Benito Mussolini was born on the 29th day of July in 1883 near a town called Predippio located in north-east Italy. Born to parents Alessandro who was a blacksmith and Rosa a school teacher; along with two younger siblings-the Mussolini’s were very poor. Benito’s father was a socialist and Republican who believed that there should be a much better dissemination of affluence in Italy and cancellation of the Monarchy. Many citizens agreed with Alessandro’s belief of Republicanism and his beliefs were major influences in his son Benito Mussolini’s life.
While going to school, Benito rebelled against various issues. Rosa, his mother had insisted he go to this school which was operated by Catholic Monks. However, Benito’s behavior ridiculed the school’s rules and as such he was expelled. Benito’s father believed that the Roman Catholic Church was Italy’s biggest enemy, and he embedded this belief into his son which he solely agreed with. Benito showed improvements at his other school and continued on this pathway and became a teacher.
Despite this, Benito’s passion was in politics. At the tender age of 19, Benito fled Italy for Switzerland to avoid military service. There in Switzerland, he met other Italian socialists and gained employment as a bricklayer and became a member of the Trade Union. Just one year later, at the age of 20, in 1903, Benito was expelled from Switzerland for suggesting a general strike.
Benito then travelled to France but eventually went back to Italy to complete his military service. To be more precise, he went to Trentino north of Italy which was ruled by the Austrians. However, sooner than later, Benito’s beliefs caused him to be kicked out of Trentino in 1909. Austrian authorities described him as a trouble maker because he encouraged trade unions and launched attacks on the Catholic Church.
Afterwards, Mussolini travelled south to Po Valley, where he advocated for farmers to get better salaries. He was appointed Secretary of the local Socialist Party in Forli and Editor of the socialist newspaper “La Lotta di Classe”. Since his return from Switzerland, Mussolini worked extensively as a journalist and a social activist at the same time. Later he became an Editor for the Avanti. Mussolini resigned his post as Secretary for the Socialist Party in Forli because they advocated support for the allies in World War I.
Benito served in the Italian Military when Italy entered the First World War and Benito held the rank of Corporal in the Army. Mussolini was injured during the war and immediately upon his return to Milan; he decided to edit the right-wing “Popolo d’Italia”. It is probably safe to assume that the effects of the war transformed him from a socialist to a ruthless fascist. He was hungry for power and he was going to get by freewill or by force. Following the war, Mussolini carried out a myriad of activities influenced by Fascism and his many other beliefs. “The defining features of fascism are nationalism (including economic nationalism), corporatism (including economic planning), totalitarianism (including dictatorship and social interventionism), and militarism”. 1
He attacked Vittorio Orlando (Italy’s Prime Minister at the end of World War I) for his futile efforts in pursuing Italy’s objectives at Versailles Peace Treaty and aided in the compilation of the right-winged groups into the Fascist Party. Right-winged political individuals are a form of government who believe that the individuals are more important than the country. “Right wingers believe in formal equality. They believe that everyone should be treated equally under the law and should be treated equally by government. Examples of right wing formal equality include equal pay for equal work and civil and political rights.”
Out of fear for more bloodshed, he was appointed Prime Minister by King Victor Emmanuel III in 1922 after the “March on Rome”. Mussolini’s fascist party “Black Shirts” made his rise to power rapid. By the time of Hitler’s leadership in Germany, Benito was already the leader in Italy for over a decade. In more than one instances Mussolini can be compared to Hitler-they both served in the military and returned from the war to create fascist party. However, credit is due to Benito for his success in the progression on the Italian economy.
The main reason behind the 1922 march on Rome was to initiate Mussolini and his fascist party as the most important person and political party in Italy. Upon the inception of the Fascist party, in an October 1922 party gathering, Mussolini said “either the government will be given to us or we shall seize it by marching on Rome”. Mussolini and the party’s hierarchy carefully mapped out the attack. First, they would bring the fascists into Rome from all over Italy. Secondly, all public national buildings would be seized inclusive of those outside Rome in the important cities north of Rome. Then Mussolini would call for the resignation of the government and inform them that a new government-a fascist government will be taking charge. In case his demands weren’t met, he would have armed fascists near Rome.
Critics described his plan as ignorant and naïve, because for one the Roman Army was more equipped with manpower and weapons. Weapons from the fascist party were farming tools and majority of them were wearing the incorrect gear. However, Mussolini’s plan was being based one thing-the fact that the Italian government led by Facta and King Victor Emmanuel III wouldn’t want to risk having anymore conflicts especially since the country has been through so much in World War I. However, the Great Mussolini underestimated Facta who was willing to put up a fight. However, the King urged him otherwise as he was in fear of the occurrence of a civil war, losing to Mussolini and being replaced by his cousin Duke of Aosta who was a fascist supporter.
Summoned to meet King Victor Emmanuel III of Rome on October 22, he went on October 30, 1922, and was sworn in on this day as the Prime Minister of Rome. That was the only time fascists gathered outside Rome were allowed to march through Rome in victory.
Sitting on top of his high horse, he organized the 1935 invasion of Ethiopia which included the use of poison gas. Now condemned by British and French leaders-he seeked allies elsewhere and found it in Germany and Japan. He later sided with Hitler in support of the fascist (Nationalist) side in the Spanish Civil War. He also found an ally in Spanish Generalissimo Franco; but being involved in this war-he lost favor with the rest of the world. Mussolini was falling just as fast as his rise to fame.
Probably the biggest mistake of his entire career came when he decided to enter World War II. In 1940, Germany was at war with Britain and France and Italy was at peace, but for some reason or another, the troublemaker (Mussolini) declared war on France. The war was long and wary and through it, all the weaknesses of Italian Army and naval fleet were highlighted. Italy lost the battle before it even started. They were inadequately armed and leaders were unwilling to risk defeat. Italy failed not only to France, Britain and the United States but also to Greece when they tried to invade it in 1941.
One by one, Italy lost its colonies in Africa and members of the military. Now, Italy is the one being invaded. Benito was overturned by his own fascist Grand Council and the King who was seen by Mussolini now as just a simple figurehead, elected a new Prime Minister. Mussolini was arrested whilst Italy tried to regain what’s left of their country. Soon after his arrest, Hitler ordered paratroopers to his rescue. He fled to northern Italy which at the time was under German rule. He established a social republic with him being the leader.
In April 1945, the Germans in northern Italy surrendered and Mussolini was arrested yet again. This time however, no one came to his rescue. Mussolini and his mistress Clara Pettaci were taken from jail and lynched by Communist Partisans.