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Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini
Mussolini
(/bəˈniːtoʊ mʊsəˈliːni, muːsə-/; Italian: [beˈnito mussoˈlini];[1] 29 July 1883 – 28 April 1945) was an Italian politician and journalist who was the leader of the National Fascist Party
National Fascist Party
(Partito Nazionale Fascista; PNF). He ruled Italy
Italy
as Prime Minister from 1922 to 1943 – constitutionally until 1925, when he dropped the pretense of democracy and established a dictatorship. Known as Il Duce
Duce
("The Leader"), Mussolini
Mussolini
was the founder of Italian Fascism.[2][3][4] In 1912, Mussolini
Mussolini
had been a leading member of the National Directorate of the Italian Socialist Party
Italian Socialist Party
(PSI),[5] but was expelled from the PSI for advocating military intervention in World War I, in opposition to the party's stance on neutrality. Mussolini served in the Royal Italian Army
Royal Italian Army
during the war until he was wounded and discharged in 1917. Mussolini
Mussolini
denounced the PSI, his views now centering on nationalism instead of socialism and later founded the fascist movement which came to oppose egalitarianism[6] and class conflict, instead advocating revolutionary nationalism transcending class lines.[7] Following the March on Rome
March on Rome
in October 1922, Mussolini became the youngest Prime Minister in Italian history until the appointment of Matteo Renzi
Matteo Renzi
in February 2014. After removing all political opposition through his secret police and outlawing labor strikes,[8] Mussolini
Mussolini
and his followers consolidated their power through a series of laws that transformed the nation into a one-party dictatorship. Within five years, Mussolini
Mussolini
had established dictatorial authority by both legal and extraordinary means and aspired to create a totalitarian state. Mussolini
Mussolini
remained in power until he was deposed by King Victor Emmanuel III
Victor Emmanuel III
in 1943, but a few months later he became the leader of the Italian Social Republic, a German client regime in northern Italy
Italy
Mussolini
Mussolini
held this post until his death in 1945.[9] Mussolini
Mussolini
had sought to delay a major war in Europe until at least 1942,[citation needed] but Germany invaded Poland on 1 September 1939. This resulted in declarations of war by France and the UK and the start of World War II. On 10 June 1940—with the Fall of France imminent— Italy
Italy
officially entered the war on the side of Germany, though he was aware that Italy
Italy
did not have the military capacity and resources to carry out a long war with the British Empire.[10] Mussolini
Mussolini
believed that after the imminent French armistice, Italy could gain territorial concessions from France and then he could concentrate his forces on a major offensive in North Africa, where British and Commonwealth forces were outnumbered by Italian forces.[11] However, the UK government refused to accept proposals for a peace that would involve accepting Axis victories in Eastern and Western Europe, plans for an invasion of the UK did not proceed and the war continued. In the summer of 1941, Mussolini
Mussolini
sent Italian forces to participate in the invasion of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and war with the United States followed in December. In 1943, Italy
Italy
suffered one disaster after another: by February the Red Army
Red Army
had completely destroyed the Italian Army in Russia
Italian Army in Russia
(ARMIR), May saw the collapse of the Axis in North Africa, on 9 July the Allies invaded Sicily, and by the 16th it became clear the German summer offensive in the USSR had failed. As a consequence, early on 25 July, the Grand Council of Fascism
Fascism
passed a motion of no confidence for Mussolini; later that day the King dismissed him as head of government and had him placed in custody. On 12 September 1943, Mussolini
Mussolini
was rescued from captivity in the Gran Sasso raid
Gran Sasso raid
by German paratroopers and Waffen-SS
Waffen-SS
commandos led by Major Otto-Harald Mors. Adolf Hitler, after meeting with the rescued former dictator, then put Mussolini
Mussolini
in charge of a puppet regime in northern Italy, the Italian Social Republic (Italian: Repubblica Sociale Italiana, RSI),[12] informally known as the Salò
Salò
Republic. In late April 1945, in the wake of near total defeat, Mussolini
Mussolini
and his mistress Clara Petacci attempted to flee to Switzerland,[13] but both were captured by Italian communists and summarily executed by firing squad on 28 April 1945 near Lake Como. His body was then taken to Milan, where it was hung upside down at a service station to publicly confirm his demise.[14]

This article is part of a series about Benito Mussolini

Political views

Duce
Duce
of Fascism Fascist Manifesto Italian Fascism Spazio vitale Economic policies Racist policies Fascist Propaganda Model of masculinity

Parties

Italian Socialist Party
Italian Socialist Party
(1901–1914) Italian Fasci of Combat (1919–1921) National Fascist Party
National Fascist Party
(1921–1943) Republican Fascist Party
Republican Fascist Party
(1943–1945)

Elections

1924 1929 1934

Historical events

March on Rome Mussolini
Mussolini
Cabinet Corfu
Corfu
incident Murder of Giacomo Matteotti Aventine Secession Pacification of Libya Second Italo-Abyssinian War Foundation of the Empire Spanish Civil War Invasion of Albania Rome- Berlin
Berlin
Axis Pact of Steel World War II 25 Luglio Italian Social Republic Italian Civil War Death

v t e

Contents

1 Early life

1.1 Emigration
Emigration
to Switzerland
Switzerland
and military service 1.2 Political journalist, intellectual and socialist 1.3 Expulsion from the Italian Socialist Party 1.4 Beginning of Fascism
Fascism
and service in World War I

2 Rise to power

2.1 Formation of the National Fascist Party 2.2 March on Rome 2.3 Appointment as Prime Minister 2.4 Acerbo Law 2.5 Squadristi
Squadristi
violence

3 Fascist Italy

3.1 Organizational innovations 3.2 Police state 3.3 "The Pacification of Libya" 3.4 Economic policy 3.5 Propaganda
Propaganda
and cult of personality 3.6 Culture 3.7 Foreign policy

4 World War II

4.1 The gathering storm 4.2 War declared 4.3 Path to defeat 4.4 Dismissed and arrested 4.5 Italian Social Republic
Italian Social Republic
(" Salò
Salò
Republic")

5 Death

5.1 Mussolini's corpse

6 Personal life 7 Religious views

7.1 Atheism
Atheism
and anti-clericalism 7.2 Lateran Treaty

8 Mussolini's views on antisemitism and race 9 Legacy

9.1 Family 9.2 Neo-fascism

10 In popular culture 11 See also 12 References 13 Further reading

13.1 Historiography 13.2 Writings of Mussolini

14 Further reading 15 External links

Early life

Birthplace of Benito Mussolini
Mussolini
in Predappio—the building is now used as a museum

Mussolini's father, Alessandro

Mussolini's mother, Rosa

Mussolini
Mussolini
was born on 29 July 1883 in Dovia di Predappio, a small town in the province of Forlì in Romagna. Later, during the Fascist era, Predappio
Predappio
was dubbed "Duce's town" and Forlì was called "Duce's city", with pilgrims going to Predappio
Predappio
and Forlì to see the birthplace of Mussolini. Benito Mussolini's father, Alessandro Mussolini, was a blacksmith and a socialist,[15] while his mother, Rosa (née Maltoni), was a devout Catholic schoolteacher.[16] Owing to his father's political leanings, Mussolini
Mussolini
was named Benito after Mexican leftist president Benito Juárez, while his middle names Andrea and Amilcare were from Italian socialists Andrea Costa
Andrea Costa
and Amilcare Cipriani.[17] Benito was the eldest of his parents' three children. His siblings Arnaldo and Edvige followed.[18] As a young boy, Mussolini
Mussolini
would spend some time helping his father in his smithy.[19] Mussolini's early political views were heavily influenced by his father who idolized 19th-century Italian nationalist figures with humanist tendencies such as Carlo Pisacane, Giuseppe Mazzini and Giuseppe Garibaldi.[20] His father's political outlook combined views of anarchist figures like Carlo Cafiero
Carlo Cafiero
and Mikhail Bakunin, the military authoritarianism of Garibaldi, and the nationalism of Mazzini. In 1902, at the anniversary of Garibaldi's death, Mussolini
Mussolini
made a public speech in praise of the republican nationalist.[21] The conflict between his parents about religion meant that, unlike most Italians, Mussolini
Mussolini
was not baptized at birth and would not be until much later in life. As a compromise with his mother, Mussolini
Mussolini
was sent to a boarding school run by Salesian
Salesian
monks. After joining a new school, Mussolini
Mussolini
achieved good grades, and qualified as an elementary schoolmaster in 1901.[16] Emigration
Emigration
to Switzerland
Switzerland
and military service In 1902, Mussolini
Mussolini
emigrated to Switzerland, partly to avoid military service.[15] He worked briefly as a stonemason in Geneva, Fribourg
Fribourg
and Bern, but was unable to find a permanent job. During this time he studied the ideas of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, the sociologist Vilfredo Pareto, and the syndicalist Georges Sorel. Mussolini
Mussolini
also later credited the Christian socialist Charles Péguy
Charles Péguy
and the syndicalist Hubert Lagardelle as some of his influences.[22] Sorel's emphasis on the need for overthrowing decadent liberal democracy and capitalism by the use of violence, direct action, the general strike and the use of neo-Machiavellian appeals to emotion, impressed Mussolini
Mussolini
deeply.[15]

Mussolini's booking file following his arrest by the police on 19 June 1903, Bern, Switzerland

Mussolini
Mussolini
became active in the Italian socialist movement in Switzerland, working for the paper L'Avvenire del Lavoratore, organizing meetings, giving speeches to workers, and serving as secretary of the Italian workers' union in Lausanne.[23] Angelica Balabanov reportedly introduced him to Vladimir Lenin; Lenin later criticized Italian socialists for having lost Mussolini
Mussolini
from their cause.[24] In 1903, he was arrested by the Bernese police because of his advocacy of a violent general strike, spent two weeks in jail, was deported to Italy, was set free there, and returned to Switzerland.[25] In 1904, having been arrested again in Geneva and expelled for falsifying his papers, he returned to Lausanne, where he attended the University of Lausanne's Department of Social Science, following the lessons of Vilfredo Pareto.[26] In 1937, the University of Lausanne
Lausanne
awarded Mussolini
Mussolini
an honorary doctorate on the occasion of its 400th anniversary.[27] In December 1904, he returned to Italy
Italy
to take advantage of an amnesty for desertion, for which he had been convicted in absentia.[28] Since a condition for being pardoned was serving in the army, he joined the corps of the Bersaglieri
Bersaglieri
in Forlì on 30 December 1904.[29] After serving for two years in the military (from January 1905 until September 1906), he returned to teaching.[30] Political journalist, intellectual and socialist In February 1909,[31] Mussolini
Mussolini
once again left Italy, this time to take the job as the secretary of the labor party in the Italian-speaking city of Trento, which at the time was part of Austria-Hungary. He also did office work for the local Socialist Party, and edited its newspaper L'Avvenire del Lavoratore (The Future of the Worker). Returning to Italy, he spent a brief time in Milan, and then in 1910 he returned to his hometown of Forlì, where he edited the weekly Lotta di classe (The Class Struggle). Mussolini
Mussolini
thought of himself as an intellectual and was considered to be well-read. He read avidly, his favorites in European philosophy included Sorel, the Italian Futurist Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, French Socialist Gustave Hervé, Italian anarchist Errico Malatesta
Errico Malatesta
and German philosophers Friedrich Engels
Friedrich Engels
and Karl Marx, the founders of Marxism.[32][33] Mussolini
Mussolini
had taught himself French and German and translated excerpts from Nietzsche, Schopenhauer
Schopenhauer
and Kant.

A portrait of Mussolini
Mussolini
during early 1900s

During this time, he published Il Trentino
Trentino
veduto da un Socialista ( Trentino
Trentino
as seen by a Socialist) in the radical periodical La Voce.[34] He also wrote several essays about German literature, some stories, and one novel: L'amante del Cardinale: Claudia Particella, romanzo storico (The Cardinal's Mistress). This novel he co-wrote with Santi Corvaja, and was published as a serial book in the Trento newspaper Il Popolo. It was released in installments from 20 January to 11 May 1910.[35] The novel was bitterly anticlerical, and years later was withdrawn from circulation after Mussolini
Mussolini
made a truce with the Vatican.[15] By now, he was one of Italy's most prominent socialists. In September 1911, Mussolini
Mussolini
participated in a riot, led by socialists, against the Italian war in Libya. He bitterly denounced Italy's "imperialist war", an action that earned him a five-month jail term.[36] After his release he helped expel from the Socialist Party two "revisionists" who had supported the war, Ivanoe Bonomi
Ivanoe Bonomi
and Leonida Bissolati. As a result, he was rewarded the editorship of the Socialist Party newspaper Avanti! Under his leadership, its circulation soon rose from 20,000 to 100,000.[37] John Gunther
John Gunther
in 1940 called him "one of the best journalists alive"; he was a working reporter while preparing for the March on Rome, and wrote for the Hearst News Service
Hearst News Service
until 1935.[24] Mussolini
Mussolini
was so familiar with Marxist literature that in his own writings he would not only quote from well-known Marxist works but also from the relatively obscure works.[38] During this period, Mussolini, like all revolutionaries, considered himself a Marxist and he described Marx as "the greatest of all theorists of socialism."[39] In 1913, he published Giovanni Hus, il veridico (Jan Hus, true prophet), an historical and political biography about the life and mission of the Czech ecclesiastic reformer Jan Hus
Jan Hus
and his militant followers, the Hussites. During this socialist period of his life, Mussolini
Mussolini
sometimes used the pen name "Vero Eretico" ("sincere heretic").[40] Mussolini
Mussolini
rejected egalitarianism, a core doctrine of socialism.[6] He was influenced by Nietzsche's anti-Christian ideas and negation of God's existence. [41] Mussolini
Mussolini
felt that socialism had faltered, in view of the failures of Marxist determinism and social democratic reformism, and believed that Nietzsche's ideas would strengthen socialism. While associated with socialism, Mussolini's writings eventually indicated that he had abandoned Marxism
Marxism
and egalitarianism in favor of Nietzsche's übermensch concept and anti-egalitarianism.[41] Expulsion from the Italian Socialist Party

Members of Italy's Arditi
Arditi
corps in 1918 holding daggers, a symbol of their group. The Arditi's black uniform and use of the fez were adopted by Mussolini
Mussolini
in the creation of his Fascist movement.

With the outbreak of World War I
World War I
a number of socialist parties initially supported the war when it began in August 1914.[42] Once the war began, Austrian, British, French, German, and Russian socialists followed the rising nationalist current by supporting their country's intervention in the war.[43] The outbreak of the war had resulted in a surge of Italian nationalism
Italian nationalism
and the war was supported by a variety of political factions. One of the most prominent and popular Italian nationalist supporters of the war was Gabriele d'Annunzio
Gabriele d'Annunzio
who promoted Italian irredentism
Italian irredentism
and helped sway the Italian public to support intervention in the war.[44] The Italian Liberal Party
Italian Liberal Party
under the leadership of Paolo Boselli
Paolo Boselli
promoted intervention in the war on the side of the Allies and utilized the Società Dante Alighieri
Società Dante Alighieri
to promote Italian nationalism.[45][46] Italian socialists were divided on whether to support the war or oppose it.[47] Prior to Mussolini taking a position on the war, a number of revolutionary syndicalists had announced their support of intervention, including Alceste De Ambris, Filippo Corridoni, and Angelo Oliviero Olivetti.[48] The Italian Socialist Party
Italian Socialist Party
decided to oppose the war after anti-militarist protestors had been killed, resulting in a general strike called Red Week.[49] Mussolini
Mussolini
initially held official support for the party's decision and, in an August 1914 article, Mussolini
Mussolini
wrote "Down with the War. We remain neutral."[50] He saw the war as an opportunity, both for his own ambitions as well as those of socialists and Italians.[50] He was influenced by anti-Austrian Italian nationalist
Italian nationalist
sentiments, believing that the war offered Italians in Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
the chance to liberate themselves from rule of the Habsburgs.[50] He eventually decided to declare support for the war by appealing to the need for socialists to overthrow the Hohenzollern
Hohenzollern
and Habsburg monarchies in Germany and Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
who he said had consistently repressed socialism.[50]

Mussolini
Mussolini
as director of l'Avanti!

