Although landowners, industrialists,and middle-class people saw Mussolini as Italy’s savior because he broughtsocial order and enacted pro-business policies, the majority of working-classItalians saw their standard of living drop after the Fascist government gavefree rein to businesses, and many remained hostile. So did many Catholics whenMussolini banned many of their organizations. The peasant population, verynumerous in this still rural country, was divided: Landowners favoredMussolini, while the landless were indifferent, if not hostile to him,especially after his government halted land reform measures in 1923.


Satisfied customers are saying