Fascism DBQ

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Fascism DBQ
Thesis Statements
Although the Fascists used laws and propaganda
to increase birthrates, they failed because of the
poor economic state of Italy and the innate
desires of modern women.
Thesis Statements
Mussolini decided to launch a demographic
revolution, aimed at dramatically increasing
Italy’s fertility. However, the resulting policy
primarily failed as it was sexist and aimed more
at persuasion rather than coercion. The few
receptive mothers also generally found
themselves in deep poverty as a result.
Thesis Statements
During this period, Italy used propaganda, law,
and nationalism in an attempt to revitalize Italy
through a growth in population. However, the
reaction to this was generally insubordination
and increased desperation.
Model Body Paragraph #1
(Topic: How the policy was implemented)
Fascist Italy attempted to gain control over the population through legislation
and social pressures. The government tried to encourage women to have
more children by offering them certain incentives. In 1925, the National
Organization for the Protection of Mothers and Children was established,
aiming to offer women help in caring for their children (1). Gaetano Salvemini,
a political refugee who left Italy, sarcastically called the social pressures the
“battle for births” (4). He described how barrenness was considered like a
“treason against the Fatherland.” Although bitter, this statement holds some
truth because the Fascist party did try to pressure women into having more
children. In addition, the fascist party magazine for women, Motherhood and
Childhood, described contraceptives as a “crime against the health of the race”
(9). Earlier in the same magazine, an article likened motherhood to “the
supreme values of the [Italian] race” (6). In every way possible, especially
through media like the fascist magazine for women, the party tried to hail
childbirth as a great virtue in the attempt to stop population decline.
Model Body Paragraph #2
(Topic: Economic factors)
Most notably, the persisting economic conditions of the time made it very difficult
to neutralize the population problem. The Italian people, having a “psychological
feeling of deprivation,” found it hard to “have numerous children” (2). Pietro
Battera, the author of a demographic article, goes on to state that in such
conditions of economic hardship, “the sexual drive will be limited” for they seek to
find a way to survive. In a time where such people were working all day in order to
barely resist starvation, sexual pleasures were not on their priorities. They seem to
have chosen a “voluntary limitation of childbirths” as financial success echoed in
their minds (3). The Italian nation, therefore, could not hope to battle their
declining population without attempting to alleviate economic hardship. Only after
the peoples’ concerns were relieved, could Mussolini have found a way to battle
low pregnancy rates. A poor mother of 11 at the time complained about this issue,
requesting a “subsidy to alleviate the disastrous and pitiful conditions that [her]
family edure[d]” (10). The Italian woman pleaded that the Contessa Ciano would
help her so that she could survive. Coming from the voice of a person of the time,
it is clear that mass reproduction of children strained the finances of the people.
Only those who had more money could afford to have more children, as is shown
through the middle class family of 14 (11). Mussolini, therefore, failed to note that
he must lessen the economic disparity in his nation before he could make any
progress in battling declining birthrates.
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