Mussolini
Mussolini
further justified his position by denouncing the Central Powers for being reactionary powers; for pursuing imperialist designs against Belgium and Serbia as well as historically against Denmark, France, and against Italians, since hundreds of thousands of Italians were under Habsburg rule.[48] He argued that the fall of Hohenzollern and Habsburg monarchies and the repression of "reactionary" Turkey would create conditions beneficial for the working class.[48] While he was supportive of the Entente powers, Mussolini
Mussolini
responded to the conservative nature of Tsarist Russia by stating that the mobilization required for the war would undermine Russia's reactionary authoritarianism and the war would bring Russia to social revolution.[48] He said that for Italy
Italy
the war would complete the process of Risorgimento by uniting the Italians in Austria-Hungary into Italy
Italy
and by allowing the common people of Italy
Italy
to be participating members of the Italian nation in what would be Italy's first national war.[48] Thus he claimed that the vast social changes that the war could offer meant that it should be supported as a revolutionary war.[48] As Mussolini's support for the intervention solidified, he came into conflict with socialists who opposed the war. He attacked the opponents of the war and claimed that those proletarians who supported pacifism were out of step with the proletarians who had joined the rising interventionist vanguard that was preparing Italy
Italy
for a revolutionary war.[7] He began to criticize the Italian Socialist Party and socialism itself for having failed to recognize the national problems that had led to the outbreak of the war.[7] He was expelled from the party for his support of intervention. The following excerpts are from a police report prepared by the Inspector-General of Public Security in Milan, G. Gasti, that describe his background and his position on the First World War
First World War
that resulted in his ousting from the Italian Socialist Party. The Inspector General wrote:

Professor Benito Mussolini, ... 38, revolutionary socialist, has a police record; elementary school teacher qualified to teach in secondary schools; former first secretary of the Chambers in Cesena, Forlì, and Ravenna; after 1912 editor of the newspaper Avanti! to which he gave a violent suggestive and intransigent orientation. In October 1914, finding himself in opposition to the directorate of the Italian Socialist party because he advocated a kind of active neutrality on the part of Italy
Italy
in the War of the Nations against the party's tendency of absolute neutrality, he withdrew on the twentieth of that month from the directorate of Avanti! Then on the fifteenth of November [1914], thereafter, he initiated publication of the newspaper Il Popolo d'Italia, in which he supported – in sharp contrast to Avanti! and amid bitter polemics against that newspaper and its chief backers – the thesis of Italian intervention in the war against the militarism of the Central Empires. For this reason he was accused of moral and political unworthiness and the party thereupon decided to expel him ... Thereafter he ... undertook a very active campaign in behalf of Italian intervention, participating in demonstrations in the piazzas and writing quite violent articles in Popolo d'Italia ...[37]

In his summary, the Inspector also noted:

He was the ideal editor of Avanti! for the Socialists. In that line of work he was greatly esteemed and beloved. Some of his former comrades and admirers still confess that there was no one who understood better how to interpret the spirit of the proletariat and there was no one who did not observe his apostasy with sorrow. This came about not for reasons of self-interest or money. He was a sincere and passionate advocate, first of vigilant and armed neutrality, and later of war; and he did not believe that he was compromising with his personal and political honesty by making use of every means – no matter where they came from or wherever he might obtain them – to pay for his newspaper, his program and his line of action. This was his initial line. It is difficult to say to what extent his socialist convictions (which he never either openly or privately abjure) may have been sacrificed in the course of the indispensable financial deals which were necessary for the continuation of the struggle in which he was engaged ... But assuming these modifications did take place ... he always wanted to give the appearance of still being a socialist, and he fooled himself into thinking that this was the case.[51]

Beginning of Fascism
Fascism
and service in World War I

Mussolini
Mussolini
as an Italian soldier, 1917

After being ousted by the Italian Socialist Party
Italian Socialist Party
for his support of Italian intervention, Mussolini
Mussolini
made a radical transformation, ending his support for class conflict and joining in support of revolutionary nationalism transcending class lines.[7] He formed the interventionist newspaper Il Popolo d'Italia
Il Popolo d'Italia
and the Fasci Rivoluzionari d'Azione Internazionalista (" Revolutionary
Revolutionary
Fasci for International Action") in October 1914.[46] His nationalist support of intervention enabled him to raise funds from Ansaldo (an armaments firm) and other companies to create Il Popolo d'Italia
Il Popolo d'Italia
to convince socialists and revolutionaries to support the war.[52] Further funding for Mussolini's Fascists during the war came from French sources, beginning in May 1915.[53] A major source of this funding from France is believed to have been from French socialists who sent support to dissident socialists who wanted Italian intervention on France's side.[53] On 5 December 1914, Mussolini
Mussolini
denounced orthodox socialism for failing to recognize that the war had made national identity and loyalty more significant than class distinction.[7] He fully demonstrated his transformation in a speech that acknowledged the nation as an entity, a notion he had rejected prior to the war, saying:

The nation has not disappeared. We used to believe that the concept was totally without substance. Instead we see the nation arise as a palpitating reality before us! ... Class cannot destroy the nation. Class reveals itself as a collection of interests—but the nation is a history of sentiments, traditions, language, culture, and race. Class can become an integral part of the nation, but the one cannot eclipse the other.[54] The class struggle is a vain formula, without effect and consequence wherever one finds a people that has not integrated itself into its proper linguistic and racial confines—where the national problem has not been definitely resolved. In such circumstances the class movement finds itself impaired by an inauspicious historic climate.[55]

Mussolini
Mussolini
continued to promote the need of a revolutionary vanguard elite to lead society. He no longer advocated a proletarian vanguard, but instead a vanguard led by dynamic and revolutionary people of any social class.[55] Though he denounced orthodox socialism and class conflict, he maintained at the time that he was a nationalist socialist and a supporter of the legacy of nationalist socialists in Italy's history, such as Giuseppe Garibaldi, Giuseppe Mazzini, and Carlo Pisacane.[56] As for the Italian Socialist Party
Italian Socialist Party
and its support of orthodox socialism, he claimed that his failure as a member of the party to revitalize and transform it to recognize the contemporary reality revealed the hopelessness of orthodox socialism as outdated and a failure.[56] This perception of the failure of orthodox socialism in the light of the outbreak of World War I
World War I
was not solely held by Mussolini; other pro-interventionist Italian socialists such as Filippo Corridoni
Filippo Corridoni
and Sergio Panunzio had also denounced classical Marxism
Marxism
in favor of intervention.[57]

Mussolini
Mussolini
as a bersagliere during the WWI

These basic political views and principles formed the basis of Mussolini's newly formed political movement, the Fasci Rivoluzionari d'Azione Internazionalista in 1914, who called themselves Fascisti (Fascists).[58] At this time, the Fascists did not have an integrated set of policies and the movement was small, ineffective in its attempts to hold mass meetings, and was regularly harassed by government authorities and orthodox socialists.[59] Antagonism between the interventionists, including the Fascists, versus the anti-interventionist orthodox socialists resulted in violence between the Fascists and socialists.[60] The opposition and attacks by the anti-interventionist revolutionary socialists against the Fascists and other interventionists were so violent that even democratic socialists who opposed the war such as Anna Kuliscioff
Anna Kuliscioff
said that the Italian Socialist Party had gone too far in a campaign of silencing the freedom of speech of supporters of the war.[60] These early hostilities between the Fascists and the revolutionary socialists shaped Mussolini's conception of the nature of Fascism
Fascism
in its support of political violence.[60] Mussolini
Mussolini
became an ally with the irredentist politician and journalist Cesare Battisti and—like him—entered the Army and served in the war. "He was sent to the zone of operations where he was seriously injured by the explosion of a grenade."[37] The Inspector General continued:

He was promoted to the rank of corporal "for merit in war". The promotion was recommended because of his exemplary conduct and fighting quality, his mental calmness and lack of concern for discomfort, his zeal and regularity in carrying out his assignments, where he was always first in every task involving labor and fortitude.[37]

Mussolini's military experience is told in his work Diario di guerra. Overall, he totaled about nine months of active, front-line trench warfare. During this time, he contracted paratyphoid fever.[61] His military exploits ended in 1917 when he was wounded accidentally by the explosion of a mortar bomb in his trench. He was left with at least 40 shards of metal in his body.[61] He was discharged from the hospital in August 1917 and resumed his editor-in-chief position at his new paper, Il Popolo d'Italia. He wrote there positive articles about Czechoslovak Legions
Czechoslovak Legions
in Italy. On 25 December 1915, in Treviglio, he contracted a marriage with his fellow countrywoman Rachele Guidi, who had already borne him a daughter, Edda, at Forlì in 1910. In 1915, he had a son with Ida Dalser, a woman born in Sopramonte, a village near Trento.[16][17][62] He legally recognized this son on 11 January 1916. Rise to power Formation of the National Fascist Party Main articles: Fascism
Fascism
and Italian Fascism By the time he returned from service in the Allied forces of World War I, very little remained of Mussolini
Mussolini
the socialist. Indeed, he was now convinced that socialism as a doctrine had largely been a failure. In 1917 Mussolini
Mussolini
got his start in politics with the help of a £100 weekly wage (the equivalent of £6000 as of 2009[update]) from the British security service MI5, to keep anti-war protestors at home and to publish pro-war propaganda. This help was authorized by Sir Samuel Hoare.[63] In early 1918 Mussolini
Mussolini
called for the emergence of a man "ruthless and energetic enough to make a clean sweep" to revive the Italian nation.[64] Much later Mussolini
Mussolini
said he felt by 1919 "Socialism as a doctrine was already dead; it continued to exist only as a grudge".[65] On 23 March 1919 Mussolini
Mussolini
re-formed the Milan fascio as the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento
Fasci Italiani di Combattimento
(Italian Combat Squad), consisting of 200 members.[66]

The platform of Fasci italiani di combattimento, as published in "Il Popolo d'Italia" on 6 June 1919

Italia Irredenta: regions considered Italian for ethnic, geographic and/or historical reasons, and claimed by the Fascists in the 1930s: green: Nice, Ticino, and Dalmatia; red: Malta; violet: later claims extended to Corsica, Savoy
Savoy
and Corfu.

The ideological basis for fascism came from a number of sources. Mussolini
Mussolini
utilized works of Plato, Georges Sorel, Nietzsche, and the economic ideas of Vilfredo Pareto, to develop fascism. Mussolini admired Plato's The Republic, which he often read for inspiration.[67] The Republic expounded a number of ideas that fascism promoted, such as rule by an elite promoting the state as the ultimate end, opposition to democracy, protecting the class system and promoting class collaboration, rejection of egalitarianism, promoting the militarization of a nation by creating a class of warriors, demanding that citizens perform civic duties in the interest of the state, and utilizing state intervention in education to promote the development of warriors and future rulers of the state.[68] The Republic differed from fascism in that it did not promote aggressive war, but only defensive war. Also unlike fascism, it promoted very communist-like views on property. Plato
Plato
was an idealist, focused on achieving justice and morality, while Mussolini
Mussolini
and fascism were realist, focused on achieving political goals.[69] The idea behind Mussolini's foreign policy was that of spazio vitale (vital space), a concept in Fascism
Fascism
that was analogous to Lebensraum in German National Socialism.[70] The concept of spazio vitale was first announced in 1919, when the entire Mediterranean, especially so-called Julian March, was redefined to make it appear a unified region that had belonged to Italy
Italy
from the times of the ancient Roman province of Italia,[71][72] and was claimed as Italy's exclusive sphere of influence. The right to colonize the neighboring Slovene ethnic areas and the Mediterranean, being inhabited by what were alleged to be less developed peoples, was justified on the grounds that Italy
Italy
was allegedly suffering from overpopulation.[73] Borrowing the idea first developed by Enrico Corradini before 1914 of the natural conflict between "plutocratic" nations like Britain and "proletarian" nations like Italy, Mussolini
Mussolini
claimed that Italy's principal problem was that "plutocratic" countries like Britain were blocking Italy
Italy
from achieving the necessary spazio vitale that would let the Italian economy grow.[74] Mussolini
Mussolini
equated a nation's potential for economic growth with territorial size, thus in his view the problem of poverty in Italy
Italy
could only be solved by winning the necessary spazio vitale.[75] Though biological racism was less prominent in Fascism
Fascism
than in National Socialism, right from the start the spazio vitale concept had a strong racist undercurrent. Mussolini
Mussolini
asserted there was a "natural law" for stronger peoples to subject and dominate "inferior" peoples such as the "barbaric" Slavic peoples of Yugoslavia. He stated in a September 1920 speech:

When dealing with such a race as Slavic – inferior and barbarian – we must not pursue the carrot, but the stick policy ... We should not be afraid of new victims ... The Italian border should run across the Brenner Pass, Monte Nevoso and the Dinaric Alps ... I would say we can easily sacrifice 500,000 barbaric Slavs for 50,000 Italians ... — Benito Mussolini, speech held in Pula, 20 September 1920[76][77]

While Italy
Italy
occupied former Austro-Hungarian areas between years 1918 and 1920, five hundred "Slav" societies (for example Sokol) and slightly smaller number of libraries ("reading rooms") had been forbidden, specifically so later with the Law on Associations (1925), the Law on Public Demonstrations (1926) and the Law on Public Order (1926) – the closure of the classical lyceum in Pazin, of the high school in Voloska (1918), and the five hundred Slovene and Croatian primary schools followed.[78] One thousand "Slav" teachers were forcibly exiled to Sardinia
Sardinia
and to Southern Italy. In the same way, Mussolini
Mussolini
argued that Italy
Italy
was right to follow an imperialist policy in Africa because he saw all black people as "inferior" to whites.[79] Mussolini
Mussolini
claimed that the world was divided into a hierarchy of races (stirpe, though this was justified more on cultural than on biological grounds), and that history was nothing more than a Darwinian struggle for power and territory between various "racial masses".[79] Mussolini
Mussolini
saw high birthrates in Africa and Asia as a threat to the "white race" and he often asked the rhetorical question "Are the blacks and yellows at the door?" to be followed up with "Yes, they are!".[80] Mussolini
Mussolini
believed that the United States was doomed as the American blacks had a higher birthrate than whites, making it inevitable that the blacks would take over the United States to drag it down to their level.[80] The very fact that Italy
Italy
was suffering from overpopulation was seen as proving the cultural and spiritual vitality of the Italians, who were thus justified in seeking to colonize lands that Mussolini
Mussolini
argued – on a historical basis – belonged to Italy
Italy
anyway, which was the heir to the Roman Empire.[79] In Mussolini's thinking, demography was destiny; nations with rising populations were nations destined to conquer; and nations with falling populations were decaying powers that deserved to die.[79] Hence, the importance of natalism to Mussolini, since only by increasing the birth rate could Italy
Italy
ensure that its future as a great power that would win its spazio vitale would be assured.[79] By Mussolini's reckoning, the Italian population had to reach 60 million to enable Italy
Italy
to fight a major war—hence his relentless demands for Italian women to have more children in order to reach that number.[79] Mussolini
Mussolini
and the fascists managed to be simultaneously revolutionary and traditionalist;[81][82] because this was vastly different from anything else in the political climate of the time, it is sometimes described[by whom?] as "The Third Way".[83] The Fascisti, led by one of Mussolini's close confidants, Dino Grandi, formed armed squads of war veterans called blackshirts (or squadristi) with the goal of restoring order to the streets of Italy
Italy
with a strong hand. The blackshirts clashed with communists, socialists, and anarchists at parades and demonstrations; all of these factions were also involved in clashes against each other. The Italian government rarely interfered with the blackshirts' actions, owing in part to a looming threat and widespread fear of a communist revolution. The Fascisti grew rapidly; within two years they transformed themselves into the National Fascist Party
National Fascist Party
at a congress in Rome. In 1921, Mussolini
Mussolini
won election to the Chamber of Deputies for the first time.[17] In the meantime, from about 1911 until 1938, Mussolini
Mussolini
had various affairs with the Jewish author and academic Margherita Sarfatti, called the "Jewish Mother of Fascism" at the time.[84] March on Rome Further information: March on Rome

