How far do you agree that from 1924, Mussolini and his Fascists were in total control of the Italian state? It seemed that from 1926 Mussolini was the undisputed dictator of Italy. One of the tools used to gain admiration and support from Italians was the mass of propaganda. One way which Mussolini did not seem to conform to as much as the likes of Adolf Hitler was to use threats, although it was understood that any outright opposition would be dealt with forcefully. One of the ways Mussolini was able to gain total control was the destruction of democracy in 1924 and 1925.
Rival olitical parties were banned which meant no public opposition to the Fascists; the Italians were not really given a choice on who they were allowed to support. Mussolini also enforced press censorship. This was very influential in gaining support as it meant that the people of Italy were only to here the view of Mussolini himself and therefore they were likely to be influenced greatly. There will have been no rival party that could have contradicted him. The influence of Mussolini was also increased by the dissolution of trade unions.
The workers no longer had any power and this could also be used to prevent any potential strike. One method Mussolini used in order to gain total control was the use of propaganda. This was used profusely in order to indoctrinate the Italian people. By filling the minds of the Italians with Fascist view Mussolini was able to gain loyalty through newspapers and constant radio broadcasts which were only allowed to praise Mussolini. The propaganda was such a major part as it was so extreme that all Italians found it extremely difficult to shelter themselves from it.
II Duce was intent on portraying an image of supremacy which led to great admiration and his position was strengthened. Indoctrination was a very significant attribute into gaining support from the Italian people and was also used widely throughout education in order to gain support for Fascism from the future generation. One other way which contributed to gaining total control was the personal power of Mussolini himself. Mussolini was able to reduce the role of parliament once he became Prime Minister.
He took immediate action once elected to rule by decree for 12 months which meant officially that he could create laws without consulting parliament. He was able to achieve the support for this movement by a speech made which stressed the trength of Fascism but also reassured MPs that this action was not simply a ploy to overthrow the state. Mussolini’s had the skills to control throughout his speeches which was a very significant trait which was one of the ways he was able to further his control.
Although it could be said that in comparison to likes of similar dictators such as Hitler he did not have as great a control as he could have had. For instance Hitler had greater success due to numerous contributing factors. One of them being that he had the Gestapo, he was able to use these to intimidate Germans into supporting the Nazi view. Another reason is Hitler placed most of his political opponents in concentration camps, this built up fear which caused there to be much less open opposition.
Hitler was also more involved in controlling the workplace and indoctrinating students which Mussolini also attempted but do not take it to the level of Hitler by setting up compulsory groups such as ‘The Hitler Youth’. It also seemed that the Italians did not trust the government. Many Catholics were unhappy with the treatment of the Pope and therefore Mussolini had to change many of his views in order to coincide with that of the church. Mussolini also had to sign a concordat will llowed to church to remain independent and keep Catholic schools.
This already shows that Mussolini did not have complete control as he had to make sure the Catholics were happy. Mussolini’s attempt to have total control over trade unions was also seemingly unsuccessful due to the likes of Confindustria who disliked all trade unions and was intent on businessmen having complete control of their industries. Rossoni was the head of the fascist trade union and was opposed by The Ministry of Corporations headed by Giuseppe. He distrusted Rossoni and believed that the Fascists should not get involved with workers and their businesses.
Mussolini decided to give in the likes of Confindustria and Giuseppe but instead of having complete control of their own industry which is how they had pictured it what they did not realise is that they would not be allowed to choose their own corporation representatives who were to be members of the Fascist party. In conclusion I believe that the Fascist party had a great deal of control over the Italian people. They used significant methods in order to keep the control such as propaganda, indoctrination, instilling fear into potential opposition and Mussolini himself had the ability to gain upport through his great leadership.
Although I do not think it is possible to say that they had complete control when the church was such a big influence to the Italian people. The Pope was to many was seen as the ruler due to the entire country being raised in a Catholic society. The church remained in control by insisting that they remained independent and keeping Catholic schools which were certainly to Mussolini’s dislike. Although I think Mussolini was an influential fgure I believe that if the church had rose against him or vice versa that the Italian people would have overall remained loyal to the Pope.