Fascist ideology and social change

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Fascist Youth movements and impact of ideology

Mussolini set up lots of fascist youth groups for the younger generation. The main youth group was called the Balilla, which was set up in 1926. There were subgroups in the Balilla movement for different age groups and genders from eight years old. These particular youth groups were given propaganda lectures, which involved nationalist indoctrination, parades and Saturday afternoon rallies from 3:30-6pm. These activities are similar to what Mussolini and the fascists would put on for the adults to fascistize them.

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Impact of sport

There was a special training college for female PE teachers, which was set up at Orvieto.Mass participation in sporting activities was encouraged by the ONB, OND and the Littoriali Games.People had to run from one sports facility to another. Winners of the Littoriali were given a gold ‘M’ pin by the Duce himself in Rome. Both genders could compete.Alfa Romeo was taken over by the state in 1932. The racing car teams were extravagantly funded and won regularly on the international Grand Prix circuit.The Italian football team was the best in the world at the time. This was partly due to state support. In 1934, Italy hosted the 2nd World Cup (1st in Europe), where Italy won after beating Czechoslovakia 2-1. The state used this triumph as propaganda.In 1936, Italy won gold at the Berlin Olympic Games.In 1938, they won the World Cup again, this time thrashing Hungary with a 4-2 win!!!

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Women's education

Mussolini wanted them to be educated to stay at home to be effective in their role as the house-mother.As women were pulled out of jobs, more young ladies went to university to study. 6% of students were women in 1914, whereas by 1938, there were 15%!Unfortunately, the birth rate decreased instead of increased. In the dates 1921-25, the birth rates in Italy overall was 29.9 per 1000 inhabitants. In 1941-45, this had fallen to 19.9. On the plus side however, deaths of infants under one year per 1000 live births decreased from 130 in 1914 to 106 in 1927.The population rose to about 45 million in 1940, but only got to 47.5 million in 1950 (12.5 short!) The average age of marriage rose and marriage rate fell.

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Women's family life

Mussolini wanted women to stay at home and breed good children (preferably men) so he could build up the population of his great nation Italy from 37 million to 60 million. Mussolini wanted women to look plump, not skinny and he didn’t want them to be involved in politics as it was considered too far above them.High heels, cosmetics and trousers for women were frowned upon by the state. This was because of vanity and most of the materials would be imported, which could ruin Mussolini’s policy of autarky.In a 1937 official survey of 1000 Roman girls aged 14-18 from professional classes; they had ‘extraordinarily vague ideas’ about raising families. They regarded babies as burdensome and preferred to have only 1 or 2 children, compared to loads. They studied in order to qualify for a job as they didn’t expect husbands to support them and found housework tiresome.

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Battle for Births

In 1927, battle for births was announced, strict measures in place from 1936. He tried to provide propaganda campaigns underlining the importance of marriage. He also improved services and provided better healthcare so mothers and their babies would not die. Financial rewards such as marriage loans which became unrepayable (no need to repay) once the family bore 4 children and if there were 10 children in a family, that household were excused from income tax. There was an annual ceremony honouring the most breeding mothers.Punished the bachelors and spinsters by increasing taxation. Divorce was still illegal in Italy and so was abortion, the use of contraceptives were limited. In 1931, the Penal Code included “crimes against the wholeheartedness and health of the race”.

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Women's employment

from the mid-1920s, women were pulled out of certain teaching jobs, (but were still allowed to teach subjects such as maths and chemistry). This is funny as now, maths and chemistry could earn you a high paying and prestigious career opportunity. In 1933, the state forced a limit of only 10% of women working in state jobs. In 1938, this went into private firms.

Teachers were excluded from teaching Latin, Italian, History and Philosophy

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Women's Political organisations

he didn’t want them to be involved in politics as it was considered too far above them.The vote was only given to women in 1925 in local elections for 1 year, as they banned them in 1926!Women were becoming radicals and times were changing. Even a powerful dictator such as Mussolini could not change that! There were feminists (even his own mistress, Margherita Sarfatti was one). Even though women weren’t promoted to be in politics, they joined groups such as: the ONMI, which encouraged women to take part in charity work and helped mothers. In 1935, women set up a campaign against the League of Nations sanctions and swapped their gold wedding rings for tin bands. There was one female in the Council of Corporations – from the Midwives corporation!

