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"Mussolini's Domestic Policies Achieved Nothing of Value for

            Liberal Italy, having recently experienced the Risorgimento, was weak at the knees during the early 1900's. Mussolini was to take advantage of such weakness in becoming Prime Minister in1922. He was a dynamic leader who completely reshaped the Italian state and helped invent modern Italy but there is much argument as to whether he achieved anything of value for Italy and its people. Difficulties exist with measuring value but factors such as the economy and education system can be analysed to gain an idea of Mussolini's achievements. .
             The economy is always vital and is often used to help measure the success of a leader. Between 1924-39 the world and Italian economy changed dramatically and several areas must be looked at to assess the value of Mussolini's policies. The economy was certainly not a priority of Mussolini's who concerned himself mainly with propaganda and adopted a very pragmatic approach. However value of his policies can be seen. The "battle for grain" resulted in wheat production rising by over 100% from 1922-39 and the annual production of electricity increased by fivefold between 1920-40. This helps reinforce the view that Mussolini achieved value in increasing Italy's self-sufficiency and in helping her modernise. Self-sufficiency had problems but a fall of 40% in imports and rise of 60% in exports indicates a degree of success. Italy's modernisation was often focused on the electrification and punctuality of the railways. Mussolini's initial laissez faire policies seemed to allow for a healthy Italian economy but when the great depression emerged he certainly reacted and government intervention increased. Grants were provided for larger farmers to help maintain food production although, as in other instances, the South benefited far less. The state run IRI helped rescue many large industries during the depression and Italy's decline in gross national produce was lower than the average for the rest of Europe.

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