Italy in the Inter-War Years

Leaving Cert > Dictatorship and Democracy in Europe > Italy in the Inter-War Years

The headquarters of the Italian Fascist Party in Rome during the 1930s.
Mussolini's face adorns a wall full of the word "Si" (Yes).
Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler,
two fascist dictators.
In Third Year, you learned how fascist regimes took control in Italy and in Germany. You learned about Benito Mussolini and his actions: how he established a dictatorship, how he tried to create a corporate state, and how his foreign policy affected Europe and the world.

In this section, you will revisit Mussolini (and later Hitler) and examine his actions in more detail. Your previous study of him will give you an advantage when learning this section, and you'll learn some new information about aspects you haven't looked at before, such as Mussolini's dealings with the Catholic Church.

In Leaving Cert, you may be asked to compare the features of a fascist dictatorship with the communist dictatorship established by Stalin. Both are totalitarian, but as you re-examine Mussolini you may find some similarities and differences you had not noticed before. You will also compare the emergence of dictatorships across much of Europe to the perseverance of democracy in places such as Britain and France.

Continue to Germany in the Inter-War Years

  • Why dictatorships?  
    • Reasons for Mussolini's rise to power.
  • Establishing a dictatorship: 
    • March on Rome, Acerbo Law, Matteoti, OVRA, propaganda.
  • Church-State Relations:  
    • Improving relations with the Catholic Church, the Lateran Treaty (1929), clashes about the Jews.
  • The Economy: 
    • Corporate State, self-sufficiency, autostrada, "Battles".
  • Foreign Policy:
    • "Italia Irredenta" (expansion), Locarno Pact, relationship with Hitler, Invasion of Abyssinia, Rome-Berlin Axis, Italy in the Second World War.

Key Terms:  
Dictatorship, Fascism, Totalitarianism, Propaganda, Cult of Personality, Inflation, Depression.
(click here)

Key Personalities: 
Benito Mussolini

Italian fascist propaganda poster. It reads "We have new and old scores to settle: we will settle them."
The SPQR stands for a Latin phrase from Ancient Rome, meaning "the Senate and People of Rome".
This was the signature of the ancient Roman government. It can be found on ancient Roman coins.

Higher Level (100 marks each)

2015: How did Mussolini and/or Stalin use propaganda and terror to remain in power?

2013: What were the characteristics of fascist regimes in Europe in the inter-war period?

2011: How effective were the internal and external policies of Benito Mussolini?

2010, 2014: What were the main developments in church-state relations under Hitler and Mussolini?

2009: How did dictators use propaganda and/or terror to maintain their power?

2006: During the inter-war period, what conditions in Europe contributed to the growth of fascist regimes?

Ordinary Level:
2012, Dictatorship and Democracy, Part B
2011, Dictatorship and Democracy, Part B
2008, Dictatorship and Democracy, Part B:

Write a short paragraph on church-state relations in Italy under Mussolini. (30)

2015, Dictatorship and Democracy, Part C
2010, Dictatorship and Democracy, Part C:
What developments took place in church-state relations in Italy under Mussolini? (40)

2009, Dictatorship and Democracy, Part C:
Would you agree that the leadership of Benito Mussolini was a disaster for Italy? Argue your case. (40)

2007, Dictatorship and Democracy, Part C:
How did fascism develop in Italy under Benito Mussolini? (40)

2006, Dictatorship and Democracy, Part C:
What were the successes and failures in the career of Benito Mussolini?(40)

An Italian fascist propaganda poster. It says "Defend!" It shows Italy as a child being threatened by three hands: the Jews, the Soviet Union, and the Freemasons (a secret fraternal society).
Fascism was opposed to all three groups.
Do you think this kind of propaganda is effective?

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