Benito Mussolini

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Benito Mussolini
Personal Life
Date & Place of Birth July 29, 1883
Predappio, Forlì, Italy
Parents Alessandro Mussolini
Rosa Maltoni
Claimed religion Roman Catholic (rejected)
Education No higher education beyond public schooling
Spouse Ida Irene Dalser (d. 1937)
Rachele Guidi
Clara Petacci (mistress)
Children Benito Albino Mussolini (from Ida)
Rachele Mussolini
Edda Mussolini
Anna Maria Mussolini
Vittorio Mussolini
Bruno Mussolini
Romano Mussolini
Date & Place of Death April 28, 1945
Giulino di Mezzegra, Italy
Manner of Death Executed by firing squad
Place of Burial Predappio, Emilia-Romagna Region, Italy
Dictatorial Career
Country Italy
Military Service Italian Army (1917)
Highest rank attained Corporal
Political beliefs Socialism
Political party Italian Socialist Party (1901-1914)
National Fascist Party (1921-1943)
Republican Fascist Party (1943-1945)
Date of Dictatorship 1922
Wars started Invasions of Libya, Ethiopia
Allied with Germany in World War II
Number of Deaths attributed Unknown; believed in the thousands

Benito Andrea Amilcare Mussolini (1883-1945) was the Fascist dictator of Italy. A life-long socialist intellectual[1] and self-proclaimed "socialist heretic", he was nominated prime minister by Vittorio Emanuele III di Savoia, King of Italy, in the time of World War II. He was head of one of the strong forms of government seen in Europe in this time. He created the political structure Fasci Italiani di Combatimento, which is what later would be known as Fascism, a term which was later used to describe the merging of government and corporation. He was responsible for several war crimes in Ethiopia and Yugoslavia.

Early Life

Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was born July 29, 1883. He was executed on April 28, 1945.[2] Mussolini was born in the central Italian town of Predappio, in the then-province of Forlì (from 1992 called province of Forlì-Cesena). His father, Alessandro, was a blacksmith and his mother, Rosa Maltoni, was a school teacher. Alessandro Mussolini was an enthusiast socialist of the anarchic wing and an atheist. He bestowed the first name "Benito" upon his son after Mexican president Benito Juarez and the middle name "Andrea" after the founder of the short-lived Italian "Revolutionary Socialist Party of Romagna", Andrea Conti. Benito's mother, however, was a religious Catholic woman and had the child baptized.

Benito Mussolini had a troubled education: he was expelled from a Salesian-run religious middle school in Faenza when he stabbed an older classmate with a knife. After that, he enrolled in a public and secular Teachers' School for Boys in Forlimpopoli (even there, he was poorly behaved and involved in fistfights). He graduated in 1901 with an elementary teacher's license, but was jobless. In order to avoid mandatory military service, he fled to Switzerland where he lived by his wits. He never attended any kind of university, as his school didn't grant the necessary diploma to do so.

Mussolini had been introduced to socialism by his father, and got closer and closer to the Socialist Party in his teen years, until he eventually subscribed in 1900. He started writing on the socialist newspaper L'Avvenire del lavoratore very soon, in 1904.

Fascism and Socialism

Mussolini created Fascism "from the same intellectual material Lenin and Trotsky had built their movements with."[3]

"His fluency in socialist theory was, if not legendary, certainly impressive to everyone who knew him."[4] Olindo Vernocchi declared Mussolini "not only the representative of the Romagna Socialist bu the Duce of all revolutionary socialists in Italy."[5]

Benito Mussolini and Atheism

In his work entitled Mussolini Denis Mack Smith wrote the following:

From his father he [Mussolini] had learnt to be a thoroughgoing anti-clerical. He proclaimed himself to be an atheist and several times tried to shock an audience by calling on God to strike him dead. He forcibly denounced those socialists who thought religion a matter for individual conscience or had their children baptised. [In Mussolini's opinion] Science had proved that God did not exist and the Jesus of history was an ignorant Jew whose family thought him mad, and who was a pigmy compared to the Buddha. Religion, he said, was a disease of the psyche, an epidemic to be cured by psychiatrists, and Christianity in particular was vitiated by preaching the senseless virtues of resignation and cowardice, whereas the new socialist morality should celebrate violence and rebellion."[6]

Though privately hostile to the Roman Catholic Church, Mussolini oversaw the Lateran Treaties in 1929, which recognized the independence of the Vatican and even contained a provision that outlawed any display of disrespect for the Pope. In addition, all schools including Catholic schools had to honor Mussolini and his picture was prominently displayed in each classroom. [7]

By February 1918, he was calling for the emergence of a leader "ruthless and energetic enough to make a clean sweep." In May, he hinted in a speech in Bologna that he might be that leader.

