ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Benito Mussolini: Italian Fascist, His Racial Laws, and Ultimate Downfall Part 3: Economic Stimulus

Updated on October 20, 2009

Introduction and Recap of Parts 1 and 2

In parts 1 and 2  of this  hub series on Benito Mussolini, we discussed his early life and family of origin, education, introduction into socialism, life as journalist, and subsequent move to create the Italian Fascist Party.  In this part 3, we look at why the Italian people embraced Mussolini ans the Fascist Party.  Its simple really: desperate economic times, a highly charismatic leader promising to save the day, and a few good plans that ultimately go wrong. Sound like a story you've heard before? Read on...

Lazo Region of Italian West Coast

While Grain production never became what Mussolini had hoped, the area is known for the cultivation of wine grapes, fruit, vegetables and olives.
While Grain production never became what Mussolini had hoped, the area is known for the cultivation of wine grapes, fruit, vegetables and olives.

Economic Policies under Mussolini and the Italian Fascists

Mussolini launched several public construction programs and government initiatives throughout Italy to combat economic setbacks and high unemployment. He began with He initiated the “Battle of the Land“ and the "Battle for Grain", in which 5,000 new farms were established and five new agricultural towns on land reclaimed by draining the Pontine Marshes in in the Lazio Region of Central Italy, southeast of Rome. His plan diverted valuable resources to grain production, away from other less economically viable crops. His project was designed to not only provide jobs, and low income housing, it was designed to make Italy self-sufficient with out the need for imported foodstuffs.

Mussolini was actually quite innovative in his approach, and this type of land reclamation, known as the Green Movement, was replicated in several countries. Mexico began a similar project in 1945. With in eleven years, Mexico went from importing over half of its grains to being self-sufficient and a few years later began large exports as well. Unfortunately, Mussolini’s plan did not faire so well.

The Pontine Marshes were drained and utilized for a variety of crops including wine grapes, olives, fruits and vegetables.  These farms did provide jobs during their establishment, and provided food supplies, but, the grain production never took off. Large corporate farms controlled almost all of the production, leaving the small farmers in the the same situation as before the initiative. 

In Sardinia, a model agricultural town was founded and named Mussolinia.  It has since been renamed as Arborea. This town was the first of what Mussolini hoped would have been thousands of new agricultural settlements across the country.

Mussolinia became Arborea after WWII

Sardinia lies off the Western coast of Italy. Arborea is in the area known as the province of Oristano, on the Southwestern coast.
Sardinia lies off the Western coast of Italy. Arborea is in the area known as the province of Oristano, on the Southwestern coast.
By draining a large salted pool, about 3000 hectares of land was reclaimed for livestock and agricultural use.  Today the landscape comprises rows of cultivated fields, bordered by trees, modern stables and canals.
By draining a large salted pool, about 3000 hectares of land was reclaimed for livestock and agricultural use. Today the landscape comprises rows of cultivated fields, bordered by trees, modern stables and canals.

The huge taxes needed to fund the project, widespread inefficiencies, and the government subsidies given to farmers; pushed the country further into debt. Fewer than 10,000 people, including workers, women, and children, settled on the redistributed land, and poverty remained high. By 1940 the Battle for the Land and the Battle for the Grain programs were abandoned. Today however, after many years of struggle, the area Mussolini once dreamed of as his pilot economic success story in Sardinia, flourishes with agriculture and tourism.

To further combat an economic recession, Mussolini introduced the "Gold for the Fatherland" initiative, which asked people to voluntarily donate gold jewelry such as necklaces and wedding rings to the government in exchange for steel wristbands bearing the words "Gold for the Fatherland". The collected gold was melted down into gold bars, which were then sent to the national banks to prevent bank failures. Even his wife donated her wedding ring. Mussolini seized control of 3/4 of Italian private businesses by the mid 1930s, as well as forcing all banks, businesses, and private citizens to give up all their foreign-issued stocks and bonds to the Bank of Italy. Additionally, he instituted wage and price controls which further broke the common worker; and trade barriers with almost all countries save, Spain and Germany, made trade almost impossible with Italy.

In 1935, Mussolini gained even more support of Italians in the northern provinces by bailing out Auto Manufacturer Alfa Romero. The company was on the verge of bankruptcy when the government came in to buy up its bad debt, effectively taking ownership of the company. Mussolini was seen as somewhat of a hero with this move, however, it was in fact the government cancellation of military contracts that caused the collapse of Alfa Romero in the first place - a fact the was never publicized in Italy. Later this same year 3/4 of all Italian business were under government control. Mussolini saw this as the most viable method for the country to gain stability as stated publicly that:

“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power”

Mussolini Begins to Align with Other Dictators

By 1936, Mussolini had become closely connected to Francisco Franco and his Spanish State, and Adolph Hitler's Nazi Regime.Although the Italian Fascists differed in a few strong areas from Franco's regime, they had in common the belief in strong national unity, the need for a powerful authoritarian government and strict controls of the populace. Franco, however, was a staunch Roman Catholic and saw his government as providing stability for the the masses through the heavy hand of religion, whereas Mussolini never truly embraced the Catholic church or any other religion.

The religious aspects of Hitler's Nazism bothered both Franco and Mussolini. Franco, because Hitler dove deeply into pseudo-pagan mysticism and wove it into what he believed to be a Christian base, which Franco saw as blasphemous; and Mussolini, because he saw religion and the church as just another method of imperialistic control. These three regimes did have enough in common to provide military support to one another throughout the 1930s and 1940s. Additionally, unlike Italy and Germany, Spain never had antisemitic laws. In fact, Franco's diplomats extended their diplomatic protection over Sephardic Jews in Hungary, Slovakia and the Balkans. Spain was a safe haven for all Jewish refugees.

Mussolini did provide massive military support to Franco in the Spanish Civil War. He sent an army of over 12,000 "volunteer" troops to be completely under Franco's direction and provided numerous tanks and airplanes - all built by Alfa Romero and Fiat. This angered many Italians, most notably in the southern regions, due to the lack of prosperity within their own country.

The alliance known as the “Axis of Power” became official in 1939 with the Pact of Steel treaty outlining the "friendship and alliance" between Germany and Italy. The Pact consisted of two parts: the first section was an open declaration of continuing trust and cooperation between Germany and Italy , and the second, encouraged a joint military and economic policy known as the "Secret Supplementary Protocol". The Pact was signed by foreign ministers representing both Hitler and Mussolini. Italy's king Victor Emanuel III was not in favor of the pact, instead he wanted to maintain the more traditional Italian allies of Britain and France. However, by this time, Italy’s king had virtually no power and was a figure head for the people only.

The next installment of Benito Mussolini: Italian Fascist, His Racial Laws, and Ultimate Downfall, (Part 4), will follow in a hub that details the “Manifesto of racial scientists“, summarizes the Italian Racial Laws against the Jews, and continues a look at the Hilter/Mussolini partnership.  As Always, I would appreciate reading your comments and thoughts about these fascinating men and their times.  Until then....Ciao!

What da think?

Any similarlites between the Econominc Policies and bail-out/take-overs that Mussolini instituted and the present day Stimulus Package bail-outs of the auto industry and other big business?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)