Benito Mussolini Quotes
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician, journalist and leader of the National Fascist Party, ruling the country as Prime Minister from 1922 to 1943—constitutionally until 1925, when he dropped all pretense of democracy and set up a legal dictatorship.
Known as Il Duce, Mussolini was the founder of Italian Fascism. In 1912, Mussolini was a leading member of the National Directorate of the Italian Socialist Party, 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 during the war until he was wounded and discharged in 1917. Mussolini denounced the PSI, his views now centering on nationalism instead of socialism and later founded the fascist movement which came to oppose egalitarianism and class conflict, instead advocating revolutionary nationalism transcending class lines. Following the March on Rome in October 1922, Mussolini became the youngest Prime Minister in Italian history until the appointment of Matteo Renzi in February 2014.
After removing all political opposition through his secret police and outlawing labor strikes, 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 had established dictatorial authority by both legal and extraordinary means and aspired to create a totalitarian state. Mussolini remained in power until he was deposed by King 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 – Mussolini held this post until his death in 1945.
Mussolini had sought to delay a major war in Europe until at least 1942, 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 officially entered the war on the side of Germany, though he was aware that Italy did not have the military capacity and resources to carry out a long war with the British Empire. 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. 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 sent Italian forces to participate in the invasion of the Soviet Union and war with the United States followed in December.
The Allies invaded Sicily on 24 July 1943. That same day, Mussolini was deposed by the Grand Council of Fascism, who motioned of no confidence towards Mussolini, while the King dismissed and arrested him the following day. On 12 September 1943, Mussolini was rescued from prison in the Gran Sasso raid by German special forces. In late April 1945, in the wake of near total defeat, Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci attempted to flee to Switzerland, but both were captured by Italian communists and summarily executed by firing squad. His body was then taken to Milan, where it was hung upside down at a service station to publicly confirm his demise.