Italy in the 1920's 04

Italy in the 1920’s Part 4

According to, the policy of the roads was joined by that of the railways. The great Italian reform was directed above all to electrify the main lines to ensure the movement a national driving force to replace that of coal imported from abroad. From 1922 to the end of 1936, 2,555 kilometers of railways had already been electrified compared to 780 kilometers that had been electrified in the previous twenty-two years. Electrification of another 2000 km is in progress or approved. of lines. With these four thousand electrified kilometers of the state network, to which must be added the 1779 also electrified kilometers of private railway lines, at the end of 1937 Italy exceeded, in railway electrification, 50 per cent the United States and all the countries of Europe..

Fascist policy was also present and active for the aqueducts. The problem of drinking water and irrigation is, it can be said, the basis of life in almost all of southern Italy and the large islands. The same irregular development of rural property and crops of the large rural villages of Sicily and Sardinia is largely the result of the scarcity or irregular distribution of water. The cholera epidemic of 1884-85 in southern Italy had its first cause in the little and bad drinking water. The state assumed the direct construction of aqueducts for Lucania, Sardinia, Sicily and other vast regions. From 1922 to 1932 the built aqueducts have already developed for 7,929 kilometers of pipelines,public waters, I, p. 411).

With this new equipment of the Italian territory, the economic activities, organized and pushed by the state, have rapidly developed towards the balance between national production and consumption. Great progress has been made in agriculture. Despite the vast extension of cultivated land, agricultural production was insufficient for national needs. Still on the eve of the March on Rome, in 1921, with a population of over 39 million residents, Italy had to import 5 billion and 366 million lire of foodstuffs. Among them, wheat represented about 28 million quintals for a value of 3 billion lire. Therefore Mussolini turns to the problem of agriculture making it one of the cornerstones of the fascist policy of reconstruction.

Economic, technical and social discipline is difficult in Italy for agriculture. The variety of lands that alternate floors, hills and mountains, the unequal distribution of water, the different systems of ownership and agricultural contracts, the very difference in the systems and qualities of cultivation, uses and rural customs are all reasons for difficulties for a unified regulatory plan for agricultural activities. Mussolini first posed the basic problem of wheat (see wheat, App.). In a speech to the Chamber of June 20, 1925, he announced the organization of a national battle to increase his production: “I have made a formal commitment to lead the battle of wheat and I have already prepared the staff which will have to act on the cadres., represented by the technicians, and they will have to move the army, the agricultural troops “. A law of the following 4 July creates this general staff of the grain battle, a permanent grain committee, under the presidency of Mussolini, which fixes the three themes of action: the selection of seeds, fertilizers and technical improvements, prices.

For the first time in Italy, after the constitution of the kingdom, agriculture is brought to the fore of state care and national honor. The battle of wheat, which for its premises and results is one of the typical aspects of the constructive policy of the new regime, began as early as 1925: the year of the largest Italian harvest with 65 million and a half quintals. It takes place, rather than with the increase in the area cultivated with wheat, with the plan for an increase in unitary income for the intensification of crops. And despite the fatal alternatives of good and bad years, the wheat harvest develops in an ascending parable reaching 70.7 million quintals in 1929.81 million in 1933.80 million in 1937.80.8 million in 1938.

This is the first step towards economic autarchy. The wheat produced in Italy must be sufficient for all the needs of the people. To meet the needs of the peasant masses, the state intervenes by creating large collective heaps of wheat, under its control, and anticipating its payment at a fixed price in order to free the countryside from the gripes of speculation.

The battle of the grain is the beginning of a whole new active current of development of agricultural production. It led to rapid technical progress of crops and agricultural organization

But the action of the state is also aimed at conquering new lands to work by rehabilitating swampy or arid regions and strengthening the less productive ones. This work belongs to the policy of reclamation (see reclamation, VII, p. 413, and App.): Also typical of the new regime. There are many areas of stagnant water on the peninsula and islands that offer themselves to this reclamation. There is the Po Valley, with all the contiguous areas; the vast territories of the Tuscan and Grosseto Maremma, the Agro Romano and Pontino, the Volturno and the Sele; the Tavoliere delle Puglie on the Adriatic; the regions of Neto, Sibari and Metaponto on the Ionian Sea; of S. Eufemia and Rosarno sul Tirreno; and the plains of Catania in Sicily and the coastal ponds in Sardinia.

Italy in the 1920's 04

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