BY 1943 - totalitarian

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‘By 1943, Mussolini had created a totalitarian regime in Italy’. Explain why you agree or disagree with this view. (24 marks).

Most historians have suggested that Mussolini had not created a totalitarian regime in Italy by 1943 due to the fact that Fascism remained a secondary belief for the majority of Italy, superseded by religion.

However Mussolini did achieve a totalitarian state in some respects. For example, his use of propaganda was successful in propagating the idea of the ‘Cult of the Duce’, a campaign with the aim of almost deifying Mussolini and giving him abnormal qualities, such as always being right, being able to do anything, and having endless physical strength. Posters and photographs with Mussolini, frequently
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However, there are also many respects in which Mussolini did not create a totalitarian state. The fact that Mussolini had to make deals such as the Lateran Pacts in 1929 to accommodate the Church shows that he did not have total control over Italy. Fascism was a secondary belief to the majority of Italy who still fully believed and had faith in Catholicism. The Lateran Pacts specifically accepted the dominant position of the Church in Italian society, meaning that Mussolini knew that the Church were too big an organisation to fight against, so he had to rule alongside them. The regime was not totalitarian as the Lateran Pacts also gave the Church control over education as teachers and textbooks had to be approved by the Church, meaning that the facistisation of Education was limited for Mussolini. It is true that with the approval of the Church, Mussolini gained far greater support, however it meant that his popular support was based on the word and approval of the Church, and his position could become untenable if the Church started to disapprove of him.

In addition, Mussolini had to make many concessions to high-powered people and organisations within Italy to remain dictator without any opposition from the elite groups in Italy such as the King, the Liberals, the army and the Confindustria. The King represented a major grouping in Italian society, the upper middle class and aristocracy, and elements, like the Armed
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