Biography of Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (29 July 1883 – 28 April 1945) was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party, ruling the country from 1922 to his ousting in 1943, and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of fascism.
Originally a member of the Italian Socialist Party and editor of the Avanti! from 1912 to 1914, Mussolini fought in World War I as an ardent nationalist and created the Fasci di Combattimento in 1919, catalyzing his nationalist and socialist beliefs in the Fascist Manifesto, published in 1921. Following the March on Rome in October 1922 he became the 27th Prime Minister of Italy and began using the title Il Duce by 1925, about which time he had established dictatorial authority by both legal and extraordinary means, aspiring to create a totalitarian state. After 1936, his official title was Sua Eccellenza Benito Mussolini, Capo del Governo, Duce del Fascismo e Fondatore dell'Impero ("His Excellency Benito Mussolini, Head of Government, Duce of Fascism, and Founder of the Empire") Mussolini also created and held the supreme military rank of First Marshal of the Empire along with King Victor Emmanuel III, which gave him and the King joint supreme control over the military of Italy. Mussolini remained in power until he was replaced in 1943; he remained the leader of the Italian Social Republic until his death in 1945.
Mussolini was among the founders of fascism. Mussolini influenced, or achieved admiration from, a wide variety of political figures.
Among the domestic achievements of Mussolini from the years 1924–1939 were: his public works programs such as the draining of the Pontine Marshes, the improvement of job opportunities, the public transport, and the so-called Italian economic battles. Mussolini also solved the Roman Question by concluding the Lateran Treaty between the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See. Mussolini and the Fascist regime initiated an aggressive campaign to destroy the Sicilian mafia with mass arrests and trials of mafiosi. Mussolini was unable to purge Sicily of the mafia, because the mafia utilized its strong base of supporters to hide and protect itself as an underground movement during Fascist rule in Italy.
Since 1939, Mussolini had sought to delay a major war in Europe until at least 1942 for the following reasons: The army needed to substitute its outdated medium and large caliber guns with modern ones; Italian East Africa needed to be pacified so that a colonial army could be drafted there; the navy needed time to complete construction or refurbishing of six battleships; the 1942 planned world exposition in Rome had to be held in order raise foreign currency reserves; the Italians emigrants in France had to be repatriated for "military and ethical reasons". However, Germany invaded Poland on the first day of September in 1939, starting World War II. On 10 June 1940, Mussolini led Italy into the calamity of siding with Germany. Mussolini was aware that Italy did not have the military capacity in 1940 to carry out a long war with France and the United Kingdom. Therefore, he had waited until the former was on the verge of imminent collapse because of the German invasion before declaring war on France and the United Kingdom, He had mistakenly concluded that following France's collapse the war would be short-lived. He believed that peace negotiations would take place shortly after France fell. 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. 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, through the Ordine del giorno Grandi 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. Following his rescue, Mussolini headed the Italian Social Republic in parts of Italy that were not occupied by Allied forces. In late April 1945, with total defeat looming, Mussolini attempted to escape north, 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.