Welcome to this article where we will be taking a look at the life of Benito Mussolini! Mussolini became a dictator in Italy by founding the National Fascist Party and becoming powerful as time went on. We will explore some interesting facts about this powerful figure who was once considered an Italian hero before becoming a brutal dictator.
Interesting Facts about Benito Mussolini
1. His political tendencies were shaped by his father.
Mussolini was born on the 29th of July 1883 in a town called Dovia di Predappio in Romagna, Italy. His parents were a blacksmith and a teacher. Benito Mussolini’s first name was the same as the Mexican president because his father supported the Mexican president.. Benito was the eldest of the three children. His love for politics was influenced by his father, and Mussolini was inspired by people such as Giuseppe Garibaldi and Carlo Pisacane.
2. He served in the military for a brief period.
Initially, Mussolini emigrated to Switzerland in 1902 in order to avoid military service. During this period, he studied philosophy, particularly those of Nietzsche, and the studies greatly inspired his beliefs and views. In Switzerland, he led the Italian socialistic movements, during which he was even arrested for advocating strikes. He returned to Italy in December 1904 where he served in the army by joining the corps of Bersaglieri for a period of 2 years.
3. He went on to become a political journalist and intellectual.
After his brief period serving in the military, Mussolini left for Trento where he worked as a secretary of the labor party. He was an avid reader and considered himself an intellectual, and he chose to write a few novels as well. At this point, he was considered a famous socialist in Italy.
4. He was expelled from the socialist party which led to the founding of the fascist party.
Mussolini eventually ran into a lot of conflict with other prominent socialists who showed more opposition to the war. Due to his support of the intervention and the war, he was expelled from the party. This resulted in a radical transformation for Mussolini, and he began to construct the fascist party from October 1914. He began to collect funding, and it was suspected that the French had funded for this as well. In 1919, the Fascist Manifesto began to be circulated, which formed the groundwork for calling voting rights for both men and women, taxation on the wealthy population, and the abolition of the country’s senate.
5. The fascist party’s basis was inspired by the Romans.
To engage with the public, Mussolini referenced several symbols in connection to Roman history. The word ‘fascist’ itself is derived from the Roman word ‘fasces,’ which is a bundle of sticks that signifies authority and power. After all, fascism was based on ‘authoritarian nationalism,’ which implied that the government and specifically its ruling figure (which was technically the dictator) had the full power. Symbols such as the perched eagle and the stretched-arm salute were used as well. Members of the party wore full black and were known to be ruthless.
6. He declared himself the leader or ‘Il Duce’.
The fascist party was quick to become popular with the Italian population. In 1922, Mussolini and his army of 30,000 Black Shirts marched to Rome and took control of the government. In 3 years, Mussolini had complete control of the governing body and the parliament, and he had established himself as the dictator of the country. His nickname, Il Duce, became a permanent reference to him. During his regime, he sought to increase the strength of Italy’s military service. He dreamed of Italy returning to the days of the Roman empire, which nearly controlled the entire European continent.
7. The emergence of World War II caused several drawbacks for Mussolini’s vision.
Italy entered the world war in 1940 as an ally for Germany. Despite this decision, the biggest flaw was the fact that Italy was not prepared to deal with such a complex and large war. The army became far too thinned out, resulting in several defeats, and eventually, the soldiers chose to opt out of the war. In 1943, Mussolini was ousted from his position and imprisoned. However, Hitler rescued Mussolini and placed him in charge of Northern Italy for the Germans. This was seen as an act of treachery by the Italians, causing Mussolini to flee.
8. He was captured and killed by the Italian army.
During his fleeing, he was unfortunately captured by the Italian forces along with his mistress on 25th April 1945. They were shot the following day (two days before Hitler was killed) along with other fascists and their bodies were hung and stoned. This was primarily an act to discourage the fascists from continuing as well as an act of revenge for the treachery. After this display, Mussolini’s body was buried in an unmarked grave for a short period before finally being buried in a crypt in Predappio.
I hope that you enjoyed learning more about Benito Mussolini facts. For facts on other historical figures, visit historical figures page.