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Benito Mussolini Essay, Research Paper

Benito Mussolini

Benito Mussolini was the founder of Italian Fascism and premier of

Italy ruling as a dictator from about 1925 until his dismissal in 1943.

Mussolini was born to a socialist blacksmith. As a child he was unruly and

undisciplined. He shared his fathers views picking up other ideas from authors

of the time. Mussolini became a schoolteacher and journalist. He spent several

years in Switzerland and took Rachele Guidi as is wife, they had five children.

In 1913 Mussolini became editor of the Milan Socialist newspaper Avanti!

When World War 1 began in 1914 he first opposed Italy’s involvement, until he

changed his mind, saying that Italy should take a stand with the Allies. This

got him expelled from the socialist party. He soon founded his own paper, Il

popolo d’italia, which became the backbone of his Fascist movement. He then

served in the Army until he was wounded in 1917.

In 1919 Mussolini and some other war veterans founded a nationalistic

revolutionary group called the Fasci di Combattimento. His movement turned into

powerful radicalism, obtaining support from landowners in the Po valley,

industrialists, and many army officers. Fascist blackshirt squads carried on

civil war with Socialists, Communists, Catholics, and Liberals.

In October 1922 Mussolini secured permission from King Victor Emmanuel

lll to form a coalition government. In 1925-26, after a lengthy crisis with the

parliament following the killing of the Socialist leader Giacomo Matteotti, he

imposed a Totalarian Dictatorship. His Corperative State came to terms with

Italian Capitalism but abolished the free trade unions. In 1929 he ended

conflict with the church through the Lateran Treaty of 1929.

In the 1930’s Mussolini turned to an aggressive foreign policy,

conquering Ethiopia(1935-36) and helping General Francisco Franco in the Spanish

Civil War. In 1936 he joined with Hitler’s Germany and soon formed a military

alliance(1939). In 1939 Mussolini ordered his armies to occupy Albania. However

he kept out of World War ll until 1940, when the fall of France was imminent and

the Germans seemed to be winning the war.

After a series of Italian military disasters in Greece and North

Africa, the leaders of his party abandoned him. The king dismissed him on July

25,1943 and had him arrested. On September 12 the Germans rescued him, making

him puppet head of a government in northern Italy. In April 1945 Mussolini and

his mistress, Clara Petacci, tried to run from advancing Allied forced.

Captured by Partisans at Lake Como, they were shot on April 28 and their bodies

were hung in a public square in Milan. Mussolini was later buried at Predappio,

his birthplace. Although popular with most Italians until the late 1930’s, he

lost their support when he dragged his people into a war they were unprepared to

fight. Few regretted the overthrow of Fascism or his death.

Today many of Mussolini’s writings and speeches are available in English

including an autobiography written in 1939.

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