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How similar, and how different, were the means by which Hitler and Mussolini imposed totalitarian rule on Germany and Italy respectively?

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Hitler was invited into power in Weimar Germany to be Chancellor in 1933; similarly, Mussolini was invited into power in Italy to be Prime Minister in 1922. After this entry into power, they set out to impose totalitarian rule on their respective countries. By ?totalitarian rule? I refer to the regimes in which Hitler and Mussolini reached out to control all, or nearly all, aspects of the people's lives ? for instance, the social, or the economic. This process was done via a variety of means, or methods: both eradicated, or at least compromised with, alternative forms of authority; employed the double-pronged approach of terror and persuasion; and enforced indoctrination using informal and formal education. These were general features that were common to both totalitarian Germany and Italy, similar ways in which control was secured by Hitler and Mussolini in their respective countries of rule. However, despite these chief, over-arching similarities, there were nonetheless differences in the ways in which totalitarian rule was imposed on Germany and Italy. The degree to which control was regulated often differed, and the specific media through which both dictators reached out to their respective peoples were dissimilar. From the larger perspective, thus, there were common ways by which Hitler and Mussolini imposed totalitarian rule; however, upon closer scrutiny, the details within these channels differed.

[...] With regards to social life, there was the Strength through Joy (or KDF) system in Germany, and the Dopolavoro in Italy. Both served the primary purpose of organising leisure, in an attempt to win over the people through persuasion. However, while the Dopolavoro emerged as a full ministry in 1935 with the intention of providing a more fully-coordinated use of the mass media for indoctrination purposes, the KDF system was never quite radicalised as such. On the other hand, though, the Dopolavoro not develop into anything like the sophisticated systems of the KDF and SDA [Beauty of Labour] in Germany? (Lee). [...]


[...] This is not surprising, though, owing to Mussolini's journalist background. The radio was a different matter. It is true that both dictators had the broadcast contents controlled, but it is widely accepted that Hitler exploited the radio as a tool of indoctrination to a far greater degree than Mussolini. It was not uncommon in Nazi Germany to hear the radio blaring with doctrinal and ideological messages. With regards to the cinema, it may be said that in Germany the state had more control over it as well while in Italy ?Most films were produced by private enterprise and were not geared to the state's propaganda requirements? in Germany there was increased state ownership of production companies, and accordingly films were also used as a tool of indoctrination, like the radio. [...]


[...] However, there were concentration camps only in Germany, as there was exile only in Italy. Furthermore, in Germany, individual ?dissenters' were treated as a more serious problem, and the solution to this was present on a much larger scale. Cases of imprisonment and exile in Italy amounted to 5000 and respectively during the entire Fascist period, while in Germany political arrests added up to from 1933 to 1939. Thus, as Stephen J. Lee says, ?Support for the [Fascist] system was therefore engendered in a repressive atmosphere which was intended to remove any element of choice?; the same can be said for Nazism, despite the fact that the problem of political dissenters were dealt with on a much larger scale. [...]


[...] They knew that it could, if directed, immensely enhance their authority Culture could only serve their purposes if it were as ruthlessly regulated as every other aspect of life.? Thus both Hitler and Mussolini recognised the potential in and used it as another more pervasive tool of indoctrination. However, differences persist: in Italy the Ministry of Popular Culture was established in 1937, two years after the Propaganda Ministry came into existence. Yet in Germany there was no such institution that was dedicated specifically to the regulation of ?popular culture? radio broadcasts, visual art, literature and music; there was only the Propaganda Ministry which was in charge of general propaganda. [...]

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