UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Benito Mussolini

Benito Mussolini was born on 29 July 1883 in Dovia di Predappio, province of Forli, toa Rosa Maltoni, an elementary teacher, and Alessandro Mussolini, a blacksmith. First he studied in the Colegio salesiano in Faenza (1892-93), then at the Carducci College of Forlimpopoli, receiving also the elementary teacher's diploma. Encouraged by his father, a violently anticlerical Socialist, he began his political career with the Italian Socialist Party (PSI). Shortly after he stumbled into a real adventure. In order to evade military service, in fact, he fled to Switzerland, where he remained a prominent revolutionary, among other things, fascinated by the ideas of a Marxist mold.

Mussolini was back in Italy in 1904, after being expelled by Switzerland for repeated and exasperated antimilitarist and anti-clerical activism. Due to a bureaucratic error, he was credited with military service in the bersaglieri Regiment stationed in Verona. For a brief period of time he taught at Tolmezzo and Oneglia (1908), where he works closely with the Socialist periodical "La Lima" ["file"]; then he went back to Dovia.

Mussolini's political activity continued unremitting. Among other things, Mussolini was imprisoned for twelve days for supporting a strike of laborers. He then served as Secretary of the Chamber of Labor in Trento (1909) and directed another newspaper "L'avventura del lavoratore" ["the adventure of the worker"]. Mussolini clashed with Catholic and moderate environments and, after six months of hectic propaganda activity was ejected from the newspaper among the vibrant protests of Socialists, arousing a vast echo throughout the Italian left. Back in Forlí he was united, without constraints or civil or religious marriage, with Rachele Mussolini, daughter of his father's new girlfriend. Together they had five children: Edda in 1910, Vittorio in 1925, Bruno in 1918, Roman in 1927 and Anna Maria in 1929. In 1915 a civil marriage was celebrated while in 1925 that of religion.

At the same time the Socialist leadership forlivese offers him the direction of the weekly "class struggle" and appoint its Secretary. At the end of the Socialist Congress in Milan in October 1910, still dominated by reformists, Mussolini would shake the maximalist minority, even at the risk of splitting the party causing the output from the PSI of Socialist Federation, but no other forlivese follows in the initiative. When it comes to the war in Libya, Mussolini appears as the man best suited to be the ideal and political renewal of the party. Protagonist of Congress emiliano di Reggio Emilia and assumed the leadership of the newspaper "next!" at the end of the 1912, becomes the main catalyst of discontent of Italian society, folded by economic crises and ideals.

The outbreak of World War I fond Mussolini on the same line of the party and of neutrality. Within a few months, the future Duce became convinced that the opposition to the war would ultimately drag the PSI to a sterile and marginal role, while, according to his opinion, it would be appropriate to use the opportunity to bring the masses along the path of renewal. From direction resigns so the Socialist newspaper on 20 October 1914, just two days after the publication of an article that was just note the changed program.

After escaping from the front where he was wounded and hospitalized. , Mussolini decided to found a newspaper. In early November 1914 Mussolini launched "the people of Italy", - a radically ultranationalist sheet which advocated interventionist positions. The people, judging by the resounding sales boom, was with him. As a result of these positions, Mussolini was expelled from the Party (24-25 November 1914) and called to arms (August 1915). After being seriously wounded during a tutorial he returned to guide his newspaper columns, which broke the last links with the old socialist array, where the implementation of a capitalist society production-capable of meeting the economic needs of all walks of life.

Mussolini made a first attempt performs with the Foundation, took place in Milan on 23 March 1919 with a speech of Mussolini to Piazza San Sepolcro, "Fasci di Combattimento" based on a mixture of left-wing radical ideas and on nationalism. The initiative did not at first collect a great success. As, however, the situation was deteriorating, Italian Fascism was characterized as force organized in anti-Union and antisocialista functions. Mussolini got a growing accessions and favorable opinions from the agrarian and industrial sectors and by the middle classes.

As a wounded war veteran, Benito Mussolini gained legitimacy and respect. He was an activist for socialistcauses before the war, but emerged from combat and hos-pitalization as a fascist. His training as an activist in thestreets was easily transferred from one cause to another. He read the politics of the time and rode a popular theme. Long before Hitler in Germany, he discovered the key thatunlocked the power of collective passion with the intoxi-cating rhetoric of power and racial-ethnic superiority.