Mussolini
Mussolini
and the Quadrumviri during the March on Rome
March on Rome
in 1922: from left to right: Michele Bianchi, Emilio De Bono, Italo Balbo, and Cesare Maria De Vecchi

In the night between 27 and 28 October 1922, about 30,000 Fascist blackshirts gathered in Rome to demand the resignation of liberal Prime Minister Luigi Facta and the appointment of a new Fascist government. On the morning of 28 October, King Victor Emmanuel III, who according to the Albertine Statute held the supreme military power, refused the government request to declare martial law, which led to Facta's resignation. The King then handed over power to Mussolini
Mussolini
(who stayed in his headquarters in Milan
Milan
during the talks) by asking him to form a new government. The King's controversial decision has been explained by historians as a combination of delusions and fears; Mussolini
Mussolini
enjoyed wide support in the military and among the industrial and agrarian elites, while the King and the conservative establishment were afraid of a possible civil war and ultimately thought they could use Mussolini
Mussolini
to restore law and order in the country, but failed to foresee the danger of a totalitarian evolution.[85] Appointment as Prime Minister

Mussolini
Mussolini
during the 1920s

As Prime Minister, the first years of Mussolini's rule were characterized by a right-wing coalition government composed of Fascists, nationalists, liberals, and two Catholic clerics from the Popular Party. The Fascists made up a small minority in his original governments. Mussolini's domestic goal was the eventual establishment of a totalitarian state with himself as supreme leader (Il Duce), a message that was articulated by the Fascist newspaper Il Popolo, which was now edited by Mussolini's brother, Arnaldo. To that end, Mussolini obtained from the legislature dictatorial powers for one year (legal under the Italian constitution of the time). He favored the complete restoration of state authority, with the integration of the Fasci di Combattimento into the armed forces (the foundation in January 1923 of the Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale) and the progressive identification of the party with the state. In political and social economy, he passed legislation that favored the wealthy industrial and agrarian classes (privatizations, liberalizations of rent laws and dismantlement of the unions).[17] In 1923, Mussolini
Mussolini
sent Italian forces to invade Corfu
Corfu
during the Corfu
Corfu
incident. In the end, the League of Nations
League of Nations
proved powerless, and Greece was forced to comply with Italian demands. Writing of Mussolini's foreign policy, the American historian Gerhard Weinberg said:

If the new regime Benito Mussolini
Mussolini
installed in 1922 on the ruins of the old glorified war as a sign of vitality and repudiated pacifism as a form of decay, the lesson drawn from the terrible battles against Austria on the Isonzo river—in which the Italians fought far better than popular imagination often allows—was that the tremendous material and technical preparations needed for modern war were simply beyond the contemporary capacity of the country. This was almost certainly a correct perception, but, given the ideology of Fascism with its emphasis on the moral benefits of war, it did not lead to the conclusion that an Italy
Italy
without a big stick had best speak very, very softly. On the contrary, the new regime drew the opposite conclusion. Noisy eloquence and rabid journalism might be substituted for serious preparations for war, a procedure that was harmless enough if no one took any of it seriously, but a certain road to disaster once some outside and Mussolini
Mussolini
inside the country came to believe that the "eight million bayonets" of the Duce's imagination actually existed.[86]

Acerbo Law

Socialist leader Giacomo Matteotti
Giacomo Matteotti
was murdered a few days after he openly denounced fascist violence during the 1924 elections.

In June 1923, the government passed the Acerbo Law, which transformed Italy
Italy
into a single national constituency. It also granted a two-thirds majority of the seats in Parliament to the party or group of parties that received at least 25% of the votes.[citation needed] This law applied in the elections of 6 April 1924. The national alliance, consisting of Fascists, most of the old Liberals and others, won 64% of the vote. Squadristi
Squadristi
violence The assassination of the socialist deputy Giacomo Matteotti, who had requested that the elections be annulled because of the irregularities,[87] provoked a momentary crisis in the Mussolini government. Mussolini
Mussolini
ordered a cover-up, but witnesses saw the car that transported Matteotti's body parked outside Matteotti's residence, which linked Amerigo Dumini to the murder. Mussolini
Mussolini
later confessed that a few resolute men could have altered public opinion and started a coup that would have swept fascism away. Dumini was imprisoned for two years. On his release, Dumini allegedly told other people that Mussolini
Mussolini
was responsible, for which he served further prison time. The opposition parties responded weakly or were generally unresponsive. Many of the socialists, liberals, and moderates boycotted Parliament in the Aventine Secession, hoping to force Victor Emmanuel to dismiss Mussolini. On 31 December 1924, MVSN consuls met with Mussolini
Mussolini
and gave him an ultimatum: crush the opposition or they would do so without him. Fearing a revolt by his own militants, Mussolini
Mussolini
decided to drop all pretense of democracy.[88] On 3 January 1925, Mussolini
Mussolini
made a truculent speech before the Chamber in which he took responsibility for squadristi violence (though he did not mention the assassination of Matteotti).[89] He did not abolish the squadristi until 1927, however.[24] Fascist Italy Organizational innovations German-American historian Konrad Jarausch has argued that Mussolini was responsible for an integrated suite of political innovations that made fascism a powerful force in Europe. First, he went beyond the vague promise of future national renewal, and proved the movement could actually seize power and operate a comprehensive government in a major country along fascist lines. Second, the movement claimed to represent the entire national community, not a fragment such as the working class or the aristocracy. He made a significant effort to include the previously alienated Catholic element. He defined public roles for the main sectors of the business community rather than allowing it to operate backstage. Third, he developed a cult of one-man leadership that focused media attention and national debate on his own personality. As a former journalist, Mussolini
Mussolini
proved highly adept at exploiting all forms of mass media, including such new forms as motion pictures and radio. Fourth, he created a mass membership party, with free programs for young men, young women, and various other groups who could therefore be more readily mobilized and monitored. He shut down all alternative political formations and parties (but this step was not an innovation by any means). Like all dictators he made liberal use of the threat of extrajudicial violence, as well as actual violence by his Blackshirts, to frighten his opposition.[90] Police state

Mussolini
Mussolini
in his early years in power

Between 1925 and 1927, Mussolini
Mussolini
progressively dismantled virtually all constitutional and conventional restraints on his power and built a police state. A law passed on 24 December 1925 – Christmas Eve for the largely Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
country – changed Mussolini's formal title from "President of the Council of Ministers" to "Head of the Government", although he was still called "Prime Minister" by most non-Italian news sources. He was no longer responsible to Parliament and could be removed only by the King. While the Italian constitution stated that ministers were responsible only to the sovereign, in practice it had become all but impossible to govern against the express will of Parliament. The Christmas Eve law ended this practice, and also made Mussolini
Mussolini
the only person competent to determine the body's agenda. This law transformed Mussolini's government into a de facto legal dictatorship. Local autonomy was abolished, and podestàs appointed by the Italian Senate
Italian Senate
replaced elected mayors and councils. On 7 April 1926, Mussolini
Mussolini
survived a first assassination attempt by Violet Gibson, an Irish woman and daughter of Lord Ashbourne, who was deported after her arrest.[91] On 31 October 1926, 15-year-old Anteo Zamboni attempted to shoot Mussolini
Mussolini
in Bologna. Zamboni was lynched on the spot.[92][93] Mussolini
Mussolini
also survived a failed assassination attempt in Rome by anarchist Gino Lucetti,[94] and a planned attempt by the Italian anarchist Michele Schirru,[95] which ended with Schirru's capture and execution.[96] All other parties were outlawed following Zamboni's assassination attempt in 1926, though in practice Italy
Italy
had been a one-party state since 1925 (with either his January speech to the Chamber or the passage of the Christmas Eve law, depending on the source). In the same year, an electoral law abolished parliamentary elections. Instead, the Grand Council of Fascism
Grand Council of Fascism
selected a single list of candidates to be approved by plebiscite. The Grand Council had been created five years earlier as a party body but was "constitutionalized" and became the highest constitutional authority in the state. On paper, the Grand Council had the power to recommend Mussolini's removal from office, and was thus theoretically the only check on his power. However, only Mussolini
Mussolini
could summon the Grand Council and determine its agenda. To gain control of the South, especially Sicily, he appointed Cesare Mori
Cesare Mori
as a Prefect of the city of Palermo, with the charge of eradicating the Mafia at any price. In the telegram, Mussolini
Mussolini
wrote to Mori:

Your Excellency has carte blanche; the authority of the State must absolutely, I repeat absolutely, be re-established in Sicily. If the laws still in force hinder you, this will be no problem, as we will draw up new laws.[97]

Mori did not hesitate to lay siege to towns, using torture, and holding women and children as hostages to oblige suspects to give themselves up. These harsh methods earned him the nickname of "Iron Prefect". In 1927, Mori's inquiries brought evidence of collusion between the Mafia and the Fascist establishment, and he was dismissed for length of service in 1929, at which time the number of murders in Palermo Province
Palermo Province
had decreased from 200 to 23. Mussolini
Mussolini
nominated Mori as a senator, and fascist propaganda claimed that the Mafia had been defeated.[98] "The Pacification of Libya" In 1919, the Italian state had brought in a series of liberal reforms in Libya that allowed education in Arabic and Berber and allowed for the possibility that the Libyans might become Italian citizens.[99] Giuseppe Volpi, who had been appointed governor in 1921 was retained by Mussolini, and withdrew all of the measures offering equality to the Libyans.[99] A policy of confiscating land from the Libyans to hand over to Italian colonists gave new vigor to Libyan resistance led by Omar Mukhtar, and during the ensuing "Pacification of Libya", the Fascist regime waged a near-genocidal campaign designed to kill as many Libyans as possible.[99] Well over half the population of Cyrenaica were confined to 15 concentration camps by 1931 while the Royal Italian Air Force staged chemical warfare attacks against the Bedouin.[100] On 20 June 1930, Marshal Pietro Badoglio
Pietro Badoglio
wrote to General Rodolfo Graziani:

As for overall strategy, it is necessary to create a significant and clear separation between the controlled population and the rebel formations. I do not hide the significance and seriousness of this measure, which might be the ruin of the subdued population ... But now the course has been set, and we must carry it out to the end, even if the entire population of Cyrenaica must perish.[101]

On 3 January 1933, Mussolini
Mussolini
told the diplomat Baron Pompei Aloisi that the French in Tunisia had made an "appalling blunder" by permitting sex between the French and the Tunisians, which he predicted would lead to the French degenerating into a nation of "half-castes", and to prevent the same thing happening to the Italians gave orders to Marshal Badolglio that miscegenation be made a crime in Libya.[102] Economic policy Further information: Economy of Italy
Italy
under Fascism

The inauguration of Littoria
Littoria
in 1932

Mussolini
Mussolini
launched several public construction programs and government initiatives throughout Italy
Italy
to combat economic setbacks or unemployment levels. His earliest (and one of the best known) was the Battle for Wheat, by which 5,000 new farms were established and five new agricultural towns (among them Littoria
Littoria
and Sabaudia) on land reclaimed by draining the Pontine Marshes. In Sardinia, a model agricultural town was founded and named Mussolinia, but has long since been renamed Arborea. This town was the first of what Mussolini
Mussolini
hoped would have been thousands of new agricultural settlements across the country. The Battle for Wheat diverted valuable resources to wheat production away from other more economically viable crops. Landowners grew wheat on unsuitable soil using all the advances of modern science, and although the wheat harvest increased, prices rose, consumption fell and high tariffs were imposed.[103] The tariffs promoted widespread inefficiencies and the government subsidies given to farmers pushed the country further into debt. Mussolini
Mussolini
also initiated the "Battle for Land", a policy based on land reclamation outlined in 1928. The initiative had a mixed success; while projects such as the draining of the Pontine Marsh in 1935 for agriculture were good for propaganda purposes, provided work for the unemployed and allowed for great land owners to control subsidies, other areas in the Battle for Land were not very successful. This program was inconsistent with the Battle for Wheat (small plots of land were inappropriately allocated for large-scale wheat production), and the Pontine Marsh was lost during World War II. Fewer than 10,000 peasants resettled on the redistributed land, and peasant poverty remained high. The Battle for Land initiative was abandoned in 1940.

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In 1930, in the Doctrine of Fascism
Fascism
he wrote, "The so-called crisis can only be settled by State action and within the orbit of the State."[104] He tried to combat economic recession by introducing a "Gold for the Fatherland" initiative, encouraging the public to voluntarily donate gold jewelry to government officials in exchange for steel wristbands bearing the words "Gold for the Fatherland". Even Rachele Mussolini
Rachele Mussolini
donated her wedding ring. The collected gold was melted down and turned into gold bars, which were then distributed to the national banks. Government control of business was part of Mussolini's policy planning. By 1935, he claimed that three-quarters of Italian businesses were under state control. Later that year, Mussolini
Mussolini
issued several edicts to further control the economy, e.g. forcing banks, businesses, and private citizens to surrender all foreign-issued stock and bond holdings to the Bank of Italy. In 1936, he imposed price controls.[105] He also attempted to turn Italy
Italy
into a self-sufficient autarky, instituting high barriers on trade with most countries except Germany. In 1943, Mussolini
Mussolini
proposed the theory of economic socialization. Propaganda
Propaganda
and cult of personality Main article: Italian Fascism

From 1925, Mussolini
Mussolini
styled himself Il Duce
Duce
(the leader)

Mussolini's foremost priority was the subjugation of the minds of the Italian people and the use of propaganda to do so. A lavish cult of personality centered on the figure of Mussolini
Mussolini
was promoted by the regime.

Propaganda
Propaganda
poster of Mussolini
Mussolini
with the caption: "His Excellency Benito Mussolini, Head of Government, Leader of Fascism, and Founder of the Empire..."

Mussolini
Mussolini
pretended to incarnate the new fascist Übermensch, promoting an aesthetics of exasperated Machism
Machism
and a cult of personality that attributed to him quasi-divine capacities.[106] At various times after 1922, Mussolini
Mussolini
personally took over the ministries of the interior, foreign affairs, colonies, corporations, defense, and public works. Sometimes he held as many as seven departments simultaneously, as well as the premiership. He was also head of the all-powerful Fascist Party and the armed local fascist militia, the MVSN or "Blackshirts", who terrorized incipient resistances in the cities and provinces. He would later form the OVRA, an institutionalized secret police that carried official state support. In this way he succeeded in keeping power in his own hands and preventing the emergence of any rival.

