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Compare And Contrast The Domestic Policies Of Hitler And Mussolini

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Autor:   •  November 28, 2010  •  1,471 Words (6 Pages)  •  5,041 Views

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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 Ð''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 Ð''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. Ð''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


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