Benito Mussolini was Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Italy from the fascists’ takeover of state power in 1922 until 1943, and Duce from 1919 to his execution in 1945 during the Italian civil war.

As dictator of Italy and founder of fascism, Mussolini inspired several totalitarian rulers such as Adolf Hitler.

Benito Mussolini was born in the village of Dovia di Predappio in the province of Forlì, in Emilia-Romagna on July 29, 1883 to Rosa and Alessandro Mussolini. He was named Benito after Mexican reformist President Benito Juarez. 

Benito Mussolini as a Child

Benito Mussolini’s father, Alessandro Mussolini, was a blacksmith and a socialist, while his mother, Rosa (née Maltoni), was a devout Catholic schoolteacher.

He adored his father, but his father never reciprocate his love. Like his father, who was a member of the first Socialist International, Benito became a socialist. 

Benito Mussolini
               Benito Mussolini

He was sent to a boarding school later that year. The school expelled him at the age 11 for stabbing a fellow student in the hand, throwing an inkpot at a teacher, and using a stick to poke out his classmate’s eyes. 

Benito qualified as an elementary schoolmaster in 1901. In 1902, Mussolini emigrated to Switzerland, partly to avoid compulsory military service. 

Benito Mussolini Young

He worked briefly as a stonemason in Geneva, Fribourg and Bern, but was unable to find a permanent job.

In 1903, Bernese police arrested him because of his advocacy of a violent general strike. He spent two weeks in jail, and later police deported him to Italy. After police released him there, he returned to Switzerland.

In December 1904, Mussolini returned to Italy to take advantage of an amnesty for desertion of the military. He had been convicted for this in absentia.

He served in the Army for two years in the military (from January 1905 until September 1906) before returning to teaching.

In February 1909, Mussolini again left Italy, this time to take the job as the secretary of the labor party in the Italian-speaking city of Trento, which at the time was part of Austria-Hungary (it is now within Italy).

Benito Mussolini Political Party

Benito became the editor at Forli of a socialist newspaper, La Lotta di Classe, (The Class Struggle). 

By 1910, Mussolini became secretary of the local Socialist party. When Italy declared war on Turkey in 1911, police imprisoned him for pacifist propaganda. 

Mussolini became editor of the official Socialist newspaper, Avanti. He then moved to Milan. Under his leadership, its circulation soon rose from 20,000 to 100,000.

As World War I broke out, and Mussolini stated that Italy should not join. However, several months later, he unexpectedly changed his position. He left the Socialist party. 

Benito Mussolini Rise to Power

In 1914, Mussolini founded a new newspaper, Il Popolo d’Italia, and group, Fasci d’Azione Rivoluzionaria. Later, Army called him up for military service. However he got wounded in grenade practice in 1917. 

Fascism became an organised political movement in March 1919, when Mussolini founded the Fasci de Combattimento. He entered parliament in 1921. 

When the governments of Giovanni Giolitti, Ivanoe Bonomi, and Luigi Facta failed, King invited Mussolini in October 1922, to form the government. 

Mussolini introduced strict censorship. He assumed dictatorial powers and dissolved all other political parties. In 1929, he signed a concordat with the Vatican. Roman Catholic Church recognized the Italian state. 

In foreign policy, Mussolini shifted to a form of aggressive nationalism. He bombed Corfu in 1923, and set up a puppet regime in Albania, forming an alliance with the Nazi Germany.

Benito Mussolini WW2

He made the “Pact of Steel” with Hitler in May, 1939. In April 1939, he occupied Albania. 

After the fall of France, Mussolini declared war. His army was of poor quality, and soon suffered defeats. His colleagues turned against him. 

The king too dismissed and arrested him. In April 1945, just before the Allied armies reached Milan, Italian partisans caught Mussolini, along with his mistress, Clara Petacci, as they tried to take refuge in Switzerland. 

Italian partisan abruptly executed Mussolini. His wife, Rachele, their two sons, Vittorio and Romano, and daughter Edda, the widow of Count Ciano survuved him. A third son, Bruno, had been killed in an air accident.

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