Mussolini's personal standard

Mussolini
Mussolini
also portrayed himself as a valiant sportsman, and a skilled musician. All teachers in schools and universities had to swear an oath to defend the fascist regime. Newspaper editors were all personally chosen by Mussolini
Mussolini
and only those in possession of a certificate of approval from the Fascist Party could practice journalism. These certificates were issued in secret; Mussolini
Mussolini
thus skillfully created the illusion of a "free press". The trade unions were also deprived of any independence and were integrated into what was called the "corporative" system. The aim (never completely achieved), inspired by medieval guilds, was to place all Italians in various professional organizations or corporations, all under clandestine governmental control. Large sums of money were spent on highly visible public works and on international prestige projects such as the Blue Riband
Blue Riband
ocean liner SS Rex or aeronautical records such as the world's fastest seaplane, the Macchi M.C.72, and the transatlantic flying boat cruise of Italo Balbo, which was greeted with much fanfare in the United States when it landed in Chicago in 1933. The principles of the doctrine of Fascism
Fascism
were laid down in an article by eminent philosopher Giovanni Gentile
Giovanni Gentile
and Mussolini
Mussolini
himself that appeared in 1932 in the Enciclopedia Italiana. Mussolini
Mussolini
always portrayed himself as an intellectual, and some historians agree.[107] Gunther called him "easily the best educated and most sophisticated of the dictators", and the only national leader of 1940 who was an intellectual.[24] German historian Ernst Nolte
Ernst Nolte
said that "His command of contemporary philosophy and political literature was at least as great as that of any other contemporary European political leader."[108] Culture

Benito Mussolini
Mussolini
and Fascist Blackshirt
Blackshirt
youth in 1935

Nationalists in the years after World War I
World War I
thought of themselves as combating the both liberal and domineering institutions created by cabinets—such as those of Giovanni Giolitti, including traditional schooling. Futurism, a revolutionary cultural movement which would serve as a catalyst for Fascism, argued for "a school for physical courage and patriotism", as expressed by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti
Filippo Tommaso Marinetti
in 1919. Marinetti expressed his disdain for "the by now prehistoric and troglodyte Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
and Latin
Latin
courses", arguing for their replacement with exercise modelled on those of the Arditi
Arditi
soldiers ("[learning] to advance on hands and knees in front of razing machine gun fire; to wait open-eyed for a crossbeam to move sideways over their heads etc."). It was in those years that the first Fascist youth wings were formed: Avanguardia Giovanile Fascista (Fascist Youth Vanguards) in 1919, and Gruppi Universitari Fascisti (Fascist University Groups) in 1922. After the March on Rome
March on Rome
that brought Mussolini
Mussolini
to power, the Fascists started considering ways to politicize Italian society, with an accent on education. Mussolini
Mussolini
assigned former ardito and deputy-secretary for Education Renato Ricci
Renato Ricci
the task of "reorganizing the youth from a moral and physical point of view." Ricci sought inspiration with Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, meeting with him in England, as well as with Bauhaus
Bauhaus
artists in Germany. The Opera Nazionale Balilla was created through Mussolini's decree of 3 April 1926, and was led by Ricci for the following eleven years. It included children between the ages of 8 and 18, grouped as the Balilla and the Avanguardisti. According to Mussolini: "Fascist education is moral, physical, social, and military: it aims to create a complete and harmoniously developed human, a fascist one according to our views". Mussolini
Mussolini
structured this process taking in view the emotional side of childhood: "Childhood and adolescence alike ... cannot be fed solely by concerts, theories, and abstract teaching. The truth we aim to teach them should appeal foremost to their fantasy, to their hearts, and only then to their minds".

Colorized photograph of Mussolini
Mussolini
wearing the commander-in-chief uniform

The "educational value set through action and example" was to replace the established approaches. Fascism
Fascism
opposed its version of idealism to prevalent rationalism, and used the Opera Nazionale Balilla
Opera Nazionale Balilla
to circumvent educational tradition by imposing the collective and hierarchy, as well as Mussolini's own personality cult. Another important constituent of the Fascist cultural policy was Roman Catholicism. In 1929, a concordat with the Vatican was signed, ending decades of struggle between the Italian state and the Papacy
Papacy
that dated back to the 1870 takeover of the Papal States
Papal States
by the House of Savoy
Savoy
during the unification of Italy. The Lateran treaties, by which the Italian state was at last recognized by the Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
Church, and the independence of Vatican City was recognized by the Italian state, were so much appreciated by the ecclesiastic hierarchy that Pope Pius XI
Pius XI
acclaimed Mussolini
Mussolini
as "the Man of Providence".[109] The 1929 treaty included a legal provision whereby the Italian government would protect the honor and dignity of the Pope by prosecuting offenders.[110] In 1927, Mussolini
Mussolini
was re-baptized by a Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
priest. After 1929, Mussolini, with his anti-Communist doctrines, convinced many Catholics to actively support him. Foreign policy In foreign policy, Mussolini
Mussolini
was pragmatic and opportunistic. At the center of his vision lay the dream to forge a new Roman Empire
Roman Empire
in Africa and the Balkans, vindicating the so-called "mutilated victory" of 1918 imposed by the "plutodemocracies" (Britain and France) that betrayed the Treaty of London and usurped the supposed "natural right" of Italy
Italy
to achieve supremacy in the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
basin.[111][112] However, in the 1920s, given Germany's weakness, post-war reconstruction problems and the question of reparations, the situation of Europe was too unfavorable to advocate an openly revisionist approach to the Treaty of Versailles. In the 1920s, Italy's foreign policy was based on the traditional idea of Italy
Italy
maintaining "equidistant" stance from all the major powers in order to exercise "determinant weight", which by whatever power Italy
Italy
chose to align with would decisively change the balance of power in Europe, and the price of such an alignment would be support for Italian ambitions in Europe and/or Africa.[113] In the meantime, since for Mussolini demography was destiny, he carried out relentless natalist policies designed to increase the birthrate; for example, in 1924 making advocating or giving information about contraception a criminal offense, and in 1926 ordering every Italian woman to double the number of children that they were willing to bear.[114] For Mussolini, Italy's current population of 40 million was insufficient to fight a major war, and he needed to increase the population to at least 60 million Italians before he would be ready for war.[115]

Mussolini
Mussolini
inspecting troops during the Italo-Ethiopian War

In his early years in power, Mussolini
Mussolini
operated as a pragmatic statesman, trying to achieve some advantages, but never at the risk of war with Britain and France. An exception was the bombardment and occupation of Corfu
Corfu
in 1923, following an incident in which Italian military personnel charged by the League of Nations
League of Nations
to settle a boundary dispute between Greece and Albania were assassinated by bandits; the nationality of the bandits remains unclear. At the time of the Corfu
Corfu
incident, Mussolini
Mussolini
was prepared to go to war with Britain, and only desperate pleading by the Italian Navy leadership, who argued that the Italian Navy was no match for the British Royal Navy, persuaded Mussolini
Mussolini
to accept a diplomatic solution.[116] In a secret speech to the Italian military leadership in January 1925, Mussolini
Mussolini
argued that Italy
Italy
needed to win spazio vitale, and as such his ultimate goal was to join "the two shores of the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
and of the Indian Ocean into a single Italian territory".[116] Reflecting his obsession with demography, Mussolini
Mussolini
went on to say that Italy
Italy
did not at the present possess sufficient manpower to win a war against Britain and/or France, and that the time for war would come sometime in the mid-1930s, when Mussolini
Mussolini
calculated the high Italian birth rate would finally give Italy
Italy
the necessary numbers to win.[116] Subsequently, Mussolini
Mussolini
took part in the Locarno Treaties
Locarno Treaties
of 1925, that guaranteed the western borders of Germany as drawn in 1919. In 1929, Mussolini
Mussolini
ordered his Army General Staff to begin planning for aggression against France and Yugoslavia.[116] In July 1932, Mussolini sent a message to German Defense Minister General Kurt von Schleicher, suggesting an anti-French Italo-German alliance, an offer Schleicher responded to favorably, albeit with the condition that Germany needed to rearm first.[116] In late 1932–early 1933, Mussolini
Mussolini
planned to launch a surprise attack against both France and Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
that was to begin in August 1933.[116] Mussolini's planned war of 1933 was only stopped when he learned that the French Deuxième Bureau had broken the Italian military codes, and that the French, being forewarned of all the Italian plans, were well prepared for the Italian attack.[116] After Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
came into power, threatening Italian interests in Austria and the Danube basin, Mussolini
Mussolini
proposed the Four Power Pact with Britain, France and Germany in 1933. When the Austrian 'austro-fascist' Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss
Engelbert Dollfuss
with dictatorial power was assassinated on 25 July 1934 by National-Socialist supporters, Mussolini
Mussolini
even threatened Germany with war in the event of a German invasion of Austria. Mussolini
Mussolini
for a period of time continued strictly opposing any German attempt to obtain Anschluss
Anschluss
and promoted the ephemeral Stresa Front against Germany in 1935.

From left to right, Chamberlain, Daladier, Hitler, Mussolini
Mussolini
and Italian Foreign Minister Count Ciano
Count Ciano
as they prepare to sign the Munich Agreement

Despite Mussolini's imprisonment for opposing the Italo-Turkish War
Italo-Turkish War
in Africa as "nationalist delirium tremens" and "a miserable war of conquest",[24] after the Abyssinia Crisis of 1935–1936, in the Second Italo–Ethiopian War
Second Italo–Ethiopian War
Italy
Italy
invaded Ethiopia
Ethiopia
following border incidents occasioned by Italian inclusions over the vaguely drawn border between Ethiopia
Ethiopia
and Italian Somaliland. Historians are still divided about the reasons for the attack on Ethiopia
Ethiopia
in 1935. Some Italian historians such as Franco Catalano and Giorgio Rochat argue that the invasion was an act of social imperialism, contending that the Great Depression
Great Depression
had badly damaged Mussolini's prestige, and that he needed a foreign war to distract public opinion.[117] Other historians such as Pietro Pastorelli have argued that the invasion was launched as part of an expansionist program to make Italy
Italy
the main power in the Red Sea area and the Middle East.[117] A middle way interpretation was offered by the American historian MacGregor Knox, who argued that the war was started for both foreign and domestic reasons, being both a part of Mussolini's long-range expansionist plans and intended to give Mussolini
Mussolini
a foreign policy triumph that would allow him to push the Fascist system in a more radical direction at home.[117] Italy's forces were far superior to the Abyssinian forces, especially in air power, and they were soon victorious. Emperor Haile Selassie
Haile Selassie
was forced to flee the country, with Italy entering the capital city, Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa
to proclaim an empire by May 1936, making Ethiopia
Ethiopia
part of Italian East Africa.[118] Confident of having been given free hand by French Premier Pierre Laval, and certain that the British and French would be forgiving because of his opposition to Hitler's revisionism within the Stresa front, Mussolini
Mussolini
received with disdain the League of Nations' economic sanctions imposed on Italy
Italy
by initiative of London and Paris.[119] In Mussolini's view, the move was a typically hypocritical action carried out by decaying imperial powers that intended to prevent the natural expansion of younger and poorer nations like Italy.[120] In fact, although France and Britain had already colonized parts of Africa, the Scramble for Africa
Scramble for Africa
had finished by the beginning of the twentieth century. The international mood was now against colonialist expansion and Italy's actions were condemned. Furthermore, Italy
Italy
was criticized for its use of mustard gas and phosgene against its enemies and also for its zero tolerance approach to enemy guerrillas, authorized by Mussolini.[118] Between 1936 and 1941 during operations to "pacify" Ethiopia, the Italians killed hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian civilians, and are estimated to have killed about 7% of Ethiopia's total population.[121] Mussolini
Mussolini
ordered Marshal Rodolfo Graziani
Rodolfo Graziani
"to initiate and systematically conduct a policy of terror and extermination against the rebels and the population in complicity with them. Without a policy of ten eyes to one, we cannot heal this wound in good time".[122] Mussolini
Mussolini
personally ordered Graziani to execute the entire male population over the age of 18 in one town and in one district ordered that "the prisoners, their accomplices and the uncertain will have to be executed" as part of the "gradual liquidation" of the population.[122] Believing the Eastern Orthodox Church was inspiring Ethiopians to resist, Mussolini
Mussolini
ordered that Orthodox priests and monks were to be targeted in revenge for guerrilla attacks.[122] Mussolini
Mussolini
brought in Degree Law 880, which made miscegenation a crime punishable with five years in prison as Mussolini
Mussolini
made it absolutely clear that he did not want his soldiers and officials serving in Ethiopia
Ethiopia
to ever have sex with Ethiopian women under any circumstances as he believed that multiracial relationships made his men less likely to kill Ethiopians.[122] Mussolini
Mussolini
favored a policy of brutality partly because he believed the Ethiopians were not a nation because black people were too stupid to have a sense of nationality and therefore the guerrillas were just "bandits".[123] The other reason was because Mussolini
Mussolini
was planning on bringing millions of Italian colonists into Ethiopia
Ethiopia
and he needed to kill off much of the Ethiopian population to make room for the Italian colonists just as he had done in Libya.[123] The sanctions against Italy
Italy
were used by Mussolini
Mussolini
as a pretext for an alliance with Germany. In January 1936, Mussolini
Mussolini
told the German Ambassador Ulrich von Hassell
Ulrich von Hassell
that: "If Austria were in practice to become a German satellite, he would have no objection".[124] By recognizing Austria was within the German sphere of influence, Mussolini
Mussolini
had removed the principal problem in Italo-German relations.[124] The American historian Barry Sullivan wrote about the Hitler- Mussolini
Mussolini
relationship:

A.J.P. Taylor erred in asserting that the British and the French drove Mussolini
Mussolini
into an alliance with Hitler. Ironically, Mussolini responded to Germany, Britain and France in inverse proportion to their degree of dishonesty and their threat to Italy: Germany, which consistently treated Italy
Italy
worse than did the other two countries, was rewarded with Mussolini's friendship; France, which generally offered Italy
Italy
the highest level of co-operation and true partnership, was rewarded with rebuffs and abuse. British policy and Mussolini's reaction to it, fell between these extremes".[125]

On 25 October 1936, an Axis was declared between Italy
Italy
and Germany.

On 11 July 1936, an Austro-German treaty was signed under which Austria declared itself to be a "German state" whose foreign policy would always be aligned with Berlin, and allowed for pro-Nazis to enter the Austrian cabinet.[124] Mussolini
Mussolini
had applied strong pressure on the Austrian Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg
Kurt Schuschnigg
to sign the treaty in order to improve his relations with Hitler.[124] After the sanctions against Italy
Italy
ended in July 1936, the French tried hard to revive the Stresa Front, displaying what Sullivan called "an almost humiliating determination to retain Italy
Italy
as an ally".[126] In January 1937, Britain signed a "Gentleman's Agreement" with Mussolini
Mussolini
intended to limit Italian intervention in Spain, and was seen by the British Foreign Office as the first step towards creating an Anglo-Italian alliance.[127] In April 1938, Britain and Italy
Italy
signed the Easter Accords under which Britain promised to recognise Ethiopia
Ethiopia
as Italian in exchange for Italy
Italy
pulling out of the Spanish Civil War. The Foreign Office understood that it was the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
that was pulling Rome and Berlin
Berlin
closer together, and believed if Mussolini could be persuaded to disengage from Spain, then he would return to the Allied camp. To get Mussolini
Mussolini
out of Spain, the British were prepared to pay such prices such as recognising King Victor Emmanuel III as Emperor of Ethiopia. The American historian Barry Sullivan wrote that both the British and the French very much wanted a rapprochment with Italy
Italy
to undo the damage caused by the League of Nations sanctions, and that " Mussolini
Mussolini
chose to ally with Hitler, rather than being forced…"[126] Reflecting the new pro-German foreign policy on 25 October 1936, Mussolini
Mussolini
agreed to form a Rome- Berlin
Berlin
Axis, sanctioned by a cooperation agreement with Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
and signed in Berlin. Furthermore, the conquest of Ethiopia
Ethiopia
cost the lives of 12,000 Italians and another 4,000 to 5,000 Libyans, Eritreans, and Somalis fighting in Italian service.[128] Mussolini
Mussolini
believed that conquering Ethiopia
Ethiopia
would cost 4 to 6 billion lire, but the true costs of the invasion proved to be 33.5 billion lire.[128] The economic costs of the conquest proved to be a staggering blow to the Italian budget, and seriously retarded Italian efforts at military modernization as the money that Mussolini
Mussolini
had earmarked for military modernization was instead spent in conquering Ethiopia, something that helped to drive Mussolini
Mussolini
towards Germany.[129] To help cover the huge debts run up during the Ethiopian war, Mussolini
Mussolini
devalued the lire by 40% in October 1936.[128] Furthermore, the costs of occupying Ethiopia
Ethiopia
was to cost the Italian treasury another 21.1 billion lire between 1936–1940.[128] Additionally, Italy
Italy
was to lose 4,000 men killed fighting in the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
(a number adjusted to Italy's population was proportionally twice the American losses in Vietnam) while Italian intervention in Spain cost Italy
Italy
another 12 to 14 billion lire.[128] In the years 1938 and 1939, the Italian government took in 39.9 billion lire in taxes while the entire Italian gross national product was 153 billion lire, which meant the Ethiopian and Spanish wars imposed economically crippling costs on Italy.[128] Only 28% of the entire military Italian budgets between 1934–39 was spent on military modernization with the rest all being consumed by Mussolini's wars, which led to a rapid decline in Italian military power.[130] By contrast, reflecting the far larger size of the German economy, the total Italian military expenditure in 1936 was equal to only 27% of the total German military expenditure for 1936.[128] The much greater size of the German economy allowed Hitler
Hitler
to both modernize the Wehrmacht and intervene in the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
at the same time, an option that Mussolini
Mussolini
did not have.[128] Between 1935–39, Mussolini's wars cost Italy
Italy
the equivalent of $500 US billion dollars in 1999 values, a sum that was even proportionally a larger burden given that Italy
Italy
was such a poor country.[128] The 1930s were a time of rapid advances in military technology, and Sullivan wrote that Mussolini
Mussolini
picked exactly the wrong time to fight his wars in Ethiopia
Ethiopia
and Spain.[128] At the same time that the Italian military was falling behind the other great powers, a full scale arms race had broken out, with Germany, Britain and France spending increasingly large sums of money on their militaries as the 1930s advanced, a situation that Mussolini
Mussolini
privately admitted seriously limited Italy's ability to fight a major war on its own, and thus required a great power ally to compensate for increasing Italian military backwardness.[131] From 1936 through 1939, Mussolini
Mussolini
provided huge amounts of military support to the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War. This active intervention on the side of Franco further distanced Italy
Italy
from France and Britain. As a result, Mussolini's relationship with Adolf Hitler became closer, and he chose to accept the German annexation of Austria in 1938, followed by the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia in 1939. In May 1938, during Hitler's visit to Italy, Mussolini
Mussolini
told the Führer that Italy
Italy
and France were deadly enemies fighting on "opposite sides of the barricade" concerning the Spanish Civil War, and the Stresa Front was "dead and buried".[132] At the Munich Conference
Munich Conference
in September 1938, Mussolini
Mussolini
continued to pose as a moderate working for European peace, while helping Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
annex the Sudetenland. The 1936 Axis agreement with Germany was strengthened by signing the Pact of Steel on 22 May 1939, that bound together Fascist Italy
Italy
and Nazi Germany in a full military alliance. Members of TIGR, a Slovene anti-fascist group, plotted to kill Mussolini
Mussolini
in Kobarid
Kobarid
in 1938, but their attempt was unsuccessful. World War II The gathering storm

