- NAME: Benito Mussolini
- OCCUPATION: Dictator
- BIRTH DATE: July 29, 1883
- DEATH DATE: April 28, 1945
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Dovia di Predappio, Forlì, Italy
- PLACE OF DEATH: Mezzegra, Italy
- Full Name: Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini
- AKA: Benito Mussolini
- Nickname: "Il Duce" ("the Leader")
- Nickname: "Iron Perfect"
Best Known For
Benito Mussolini created the Fascist Party in Italy in 1919, eventually making himself dictator prior to World War II. He was killed in 1945.
Mussolini - The Bully (3:51)
Although Italy's king peacefully relinquished power to Mussolini in 1922, the dictator mythologized that he took the country by force.
Born in northern Italy in 1833, Benito Mussolini grew up with an unloving father and became a bully who clung to Socialist values and defied authority.
In 1919 Mussolini formed the Fascist Party. He convinced Italians to replace their messy democratic system with a dictatorship.
Fearing Hitler's growing power in Germany, Mussolini found himself forced into World War II by his more powerful ally.
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Born in 1883 in Dovia di Predappio, Forlì, Italy, Benito Mussolini was an ardent socialist as a youth, following in his father's political footsteps, but was expelled by the party for his support of World War I. In 1919, he created the Fascist Party, eventually making himself dictator and holding all the power in Italy. He overextended his forces during World War II and was eventually killed by his own people, on April 28, 1945, in Mezzegra, Italy.
"It is humiliating to remain with our hands folded while others write history. It matters little who wins. To make a people great it is necessary to send them to battle even if you have to kick them in the pants. That is what I shall do."
"All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state."
"Democracy is beautiful in theory; in practice it is a fallacy."
"Fascism is a religion. The 20th century will be known in history as the century of Fascism."
"The history of saints is mainly the history of insane people."
"We become strong, I feel, when we have no friends upon whom to lean, or to look to for moral guidance."
Born on July 29, 1883, in Dovia di Predappio, Forlì, Italy, Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was the eldest of three children. His father, Alessandro, was a blacksmith and an impassioned socialist who spent much of his time on politics and much of his money on his mistress. His mother, Rosa (Maltoni), was a devout Catholic schoolteacher who provided the family with some stability and income.
As a youth, Benito Mussolini showed much intelligence, but was boisterous and disobedient. His father instilled in him a passion for socialist politics and a defiance against authority. Though he was expelled from several schools for bullying and defying school authorities, he eventually obtained a teaching certificate in 1901 and, for a brief time, worked as a schoolmaster.
In 1902, Benito Mussolini moved to Switzerland to promote socialism, and quickly gained a reputation for his magnetism and remarkable rhetorical talents. While engaging in political demonstrations, he caught the attention of Swiss authorities and was eventually expelled from the country. In 1904, Mussolini returned to Italy and continued promoting a socialist agenda. He was briefly imprisoned and, upon release, became editor of the organization's newspaper, Avanti (meaning "Forward"), which gave him a larger megaphone and expanded his influence.
Mussolini initially condemned Italy's entry into World War I, but soon saw the war as an opportunity for his country to become a great power. His change in attitude broke ties with fellow socialists, however, and he was expelled from the organization. He joined the Italian army in 1915 and fought on the front lines, reaching the rank of corporal before being wounded and discharged from the military.
After the war, Mussolini resumed his political activities, criticizing the Italian government for weakness at the Treaty of Versailles. He organized several right-wing groups into a single force and, in March 1919, formed the Fascist Party—the movement proclaimed opposition to social class discrimination and supported nationalist sentiments, hoping to raise Italy to levels of its great Roman past.
Capitalizing on public discontent, Mussolini organized a para-military unit known as the "Black Shirts," who terrorized political opponents and helped increase Fascist influence. By 1922, as Italy slipped into political chaos, Mussolini declared that only he could restore order and was given the authority. He gradually dismantled all democratic institutions, and by 1929, had made himself dictator, taking the title "Il Duce" ("the Leader"). To his credit, Mussolini carried out an extensive public works program and reduced unemployment, making him very popular with the people.
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