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Class structure

Mussolini tried to abolish the friendly form of “you” and the handshake in a “Reform of customs”. There was more radicalism and Mussolini wanted the people to obey to his policies.He wanted people to become more aggressive and accused the people of having a “Bourgeois mentality” and being pacifists. He felt they needed to toughen up.

Land owners were lucky enough to be able to avoid the fascist regime. They were not affected by Mussolini’s plan to try and rearrange the class structure (which never really worked anyway).

he does try to set up one of his own. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work and he ends up getting laughed at!

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Opposition

Rosselli brothers:

Charlie and Nello were Jewish. Carlo joined PSI after them both finding Fascist violence horrific. Helped opponents escape into Arrested 1926 for 5 years. Nello also arrested in 1927, kept under police surveillance.

Both kept on helping opponents in Paris.

Most of the opponents were exiled or sent to concentration camps. 

There were some forms of opposition however, through protests, strikes and demonstrations, assassination attempts, open expressions of criticism, propaganda and non-conformity.

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To what extent was Italy totalitarian

Mussolini attempted to transform Italy into a nation of hardened Fascists. Whether he actually did is debatable. On one hand, people did conform to fascist ideals and there was limited opposition. However, on the other hand, people were not really committed to Fascism and only did the activities Mussolini wanted them to do if it was not political.

In conclusion, Mussolini’s attempt to transform Italy into a nation of hardened Fascists was mainly unsuccessful. Italian people only conformed out of fear and Fascism was still secondary to the Pope and religion. Clark’s conclusion is that Mussolini’s social policy was secondary to Mussolini’s foreign policy so he didn’t put enough effort into it.

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Radicilisation

The Fascist regime promoted many art projects to present the power and radicalisation of Fascism.

Mussolini had tried several times to radicalise the South and make them less backward. He thought that the South and much of what they do are out of tune of Fascism, so he needed to bring them forwards in order to fascistize them.

Some of the Fascist regime had filtered into the South however. Infrastructure such as roads and harbours, but apart from that, as it was mostly grain production, the southern peasants stayed in their traditional ways.

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Impact of Abssinia

After the conquest of Abyssinia 1938, Mussolini was determined for his people to become more aggressive and prepared for war. Mussolini doesn’t change the class structure, but he does try to set up one of his own. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work and he ends up getting laughed at

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Anti-semitism

There was a lot of opposition. The both the King and the Pope openly criticised the regime. The Pope was particularly upset as Jewish people who converted to Catholicism could no longer marry Italians who were reformed. There were many Jewish elite in Italy, who began to lose support; so many influential Italians were against the regime. ½ of University teachers were sacked, so no doubt Universities were critical as they had just lost ½ of their teachers. This anti-semitism business just shows how much Mussolini was under the influence of Hitler and Germany. Unfortunately, this alliance was resented by many and it was the alliance with Hitler and the introduction of anti-semitism that made Fascism less popular.

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Propaganda

Mussolini set up lots of fascist youth groups for the younger generation. The main youth group was called the Balilla, which was set up in 1926. There were subgroups in the Balilla movement for different age groups and genders from eight years old. These particular youth groups were given propaganda lectures, which involved nationalist indoctrination, parades and Saturday afternoon rallies from 3:30-6pm. Miniculpop was set up in 1937, under Alessandro Pavolino to control the radio, cinema and newspapers. There were some forms of opposition however, through protests, strikes and demonstrations, assassination attempts, open expressions of criticism, propaganda and non-conformity.

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School and university

Mussolini appointed Gentile as education minister. Encouraged ginnasio/liceo (grammar school) to study latain, philosophy, humanities. Set up standerdized set of examinations for all schools. Ignored illeteracy rate (30% 1921) and discriminated against women. Attendence rates dropped by 100,000 first 4 years of Fascist rule. Gentile's system steadily dismantled after departure in July 1924.

Serious attempt at fasscistising education made in 1930s. Government laid down spec (particularly elementary). Standard textbook: libro unico introduced. Mussolini said it was in order to mould into kids "a real awarness of their duties as Fascist citizens". Whole system centralized where teachers had to take an oath of loyalty to regime. (Bottai's school charter 1939) Wanted to create Fascist schools for all. Empasised science+technology. Disrupted by war. Special schools set up for peasants and craftsmen to incoporate more rural sector. manual work part of curriculum for everyone.

Hostory exam title secondary 1930: write essay on origins of squadrisimo which...struggled against subversives+renouncers of Fatherland+with March on Rome saved Italy from certain ruin

Government control decreased uni. Gov assumed people were fascistised by then anyway.

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