Mussolini
Mussolini
in a portrait

By the late 1930s, Mussolini's obsession with demography led him to conclude that Britain and France were finished as powers, and that it was Germany and Italy
Italy
who were destined to rule Europe if for no other reason than their demographic strength.[133] Mussolini
Mussolini
stated his belief that declining birth rates in France were "absolutely horrifying" and that the British Empire was doomed because one-quarter of the British population was over 50.[133] As such, Mussolini believed that an alliance with Germany was preferable to an alignment with Britain and France as it was better to be allied with the strong instead of the weak.[134] Mussolini
Mussolini
saw international relations as a Social Darwinian struggle between "virile" nations with high birth rates that were destined to destroy "effete" nations with low birth rates. Mussolini
Mussolini
believed that France was a "weak and old" nation as the French weekly death rate exceeded the birthrate by 2,000, and he had no interest in an alliance with France.[135] Such was the extent of Mussolini's belief that it was Italy's destino to rule the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
because of Italy's high birth rate that Mussolini neglected much of the serious planning and preparations necessary for a war with the Western powers.[136] The only arguments that held Mussolini
Mussolini
back from full alignment with Berlin
Berlin
were his awareness of Italy's economic and military weakness, meaning he required further time to rearm, and his desire to use the Easter Accords of April 1938 as a way of splitting Britain from France.[137] A military alliance with Germany as opposed to the already existing looser political alliance with the Reich under the Anti-Comintern Pact
Anti-Comintern Pact
(which had no military commitments) would end any chance of Britain implementing the Easter Accords.[138] The Easter Accords in turn were intended by Mussolini
Mussolini
to allow Italy
Italy
to take on France alone by sufficiently improving Anglo-Italian relations that London would presumably remain neutral in the event of a Franco-Italian war ( Mussolini
Mussolini
had imperial designs on Tunisia, and had some support in that country.[139] ).[140] In turn, the Easter Accords were intended by Britain to win Italy
Italy
away from Germany. In 8 November 1938 entry of his diary Count Ciano, Mussolini's son-in-law and Foreign Minister, summed up the dictator's foreign policy objectives regarding France: Djibouti
Djibouti
would have to be ruled in common with France; "Tunisia, with a more or less similar regime; Corsica, Italian and never Frenchified and therefore under our direct control, the border at the river Var."[141] As for Savoy, which was not "historically or geographically Italian", Mussolini
Mussolini
claimed that he was not interested in it. On 30 November 1938, Mussolini invited the French ambassador André François-Poncet
André François-Poncet
to attend the opening of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, during which the assembled deputies, at his cue, began to demonstrate loudly against France, shouting that Italy
Italy
should annex "Tunis, Nice, Corsica, Savoy!", which was followed by the deputies marching into the street carrying signs demanding that France turn over Tunisia, Savoy, and Corsica
Corsica
to Italy.[142] The French Premier Édouard Daladier promptly rejected the Italian demands for territorial concessions, and for much of the winter of 1938–39, France and Italy
Italy
were on the verge of war.[143] In January 1939, the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain visited Rome, during which visit, Mussolini
Mussolini
learned that though Britain very much wanted better relations with Italy, and was prepared to make concessions, it would not sever all ties with France for the sake of an improved Anglo-Italian relationship.[144] With that, Mussolini
Mussolini
grew more interested in the German offer of a military alliance, which had first been made in May 1938.[144] In February 1939, Mussolini
Mussolini
gave a speech before the Fascist Grand Council, during which he proclaimed his belief that a state's power is "proportional to its maritime position" and that Italy
Italy
was a "prisoner in the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
and the more populous and powerful Italy
Italy
becomes, the more it will suffer from its imprisonment. The bars of this prison are Corsica, Tunisia, Malta, Cyprus: the sentinels of this prison are Gibraltar and Suez".[145] The new course was not without its critics. On 21 March 1939 during a meeting of the Fascist Grand Council, Italo Balbo
Italo Balbo
accused Mussolini
Mussolini
of "licking Hitler's boots", blasted the Duce's pro-German foreign policy as leading Italy
Italy
to disaster and noted that the "opening to Britain" still existed and it was not inevitable that Italy
Italy
had to ally with Germany.[146] Though many gerarchi like Balbo were not keen on closer relations with Berlin, Mussolini's control of the foreign-policy machinery meant this dissidence counted for little.[146] Mussolini
Mussolini
had a leading position within the Fascist Party, but he did not totally dominate it as Balbo's attack on Mussolini
Mussolini
for "licking Hitler's boots" and his demand that the "opening to Britain" be pursued at the meeting of the Fascist Grand Council together with what the Greek historian Aristotle
Aristotle
Kallis called Mussolini's "relatively restrained" response show – the Nazi Party
Nazi Party
had nothing equivalent to the Fascist Grand Council and it was inconceivable that one of Hitler's gauleiters would attack him in the same way that a gerarchi like Balbo criticized Mussolini.[146] In April 1939, Mussolini
Mussolini
ordered the Italian invasion of Albania. Italy
Italy
defeated Albania within just five days, forcing king Zog to flee and setting up a period of Albania under Italy. Until May 1939, the Axis had not been entirely official, but during that month the Pact of Steel
Pact of Steel
treaty was signed outlining the "friendship and alliance" between Germany and Italy, signed by each of its foreign ministers.[147] The Pact of Steel
Pact of Steel
was an offensive and defensive military alliance, though Mussolini
Mussolini
had signed the treaty only after receiving a promise from the Germans that there would be no war for the next three years. Italy's King Victor Emanuel III
Victor Emanuel III
was also wary of the pact, favoring the more traditional Italian allies like France, and fearful of the implications of an offensive military alliance, which in effect meant surrendering control over questions of war and peace to Hitler.[148] Hitler
Hitler
was intent on invading Poland, though Galeazzo Ciano
Galeazzo Ciano
warned this would likely lead to war with the Allies. Hitler
Hitler
dismissed Ciano's comment, predicting that instead that Britain and the other Western countries would back down, and he suggested that Italy
Italy
should invade Yugoslavia.[149] The offer was tempting to Mussolini, but at that stage a world war would be a disaster for Italy
Italy
as the armaments situation from building the Italian Empire
Italian Empire
thus far was lean. Most significantly, Victor Emmanuel had demanded neutrality in the dispute.[149] Thus when World War II
World War II
in Europe began on 1 September 1939 with the German invasion of Poland eliciting the response of the United Kingdom and France declaring war on Germany, Italy
Italy
did not become involved in the conflict.[149] However, when the Germans incarcerated 183 professors from Jagiellonian University
Jagiellonian University
in Kraków
Kraków
on 6 November 1939, Mussolini
Mussolini
personally intervened to Hitler
Hitler
against this action, leading to the freeing of 101 Poles.[150] War declared

Cover of 13 May 1940 issue of Newsweek
Newsweek
magazine, headlining: "Il Duce: key man of the Mediterranean".

Main article: Military history of Italy
Italy
during World War II As World War II
World War II
began, Ciano and Viscount Halifax were holding secret phone conversations. The British wanted Italy
Italy
on their side against Germany as it had been in World War I.[149] French government opinion was more geared towards action against Italy; they were eager to attack Italy
Italy
in Libya. In September 1939, France swung to the opposite extreme, offering to discuss issues with Italy, but as the French were unwilling to discuss Corsica, Nice and Savoy, Mussolini
Mussolini
did not answer.[149] Historian Alexander Gibson stated that Allies were certain that Italy
Italy
would join the war on the Axis side, and tried to provoke Italy
Italy
into fighting while she was still unprepared.[citation needed] In late November 1939, Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
declared: "So long as the Duce
Duce
lives, one can rest assured that Italy
Italy
will seize every opportunity to achieve its imperialistic aims."[149] Convinced that the war would soon be over, with a German victory looking likely at that point, Mussolini
Mussolini
decided to enter the war on the Axis side. Accordingly, Italy
Italy
declared war on Britain and France on 10 June 1940.[151] Mussolini
Mussolini
regarded the war against Britain and France as a life-or-death struggle between opposing ideologies — Fascism
Fascism
and "the Masonic, democratic, capitalist world"[citation needed] – describing the war as "the struggle of the fertile and young people against the sterile people moving to the sunset; it is the struggle between two centuries and two ideas",[152] and as a "logical development of our Revolution".[citation needed] Italy
Italy
joined the Germans in the Battle of France, fighting the fortified Alpine Line
Alpine Line
at the border. Just eleven days later, France and Germany signed an armistice. Included in Italian-controlled France were most of Nice and other southeastern counties.[151] Meanwhile, in Africa, Mussolini's Italian East Africa
Italian East Africa
forces attacked the British in their Sudan, Kenya and British Somaliland
British Somaliland
colonies, in what would become known as the East African Campaign.[153] British Somaliland
British Somaliland
was conquered and became part of Italian East Africa
Italian East Africa
on 3 August 1940, and there were Italian advances in the Sudan and Kenya.[154] Path to defeat

Mussolini
Mussolini
in an official portrait

In September 1940, the Italian Tenth Army was commanded by General Rodolfo Graziani
Rodolfo Graziani
and crossed from Italian Libya
Italian Libya
into Egypt, where British forces were located; this would become the Western Desert Campaign. Advances were successful, but the Italians stopped at Sidi Barrani waiting for logistic supplies to catch up. On 24 October 1940, Mussolini
Mussolini
sent the Italian Air Corps
Italian Air Corps
to Belgium, where it took part in the Blitz until January 1941.[155] In October, Mussolini
Mussolini
also sent Italian forces into Greece, starting the Greco-Italian War. After initial success, this backfired as the Greek counterattack proved relentless, resulting in Italy
Italy
losing one-quarter of Albania. Events in Africa had changed by early 1941 as Operation Compass
Operation Compass
had forced the Italians back into Libya, causing high losses in the Italian Army.[156] Also in the East African Campaign, an attack was mounted against Italian forces. Despite putting up a resistance, they were overwhelmed at the Battle of Keren, and the Italian defense started to crumble with a final defeat in the Battle of Gondar. When addressing the Italian public on the events, Mussolini
Mussolini
was completely open about the situation, saying "We call bread bread and wine wine, and when the enemy wins a battle it is useless and ridiculous to seek, as the English do in their incomparable hypocrisy, to deny or diminish it."[157] Part of his comment was in relation to earlier success the Italians had in Africa, before being defeated by an Allied force later. In danger of losing the control of all Italian possessions in North Africa, Germany finally sent the Afrika Korps
Afrika Korps
to support Italy. Meanwhile, Operation Marita
Operation Marita
took place in Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
to end the Greco-Italian War, resulting in an Axis victory and the Occupation of Greece by Italy
Italy
and Germany.[158] General Mario Robotti, Commander of the Italian 11th division in Slovenia and Croatia, issued an order in line with a directive received from Mussolini
Mussolini
in June 1942: "I would not be opposed to all (sic) Slovenes being imprisoned and replaced by Italians. In other words, we should take steps to ensure that political and ethnic frontiers coincide".[159] Mussolini
Mussolini
first learned of Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa
after the invasion of Soviet Union
Soviet Union
had begun on 22 June 1941, and was not asked by Hitler
Hitler
to involve himself.[160] Mussolini
Mussolini
took the initiative in ordering an Italian Army Corps to head to the Eastern Front, where he hoped that Italy
Italy
might score an easy victory to restore the Fascist regime's luster, which had been damaged by defeats in Greece and North Africa. Mussolini
Mussolini
told the Council of Ministers of 5 July that his only worry was that Germany might defeat the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
before the Italians arrived.[161] At a meeting with Hitler
Hitler
in August, Mussolini
Mussolini
offered and Hitler
Hitler
accepted the commitment of further Italian troops to fight the Soviet Union.[162] The heavy losses suffered by the Italians on the Eastern Front, where service was extremely unpopular owing to the widespread view that this was not Italy's fight, did much to damage Mussolini's prestige with the Italian people.[162] After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he declared war on the United States on 11 December 1941.[163] A piece of evidence regarding Mussolini's response to the attack on Pearl Harbor comes from the diary of his Foreign Minister Ciano:

A night telephone call from Ribbentrop. He is overjoyed about the Japanese attack on America. He is so happy about it that I am happy with him, though I am not too sure about the final advantages of what has happened. One thing is now certain, that America will enter the conflict and that the conflict will be so long that she will be able to realize all her potential forces. This morning I told this to the King who had been pleased about the event. He ended by admitting that, in the long run, I may be right. Mussolini
Mussolini
was happy, too. For a long time he has favored a definite clarification of relations between America and the Axis.[164]

Dismissed and arrested Main article: 25 Luglio

Marshal Pietro Badoglio
Pietro Badoglio
succeeded Mussolini
Mussolini
as Prime Minister.