Rise to Power

In 1923 after rising through the ranks Mussolini became the elected member for Tuscany in the Italian Parliament. In 1927 he took over from Mario Felloni as the leader of Cullo Cappelli who were the opposition. Leading up to the 1928 election Mussolini began to begin his campaign. During this time Italy was in an economic slump and the Italian public were not satisfied with the president of the time, Francisco Delosini and his Treasurer Guido Michenelli's management of the federal budget. Mussolini preyed on this dissatisfaction and promised to eliminate all debt within the government. In 1922, Mussolini was invited by King Vittorio Emanuele III to form a new Italian government. A law passed on Christmas Eve 1925 changed Mussolini's title from "president of the Council of Ministers" (prime minister) to "head of the government." He was no longer responsible to Parliament, and could only be removed by the king.

  • "... most American liberals either admired Mussolini and his project or simply didn't care much about it one way or the other."[8]

Alliance with Hitler

In 1931 Mussolini first came into contact with Adolf Hitler at a meeting of European leaders, and an alliance was formed. For the rest of the 1930's Mussolini began to recklessly spend Italy's money on obsolete arms which he planned to issue to the army if Hitler ever attempted to take over Europe. In 1935, he invaded Ethiopia with this army and using poison gas defeated the imperial troops. The world was horrified at his use of weapons of mass destruction (i.e. poison gas).

World War II

In September 1939 when England and France declared war on Germany after Hitler invaded Poland, Mussolini announced that Italy would join Germany in the war effort against the allied forces. He waited however, until after France had surrendered before invading southern France and officially entering the war. During World War 2, he increased his military, limited free speech and pushed his political views on all of his countrymen even more so.

Mussolini Deposed

When the Allies invaded the Italian island of Sicily in 1943, King Vittorio Emmanuel III panicked at the thought of an Allied invasion of the Italian mainland. He immediately stripped Mussolini of his power and ordered Mussolini to be arrested.


He was rescued through covert operations by German special forces (most notably Otto Skorzeny) without a single casualty occurring during the rescue operation. Mussolini was then installed as the head of the German puppet state, Repubblica Sociale Italiana (RSI) based at Salo in northern Italy - hence its alternative name of the Salo Republic.

Capture and Death

Mussolini was later recaptured at the end of the war by partisans. He and his mistress Claretta Petacci were shot and hanged upside down.

War crimes

Mussolini is responsible for several war crimes during the Italian occupation of Abyssinia (today Ethiopia) and Yugoslavia.

During the second Italo-Abyssinian war, Italian troops commited atrocites such as the use of mustard gas, the bombing of Red Cross hospitals and ambulances, the execution of captured prisoners without trial, the Graziani massacre, the killings at Däbrä Libanos monastery, and the shooting of "witch-doctors" accused of prophesying the end of fascist rule.[9]

During the Italian occupation of Yugoslavia in WWII, Italian troops used draconian measures to intimidate the native Slavic population into silence, such as summary executions, hostage-taking, reprisals, internments and the burning of houses and villages.[10]

Many historians consider both of the forementioned an attempt of genocide.

Family Members

His legacy is continued by his neo-fascist granddaughter Alessandra Mussolini, who is a current member of the European Parliament. His daughter-in-law, Anna Maria Scicolone, was the sister of actress Sophia Loren.


  • "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato" (Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State) [11]

See Also


  1. Liberal Fascism, Jonah Goldberg, Page 31
  2. Execution of Mussolini
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named lf31
  4. Liberal Fascism, Jonah Goldberg, Page 34
  5. Liberal Fascism, Jonah Goldberg, Page 35
  6. "Mussolini", by Denis Mack Smith, Vintage Books, 1983, page 8.
  7. [Per User:Jpatt's grandmother who went to school in Italy until age 7]
  8. Liberal Fascism, Jonah Goldberg, Page 30
  9. Richard Pankhurst, Addis Ababa University, Italian Fascist war crimes in Ethiopia ([1])
  10. An independent report on Italo-Slovenian relationships in the 1941-1945 period ([2])
  11. [,+nothing+outside+the+State,+nothing+against+the+State&ei=oW8TSt6pLYPuzQTw9Oy3BA#PPA52,M1 Liberal fascism: the secret history of the American left, from Mussolini to ...‎ - Page 52]

External links