Mussolini’s Domestic Policies 1919-1939
Mussolini’s domestic policies can be classified as political, economic and social. Following the “March on Rome” in October 1922 he took over as prime minister without full control, as the coalition government only contained 35 Fascists. This forced him to seek cooperation and use moderation. He formed a government that would satisfy most people with only two of seven parliament members being Fascists. In an early speech, he threatened to disband the government if they did not cooperate. They caved in and gave him full power. An early economic policy with heavy social overtones was his “Trains on Time” policy.
Formed in 1923 was the Fascist Grand Council, the ruling body headed by Mussolini. Its members were appointed by Mussolini and it controlled all decisions for the country, making the true government inactive and meaningless. He replaced all police, who arrested all political opposition. The 1923 elections saw the fascists rigging elections and taking over control of the government. He gave himself the power to pass laws without the vote of the parliament. He played to the emotions of the Italian people using the idea of Unification of the once great Empire that was Rome. This could be called political and social policy.
The Mussolini Machine rolled into Italian schools with propaganda for the fascist regime to brainwash the young with. This domestic social policy tried to start the young Italians off with favorable reaction to Mussolini’s policies.
The War on Wheat in 1925 tried to get farmers to raise more grain per acre and get Italy self-sufficient. It did help domestic wheat farming, but at the same time it hurt other types of farming such as dairy, so this domestic economic policy was a mixed bag.
Relations with the Papacy were soothed greatly with the 1929 Lateran Treaty, which delineated the relationship between Italy and the seat of the Catholic Church in Vatican City. This domestic economic, political and social policy would have lasting effects on the relations between the two political entities.