‘By 1943, Mussolini had created a totalitarian regime in Italy’. Explain why you agree or disagree with this view. (24 marks).
Most historians have suggested that Mussolini had not created a totalitarian regime in Italy by 1943 due to the fact that Fascism remained a secondary belief for the majority of Italy, superseded by religion.
However Mussolini did achieve a totalitarian state in some respects. For example, his use of propaganda was successful in propagating the idea of the ‘Cult of the Duce’, a campaign with the aim of almost deifying Mussolini and giving him abnormal qualities, such as always being right, being able to do anything, and having endless physical strength. Posters and photographs with Mussolini, frequently shirtless, were plastered everywhere, his speeches were played on the radio and his brilliance was ingrained into school children due to the propaganda. This was important as it meant that in the eyes of the Italian citizens, Mussolini was the best man to lead the country and so, as a result, they supported him fully and this rendered all opposition inferior, and this consolidated Mussolini’s position. Through the use of propaganda, Mussolini successfully entrenched his superiority in the minds of Italians, skilfully creating a totalitarian state by making himself the only leader that the people would want.
Another respect in which Mussolini achieved a totalitarian state was in Economic policy. To unify the nation and to put his ideology into practice, Mussolini launched a series of economic ‘battles, as part of a drive to transform Italian society and they were also exercises in State propaganda, trying to maximise popular support for the regime. The Battle for Grain commenced in 1925 with the aim of ‘liberating Italy from the slavery of foreign bread’. The Italian Government set high-tariffs on foreign imports, and the Government also gave grants to farmers for investment in machinery fertilisers. The battle improved wheat...
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