Compare and contrast the domestic policies of Hitler and Mussolini. (May 10)



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Mussolini’s Domestic Policies - Paper 3

  • Compare and contrast the domestic policies of Hitler and Mussolini. (May 10)

  • Evaluate the impact on Italy of Mussolini's domestic and foreign policies between 1922 and 1939. (May 09)

  • Compare and contrast the social and economic policies of Hitler and Mussolini. (Nov 08)

  • "Mussolini's greatest skill lay in projecting himself through propaganda as a great leader." How far do you agree with this assertion? (May 07)

  • Compare and contrast totalitarian rule in Hitler's Germany and Mussolini's Italy domestic policies of Hitler and Mussolini, up to 1939. (May 05)



Mussolini’s Domestic Policies – Markscheme notes

Paper 3

15. Compare and contrast the domestic policies of Hitler and Mussolini. May 2010

Comparison: both authoritarian rulers, both fostered a Cult of Personality/strong leadership. Hitler – Fuhrer, Mussolini – Duce. Both used coercion and terror to control potential opposition (GESTAPO/OVRA). Both used propaganda effectively. Both attempted to reach accommodation with the Church. Education was controlled and Youth movements were established to indoctrinate the young. Leisure activities were also influenced by the government.


Both focused on the economy but the levels of government intervention varied (Four Year Plan, Corporate state, search Autarky).
Contrast: Hitler’s domestic policies were underpinned by his desire to establish the racially pure Volksgemeinschaft. From 1935 anti-semitic legislation was passed to marginalise the Jews, in Italy Mussolini did not introduce anti-semitic policies until 1937, they were not rigorously applied.
The main contrast was the level of personal power, Hitler and the Nazis were totally dominant whereas in Italy traditional power centres such as the Church and to a lesser extent the monarchy remained influential.
Do not demand all the above, and accept other domestic policies. If only Hitler or Mussolini is addressed, mark out of a maximum of [7 marks].

16. Evaluate the relative success of Mussolini’s economic, religious and social policies between 1922 and 1939. Specimen

In this question, candidates should decide in a hierarchical fashion which of Mussolini’s policies were most – and least – successful. In answer to this question, candidates could choose to look at the various Battles (e.g. Lira, Births, Grain/Wheat, Land Reclamation), policies towards women and youth, the Lateran Accords, attempts at a planned economy, public works programmes, and anti-Semitism in a limited form (as it was only extensively addressed after 1939). Do not expect all the above. More astute candidates will distinguish between the earlier phases of these policies and the later phases, perhaps stating that Mussolini’s policies seemed more successful in different stages of the regime, depending upon the popularity of the regime at the different points in time.


[12 to 17 marks] Mussolini’s economic, religious and social policies are evaluated in a structured essay, and judgement is given on their relative success.
[18 to 20 marks] depth and detail of the required policies form an extra dimension.


17. Evaluate the impact on Italy of Mussolini’s domestic and foreign policies between 1922 and 1939. May 2009

This is a straightforward question on the impact of Mussolini’s policies, domestic and foreign. For domestic: the nature or ideology of his rule, fascist/authoritarian, economic, propagandist, self-promotional, support of Catholic church, attempted control of workers and education, etc. should be analysed for their impact on Italy. Their impact on Italy included encouraging pride in Italy and seeking identification with the ancient Roman Empire, the growth of militarism, and its personal and financial impact from Mussolini’s wars. Foreign policies changed from seeking


support of democratic powers to imperialism, to finally allying with Hitler.
[14 to 16 marks] for focus, specific details and analytical evaluation.
[17 + marks] for an additional, or very well developed skill.

17. Compare and contrast the social and economic policies of Hitler and Mussolini. Nov 2008

Candidates should closely examine the policies of both leaders in the areas of religion, youth, media, women, anti-Semitism, education, the Dopolavoro, KDF, etc . Economic policies would include the Corporate State, The Ministry of Corporations, autarky, the Vidoni Law, Schacht and Göring’s plans, the German Labour Front, etc.


Do not expect all of the above but ensure that candidates have a comparative framework.
[17+ marks] for fully analytical and relevant answers with detail, insight, perceptive
comments and perhaps different interpretations, which address all aspects of the question.


18. “Mussolini’s greatest skill lay in projecting himself through propaganda as a great leader.” How far do you agree with this assertion? May 2007

There are three elements to this question: that Mussolini did project himself successfully as a great leader, that he did this through propaganda, and that this was his greatest achievement – thus implying that his other policies were slight. Do not expect all candidates to address all three, or address them in this way.


Mussolini’s propaganda was based on portraying himself as a great leader, Il Duce.
Propaganda was spread by radio, films, the press, speeches, photographs, etc. How well he did this is debatable, but at least in the early thirties, many in Europe did regard him favourably, especially when he opposed Hitler and joined the Stresa Front with Britain and France. Mussolini often based his image on being the inheritor of the ancient Roman Empire. Roman achievements, buildings, civilization, etc. were used effectively to this end. Italian expansion was sought to emulate the Roman Empire. He also embraced the Italian renaissance: in 1929 he moved his office to the restored Palazzo Venezia, and gave populist speeches from its magnificent balconies. He refused mention of his age, and, as he became bald, the most used portrait and photograph of him was as a military leader in a helmet. He also associated himself with a more recent military hero Napoleon, and convinced many that he was a wise and benign European statesman. He tried to improve the economic situation in Italy; at home his domestic policy including his battles for grain, births etc. Finally, candidates should consider whether Mussolini had worthwhile achievements: his conquests and attempted conquests were condemned; much of his domestic policy criticized as “worthless window dressing”; his form of government was autocratic. Perhaps his most laudable policy was his religious one, including his concordat with the Pope. Finally a verdict on the quotation should be given.
[17+ marks] for perceptive treatment of the views expressed in the quotation.


19. Evaluate the domestic policies of Mussolini between 1922 and 1939.  Nov 2005

Candidates need to explain the domestic policies of Mussolini from his appointment as prime minister until the outbreak of the Second World War, and evaluate them for success or failure. At first he headed a coalition of Fascists and nationalists, but soon assumed dictatorial powers, although muted parliamentary opposition continued until the murder of Matteotti in 1924. Full fascist government was established between 1928 and 1929, when Italy became one constituency, voting for or against 400 Fascist candidates. A corporate state was established with a National Council of Corporations to control trade and industry. Public works were undertaken and the Lateran Treaty was made with the Catholic Church. Education was controlled, censorship imposed and propaganda and terror used to maintain support for the Duce, with identification with the former glory of the ancient Roman Empire. Battles of Lira, Births and Grain were inaugurated. Candidates need to assess some of the above measures in order to decide success and failure.


[14 to 16+ marks] for structure and focus on success and failure.


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