Q: 'TO WHAT EXTENT DID MUSSOLINI SUCCEED IN CAPTURING THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF THE YOUNG PEOPLE IN ITALY 1924-39?'
During the years 1924-9, Mussolini had worked hard to indoctrinate the young Italians with different Fascist principles. Although, from trying to achieve a new generation of people who would follow and be committed to Mussolini as 'Il Duce', with the regimes aggressive foreign policies, Mussolini had only achieved this to a certain extent. Mussolini had the understanding that Fascism depended on youthful energy and enthusiasm to both bring Mussolini to power as well that power and the predominance of Fascism throughout Italy. He influenced virtually every aspect of a young Italians life, as he changed the educational system, mounted an extreme propaganda effort, and provided youth organizations that were designed to create enthusiastic and devoted Fascist Italians.
The membership of the Fascist youth organisations had increased considerably during the regime, which was helped by a 1928 decree stating that only youths who had been in the ONB were allowed to join the Fascist Party.
By 1929, about sixty percent of northern youths were members, and the proportion for the south of Italy was far lower. In 1935 membership was compulsory. However, passing a law was one thing, but to ensure all youths joined was far harder.
Organisation had very close ties with the school system. Teachers were urged to become ONB leaders. This close tie to schools meant that membership to the ONB was disproportionately male and middle classes, as many girls and poorer boys tended to leave school between the ages of 12-14 years, and therefore found it easier to escape the ONB system. This particularly applied to peasant children. The ONB was organised on a neighbourhood basis so there was little mixing of classes. By...