By: Anna Kaminski
Childhood & Teenage Years
Benito Mussolini was born on July 29, 1883, into a family with a father who was a radical Socialist and blacksmith. His father's ideas and opinions rubbed off onto him, which caused him to be a very violent child. He was originally sent to Catholic boarding school but was soon kicked out for stabbing a classmate in the hand, and would later get suspended from other schools that he would attend. As he got older, he began involving himself in Socialism politics and started writing political articles in the Socialist newspapers and doing things like publicly speaking about what he believed in. He later became the editor of the Socialist newspaper.
Becoming Famous and Powerful
The more and more Mussolini wrote in the newspaper, the more he became known. He started to get very famous, and from this he decided to create a new form of Socialism called Fascism. As this gained attention, people became more and more against Communism, which is when Mussolini started to gain his power. It wasn't long until he was the dictator of Italy. Now knowing that he had the majority of the peoples support, Mussolini quickly started to change his plans. The change to attract industrial supporters and landowners increased the Fascists popularity and political strength.
As the Fascists were getting stronger, so was Mussolini. When Italy was almost in chaos, the Fascists supposedly "saved" them and brought the order back. In about the first five month's, the Fascists or "Black Shirts" killed 207 of their opponents, and injured at least 800. Mussolini saw this as a great time to gain the ultimate power. At the Fascist Convention in 1922, the decision was made to march into Rome and demand political power. He led his 25,000 men into Rome, Italy and never even had to fire a shot. King Emmanuel III gave Mussolini the power and allowed him to construct his own government that would rule Italy for the next 21 years.
Shortly after the March on Rome, Mussolini quickly took power as a dictator. He had all his opponents murdered, he had the press censored, and he set up his own secret police known as the Squadritsi. In 1928, he had the constitution changed so he was the Head of Government, and instead of the parliament being elected, he made them appointed. He put all of his most trustworthy friends in key positions so he could always call on them for favors. His followers began to call him "IL Duce" which means "The Boss". Mussolini liked this because it made him feel powerful and respected. During his rule, Mussolini stressed that the good of Italy was more important than the good of individuals. He put the countries needs of the peoples. In order to stress his beliefs, he used propaganda and censorship. He usually told the people what they wanted to hear and made promises to them so they would continue to follow and worship him. However, he mostly never followed through with what he said.
The Invasion of Ethiopia
In 1934, Mussolini saw the perfect opportunity to attract attention to him and his country. Since he had troops station in Somaliland, he decided to invade the small land of Ethiopia. He had his troops cause problems between the Ethiopian troops and Italian troops. It was easy to see what Mussolini was trying to do, yet Ethiopia still fought. In October of 1935, Mussolini built up a force of 250,000 troops and crossed the border, attacking Ethiopia with things like tanks, air forces, and mustard gas. The Ethiopians had very little weapons to use to defend themselves, so in the end, it was a complete loss for Ethiopia. From this, Mussolini's power grew, and he felt as if he could do whatever he wanted.
Allies with Germany
After the invasion, and during World War I, Mussolini became allies with Hitler and the Nazis. They agreed to fight Communism, and not to interfere with each others plans for expansion. Unfortunately, Mussolini had to flee Italy with the help of Hitler and his special operators. This happened when the Allies successfully invaded Italy during World War I.
His Bad Decision
Mussolini decided to return to Italy after he escaped. However, he was captured by his own people because they angry with Mussolini and the decisions he made for their country. He was executed in 1945 by being shot and hung. Later, people took down his body and drug him through the streets where people would kick him, or throw rocks and spit at him. Mussolini ruled Italy from 1922-1943 and lived from 1883-1945.