After 1925 Mussolini’s power grew exponentially and as a result he had a firm grasp on his country. Propaganda was imperative to Mussolini’s regime but in terms of the power he held over Italy, nothing was more important than the support of Italy’s Elite.
Propaganda was instrumental in consolidating power for Mussolini; he created several news and radio stations that would do wonders in pumping out pro-Mussolini information. Another company that was created for this purpose was LUCE. The advertising agency was focused towards making videos to put before cinema viewings that document the successes and achievements of Mussolini and his regime. This became a legal requirement for these documentaries to be shown before a showing and due to the fact cinema was a relatively new to Italy; The Italian people flocked to see it and absorbed a lot of the propaganda messages. Despite the fact that it did have such a big impact, people had their own opinions and propaganda did nothing to change the mind of people who felt anti-Mussolini and so Support from the Elite was clearly the more important of the two as it did not require the opinions of those who had little power to change things
Support from the Elite was able to be such a driving force behind Mussolini’s regime was due to the fact that due to the authoritarian government, large amounts of the power was in the hands of those who could afford it. For example, in 1929 Mussolini created the Lateran pact which meant that the pope received a private state known as the Vatican City, it was also made a law that all schools needed to provide religious education which gained Mussolini a lot of prestige, especially with the pope and as a result, previously anti-Italy Catholics. Alongside this he also raised the wages High ranking officers in the Italian army in order to have their complete support as well as improve the overall standard of their army. Pleasing the important people in Italy was vital for Mussolini and could have easily toppled Italy (or at least made it very unstable) if he did not have these groups backing him up.
Another reason Mussolini was able to consolidate his power was the use of violence and terror in his regime. This was put in to play by the secret police known as OVRA who were able to quickly quell resistance to the government through certain methods, either by violence or sentencing them to confino a punishment where enemies of the state would be sent to isolated areas of Southern Italy with an allowance of 10 Lire a day. As a result of this, people who were against Mussolini’s fascist views were either quickly hushed or learnt from others and kept their opinions to themselves. The result of this was simple; the only people that were left to speak were those who agreed with everything Mussolini did, sending his opinion polls very high. However if Mussolini could not have sent that many members of the elite classes to confino, or thrust any violence upon them as they were the ones that his government relied on, giving a much more important role to play in Mussolini’s control of Italy.
As well as the above things, Mussolini was also very good at making anything he did seem like a massive success story. For example, he hosted and won the 1934 football world cup, showing that Italy was changing things for the better. As well as this he also drained all the marshes near Rome to rid the populated area of the country as well as increasing grain production so that Mussolini could say that they were that one step closer to being ready for war by making themselves autarkic for grain. On top of that Mussolini also built the first motorways in the world, known as autostradas. Success stories like those did a great job in making people feel proud to be Italian as well as feel proud of their leader. This meant that the regular had no reason to dislike the authoritarian regime due to the fact that the wool is being pulled over their eyes in the form of Mussolini’s achievements. Even though he may not have been as popular as he was without this, he would have still have been able to have complete control without it, something that the support from the elite allowed him to do single-handedly.
The final way that Mussolini was able to keep control of Italy was through manipulation of the youth, the first way they did this was by teaching them according to the fascist revolution, and this was upheld by letting them only use one text book, the Libero Unico. This was approved by the fascist regime and what the school curriculum was created with. The second and possibly more strengthening to the government was the introduction of the ONB (Opera Nazionalle Balilla) in 1926 which was similar to the army cadets. Getting 1,236,000 members in its first year was impressive work and attracted youths from 13 – 18 under the slogan, believe, obey, fight. Even though most children came for the facilities rather than the fascist message, it still boosted the regime incredibly well. Even though it did have this effect, children did not have much of an effect on how popular Mussolini was, meaning it was not incredibly important during his time in office.
In the years 1925-43, Fascist power increased exponentially. Although propaganda was an incredible force when it came to getting people rallied behind Mussolini, it was the incredible amount of support from the elite that allowed him to fully control every aspect of Italy. For example, if he had not raised the wages of army officers in 1935, they may have become very anti-Mussolini, resulting in Italy having a very unstable army. I do also agree that without propaganda, Mussolini would never had as much prestige amongst the Italian people as he did, especially later on in the years 1936-41, but it was the Elite of Italy who called the shots and they could break Italy if they were not appeased due to the fact they ran some of the most important aspects such as religion, politics, the army and big industry. All areas those are vital for the successful running of country.