Benito Mussolinni

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Essential Question

: Who was Benito Mussolini and what did he do?



Benito Mussolini (July 29, 1883-April 28, 1945) was an Italian who led the National Fascist and is credited with being on of the key figures in the creation of Fascism. He became the Prime Minister of Italy in 1922. Italian Fascism includes elements of nationalism, corporation, expansionism, social progress and anti-communism in combination with censorship and state propaganda. He received admiration from a number of political figures. Mussolini first sided with France against Germany in the early 1930's but later became one of the main figures of the axis powers on June 10, 1940. He then led Italy into World War 2 on the axis side.
225px-Mussolini young.jpg

Early Life

Mussolini was born in Dovia di Predappio, a rural town in the province of Forlì in Emilia-Romagna. The family Mussolini was born into was of a working class background. His father Alessandro Mussolini was a blacksmith and a socialist activist, while his mother Rosa Mussolini was a schoolteacher, unlike her husband she was a devout Catholic. Owing to his father's political leanings Mussolini was named Benito after Mexican reformist President Benito Juárez, while his middle names Andrea and Amilcare were from Italian socialists Andrea Costa and Amilcare Cipriani. Benito was the eldest of his parent's three children. His birthplace today is now used as a museum. In 1902, Mussolini immigrated to Switzerland to find work and to expand his political views. During a period when he was unable to find a permanent job there, he was arrested for vagrancy and jailed for one night. Later, after becoming involved in the socialist movement, he was deported to Italy and volunteered for military service. Mussolini found a job as a journalist in 1908 in Trento, which was under Austria-Hungary control. After first writing on a number of times against the war in the socialist paper Avanti, Mussolini backed down and he and his class were called up in August of 1915 for active duty.

Military Service

Although his military record was unremarkable, it was without blemish and it has been suggested that he may have been prevented from moving further along in the ranks due to his ongoing political agitation in various periodicals. Mussolini's military experience is told in his work Diario Di Guerra. Overall he totaled about 9 months of active, front-line trench warfare. During this time he contracted paratyphoid fever. His military exploits ended in 1917 when the explosion of a mortar bomb wounded him accidentally in his trench. He was left with at least 40 shards of metal in his body. He was discharged from the hospital in August 1917 and resumed his editor-in-chief position at his new paper

Starting Fascism in Italy

Mussolini and the fascists managed to be revolutionary and traditionalist a numerous amount of times, because this was extremely different to anything else in the political world of the time it is sometimes described as "The Third Way". The Fascisti, led by one of Mussolini's close confidants, Dino Grandi, formed armed squads of war veterans called Blackshirts (or squadristi) with the goal of restoring order to the streets of Italy with a strong hand. The Blackshirts clashed with communists, socialists and anarchists at parades and demonstrations; all of these factions were also involved in clashed against each other. The government rarely interfered with the Blackshirts' actions, due in part to a looming threat and widespread fear of a communist revolution. The Fascisti grew so rapidly that within two years, it transformed itself into the National Fascist Party at a congress in Rome.


Through the late months 1922 Italy seemed to having a major political decline. The Black Shirts marched on Rome and Mussolini showed himself as the only man capable of restoring order. King Victor Emmanuel invited Mussolini to form a government. He gradually unestablished the institutions of democratic government and in 1925 made himself dictator, taking the title 'Il Duce'. He was attempting to re-establish Italy as a great European power. The regime was held together by strong state control and Mussolini's powerful personality. In 1935 Mussolini invaded what is now present day Ethiopia to establish a new Italian empire. He started operating with Nazi Germany through the Pact of Steel in 1939. Hitler influenced Mussolini so he began to start anti-Jewish legislation in Italy. The Italians faced military weaknesses when he declared war on Britain and France in June 1940 when they faced many defeats.

His Death

In July of 1943, Allied forces landed in Sicily. Mussolini was overthrown and thrown in prison by his former colleagues of the Fascist government. In September Italy signed an armistice with the Allied forces.

The German army began the occupation of Italy and Mussolini was rescued by German soldiers. He was made as the leader of a new government but had very little power. As the Allies moved northward through Italy, Mussolini fled to Switzerland. He was captured by Italian partisans and shot on 28 April 1945. Mussolini and 15 leading Fascists in retaliation were killed. They were executed on April 29, 1945, and their bodies were hung at an Esso gas station in the Piazzale Loreto in Milan.



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