Benito Mussolini – Biography, History, Politics & Death
Benito Mussolini – Italian political leader who established fascism in interwar Italy.
|Birth||July 29, 1893, Dovia di Predappio, Italy.|
|Death||April 28, 1945, Giulino di Mezzegra, Italy.|
|Occupation||Military, political leader and journalist.|
|Cause of Death||Shooting.|
Who was Benito Mussolini?
Benito Mussolini was an Italian political leader who established fascism in interwar Italy. He held the positions of president of the Council of Ministers of Italy (1922-1943) and leader (Duce) of the Italian Social Republic (1943-1945).
His political life began in the ranks of socialism. But after going through World War I, he renounced his Marxist past, turned to the right, and became a nationalist. In 1921 he founded the National Fascist Party and the following year organized the March on Rome, which allowed him to reach power. Little by little, he was building an authoritarian regime that ended the parliamentary system, persecuted opponents, and criticized both capitalism and socialism.
The conviction that Italy had the right to possess a great colonial empire led him to associate with the Nazis. The alliance with Adolf Hitler turned Italy into Germany’s caboose and resulted in Italy‘s defeat in World War II and its assassination at the hands of Italian Communists.
Benito Mussolini Childhood and Education
Benito Mussolini was born on July 29, 1883 in Dovia di Predappio, province of Forlí, in northern Italy. His mother, Rosa Maltoni, was a teacher, and his father, Alessandro Mussolini, a blacksmith. Both were supporters of socialism, an ideology that they instilled in their son.
From a very young age, he had a difficult character that led him to have constant problems with friends and colleagues. At the age of 11 he was expelled from the Salesian School in Faenza for having a fight during which he cut a classmate with a knife.
After finishing his basic studies, he went on to Secondary School at a school in Forlimpopoli. But, in 1898 another fight with a classmate forced him to finish his studies as an external student.
Benito Mussolini: Beginnings of his Political Career
In 1900, Mussolini joined the Socialist Party, where he was part of the most revolutionary wing. From then on he combined political activity with teaching studies.
In 1902 he went into exile in Switzerland to get rid of the obligation to perform compulsory military service. There he remained for two years, until he was expelled for his activities as a socialist agitator.
Back in Italy, he did his military service and continued to be a member of the Socialist Party. In 1910 he was appointed secretary of the provincial federation of Forlí and shortly after he became editor of the Milanese newspaper Avanti, the official organ of Italian socialism. However, in 1914 he was expelled from the party for holding nationalist positions contrary to the internationalism of the main socialist leaders.
That same year he married Ida Dalser. The couple had a son, whom he named Benito Albino. In December 1915, he separated from Ida Dalser and married Rachele Guidi, with whom he had already had a daughter named Adda, in 1910. With Rachele he had four other children, Vittorio (1916), Bruno (1918), Romano (1927) and Anna Maria (1929).
Benito Mussolini Participation in the First World War
When Italy entered the First World War in 1914, Mussolini bragged about his willingness to volunteer. But he did not and was finally recruited by the state, in August 1915.
On September 2, he set out for the front of the Alps. There he wrote a war diary where he recounted his life in the trenches and where he depicted himself as the charismatic leader of a warrior community.
In March 1916, he was promoted to war merits, but in February 1917 he was wounded when a mortar he was handling exploding during a military exercise, for which he was discharged.
Upon returning from the front, he published a newspaper article where he claimed the right of Italian soldiers who had fought in the trenches to rule Italy after the end of the war.
Benito Mussolini Coming to Power
After the war, Italy was relegated in the negotiations of the peace treaties, so it did not receive the territories it claimed.
Mussolini wanted to take advantage of the feeling of disenchantment that gripped Italian society by calling for the fight against left-wing parties, which he blamed for the contempt to which the country had been subjected.
In 1919 he created the fasci di combattimento, armed agitation groups that attacked striking workers and left-wing militants in the streets. These groups were the germ of the National Fascist Party, which Mussolini founded in November 1921.
The fascists ran in the parliamentary elections in May 1921. Mussolini was elected deputy, although his party won only thirty-five of the five hundred seats in dispute.
In October 1922, Mussolini organized the March on Rome, during which 40,000 fascists marched through the streets of the capital. The show of force convinced King Victor Emmanuel III that he should hand over the government to Mussolini, who on October 29 was appointed Prime Minister.
On November 25, Parliament granted him emergency powers to stop strikes and worker unrest. Thus, Mussolini achieved the extraordinary powers with which he gradually established an authoritarian regime.
The kidnapping and murder of the socialist deputy Giacomo Matteotti, who had criticized the threats made by the fascists in the 1924 elections, was a clear message for the entire opposition and marked the beginning of a fierce dictatorship.
Mussolini and the World War II
In foreign policy, Mussolini began by establishing good relations with Germany, France and Great Britain by signing the Four Power Pact in 1933.
But after the opposition of the French and British to the war waged by Italy in Ethiopia, Mussolini approached Nazi Germany. This rapprochement was increased after the sanctions taken against Italy by the League of Nations in 1936. Thus the Rome-Berlin Axis was formed, which in 1939 was consolidated with the signing of the Pact of Steel, by which Germany and Italy formed a political-military alliance.
Italy‘s entry into World War II occurred on June 10, 1940, when the defeat of France was already a fait accompli (Translation: a thing accomplished and presumably irreversible). This was followed by campaigns in Africa, where Mussolini wanted to found an empire that stretched from Tunisia to Kenya. But after getting some victories, Italy was defeated by the British.
From then on, a succession of defeats and a disastrous participation of the Italian forces in the invasion of the Soviet Union, marked the decline of Mussolini.
Death of Benito Mussolini
In July 1943, the king and the Fascist Grand Council withdrew all powers and confined him to northern Italy. But a Nazi command released him from captivity and Hitler consecrated him as Duce of the Italian Social Republic, which was immediately invaded by the Allies.
On April 25, 1945, when defeat was already imminent, Mussolini tried to escape to Switzerland with his lover, Clara Petacci, and other fascist leaders. But two days later, the convoy in which he was traveling was intercepted by a group of communist partisans. After an exchange of fire, the Germans agreed to surrender the Italians who were traveling with them.
During the documentation check, Benito Mussolini was recognized and arrested immediately, to be shot three days later. The communists hung his body in a square in Milan, as was done with thieves and outlaws. Thus ended the life of the man who had promised the Italians to restore the glory of the times of the Roman Empire.