import large supplies of cheap tariff-free raw materials. On the other hand, export industries suffered greatly as they were now more expensive to foreign industries, and were almost twice as expensive. On the other hand, between 1933-36 Hitler chose to increase government expenditure by 70%, resulting in a 60% increase in industrial production. Hjalmar Schact, the Economic Minister during this period aimed at setting low level interest rates. Unlike Mussolini's Italy, Germany signed bilateral trade agreements with countries in south east Europe and South America to promote trade and to bring in more money to Germany, thus limiting its status as an autarky. Both dictators controlled imports, making it so that national goods were bought by the people instead of foreign ones. Overall, Mussolini's policies failed to make any significant changes and managed to do more bad than good to the economy, and as a result of the worsening situation in 1936 the Italian government was forced to devalue the lira. Hitler's economic policies succeeded in stimulating demand and raising the national income. This claim is supported by the GNP figures between 1933-36, which rose by 40%.

In terms of women, both Mussolini and Hitler had similar policies. Firstly, contraception was banned in both countries. Mussolini tried to succeed in winning the "Battle for Births" on the home front using various methods. Young Italian men and women were encouraged to conceive marriage quickly and to procreate as many children as possible, similarly in Germany. В‘Il Duce' believed that a country's economic strength was directly linked to the size of its population. Furthermore, he wished to create a huge army in order to successfully carry out his plans of conquering areas such as Northern Africa, the Balkans and parts of Europe. In terms of males, Germany also had a shortage at the time due to the millions killed during WWI, so this was also something which concerned Hitler. In both countries, the system involved honouring mothers who conceived different numbers of children (12 was the ideal in Italy) with financial rewards and various levels of medals. This policy was fairly popular amongst Italian families and consequently led to a slight increase in the birth rate. In Germany the response was at a larger scale, Hitler's В‘Encouragement of Marriage" Law saw 800,000 newly wed women drop out of the work force with immediate effects after his rise to power in 1933. Clearly, Hitler with his 1000 marks loan for all newly weds was more successful than Mussolini's policy. In 1933, a quota was introduced to the Italian public sector which limited women to 10% of the industrial workforce, but this failed as females still made up of 33% in 1936, a fall of only 3%. Mussolini had lost this battle as the rate of marriage remained unchanged, and the target of 60 million Italians set was under-achieved as there were only 47.5 million at the end. In Germany, 80% of female doctors and civil servants were sacked, followed by female teachers and lawyers. Hitler publicly denied that women were inferior to men, and the slogan "Children, kitchen and church", the three things women were to devote themselves to was highly successful.

The youth were a crucial part of the domestic policies of both dictators. A loyal youth could be easily manipulated and would preserve fascism, according to Mussolini. Hitler's ambitious aim of world domination required controlling the minds of the youth if he was to fight a war. In both coutries, schools were predominant places where the youth could be controlled. In Italy, the cult of personality was heavily promoted and teachers had to stress Mussolini's greatness. Furthermore, in Nazi Germany the Education Ministry gave В‘Education and Instruction" manuals to teachers train the children that "the state is more important than the individual" and that they should be "willing and ready to sacrifice themselves for the Nation and the Fuhrer". German teachers were made to join the National Socialist Teachers League, where strict Nazi dialouge courses were a prerequisite for all. In comparison, Italian teachers had to swear an oath of loyalty to the state in 1929. Curriculums were changed in both nations, stressing History and National literature. In Nazi Germany, 1,200 university teachers were sacked in 1933 for racial and political reasons. Another important area where both leaders controlled the youth were through Youth Oraganisations. In 1936, it was compulsory

to join the В‘Hitler Youth' for example, if you were aged between 14-18. Many other clubs existed varying from age and sex, however they all aimed at improving obedience, fitness, idolising Hitler, self-sacrifice and racial purity. In Italy, the В‘Opera Nazionale Balilla' was also compulsory at all state schools. All the youth organisations stressed similar points and activities, ultimately leading to the creation of future soldiers and hard working housewives.

Both dictators disliked religion, but knew that they needed the Churches support in order to gain popular support at home and abroad. As Hitler revealed, "One is either a Christian or a German. You can't be both". Both of them had to make concessions. Mussolini restored Religious Education in schools and increased the wages of priests. In 1929, the Lateran Agreement ended the conflict between the Italian state and the Catholic Church. The Pope recognised the Italian state and its possession of Rome and old Papal States. In return, the State recognised the Pope's sovereignty over the Vatican City. However, this accord did not last, due to the fact that in 1931 Mussolini tried to suppress

the "Catholic Action" a Church sponsored group. Furthermore, by 1938 Mussolini had adopted anti-semetic ideas from Hitler, which resulted in criticism from Pope Pius XI.

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