By early 1942, Italy's military position had become untenable. After the defeat at El Alamein at the end of 1942, the Axis troops had to retreat to where they were finally defeated in the Tunisia Campaign
Tunisia Campaign
in early 1943. Italy
Italy
suffered major setbacks on the Eastern Front as well. The Allied invasion of Sicily
Allied invasion of Sicily
brought the war to the nation's very doorstep.[12] The Italian home front was also in bad shape as the Allied bombings were taking their toll. Factories all over Italy
Italy
were brought to a virtual standstill because raw materials, such as coal and oil, were lacking. Additionally, there was a chronic shortage of food, and what food was available was being sold at nearly confiscatory prices. Mussolini's once-ubiquitous propaganda machine lost its grip on the people; a large number of Italians turned to Vatican Radio
Vatican Radio
or Radio London for more accurate news coverage. Discontent came to a head in March 1943 with a wave of labor strikes in the industrial north—the first large-scale strikes since 1925.[165] Also in March, some of the major factories in Milan
Milan
and Turin
Turin
stopped production to secure evacuation allowances for workers' families. The German presence in Italy
Italy
had sharply turned public opinion against Mussolini; for example, when the Allies invaded Sicily, the majority of the public there welcomed them as liberators.[166] Earlier in April 1943, Mussolini
Mussolini
had begged Hitler
Hitler
to make a separate peace with Stalin and send German troops to the west to guard against an expected Allied invasion of Italy. Mussolini
Mussolini
feared that with the losses in Tunisia and North Africa, the next logical step for Dwight Eisenhower's armies would be to come across the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
and attack the Italian peninsula. Within a few days of the Allied landings on Sicily
Sicily
in July 1943, it was obvious Mussolini's army was on the brink of collapse. This led Hitler
Hitler
to summon Mussolini
Mussolini
to a meeting in Feltre
Feltre
on 19 July 1943. By this time, Mussolini
Mussolini
was so shaken from stress that he could no longer stand Hitler's boasting. His mood darkened further when that same day, the Allies bombed Rome—the first time that city had ever been the target of enemy bombing.[167]

Dismissal of Mussolini
Mussolini
and appointment of Badoglio

Italian radio statement announcing the dismissal of Mussolini
Mussolini
and appointment of Badoglio, 25 July 1943.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

By this point, some prominent members of Mussolini's government had turned against him. Among them were Grandi and Ciano. Several of his colleagues were close to revolt, and Mussolini
Mussolini
was forced to summon the Grand Council on 24 July 1943. This was the first time that body had met since the start of the war. When he announced that the Germans were thinking of evacuating the south, Grandi launched a blistering attack on him.[12] Grandi moved a resolution asking the king to resume his full constitutional powers–in effect, a vote of no confidence in Mussolini. This motion carried by a 19–8 margin. Despite this sharp rebuke, Mussolini
Mussolini
showed up for work the next day as usual. He allegedly viewed the Grand Council as merely an advisory body and did not think the vote would have any substantive effect.[165] That afternoon, he was summoned to the royal palace by King Victor Emmanuel III, who had been planning to oust Mussolini
Mussolini
earlier. When Mussolini tried to tell the king about the meeting, Victor Emmanuel cut him off and told him that he was being replaced by Marshal Pietro Badoglio.[165] After Mussolini
Mussolini
left the palace, he was arrested by Carabinieri
Carabinieri
on the king's orders.[168] By this time, discontent with Mussolini
Mussolini
was so intense that when the news of his downfall was announced on the radio, there was no resistance of any sort. People rejoiced because they thought it meant the war was over.[165]

Mussolini
Mussolini
rescued by German troops from his prison in Campo Imperatore on 12 September 1943.

In an effort to conceal his location from the Germans, Mussolini
Mussolini
was moved around before being imprisoned at Campo Imperatore, a mountain resort in Abruzzo
Abruzzo
where he was completely isolated. Badoglio announced that the war would continue in alliance with Germany. Even as Badoglio was keeping up the appearance of loyalty to the Axis, he dissolved the Fascist Party two days after taking over and began negotiating an Armistice with the Allies, which was signed on 3 September 1943. Its announcement five days later threw Italy
Italy
into chaos; German troops rushed in to take over Italy
Italy
in Operation Achse. As the Germans approached Rome, Badoglio and the king fled Rome, leaving the Italian Army without orders.[169] After a period of anarchy, Italy
Italy
finally declared war on Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
on 13 October 1943 from Malta; thousands of troops were supplied to fight against the Germans, others refused to switch sides and had joined the Germans. The Badoglio government held a political truce with the leftist partisans for the sake of Italy
Italy
and to rid the land of the Nazis.[170] Italian Social Republic
Italian Social Republic
(" Salò
Salò
Republic") Main article: Italian Social Republic

Italian Social Republic
Italian Social Republic
(RSI) as of 1943 in yellow and green. The green areas were German military operational zones under direct German administration.

Only two months after Mussolini
Mussolini
had been dismissed and arrested, he was rescued from his prison at the Hotel Campo Imperatore
Campo Imperatore
in the Gran Sasso raid on 12 September 1943 by a special Fallschirmjäger (paratroopers) unit and Waffen-SS
Waffen-SS
commandos led by Major Otto-Harald Mors; Otto Skorzeny
Otto Skorzeny
was also present.[168] The rescue saved Mussolini from being turned over to the Allies, as per the armistice.[170] Hitler
Hitler
had made plans to arrest the king, Crown Prince Umberto, Badoglio, and the rest of the government and restore Mussolini
Mussolini
to power in Rome, but the government's escape south likely foiled those plans.[167] Three days following his rescue in the Gran Sasso raid, Mussolini
Mussolini
was taken to Germany for a meeting with Hitler
Hitler
in Rastenburg at his East Prussian headquarters. Despite public professions of support, Hitler was clearly shocked by Mussolini's disheveled and haggard appearance as well as his unwillingness to go after the men in Rome who overthrew him. Feeling that he had to do what he could to blunt the edges of Nazi repression, Mussolini
Mussolini
agreed to set up a new regime, the Italian Social Republic (Italian: Repubblica Sociale Italiana, RSI),[12] informally known as the Salò
Salò
Republic because of its administration from the town of Salò
Salò
where he settled 11 days after his rescue by the Germans. Mussolini's new regime faced numerous territorial losses: in addition to losing the Italian lands held by the Allies and Badoglio's government, the provinces of Bolzano, Belluno and Trento were placed under German administration in the Operational Zone of the Alpine Foothills, while the provinces of Udine, Gorizia, Trieste, Pola (now Pula), Fiume (now Rijeka) and Ljubljana (Lubiana in Italian) were incorporated into the German Operational Zone of the Adriatic Littoral.[171][172]

Mussolini
Mussolini
inspecting fortifications, 1944

In addition, the German army occupied the Dalmatian provinces of Split (Spalato) and Kotor
Kotor
(Cattaro), which were subsequently annexed by the Croatian fascist regime. Italy's gains in Greece and Albania were also lost to Germany, with the exception of the Italian Aegean Islands, which remained nominally under RSI rule.[173] Mussolini
Mussolini
opposed any territorial reductions of the Italian state and told his associates:

I am not here to renounce even a square meter of state territory. We will go back to war for this. And we will rebel against anyone for this. Where the Italian flag flew, the Italian flag will return. And where it has not been lowered, now that I am here, no one will have it lowered. I have said these things to the Führer.[174]

A rain-soaked Benito Mussolini
Mussolini
reviewing adolescent soldiers in northern Italy, late 1944.

For about a year and a half, Mussolini
Mussolini
lived in Gargnano
Gargnano
on Lake Garda in Lombardy. Although he insisted in public that he was in full control, he knew that he was little more than a puppet ruler under the protection of his German liberators—for all intents and purposes, the Gauleiter
Gauleiter
of Lombardy.[167] After yielding to pressures from Hitler
Hitler
and the remaining loyal fascists who formed the government of the Republic of Salò, Mussolini
Mussolini
helped orchestrate a series of executions of some of the fascist leaders who had betrayed him at the last meeting of the Fascist Grand Council. One of those executed was his son-in-law, Galeazzo Ciano. As Head of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs
Affairs
for the Italian Social Republic, Mussolini
Mussolini
used much of his time to write his memoirs. Along with his autobiographical writings of 1928, these writings would be combined and published by Da Capo Press as My Rise and Fall. In an interview in January 1945 by Madeleine Mollier, a few months before he was captured and executed by Italian anti-fascist partisans, he stated flatly: "Seven years ago, I was an interesting person. Now, I am little more than a corpse." He continued:

Yes, madam, I am finished. My star has fallen. I have no fight left in me. I work and I try, yet know that all is but a farce... I await the end of the tragedy and – strangely detached from everything – I do not feel any more an actor. I feel I am the last of spectators.[175]

Death Main article: Death of Benito Mussolini

Cross marking the place in Mezzegra
Mezzegra
where Mussolini
Mussolini
was shot

Play media

American newsreel coverage of the death of Mussolini
Mussolini
in 1945

On 25 April 1945, allied troops were advancing into northern Italy, and the collapse of the Salò
Salò
Republic was imminent. Mussolini
Mussolini
and his mistress Clara Petacci
Clara Petacci
set out for Switzerland, intending to board a plane and escape to Spain.[176] Two days later on 27 April, they were stopped near the village of Dongo (Lake Como) by communist partisans Valerio and Bellini and identified by the Political Commissar
Political Commissar
of the partisans' 52nd Garibaldi Brigade, Urbano Lazzaro. During this time, Clara's brother posed as a Spanish consul.[177] After several unsuccessful attempts to take them to Como
Como
they were brought to Mezzegra. They spent their last night in the house of the De Maria family. The next day, Mussolini
Mussolini
and Petacci were both summarily shot, along with most of the members of their 15-man train, primarily ministers and officials of the Italian Social Republic. The shootings took place in the small village of Giulino di Mezzegra
Giulino di Mezzegra
and were conducted by a partisan leader who used the nom de guerre of Colonnello Valerio. His real identity is unknown, but conventionally he is thought to have been Walter Audisio, who always claimed to have carried out the execution, though another partisan controversially alleged that Colonnello Valerio was Luigi Longo, subsequently a leading communist politician in post-war Italy.[178][179] Mussolini
Mussolini
was killed two days before Hitler
Hitler
and his wife Eva Braun
Eva Braun
committed suicide. Mussolini's corpse On 29 April 1945, the bodies of Mussolini, Petacci and the other executed Fascists were loaded into a van and moved south to Milan. At 3:00 am, the corpses were dumped on the ground in the old Piazzale Loreto. The piazza had been renamed "Piazza Quindici Martiri" in honor of fifteen anti-Fascists recently executed there.[180]

The corpse of Mussolini
Mussolini
(second from left) next to Petacci (middle) and other executed fascists in Piazzale Loreto, Milan, 1945

After being kicked and spat upon, the bodies were hung upside down from the roof of an Esso
Esso
gas station.[181] The bodies were then stoned from below by civilians. This was done both to discourage any Fascists from continuing the fight, and as an act of revenge for the hanging of many partisans in the same place by Axis authorities. The corpse of the deposed leader was subject to ridicule and abuse. Fascist loyalist Achille Starace
Achille Starace
was captured and sentenced to death and then taken to the Piazzale Loreto
Piazzale Loreto
and shown the body of Mussolini. Starace, who once said of Mussolini
Mussolini
"He is a god,"[182] saluted what was left of his leader just before he was shot. The body of Starace was subsequently hung up next to that of Mussolini. After his death and the display of his corpse in Milan, Mussolini
Mussolini
was buried in an unmarked grave in the Musocco cemetery, to the north of the city. On Easter Sunday
Easter Sunday
1946, his body was located and dug up by Domenico Leccisi and two other neo-Fascists. On the loose for months—and a cause of great anxiety to the new Italian democracy—Mussolini's body was finally "recaptured" in August, hidden in a small trunk at the Certosa di Pavia, just outside Milan. Two Fransciscan brothers were subsequently charged with concealing the corpse, though it was discovered on further investigation that it had been constantly on the move. Unsure what to do, the authorities held the remains in a kind of political limbo for ten years, before agreeing to allow them to be re-interred at Predappio
Predappio
in Romagna, his birthplace. Adone Zoli, the then-current prime minister, contacted Donna Rachele, the dictator's widow, to tell her he was returning the remains, as he needed the support of the far-right in parliament, including Leccisi himself. In Predappio
Predappio
the dictator was buried in a crypt (the only posthumous honor granted to Mussolini). His tomb is flanked by marble fasces, and a large idealized marble bust of him is above the tomb.[183] Personal life Mussolini's first wife was Ida Dalser, whom he married in Trento
Trento
in 1914. The couple had a son the following year and named him Benito Albino Mussolini. In December 1915, Mussolini
Mussolini
married Rachele Guidi, who had been his mistress since 1910. Due to his upcoming political ascendency, the information about his first marriage was suppressed, and both his first wife and son were later persecuted.[62] With Rachele, Mussolini
Mussolini
had two daughters, Edda (1910–1995) and Anna Maria (1929–1968), the latter of whom married in Ravenna
Ravenna
on 11 June 1960 to Nando Pucci Negri; and three sons: Vittorio (1916–1997), Bruno (1918–1941) and Romano (1927–2006). Mussolini
Mussolini
had several mistresses, among them Margherita Sarfatti
Margherita Sarfatti
and his final companion, Clara Petacci. Mussolini
Mussolini
had many brief sexual encounters with female supporters, as reported by his biographer Nicholas Farrell.[184] Imprisonment likely caused Mussolini's claustrophobia. He refused to enter the Blue Grotto, and preferred large rooms like his 60 by 40 by 40 feet (18 by 12 by 12 m) office at the Palazzo Venezia.[24] Religious views Atheism
Atheism
and anti-clericalism Mussolini
Mussolini
was raised by a devoutly Catholic mother[185] and an anti-clerical father.[186] His mother Rosa had him baptized into the Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
Church, and took her children to services every Sunday. His father never attended.[185] Mussolini
Mussolini
regarded his time at a religious boarding school as punishment, compared the experience to hell, and "once refused to go to morning Mass and had to be dragged there by force."[187] Mussolini
Mussolini
became anti-clerical like his father. As a young man, he "proclaimed himself to be an atheist[188] and several times tried to shock an audience by calling on God to strike him dead."[186] He believed that science had proven there was no god, and that the historical Jesus was ignorant and mad. He considered religion a disease of the psyche, and accused Christianity of promoting resignation and cowardice.[186] Mussolini
Mussolini
was superstitious; after hearing of the curse of the Pharaohs, he ordered the immediate removal from the Palazzo Chigi
Palazzo Chigi
of an Egyptian mummy he had accepted as a gift.[24] Mussolini
Mussolini
was an admirer of Friedrich Nietzsche. According to Denis Mack Smith, "In Nietzsche
Nietzsche
he found justification for his crusade against the Christian virtues of humility, resignation, charity, and goodness."[189] He valued Nietzsche's concept of the superman, "The supreme egoist who defied both God and the masses, who despised egalitarianism and democracy, who believed in the weakest going to the wall and pushing them if they did not go fast enough."[189] On his 60th birthday, Mussolini
Mussolini
received a gift from Hitler
Hitler
of a complete twenty-four volume set of the works of Nietzsche.[190] Mussolini
Mussolini
made vitriolic attacks against Christianity and the Catholic Church, which he accompanied with provocative remarks about the consecrated host, and about a love affair between Christ and Mary Magdalene. He denounced socialists who were tolerant of religion, or who had their children baptized, and called for socialists who accepted religious marriage to be expelled from the party. He denounced the Catholic Church
Catholic Church
for "its authoritarianism and refusal to allow freedom of thought ..." Mussolini's newspaper, La Lotta di Classe, reportedly had an anti-Christian editorial stance.[191] Lateran Treaty Despite making such attacks, Mussolini
Mussolini
tried to win popular support by appeasing the Catholic majority in Italy. In 1924, Mussolini
Mussolini
saw that three of his children were given communion. In 1925, he had a priest perform a religious marriage ceremony for himself and his wife Rachele, whom he had married in a civil ceremony 10 years earlier.[192] On 11 February 1929, he signed a concordat and treaty with the Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
Church.[193] Under the Lateran Pact, Vatican City was granted independent statehood and placed under Church law—rather than Italian law—and the Catholic religion was recognized as Italy's state religion.[194] The Church also regained authority over marriage, Catholicism could be taught in all secondary schools, birth control and freemasonry were banned, and the clergy received subsidies from the state and was exempted from taxation.[195][196] Pope Pius XI
Pius XI
praised Mussolini, and the official Catholic newspaper pronounced " Italy
Italy
has been given back to God and God to Italy."[194] After this conciliation, he claimed the Church was subordinate to the State, and "referred to Catholicism as, in origin, a minor sect that had spread beyond Palestine only because grafted onto the organization of the Roman empire."[193] After the concordat, "he confiscated more issues of Catholic newspapers in the next three months than in the previous seven years."[193] Mussolini
Mussolini
reportedly came close to being excommunicated from the Catholic Church
Catholic Church
around this time.[193] Mussolini
Mussolini
publicly reconciled with the Pope Pius XI
Pius XI
in 1932, but "took care to exclude from the newspapers any photography of himself kneeling or showing deference to the Pope."[193] He wanted to persuade Catholics that "[f]ascism was Catholic and he himself a believer who spent some of each day in prayer ..."[193] The Pope began referring to Mussolini
Mussolini
as "a man sent by Providence."[191][193] Despite Mussolini's efforts to appear pious, by order of his party, pronouns referring to him "had to be capitalized like those referring to God ..."[193] In 1938 Mussolini
Mussolini
began reasserting his anti-clericalism. He would sometimes refer to himself as an "outright disbeliever," and once told his cabinet that "Islam was perhaps a more effective religion than Christianity" and that the "papacy was a malignant tumor in the body of Italy
Italy
and must 'be rooted out once and for all', because there was no room in Rome for both the Pope and himself."[197] He publicly backed down from these anti-clerical statements, but continued making similar statements in private.[citation needed] After his fall from power in 1943, Mussolini
Mussolini
began speaking "more about God and the obligations of conscience", although "he still had little use for the priests and sacraments of the Church".[198] He also began drawing parallels between himself and Jesus Christ.[198] Mussolini's widow, Rachele, stated that her husband had remained "basically irreligious until the later years of his life".[199] Mussolini
Mussolini
was given a Catholic funeral in 1957.[200] Mussolini's views on antisemitism and race Main articles: Italian Racial Laws
Italian Racial Laws
and Manifesto of Race

