Benito Mussolini Research Paper

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The various events of 1922, which led to the ousting of the former liberal government, introduced a young politician by the name of Benito Mussolini. Mussolini, a previous supporter of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI), entered the political stage following a new political ideology, which he called Fascism. Fascism is a political philosophy or regime that promotes nation and race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition. To properly evaluate the extent in which Fascist Italy under Mussolini was a successful totalitarian state, it is important to understand the ideals of what makes a state totalitarian…show more content…
Mussolini was initially fortunate because in the early years of Fascism the economy improved for a variety of reasons including: adoption of previous policies because they were successful, adoption of liberal policies of laissez-faire and less government interventions. Ideally Mussolini’s early economic policy was not totalitarian, or even fascist, however it paved the way for his new economic policies that were to come. As the regime became more established, Mussolini wanted to demonstrate the prestige both the government of Italy, and of Italy in the world. Mussolini introduced the idea of Italy becoming an autarky (self-sufficient) to fulfill his desire to show Italy’s prominence in the world and to gain almost complete control over the country’s economy. An early example of Mussolini shifting to this economic policy can been seen in the 1925 Battle for Grain. The aim was to boost cereal production in order to make Italy self-sufficient in grain so they could be less dependent on imports when war inevitably came. Although cereal production increased and wheat imports decreased by 75%, as historian D. Mack Smith explains, “success in this battle was… another illusory propaganda victory won at the expense of the Italian economy in general and consumers in particular.” Smith demonstrates that although Italy became virtually self-sufficient in grain, it still depended largely on imports for other basic needs, and other agricultural farmers suffered. With autarky yielding limited economic growth, Mussolini introduced his next economic plan – the Corporate State. The Corporate

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