Benito Mussolini, 1883 - 1945

Benito Mussolini 1883 - 1945

Mussolini's full name was Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini. His friends called him Il Duce, which means The Leader in Italian.

As his nickname suggests, il Duce was good friends with Der Fuehrer, which means The Leader in German, and of course we are talking about nut Adolf.

Benito Mussolini was a fascist.
What in the world is a fascist?


Benito Mussolini's Family

Benito was married to Rachele Guidi, the daughter of his father's mistress.

Apparently, he was also married to Ida Dalser.

With Ida he had a son, Benito Jr. According to the Guardian, there was a movie in the makes about Ida.


Benito Mussolini — The Early Years

Benito was a kid who loved his penknife. Preferably on other kids. As he grew up, his talent to magnetize crowds became obvious.

Benito Mussolini soon was the center of all sorts of troubles and went in and out of jail time and again. He liked the ideas of Karl Marx and became a Socialist.


Map location: Predappio, Italy - Mussolini's birthplace
Predappio, Italy - Mussolini's birthplace
Google Map


Benito Mussolini and World War I

Benito Mussolini was 100% against World War I and made his opinion known with his, by then notorious, noise and intensity.

Being against everything was Mussolini's nature. However, being against war meant being for peace. On second thought, that was no fun at all. Thus, Benito changed his mind and went to fight in the war.

Onlooking therapists saw a vulnerable child trying to reach out.


Benito Mussolini — The Dictator Years

Coming home from war, Benito Mussolini was ready for more action. With his gift for bombastic speeches he rallied many discontented individuals. His words didn't make a lot of sense most of the time, but Mussolini had the crowds fired up effortlessly.

A momentum was created. People started wearing black shirts and raided governmental institutions as well as belongings of Communists, Catholics, and others.

By October 1922, the Blackshirts were on the roll but rather toothless. However, after their infamous March on Rome, King Victor Emmanuel III chose not to fight for his throne and Mussolini became Prime Minister of Italy on October 31, 1922, or in effect dictator.

Please note that Emmanuel had the choice whether or not to activate his armed forces against Mussolini's ill-equipped black shirts, but he felt it prudent to pass.

At the blackshirt propaganda desk, the March on Rome was of course completely blown out of portion and sold as a heroic and patriotic act. But it impressed the dickens out of the Nazi propaganda desk, which went to work immediately. Right away, in November 1922, they had a new slogan:

"Germany's Mussolini is called Adolf Hitler."

These guys had found their ultimate marketing tool — the Führer cult.


Benito Mussolini — Controversy and World War II

When Mussolini came to power, Italy's economy was in dire straits. Many people credit Mussolini for re-structuring and reinvigorating the country.

However, there was too much Napoleon in Mussolini and it went downhill soon. But not before Italy had invaded Ethiopia in October 1935
Let Haile Selassie explain. Mussolini had declared the Italian Empire on May 9, 1936.

On May 22, 1939, and together with his buddy, Adolf Hitler, Mussolini formed the Pact of Steel.

Here you can read the Pact of Steel.

Benito Mussolini was sadly aware of the fact that Adolf Hitler was calling all the shots. Case in point was Austria. Mussolini told Hitler to stay away from Italy's direct neighbor. Hitler replied that he never even thought of annexing it.

Mussolini told Hitler again to keep his hands off Austria, this time with a pout because that's pretty much all he could do. Germany annexed Austria in March 1938. Some insist that Adolf snickered.

Nevertheless, Mussolini sang Hitler's song and Italian Jews were transported to German concentration camps.

  Benito and Adolf enjoying a cruise in their convertible through Munich in 1940
Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler in Munich, Germany, 1940



Italy entered World War II in 1940.

On July 9, 1943, the Allies landed in Sicily and all of a sudden the Italian Fascists felt very close to their king and voted for Mussolini's retirement.

Sicily 1943 - Allied Landing: Red Beach, Gela, Sicily - July 10, 1943
Red Beach, Gela, Sicily - July 10, 1943
U.S. Navy

Benito Mussolini didn't hear well on that ear, so the King had Mussolini arrested on July 25, 1943.

Two months later the Germans helped him escape to Munich, Germany. Mussolini later went back to northern Italy where he tried to regain his power.


Benito Mussolini's Death

The stronger the Allies became, the more Mussolini's life was in danger. On his way to the Brenner Pass in order to escape to Switzerland, his enemies finally caught up with Mussolini and his travel companion, Claretta Petacci near Dongo.

Both, Claretta and Benito, were shot and hung upside down in Milan, Italy. That was on April 28, 1945, just two days before Adolf Hitler went on his honeymoon with Eva Braun in a petrol-soaked ditch and someone lit a match.


Benito Mussolini's Short Biography

1883 Birth in Predappio, Italy

1902 Travels Switzerland

1904 Back to Italy

1922 - 1943 Prime Minister, Italy

1935 Invasion of Ethiopia

1940, June 10 - Italy enters WWII

1943, July - Allies invade Sicily

1945, April 28 - Death near Dongo, Italy


Benito Mussolini — Trivia

Mussolini was founder of the socialist newspaper The Class Struggle (La Lotta di Classe).

Claudia Cardinale was Claretta Petacci in the 1984 movie Claretta.

On your next trip to Rome keep your eyes peeled for the Mussolini obelisk. Here she stands:

EvaK / Anthony M / Wiki


See also Governments of Italy.




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