Leading up to the eve of world war 2, from Mussolini and Hitler had revised their economic policies in order to strengthen and or, rebuild their governments. Both Hitler and Mussolini had taken different and similar approaches however into revising their economic policies. Mussolini had desperately tried to rebuild Italy’s economy due to WW1 and to make Italy seen as a great world power. Whereas Hitler on the other hand had focused on developing his country based on military interest, as he was preparing the country for a war. By focusing on 3 aspects of Germany and italy’s economy, industry, nationalization of business, and trade unions, Hitler and Mussolini’s aims in industry and their subsequent success can be compared and contrasted. It can be said that Hitler was overall more successful in strengthening the german nation.
For Industry, both Hitler and Mussolini had both developed their industry in order to create an autarky, however Hitler had focused more in preparing the germany military for a war, whereas Mussolini focused on restoring the Italian economy as a result of World War 1. Hitler had focused on his idea of the “Four Year Plan” which had focuses in improving the german industry in favor for the german military. On the other hand Mussolini, aiming to restore Italian economy, had fought multiple “Battles” such as the Battle of the Lira, in order to increase the value of his currency, The Battle of Land. to establish Italy as a power in Europe, and lastly the Battle of Grain, in order to unify the industry, and agriculture/raw materials, to maximise industrial efficiency. Although both leaders had sought to establish a self sufficient state (Autarkic) they both had different reasons in doing so, therefore they had both undertaken different paths in strengthen their states. Success in establishing autarky for Germany was unsuccessful as Hitler had still relied on countries such as Hungary, or Yugoslavia to import iron and ore. Furthermore copper, lead, and zinc dependent increased, and synthetic petrol production only met 18% of Germany’s needs.
Mussolini on the other hand had initially found some success. Iron and steel production had doubled from 1930 to 1940 and the GNP of the agricultural sector rose from 29% to 34%. Although it can be said that Mussolini had achieved Autarky, he had later on lost autarky due to the differences between the North and the South. Italian industry had only increased by 15% from 1929 – 1939, lowest out of any European state. The North was more developed industrially as the South was left behind, underdeveloped. This created a shortage of materials, thus becoming less self sufficient, and thus failing to becoming autarkic. Therefore as a result although Mussolini achieved initial autarky he had ultimately failed and therefore saw little success economically.
Although Hitler never achieved autarky he had found greater success in his aim of developing the military as steel production and coal mining had increased, such that Krupp (Armaments manufacturer) has increased from an annual profit of 6.65 million Reichsmarks in 1933 to 17.8 in 1937. Furthermore armament output had risen by 230 percent after labor force for armaments industry increased by 28%. These success in the industry, had made it so that the german nation was prepared for war.
As Historian Tannenbaum had stated “Fascist Italy had complete control over the labour force and very little control over the nation’s economic structure.” this conveys the idea is that Mussolini had overall very little control over their whole economic infrastructure, as they only saw the economy as a production machine. Overall although it can be said that Mussolini had initially created an autarkic system he had later failed, whereas Hitler although never achieving Autarky, successfully reinvigorated the german industry in preparation for war.
In terms of Nationalizing the business, Mussolini had aimed to nationalize Italy’s business to increase control of the state, hindering economic growth, Whereas Hitler was more thoughtful and therefore recognized the limits of nationalization, allowing Hitler to see greater economic success. Hitler had wanted tomaintian the support of the german people, knowing that the rearmament program would benefit his people, he had decided to privatize his business as he believed that the government intervention would make business lose incentive, as well as marginalize the wealthy and influential business owners. On the other hand Mussolini had aimed to establish a state-driven economy. He had wanted the state to have full direct control over economic production and allocation. Furthermore he had sought to the government to become a middleman to end conflicts between different parties as well to overall increase state control. The different policies again reflect the success of Hitler and mussolini, as Hitler was able to realize the problems of nationalization, he therefore took precautions to make sure he would succeed. Compared to Mussolini who tackled the problem head on deciding that he would be able to fix the problem with an economic model. In terms of success Hitler had seen more success than Mussolini.
Hitler was able to reduce employment as well as increase production of military arms, furthermore was able to gain the trust of business owners. Economically, during the years of 1935/1935 and 1937/1938 Privatization accounted for 1.4 percent of the countries GDP. Whereas Mussolini on the other hand had nationalized, he did not see much success. Mussolini increased of government control over business outside the idea of “corporatism” had cause confusion within institutions, and created conflicts of aims. Thus the whole system was flawed and failed to provide the solution mussolini was hoping for, as it failed to provide a standing ground between the employers and workers.
Furthermore the system had very little interest in making “real” decisions that would affect the economy. This is reflected by Historian Cassels as he states that “the corporative state was a true child of Mussolini: the great poseur brought forth an organism which was a travesty of what it purported to be.”. Furthermore Historian Pollard had also stated that “in reality, in the corporations and other new government agencies Fascism had created a vast, largely useless apparatus.” Success for mussolini in terms of nationalization business lenas towards to a consensus of failure between Historians, as he was unable to effectively implement nationalization in a way that would prosper the Italian people. Hitler and Mussolini viewed trade unions differently. Hitler had sought to limit the power of these trade unions, the biggest one being the Free Trade Unions, which leaned towards Marxism. These trade unions often caused strikes, therefore causing delays in production.
Lastly they were also a barrier to the Hitler’s goal of winning over all of the working class and bringing them together. Mussolini on the other hand had wanted organize trade unions, under the philosophy of corporatism. Mussolini had wanted one organization to control both the business perspective and the workers perspective. Hitler with the use of making the national workers day May, 1, a holiday. A day later stormtroopers had stormed all union building and had effectively shut down all unions in germany. Later smaller trade unions submitted to the nazi government.
Hitler made it so that the German labour Force would be the sole trade union, which would also take care of the working class. In order to further reduce this Hitler had made “Strength through Joy” (Gives incentives to do activities during free time for workers) mandatory, which made it so the workers could not conspire against the german state. Similar Mussolini had adopted the idea of corporatism, in order to create an employer-employee mixed syndicate. By 1928 workers could no longer vote for their representatives, party officials nominated people. These various syndicates corporate syndicated were controlled by Mussolini which maintained different industries, effectively giving mussolini power. Hitler in the end was more successful as he was able to ban all the trade unions and implement the German Labour Front successfully.
By 1938 the German labour Front had 20 million members, giving him major support from the working class. Hitler was able to stop work strikes from 4 million days of production lost in 1930 to 0 days in 1934, furthermore he had increased the average work week by 20%. Although it can be said that Mussolini was also as successful as Hitler as he was able to remove power from the workers and centralize the power to himself, Mussolini had found very little initial success. Opposition from the Industrial employers had made it so that 10 years had gone by before Mussolini was able to achieve a true employer-employee misex syndicate Overall although Both Hitler and Mussolini had achieved success Mussolini had more difficulty and took more time in achieving his goal.In conclusion Hitler was more successful in achieving his aims and in his success economically in terms of Industry, nationalization business, and trade unions, when in compared to Mussolini, as Mussolini was not as effective in his choice of policy implementation.