Mussolini
Mussolini
with Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
in Berlin, 1937

Although Mussolini
Mussolini
had initially disregarded biological racism, he was a firm believer in national traits and made several generalizations about the Jews.[201] Nevertheless, Mussolini
Mussolini
considered Italian Jews to be Italians.[201] Mussolini's antisemitic remarks in the late 1910s and early 1920s were more suited to the moment rather than a sincere belief in them.[201] Mussolini
Mussolini
blamed the Russian Revolution
Russian Revolution
of 1917 on "Jewish vengeance" against Christianity with the remark "Race does not betray race . . . Bolshevism is being defended by the international plutocracy. That is the real truth."[201] Yet within a few weeks he did a u-turn with the remark "Bolshevism is not, as people believe, a Jewish phenomenon. The truth is that Bolshevism is leading to the utter ruin of the Jews of Eastern Europe."[201] In the early 1920s, Mussolini
Mussolini
stated that Fascism
Fascism
would never raise a "Jewish Question" and in an article he wrote he stated " Italy
Italy
knows no antisemitism and we believe that it will never know it." and then elaborated "let us hope that Italian Jews will continue to be sensible enough so as not to give rise to antisemitism in the only country where it has never existed."[202] In 1932, Mussolini
Mussolini
during a conversation with Emil Ludwig
Emil Ludwig
described antisemitism as a "German vice" and stated that "There was 'no Jewish Question' in Italy
Italy
and could not be one in a country with a healthy system of government."[203] On several occasions, Mussolini
Mussolini
spoke positively about Jews and the Zionist movement,[204] although Fascism
Fascism
remained suspicious of Zionism after the Fascist Party gained power.[205] Until 1938 Mussolini
Mussolini
had denied any antisemitism within the Fascist Party.[204] The relationship between Mussolini
Mussolini
and Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
was a contentious one early on. While Hitler
Hitler
cited Mussolini
Mussolini
as an influence and privately expressed great admiration for him,[206] Mussolini
Mussolini
had little regard for Hitler, especially after the Nazis had assassinated his friend and ally, Engelbert Dollfuss, the Austrofascist
Austrofascist
dictator of Austria in 1934. With the assassination of Dollfuss, Mussolini
Mussolini
attempted to distance himself from Hitler
Hitler
by rejecting much of the racialism (particularly Nordicism
Nordicism
and Germanicism) and antisemitism espoused by the German radical. Mussolini
Mussolini
during this period rejected biological racism, at least in the Nazi sense, and instead emphasized "Italianizing" the parts of the Italian Empire
Italian Empire
he had desired to build.[207] He declared that the ideas of eugenics and the racially charged concept of an Aryan
Aryan
nation were not possible.[207] Mussolini
Mussolini
dismissed the idea of a master race as "arrant nonsense, stupid and idiotic."[208] When discussing the Nazi decree that the German people must carry a passport with either Aryan
Aryan
or Jewish racial affiliation marked on it, in 1934, Mussolini
Mussolini
wondered how they would designate membership in the "Germanic race":

But which race? Does there exist a German race? Has it ever existed? Will it ever exist? Reality, myth, or hoax of the theorists? Ah well, we respond, a Germanic race does not exist. Various movements. Curiosity. Stupor. We repeat. Does not exist. We don't say so. Scientists say so. Hitler
Hitler
says so.[209]

When German-Jewish journalist Emil Ludwig
Emil Ludwig
asked about his views on race in 1933, Mussolini
Mussolini
exclaimed:

Race! It is a feeling, not a reality: ninety-five percent, at least, is a feeling. Nothing will ever make me believe that biologically pure races can be shown to exist today. Amusingly enough, not one of those who have proclaimed the "nobility" of the Teutonic race was himself a Teuton. Gobineau was a Frenchman, (Houston Stewart) Chamberlain, an Englishman; Woltmann, a Jew; Lapouge, another Frenchman.[210]

In a speech given in Bari
Bari
in 1934, he reiterated his attitude towards the German ideology of Master race:

Thirty centuries of history allow us to look with supreme pity on certain doctrines which are preached beyond the Alps
Alps
by the descendants of those who were illiterate when Rome had Caesar, Virgil and Augustus.[211][212]

Though Italian Fascism
Italian Fascism
varied its official positions on race from the 1920s to 1934, ideologically Italian fascism did not originally discriminate against the Italian-Jewish community: Mussolini recognised that a small contingent had lived there "since the days of the Kings of Rome" and should "remain undisturbed".[213] There were even some Jews in the National Fascist Party, such as Ettore Ovazza, who in 1935 founded the Jewish Fascist paper La Nostra Bandiera ("Our Flag").[214]

Front page of the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera
Corriere della Sera
on 11 November 1938: the fascist regime has approved the racial laws.

By mid-1938, the enormous influence Hitler
Hitler
now had over Mussolini became clear with the introduction of the Manifesto of Race. The Manifesto, which was closely modeled on the Nazi Nuremberg Laws,[88] stripped Jews of their Italian citizenship
Italian citizenship
and with it any position in the government or professions. The racial laws declared Italians to be part of the Aryan
Aryan
race and forbid sexual relations and marriages between Italians and those considered to be of an "inferior race", chiefly Jews and Africans.[215] Jews were not permitted to own or manage companies involved in military production, or factories that employed over one hundred people or exceeded a certain value. They could not own land over a certain value, serve in the armed forces, employ non-Jewish domestics, or belong to the Fascist party. Their employment in banks, insurance companies, and public schools was forbidden.[216] Even after the introduction of the racial laws, Mussolini
Mussolini
continued to make contradictory statements about race.[217] Many high government officials told Jewish representatives that the antisemitism in Fascist Italy
Italy
would soon be over.[217] Antisemitism was unpopular within the Fascist party; once when a Fascist scholar protested to Mussolini about the treatment of his Jewish friends, Mussolini
Mussolini
is reported to have said "I agree with you entirely. I don't believe a bit in the stupid anti-Semitic theory. I am carrying out my policy entirely for political reasons."[218] Hitler
Hitler
felt disappointed with Mussolini's lack of antisemitism.[219] Mussolini
Mussolini
and the Italian Army in occupied regions openly opposed German efforts to deport Italian Jews to Nazi concentration camps.[220] Italy's refusal to comply with German demands of Jewish persecution influenced other countries.[220] In September 1943 semi-autonomous militarized squads of Fascist fanatics sprouted up throughout the Republic of Salò. These squads spread terror among Jews and anti-Fascists for a year and a half. In the power vacuum that existed during the first three or four months of the occupation, the semi-autonomous bands were virtually uncontrollable. Many were linked to individual high-ranking Fascist politicians.[221] Italian Fascists, sometimes government employees but more often fanatic civilians or paramilitary volunteers, hastened to curry favor with the Nazis. Informers betrayed their neighbors, squadristi seized Jews and delivered them to the German SS, and Italian journalists seemed to compete in the virulence of their anti-Semitic diatribes.[222] It has been widely speculated that Mussolini
Mussolini
adopted the Manifesto of Race in 1938 for merely tactical reasons, to strengthen Italy's relations with Germany. Mussolini
Mussolini
and the Italian military did not consistently apply the laws adopted in the Manifesto of Race.[220] In December 1943, Mussolini
Mussolini
made a confession to journalist/politician Bruno Spampanato that seems to indicate that he regretted the Manifesto of Race:

The Racial Manifesto could have been avoided. It dealt with the scientific abstruseness of a few teachers and journalists, a conscientious German essay translated into bad Italian. It is far from what I have said, written and signed on the subject. I suggest that you consult the old issues of Il Popolo d'Italia. For this reason I am far from accepting (Alfred) Rosenberg's myth.[223]

Mussolini
Mussolini
also reached out to the Muslims in his empire and in the predominantly Arab countries of the Middle East. In 1937, the Muslims of Libya presented Mussolini
Mussolini
with the "Sword of Islam" while Fascist propaganda pronounced him as the "Protector of Islam."[224] Legacy Family

Tomb of Mussolini
Mussolini
in the family crypt, in the cemetery of Predappio

Mussolini
Mussolini
was survived by his wife, Rachele Mussolini, two sons, Vittorio and Romano Mussolini, and his daughters Edda (the widow of Count Ciano) and Anna Maria. A third son, Bruno, was killed in an air accident while flying a Piaggio P.108
Piaggio P.108
bomber on a test mission, on 7 August 1941. His oldest son, Benito Albino Mussolini, from his marriage with Ida Dalser, was ordered to stop declaring that Mussolini was his father and in 1935 forcibly committed to an asylum in Milan, where he was murdered on 26 August 1942 after repeated coma-inducing injections.[62] Alessandra Mussolini, daughter of Romano Mussolini, Benito Mussolini's fourth son, and of Anna Maria Scicolone, Sophia Loren's sister, has been a member of the European Parliament
European Parliament
for the far-right Social Alternative movement, a deputy in the Italian lower chamber and served in the Senate as a member of Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party. Neo-fascism Although the National Fascist Party
National Fascist Party
was outlawed by the postwar Constitution of Italy, a number of successor neo-fascist parties emerged to carry on its legacy. Historically, the largest neo-fascist party was the Italian Social Movement
Italian Social Movement
(Movimento Sociale Italiano), which disbanded in 1995 and was replaced by National Alliance, a conservative party that distanced itself from Fascism
Fascism
(its founder, former foreign minister Gianfranco Fini, declared during an official visit to Israel
Israel
that Fascism
Fascism
was "an absolute evil").[225] National Alliance and a number of neo-fascist parties were merged in 2009 to create the short-lived People of Freedom party led by then Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, which eventually disbanded after the defeat in the 2013 general election. In popular culture

American wartime comic advertising the government sale of low-return war bonds by showing Mussolini, Hitler
Hitler
and Hirohito
Hirohito
beaten by superheroes

Olaf Stapledon
Olaf Stapledon
in his SF novel Last and First Men has a future historian give Mussolini's story, though without naming him. Written in 1930, it has Mussolini
Mussolini
starting and losing a war with France and then being killed by an angry Italian mob. The book does not predict Hitler.[226] In his 1938 novel The Holy Terror, H.G. Wells
H.G. Wells
predicted Mussolini's execution:

Benito Mussolini, with a surfeit of bad history decaying in his imagination, could not see the plain realities before him. Like most of his generation he dramatised human affairs in incurably geographical patches, and like most of the masterful men of his time his belief in his power to mould the life about him carried him beyond sanity. From the beginning his was an ill-balanced temperament; he would be blatant at one moment, and weeping at another. He beat at the knees of Mother Reality like an unteachable child. He wanted war and conquest, triumph over definable enemies, fierce alliances, and unforgettable antagonisms. He wanted glory. He died, as his last words testify, completely unaware of the fact that the rational treatment of human affairs does not admit of that bilaterality which the traditions of warfare require. "Do we win?" he said. He persuaded himself and he persuaded great multitudes of people that two great systems of ideas faced each other in the world, "Leftism" and "Rightism", and that he and his associated Dictators embodied the latter. He did contrive finally to impose the illusion of a definitive World War upon great masses of people.

Charlie Chaplin's 1940 film The Great Dictator
The Great Dictator
satirizes Mussolini
Mussolini
as "Benzino Napaloni", portrayed by Jack Oakie. In the Three Stooges' I'll Never Heil Again, Cy Schindell
Cy Schindell
plays "Chizzolini", from the then topical insult of "chisler". William Saroyan
William Saroyan
wrote a short story about Mussolini
Mussolini
in his 1971 book, Letters from 74 rue Taitbout or Don't Go But If You Must Say Hello To Everybody. More serious biographical depictions include Rod Steiger
Rod Steiger
in Carlo Lizzani's 1974 movie Last Days of Mussolini, and George C. Scott's portrayal in the 1985 television mini-series Mussolini: The Untold Story. Another 1985 movie was Mussolini
Mussolini
and I, in which Bob Hoskins
Bob Hoskins
plays the dictator (with Susan Sarandon
Susan Sarandon
as his daughter Edda and Anthony Hopkins as Count Ciano). Actor Antonio Banderas
Antonio Banderas
also played the title role in Benito in 1993, which covered his life from his school teacher days to the beginning of World War I, before his rise as dictator. Mussolini is also depicted in the films Tea with Mussolini, Lion of the Desert (also with Steiger) and the award-winning Italian film Vincere. A comic strip ran in the British comic
British comic
The Beano
The Beano
entitled "Musso the Wop". This strip, which ran from 1940 to 1943, featured Mussolini
Mussolini
as an arrogant buffoon.[227] "Der Mussolini" is a hit single by the German electropunk/Neue Deutsche Welle band Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft
Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft
(DAF), from their Deutscher Schallplattenpreis-winning 1981 album Alles Ist Gut. It was covered by German-American industrial rock band KMFDM
KMFDM
on their 2006 remix album Ruck Zuck, as well as German EBM/synthpop band And One on their 2007 EP Bodypop 1½. Mussolini
Mussolini
is the protagonist of the 2009 film Vincere, directed by Marco Bellocchio. See also

Biography portal Fascism
Fascism
portal History portal Europe portal Italy
Italy
portal Politics portal World War II
World War II
portal

Fascist manifesto Fascist Revolutionary
Revolutionary
Party Fascist syndicalism Italian Fascism List of people on the cover of Time magazine (1920s)
List of people on the cover of Time magazine (1920s)
– on 6 August 1923 and 12 July 1926 Mediterraneanism Pact of Pacification Squadrismo

