How successful were Mussolini's domestic policies up to 1940?
Published: March 19, 2017
The policies that Mussolini brought were initially successful but even before the Second World War the Fascism was not solved the main problems.
- Industries were given subsidies which resulted in the doubling of the production of iron and steel by 1930, artificial silk production rose by 10 times and by 1937 hydroelectricity production doubled. But there were shortages of raw material and Italy was unable to become self-sufficient in coal, iron and steel and became dependent on Germany to fulfil the demands of raw material for the war.
- The revaluation of Lira, Italian currency by reducing its value against Pound Sterling had mixed results. Some industries benefitted like chemical as it reduced the import costs but some industries suffered losses.
- The Battle for Wheat, in this he encouraged the farmers to increase the production of wheat. Though by 1935, wheat imports were reduced by 75% and was on the verge of self sufficiency. But this increase in production of wheat was achieved at the cost of dairy and arable farming.
- The Battle for Births, this was launched in 1927 with the aim to increase the population of 40 million to 60 million by 1950 by doubling the birth rate. Tax was imposed on unmarried men, tax waivers and job offers were given to the members of large family. This was not very attractive to young married couples and the attempt of Mussolini failed.
- A land reclamation programme was launched in 1928 in which activites such as draining of marshes, planting of forest in mountainous areas and irrigation was started. It was successful in reclaiming Pontine marches near Rome.
Further, public works programme thrived in Mussolini’s time. The electrification of railway lines, building roads, bridges, schools etc. increased the employment. The lack of welfare schemes and insurance schemes made the impact of Great Depression worse for Italy.