Benito Mussolini had a life full of unusual ups and downs, from multiple arrests to ruling his country of Italy during World War II, to being hated by his countrymen and women for all the awful things he had done to them during his rule.
Mussolini’s birth and early life
Benito was born in July 1883 to a father who worked as a blacksmith. His father had strong revolutionary socialist political beliefs and named his son after three leaders that he admired, Mexican president Benito Juarez and two Italian revolutionary socialists Amilcare Cipriani and Andrea Costa. Benito’s mother was a very religious woman who worked as a teacher. Benito’s father’s opinions affected Benito from a young age.
In 1901, after graduating from school, Benito Mussolini joined the socialist party and wrote for multiple political newspapers for about a year. In 1902, Benito ran away to Switzerland to avoid his military service in Italy. He got arrested in 1903 for participating in a violent strike and was deported to Italy. He ran away two or three times and every time he was arrested and deported to Italy until he finally served in the Italian military for two years.
Mussolini starts Fascism
Although Mussolini was a socialist and against war, he started to change his political beliefs and felt that war was good for the Italian people. Of course, this resulted in the socialist party having to expel him. He participated in World War I and was injured in 1917.
In 1919, Benito Mussolini started the Fascist Party based on his vision that the government should have all the power in the country and that the people must follow their government without questioning any decisions. Members of the Fascist Party were known to be violent towards those who disagreed with their ideas. They were known as “the black shirts,” as they wore black shirts all the time.
The appeal of the Fascist Party was its promise to the people to bring back the glory of the Roman Empire. This made thousands of people join the party. In 1922, Mussolini took over the government with the help of 30,000 Fascists. In 1925, he became the sole leader and dictator of Italy. He called himself “Il Duce,” which means “the leader.”
World War II
In 1936, Mussolini invaded and occupied Ethiopia. His ambition was for Italy to rule most of Europe as the Roman Empire once did. He made the “Pact of Steel” with Adolf Hitler to support each other against the rest of the European countries.
In 1939, World War II started, but Italy did not join in until 1940 to support Germany. The problem was that Italy was not able to fight such a big war. Mussolini may have been able to win in Ethiopia, but when the Italian troops had to be separated in multiple fights on different fronts, Italy started to lose, and the Italian people wanted their country out of the war right away.
In 1943, Mussolini was defeated personally when he was arrested and imprisoned. Soon, Germany took over Northern Italy and freed Mussolini. He ruled this part of Italy under German control for two years. In 1945, the Allied Powers won the war and took over Italy and Mussolini did what he does best – he ran away! Unfortunately for him, he was arrested by the Italian soldiers and was executed for his crimes in April 1945.
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