Benito Mussolini

Italy
1925 – 1943
1918, Execution
Socialist
Benito Mussolini
Mussolini mezzobusto.jpg
Head of Government of Italy and
Duce of Fascism
In office
24 December 1925 – 25 July 1943
Monarch Victor Emmanuel III
Preceded by Himself
(as Prime Minister)
Succeeded by Pietro Badoglio
(as Prime Minister)
27th Prime Minister of Italy
In office
31 October 1922 – 25 July 1943
Monarch Victor Emmanuel III
Preceded by Luigi Facta
Succeeded by Pietro Badoglio
First Marshal of the Empire
In office
30 March 1938 – 25 July 1943
Serving with Victor Emmanuel III
Duce of the Italian Social Republic[1]
In office
23 September 1943 – 25 April 1945
Personal details
Born Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini
(1883-07-29)29 July 1883
Predappio, Forlì, Kingdom of Italy
Died 28 April 1945(1945-04-28) (aged 61)
Giulino di Mezzegra, Kingdom of Italy
Resting place San Cassiano cemetery, Predappio, Forlì, Italian Republic
Nationality Italian
Political party Republican Fascist Party
(1943–1945)
National Fascist Party
(1921–1943)
Italian Fasci of Combat
(1919–1921)
Fasci of Revolutionary Action
(1914–1919)
Autonomous Fasci of Revolutionary Action
(1914)
Italian Socialist Party
(1901–1914)
Spouse(s) Rachele Mussolini
Relations Ida Dalser
Margherita Sarfatti
Clara Petacci
Children Edda Mussolini
Vittorio Mussolini
Bruno Mussolini
Romano Mussolini
Anna Maria Mussolini
Profession Dictator, politician, journalist, novelist, teacher
Religion (See this section for details.)
Signature
Military service
Allegiance  Kingdom of Italy
Service/branch Regio Esercito
Years of service 1915–1917
Rank Corporal
Unit 11th Bersaglieri Regiment
Battles/wars World War I

Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (Italian pronunciation: [beˈnito mussoˈlini]; 29 July 1883 – 28 April 1945) was an Italian politician and leader of the National Fascist Party, ruling the country from 1922 to his ousting in 1943. In 1926 Mussolini seized total power as dictator and ruled Italy as Il Duce ("the leader") from 1930 to 1943. Mussolini was one of the key figures in the creation of fascism.[2]

Originally a member of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI), Mussolini was expelled from the PSI due to his opposition to the party's stance on neutrality in World War I. Mussolini denounced the PSI, and later founded the fascist movement. Following the March on Rome in October 1922 he became the 27th Prime Minister of Italy. After destroying all political opposition through his secret police and outlawing labor strikes,[3] Mussolini and his fascist followers consolidated their power through a series of laws that transformed the nation into a one-party dictatorship. Within five years he had established dictatorial authority by both legal and extraordinary means, aspiring to create a totalitarian state. Mussolini remained in power until he was replaced in 1943; he remained the leader of the Italian Social Republic until his death in 1945.

Since 1939, Mussolini had sought to delay a major war in Europe until at least 1942. However, Germany invaded Poland on the first day of September in 1939, starting World War II. On 10 June 1940, Mussolini sided with Germany, though he was aware that Italy did not have the military capacity in 1940 to carry out a long war with France and the United Kingdom.[4] Mussolini believed that after the imminent French surrender, Italy could gain territorial concessions from France and then he could concentrate his forces on a major offensive in Egypt, where British and Commonwealth forces were outnumbered by Italian forces.[5] However the UK refused to accept German proposals for a peace that would involve accepting Germany's victories in Eastern and Western Europe, plans for a German invasion of the UK did not proceed, and the war continued.

On 24 July 1943, soon after the start of the Allied invasion of Italy, Mussolini was defeated in the vote at the Grand Council of Fascism, and the day after the King had him arrested. On 12 September 1943, Mussolini was rescued from prison in the daring Gran Sasso raid by German special forces. In late April 1945, with total defeat looming, Mussolini attempted to escape north,[6] only to be quickly captured and summarily executed near Lake Como by Italian partisans. His body was then taken to Milan where it was hung upside down at a petrol station for public viewing and to provide confirmation of his demise.[7]
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