The "March on Rome" (October 28, 1922) opened the doors to Mussolini to form the new Government, forming a Cabinet of broad coalition that lets hope to many the advent of "normalization". Power was strengthened with the victory in the election of 1924. After Mussolini was going through a period of great difficulties due to the assassination of Socialist MEP Giacomo Matteotti (10 June 1924), the first big fascist murder (though contemporary historians do not trace it directly to the will of Mussolini himself).

The opposing reaction did not wait. At the end of 1925, Mussolini was the subject of numerous attacks that are signed by Freemasons, Socialists, anarchists and whatever other (even a solitary woman Irish). The fact is that despite the clear claim of a dictatorial regime, Mussolini managed to preserve and, at times to increase his popularity by skillful initiatives such as the resolution of the long-standing problem of the so-called "Roman question", performing through the Lateran (11 February 1929, signed on behalf Vatican of Cardinal Pietro Gasparri, Secretary of State) the reconciliation between the Italian State and the Church.

An incessant propaganda began to extol the qualities of the dictator, painting from time to time as "genius" or as "Supreme" duce, an exaltation of personality characteristic of totalitarian regimes. Over time, however, the story gave dramatically way to the reality. Events showed a leader unable to make firm decisions. In foreign policy, with the goal to renovate and fortify the prestige of the Nation, Mussolini had an unusual mixture of literary realism imperialist and cautious of ancient Rome, held uncertainly and inconstantly.

After the Italian troops occupation of Corfu in 1923, and the resolute stance against the annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany, Mussolini undertook the conquest of Ethiopia: on 3 October 1935 Italian troops cross the border to Abyssinia and 9 May 1936 the Duce announces the end of the war and the birth of the Italian Empire of Ethiopia. The conquest on the one hand he does get to the top of its fame in their homeland but on the other hand makes it unpalatable to the United Kingdom, France and the League of Nations, forcing him to a progressive and fatal approaching Germany Hitler, signature, in 1939, the so-called "Pact of steel", an agreement that the League officially at the infamous regime.

In 1940, although unprepared militarily, Mussolini decided to go to war assuming Supreme command of the troops involved in the illusion of a quick and easy triumph. Unfortunately for him (and for Italy!), the fates proved negative and dramatic for Mussolini and fascism. After the Anglo-American invasion of Sicily and one of his last Hitler talks with (July 19, 1943). Mussolini was overturned by the Grand Council (24 July) and on the afternoon of July 25, 1943, Italy's formal sovereign, Victor Emmanuel III, dismissed Benito Mussolini as chief of the government and ordered his arrest. Marshall Badoglio was called to preside at a Government Cabinet mainly formed byprofessionals. Meanwhile, Italian opponents of the fascist regime applied pressure for theimmediate elimination of fascism, separation from Germany, and the pursuit of an armisticewith the Allied governments to reach a separate peace treaty later. In response to the Italiangovernment's moves to remove Mussolini from power, Hitler occupied Italy.

Hitler ordered the release of Mussolini in person, and entrusted the execution to the Austrian Otto Skorzeny later by the allies, declared "the most dangerous man in Europe" for his ability and his audacity. On 12 September Mussolini was freed by German paratroopers and brought first to Vienna and then to Germany. On his arrival in Munich, Germany, Mussolini reconstituted the Fascist Party, proclaiming allegiance to his former republican and socialist programs while laying theblame for the defeat on betrayers and saboteurs. From this program, on September 23, the "Italian Social Republic" was formed under the German Army occupation. Meanwhile, in the South, a government led by Badoglio was constituted. This provisional government declared war on Germany on September 13 and was acknowledged as a "co-belligerent" by the Allies.

Increasingly isolated and lacking in credibility, when the last German forces were defeated, he made offers to the heads of the C.L.N.A. (National Liberation Committee High Italy) a transfer of powers, that were rejected. Disguised as a German solder, Mussolini tried to escape with his companion Franci Petacci, toward the Valtellina. Mussolini was recognized by the partisans in Dongo, subsequently arrested and executed on 28 April 1945 to Giulino di Mezzegra of Mezzegra (Como).

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 02-04-2016 16:50:41 ZULU