References

^ See Benito and Mussolini
Mussolini
in Luciano Canepari, Dizionario di pronuncia italiana online ^ Hakim, Joy (1995). A History of Us: War, Peace and all that Jazz. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509514-6.  ^ "BBC - History - Historic Figures: Benito Mussolini
Mussolini
(1883-1945)". bbc.co.uk.  ^ " Mussolini
Mussolini
founds the Fascist party – Mar 23, 1919". HISTORY.com.  ^ Anthony James Gregor (1979). Young Mussolini
Mussolini
and the Intellectual Origins of Fascism. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0520037991.  ^ a b Simonetta Falasca-Zamponi (1997). Fascist Spectacle: The Aesthetics of Power in Mussolini's Italy. U of California Press. p. 45.  ^ a b c d e Gregor 1979, p. 191. ^ Haugen, pp. 9, 71 ^ Luisa Quartermaine (2000). Mussolini's Last Republic: Propaganda
Propaganda
and Politics in the Italian Social Republic
Italian Social Republic
(R.S.I.) 1943–45. Intellect Books. p. 21. ISBN 978-1-902454-08-5.  ^ MacGregor Knox. Mussolini
Mussolini
unleashed, 1939–1941: Politics and Strategy in Fascist Italy's Last War. Edition of 1999. Cambridge, England, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Pp. 122–123. ^ MacGregor Knox. Mussolini
Mussolini
unleashed, 1939–1941: Politics and Strategy in Fascist Italy's Last War. Edition of 1999. Cambridge, England, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Pp. 122–127. ^ a b c d Moseley 2004. ^ Viganò, Marino (2001), "Un'analisi accurata della presunta fuga in Svizzera", Nuova Storia Contemporanea (in Italian), 3  ^ "1945: Italian partisans kill Mussolini". BBC News. 28 April 1945. Retrieved 17 October 2011.  ^ a b c d Charles F. Delzel, ed. (1970). Mediterranean
Mediterranean
Fascism 1919–1945. Harper Rowe. p. 3.  ^ a b c "Benito Mussolini". Grolier.com. 8 January 2008. Archived from the original on 5 February 2008.  ^ a b c d Tonge, M.E.; Henry, Stephen; Collins, Gráinne (2004). "Chapter 2". Living history 2: Italy
Italy
under Fascism
Fascism
(New ed.). Dublin: EDCO. ISBN 1-84536-028-1.  ^ " Alessandro Mussolini
Alessandro Mussolini
1854". GeneAll.net. 8 January 2008.  ^ De Felice, Renzo (1965). Mussolini. Il Rivoluzionario (in Italian) (1 ed.). Torino: Einaudi. p. 11.  ^ Gregor 1979, p. 29. ^ Gregor 1979, p. 31. ^ Mediterranean
Mediterranean
Fascism
Fascism
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(2002) p 86 ^ a b Golomb 2002, p. 249. ^ Tucker 2005, p. 1001. ^ Tucker 2005, p. 884. ^ Tucker 2005, p. 335. ^ Tucker 2005, p. 219. ^ a b Tucker 2005, p. 826. ^ Tucker 2005, p. 209. ^ a b c d e f Gregor 1979, p. 189. ^ Tucker 2005, p. 596. ^ a b c d Emile Ludwig. Nine Etched in Life. Ayer Company Publishers, 1934 (original), 1969. p. 321. ^ Mediterranean
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Further reading

2007. Mussolini's Cities: Internal Colonialism in Italy, 1930–1939, Cambria Press. Bosworth, R.J.B. 2002. Mussolini. London, Hodder. Bosworth, R.J.B. 2006. "Mussolini's Italy: Life Under the Dictatorship 1915–1945". London, Allen Lane. Corvaja, Santi. 2001. Hitler
Hitler
and Mussolini. The Secret Meetings. Enigma. ISBN 1-929631-00-6 Daldin, Rudolph S. The Last Centurion. http://www.benito-mussolini.com ISBN 0-921447-34-5 De Felice, Renzo (1965). Mussolini. Il Rivoluzionario,1883–1920 (in Italian) (1 ed.). Torino: Einaudi.  De Felice, Renzo (1966). Mussolini. Il Fascista. 1: La conquista del potere, 1920–1925 (in Italian) (1 ed.). Torino: Einaudi.  De Felice, Renzo (1969). Mussolini. Il Fascista. 2: L'organizzazione dello Stato fascista, 1925–1929 (in Italian) (1 ed.). Torino: Einaudi.  De Felice, Renzo (1974). Mussolini. Il Duce. 1: Gli anni del consenso, 1929–1936 (in Italian) (1 ed.). Torino: Einaudi.  De Felice, Renzo (1981). Mussolini. Il Duce. 2: Lo stato totalitario, 1936–1940 (in Italian) (1 ed.). Torino: Einaudi.  De Felice, Renzo (1990). Mussolini. L'Alleato, 1940–1942. 1: L'Italia in guerra I. Dalla "guerra breve" alla guerra lunga (in Italian) (1 ed.). Torino: Einaudi.  De Felice, Renzo (1990). Mussolini. L'Alleato. 1: L'Italia in guerra II: Crisi e agonia del regime (in Italian) (1 ed.). Torino: Einaudi.  De Felice, Renzo (1997). Mussolini. L'Alleato. 2: La guerra civile, 1943–1945 (in Italian) (1 ed.). Torino: Einaudi.  Golomb, Jacob; Wistrich, Robert S. 2002. Nietzsche, godfather of fascism?: on the uses and abuses of a philosophy. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. Farrell, Nicholas. 2003. Mussolini: A New Life. London: Phoenix Press, ISBN 1-84212-123-5. Garibaldi, Luciano. 2004. Mussolini. The Secrets of his Death. Enigma. ISBN 1-929631-23-5 Gregor, Anthony James. 1979. Young Mussolini
Mussolini
and the intellectual origins of fascism. Berkeley and Los Angeles, California; London, England: University of California Press. Hibbert, Christopher. Il Duce. Haugen, Brenda (2007). Benito Mussolini: Fascist Italian Dictator. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Compass Point Books. ISBN 0-7565-1988-8.  Kallis, Aristotle. 2000. Fascist Ideology. London: Routledge. Kroener, Bernhard R.; Muller, Rolf-Dieter; Umbreit, Hans (2003). Germany and the Second World War
Second World War
Organization and Mobilization in the German Sphere of Power. VII. New York City: Oxford University Press, Inc. ISBN 0-19-820873-1.  Lowe, Norman. Italy, 1918–1945: the first appearance of fascism. In Mastering Modern World History. Morris, Terry; Murphy, Derrick. Europe 1870–1991. Moseley, Ray. 2004. Mussolini: The Last 600 Days of Il Duce. Dallas: Taylor Trade Publishing. Mussolini, Rachele. 1977 [1974]. Mussolini: An Intimate Biography. Pocket Books. Originally published by William Morrow, ISBN 0-671-81272-6, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 74-1129 O'Brien, Paul. 2004. Mussolini
Mussolini
in the First World War: The Journalist, the Soldier, the Fascist. Oxford: Berg Publishers. Painter, Jr., Borden W. (2005). Mussolini's Rome: rebuilding the Eternal City. Passannanti, Erminia, Mussolini
Mussolini
nel cinema italiano Passione, potere egemonico e censura della memoria. Un'analisi metastorica del film di Marco Bellocchio
Marco Bellocchio
Vincere!, 2013. ISBN 978-1-4927-3723-0 Petacco, Arrigo (ed.). 1998. L'archivio segreto di Mussolini. Mondadori. ISBN 88-04-44914-4. Smith, Denis Mack (1982). Mussolini: A biography, Borzoi Book published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. ISBN 0-394-50694-4. Sternhell, Zeev; Sznajder, Mario; Asheri, Maia (1994). The Birth of Fascist Ideology: From Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-04486-4.  Stang, G. Bruce (1999). "War and peace: Mussolini's road to Munich". In Lukes, Igor; Goldstein, Erik. The Munich crisis 1938: prelude to World War II. London: Frank Cass. pp. 160–190.  Tucker, Spencer (2005). Encyclopedia of World War I: a political, social, and military history. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO.  Weinberg, Gerhard (2005). A World in arms. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  Zuccotti, Susan. 1987. Italians and the Holocaust Basic Books, Inc.

Historiography

O'Brien, Paul. 2004. Mussolini
Mussolini
in the First World War: The Journalist, the Soldier, the Fascist. O'Brien evaluates the biographies in Italian and English in the Introduction, which is online at Amazon.com

Writings of Mussolini

Giovanni Hus, il Veridico (Jan Hus, True Prophet), Rome (1913). Published in America as John Hus (New York: Albert and Charles Boni, 1929). Republished by the Italian Book Co., NY (1939) as John Hus, the Veracious. The Cardinal's Mistress (trans. Hiram Motherwell, New York: Albert and Charles Boni, 1928). There is an essay on "The Doctrine of Fascism" written by Benito Mussolini
Mussolini
that appeared in the 1932 edition of the Enciclopedia Italiana, and excerpts can be read at Doctrine of Fascism. There are also links to the complete text. La Mia Vita ("My Life"), Mussolini's autobiography written upon request of the American Ambassador in Rome (Child). Mussolini, at first not interested, decided to dictate the story of his life to Arnaldo Mussolini, his brother. The story covers the period up to 1929, includes Mussolini's personal thoughts on Italian politics and the reasons that motivated his new revolutionary idea. It covers the march on Rome and the beginning of the dictatorship and includes some of his most famous speeches in the Italian Parliament (Oct 1924, Jan 1925). Vita di Arnaldo (Life of Arnaldo), Milano, Il Popolo d'Italia, 1932. Scritti e discorsi di Benito Mussolini
Mussolini
(Writings and Discourses of Mussolini), 12 volumes, Milano, Hoepli, 1934–1940. Four Speeches on the Corporate State, Laboremus, Roma, 1935, p. 38 Parlo con Bruno (Talks with Bruno), Milano, Il Popolo d'Italia, 1941. Storia di un anno. Il tempo del bastone e della carota (History of a Year), Milano, Mondadori, 1944. From 1951 to 1962, Edoardo and Duilio Susmel worked for the publisher "La Fenice" to produce Opera Omnia (the complete works) of Mussolini in 35 volumes.

Further reading

Hibbert, Christopher. Benito Mussolini, a Biography. (London: Reprint Society, [1962) p., ill. with b&w photos. online Kirkpatrick, Ivone, Sir. Mussolini, a study in power (1964) online Ridley, Jasper. Mussolini: A Biography (1998) online

External links

Find more aboutBenito Mussoliniat's sister projects

Definitions from Wiktionary Media from Wikimedia Commons News from Wikinews Quotations from Wikiquote Texts from Wikisource Textbooks from Wikibooks Learning resources from Wikiversity

Did Mussolini
Mussolini
really make the trains run on time? Benito Mussolini
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Speeches Works by or about Benito Mussolini
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at Internet Archive Works by Benito Mussolini
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at LibriVox
LibriVox
(public domain audiobooks) Il Duce
Duce
'sought Hitler
Hitler
ban' September 2003 BBC News Authorized translation of Mussolini’s “The Political and Social Doctrine of Fascism” (1933) Mussolini
Mussolini
shaking hands with King George V. of England, 1923, The Illustrated London News Mussolini's Piazza Augusto Imperatore Time Magazine, 5 April 1937 (5 April 1937). "Islam, Duce, and Duke". Retrieved 19 August 2009.  Time Magazine, 7 May 1945 (7 May 1945). "Death in Milan". Retrieved 20 August 2009.  References to Mussolini
Mussolini
in European newspapers – The European Library Benito Mussolini
Mussolini
on IMDb

Political offices

Preceded by Luigi Facta Prime Minister of Italy 1922 – 1943 Succeeded by Pietro Badoglio

Preceded by Paolino Taddei Luigi Federzoni Minister of the Interior 1922 – 1924 1926 – 1943 Succeeded by Luigi Federzoni Bruno Fornaciari

Preceded by Antonino Di Giorgio Pietro Gazzera Minister of War 1925 – 1929 1933 – 1943 Succeeded by Pietro Gazzera Antonio Sorice

Preceded by Luigi Federzoni Emilio De Bono Alessandro Lessona Minister of the Italian Africa 1928 – 1929 1935 – 1936 1937 – 1939 Succeeded by Emilio De Bono Alessandro Lessona Attilio Teruzzi

Preceded by Carlo Schanzer Dino Grandi Galeazzo Ciano Minister of Foreign Affairs 1922 – 1929 1932 – 1936 1943 Succeeded by Dino Grandi Galeazzo Ciano Raffaele Guariglia

New title Duce
Duce
of the Italian Social Republic 1943 – 1945 Abolished

Minister of Foreign Affairs 1943 – 1945

Party political offices

New title Duce
Duce
of Fascism 1921 – 1943 Abolished

Duce
Duce
of the Republican Fascist Party 1943 – 1945

Military offices

New title First Marshal of the Empire 1938 – 1943 Abolished

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(daughter) Vittorio Mussolini
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Members of Mussolini
Mussolini
Cabinet

Head of government
Head of government
and duce of Fascism

Benito Mussolini

Minister of the Air Force (since 1925)

Italo Balbo

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Benito Mussolini Dino Grandi Galeazzo Ciano

Minister of agriculture (abolished in 1923)

Giuseppe De Capitani D'Arzago

Minister of Agriculture and Forestry (since 1929)

Giacomo Acerbo Edmondo Rossoni Giuseppe Tassinari Carlo Pareschi

Minister of the Colonies (abolished in 1937)

Luigi Federzoni Benito Mussolini Pietro Lanza di Scalea Emilio De Bono Alessandro Lessona

Minister of Italian Africa (since 1937)

Alessandro Lessona Benito Mussolini Attilio Teruzzi

Minister of Communications (since 1924)

Costanzo Ciano Umberto Puppini Antonio Stefano Benni Nino Host Venturi Vittorio Cini Giuseppe Peverelli

Minister of Corporations (since 1926)

Benito Mussolini Giuseppe Bottai Ferruccio Lantini Renato Ricci Carlo Tiengo Tullio Cianetti

Ministry of People's Culture (since 1937)

Dino Alfieri Alessandro Pavolini Gaetano Polverelli

Minister of the Interior

Benito Mussolini Luigi Federzoni

Minister of domestic economy

Orso Mario Corbino Cesare Nava Giuseppe Belluzzo Alessandro Martelli

Minister of domestic education

Balbino Giuliano Francesco Ercole Cesare Maria De Vecchi Giuseppe Bottai Carlo Alberto Biggini

Minister of Finance

Alberto De Stefani Giuseppe Volpi Antonio Mosconi Guido Jung Paolo Ignazio Maria Thaon di Revel Giacomo Acerbo

Minister of Justice and Affairs
Affairs
of Religion

Aldo Oviglio Alfredo Rocco Pietro De Francisci Arrigo Solmi Dino Grandi Alfredo De Marsico

Minister of Industry and Commerce

Teofilo Rossi

Minister of Public Works

Gabriello Carnazza Gino Sarrocchi Giovanni Giuriati Benito Mussolini Michele Bianchi Araldo di Crollalanza Luigi Razza Giuseppe Cobolli Gigli Adelchi Serena Giuseppe Gorla Zenone Benini

Minister of War

Armando Diaz Antonino Di Giorgio Benito Mussolini Pietro Gazzera Benito Mussolini

Minister of Labour and Social Security

Stefano Cavazzoni

Minister of Posts and Telegraphs

Giovanni Antonio Colonna di Cesarò Costanzo Ciano

Minister of War Production (since 6 February 1943)

Carlo Favagrossa

Minister of Public Education

Giovanni Gentile Alessandro Casati Pietro Fedele Giuseppe Belluzzo

Minister of Trades and Currencies

Felice Guarneri Raffaello Riccardi Oreste Bonomi

Minister of Press and Propaganda

Galeazzo Ciano Dino Alfieri

Minster of Freed Territories from enemies (abolished on 5 February 1923)

Giovanni Giuriati

Minister of Treasure (merged into Ministry of Finance on 31 December 1922)

Vincenzo Tangorra Alberto De Stefani

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 90162262 LCCN: n78095482 ISNI: 0000 0001 2143 1748 GND: 118585967 SELIBR: 206997 SUDOC: 027043401 BNF: cb11917297h (data) BIBSYS: 11055366 ULAN: 500219109 HDS: 27903 MusicBrainz: 41366462-ff3a-45a8-91d9-c40c259b5637 NLA: 35370842 NDL: 00450900 NKC: jn20000701282 ICCU: ITICCUCFIV92078 BNE: XX842

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