Mussolini reconciled the Catholic Church with the state. In 1929, he signed the Lateran treaty with Pope Pius XI. This treaty solved the conflict between the Catholic Church and Italian government. This treaty was important because since 1871 the Popes were in conflict with the Italian government for having taken over Rome which was their capital. By this treaty, the Pope accepted Rome to serve as the capital of Italy and in return the Popes were given Vatican to be their independent state.
Similarly, when Mussolini came to power, he initially denounced Catholicism. He also abolished the Roman Catholic Youth organizations and the influence of the Catholic Church in the state affairs. However, by the Lateran treaty of 1929 Mussolini changed his attitude and recognized the Catholicism as the state religion. He even went ahead and compensated the Catholic Church for all the losses incurred since 1871. This made Mussolini popular among the Catholics in Italy.
He carried out military reforms which created a very large army for Italy. The army was equipped with modern fighting tools. It was also trained to a very high level of efficiency or ability. This army helped to ensure internal order as well as promoting the Italian glory abroad.
Mussolini encouraged industrialization in Italy. Between 1931 and 1935, his government funded industrial establishment through giving credit facilities to the industrialists. The iron and steel industry, ship building and the telephone systems were the main beneficiaries. This helped to create employment opportunities for the Italians, hence increasing Mussolini’s popularity.
Mussolini increased the production of hydro-electric power in Italy. During his regime, all the rivers that had much water were exploited for this purpose. This helped to increase the level of industrialization as well as to provide power to the homes which also made Mussolini popular in Italy.
Mussolini contributed to the development of infrastructures and public works in Italy. For example, towns were built, leisure activities were encouraged through the construction of sports grounds, halls and libraries. Mussolini therefore modernized Italy which increased his popularity among the Italians.
Mussolini promoted law and order (peace) in Italy. He dealt with the opponents of his regime like the socialists and communists with a high degree of brutality through exiling them to Lapari Island in the Mediterranean Sea or killing them. For example, he ordered for the murder of the leader of the Socialists who was known as Matteotti in 1924. This scared all those who would have opposed the Fascist regime, thus promoting internal law and order in Italy.
His government contributed to the development of agriculture in Italy. Mussolini introduced modern methods of agriculture especially the use of farm machinery. Swamps were also reclaimed which increased food production especially wheat. This was aimed at achieving self – sufficiency in terms of food production in Italy.
Mussolini developed the transport and communication facilities in Italy. For example, he constructed new railway lines, roads, bridges and canals which helped to promote trade and commerce in Italy. This also increased his popularity among the Italians.
Mussolini carried out educational reforms which strengthened the education system in Italy. He introduced the Fascist curriculum which emphasized the fascist principles. He also constructed new schools in Italy which boosted the education sector. This also made him popular among the Italian fascists.
His government encouraged the establishment Corporate trade unions. Before Mussolini came to power, the unions of the workers were very strong and they used to give problems to the employers especially through strikes. However, Mussolini abolished the trade unions and replaced them with corporations where the workers, employers and the government were equally represented. These corporate trade unions settled the workers’ wages and therefore created a disciplined working class in Italy.
Mussolini restored and promoted the Italian glory abroad. For example, in 1935, Mussolini sent the Italian troops to Ethiopia and they captured Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. He therefore annexed Ethiopia to the Italian Empire. Mussolini went further and occupied Albania in 1939 and therefore he extended the Italian influence there. He also participated in the Spanish Civil War that broke out in 1936 which assisted General Franco to come to power in 1939 and this made Italy popular in Europe..
Similarly, Mussolini entered into alliances with other European countries which promoted the Italian foreign glory and national pride. For example, in October 1936, he entered into the Rome – Berlin Axis with Germany under Adolf Hitler. This alliance was later joined by Japan to form the Rome – Berlin – Tokyo Axis in 1938. These alliances strengthened the position of Italy in Europe.
Mussolini promoted European diplomacy. For example, he was vital in the negotiation and later signing of the Locarno Treaties of 1925 between Germany and the victorious powers of Britain and France. In these treaties which were arranged in Locarno – Switzerland and later signed in London, Britain and France agreed to normalize their relations with the defeated Germany which promoted international peace and security and the credit goes to Mussolini who had mediated in these negotiations.