Between the years of 1922 and 1940 Benito Mussolini managed to gain control of state, and become one of the most popular leaders of Italian history. In order to accomplish his goals Mussolini adopted various methods, in particular his domestic policies, social, economical and political. His social policies were used to gain the support of the masses and therefore strengthen his rule.
In this aspect Mussolini accomplished astonishing success being able to rally the support of even the most doubtful Italians and of groups who’s last thought was to joining the fascist movement e. g. the church. Of course behind this success there is a catch, he accomplished his success through promises of unification of the country and the hope to become a self-sufficient in the future, an autarky. In order to achieve this he went into a series of attainments, which we refer as the “battles”.
To begin with Mussolini decided to start a program of mass production of grain in order to “free” Italy from foreign grain imports, the battle of grain; as cause of this Italy’s production of grain rose but whilst farmers concentrated on grain other necessary weeds and meats were forgotten and decreased in production so as the imports of grain fell the imports of other supplementary goods rose especially goods like fertilizers. Therefore Italy never became an autarky. The next battle that Mussolini began is known as the battle of the lira.
Mussolini decided revaluate the lira, the Italian currency, in order to fight the inflation and in 1927 he set the lira at 90 to a pound which was the value in 1922. This created a devastating effect for the Italian economy who’s exports decreased drastically and export based industries such as the textile suffered deeply from this revaluation the only industries that benefited from it were import based industries such as the steel industry who need cheap raw materials and could now import them from other countries.
This battle was not in every aspect anti-beneficial; Mussolini’s bold move increased his prestige both with foreign bankers and with Italian republic. Moreover, Mussolini’s last policy was more successful then others. Il Duce introduced for the first time in officially in history “corporate states”. Corporate state was a revolutionary method of ruining an economy, the economy was to be ran by the government but still owned by privates. It combined the best of free market capitalism and of the centrally planned economies common in socialism.
This structure allowed battle of grain to be to some extent successful. Mussolini’s policies are not be seen as complete failures as in the overall picture they created some growth despite the world depression; even if Italy never achieved autarky due to the fact that in order to do so it would have needed a better distribution between industry and agriculture the fact that during the great depression Italy was mainly an agricultural state allowed Italy to absorb the stock marked crash. So even if some of the Mussolini’s policies failed his overall plan brought about growth.
Mussolini’s foreign policy was strongly affect by Mussolini’s idea that Italy should to raise up to its old glory, by this it is meant to raise up to become the new Rome. At the beginning of his rule Mussolini wasn’t completely pro-imperialist but throughout his regime he switched his views to embody the idea of a New Roman Empire, his views included power over Mediterranean sea, an Italian influence over the Balkans and expansions of colonial territories. This aims when achieved would have shown to the world the power that Italy had been in the past and still was.
So in general Mussolini wanted Italy to achieve a higher status of power. Yet until the 1930’s these planes lacked in detail and Mussolini had no clear idea of how to achieve these aim or to what extent. Yet even he did have an idea of how to, Mussolini knew that a key component to achieve his aim were relation with the great powers such as great Britain, France and Germany. Especially after the event of the occupation Corfu, Mussolini realized that in order to colonize or occupy these smaller states the support of the great powers was a necessity.
Especially of the two dominate powers in 1920’s France and Britain, Mussolini laid low when it came to clashing with their interest which he knew laid in western Europe, so when it came to these situations Mussolini preferred playing the part of a moderate statesman, he stipulated many agreements and treaties with these countries such Locarno agreement in 1925 which enhanced his prestige as a major European statesman yet he cared little about the treaty, in fact he didn’t even read the final draft of it.
But after all these attentions to not upset the great power by the end of the 1920’s and the begging of the 30’s Mussolini’s ambition grew and they grew exponentially; Mussolini swat new allies with strong armed force and in 1927 signed a treaty with Hungary and looked toward Germany in the hope of a ew fascist government arising in there and in order to please Germany he went so far as to breach the treaty of Versailles, Italo-german relations continued until and to end of World war II, in 1937 the relations between Italy and Germany were strengthen when Italy joined Germany and Japan in the anti-comintern pact, a declaration that the three countries would work together.
So by 1940 Mussolini could claim successes and extraordinary ones compared to what thought possible of Italy in the early 1920’s, he could claim the increasing colonial power in Africa, the seizure of Albania and the successes in the Abyssinia war, the respect that great powers now had for Italy and many more achievements.
But Mussolini had set the bar to high to achieve all the aim of Mussolini’s foreign policy Italy would have had to be a completely different state with a more modernize army and an advance industrialized economy geared for war. In conclusion, Despite his successes to increase his prestige among Italians through his achievement in 1945 on April 28 Mussolini is executed in the middle of piazza Loreto.