Violet Gibson from Dublin shot and injured the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini when she tried to assassinate him in Rome in 1926. Benito Mussolini was journalist and socialist politician who founded the Fascist party in Italy in 1919. By 1922 Italy was in political chaos and Mussolini was invited by King Victor Emmanuel to form a government. Mussolini took the title of ‘Il Duce’. He gradually dismantled the institutions of democratic government and appointed himself dictator.
The Honourable Violet Albina Gibson was born in Dublin on August 31st 1876. She was the daughter of Edward Gibson (Lord Ashbourne) who was the Lord Chancellor of Ireland for lengthy periods from 1885 to 1906. She had four brothers and three sisters and grew up in privileged circumstances. Her eldest brother Willie who succeeded his father as Lord Ashbourne was a member of the Gaelic League (Conradh na Gaeilge) and insisted on speaking in Irish even in the House of Lords.
Violet was described as frail and had suffered several serious illnesses, including pleurisy, by the time she reached the age of 20. When she was 26, like her brother Willie she became a catholic and a few years later moved to London. Following the death several members of her family and her fiancé, Gibson moved to Paris at the age of 33. There she became involved in the pacifist movement. She continued to suffer from ill-health and was hospitalised with a nervous breakdown in 1922 at the age of 46. During her recovery she moved with a nurse to Rome where they lived in a convent.
Mussolini at this time was at the height of his power. On the day Gibson attempted to assassinate him he had delivered a speech to the International Congress of Surgeons at their meeting in Rome. He was walking from the building when Gibson fired at him from a few feet. However, at the moment Gibson pulled the trigger, Mussolini moved his head to acknowledge the cheering crowds and the bullet grazed his nose. He staggered backwards with blood streaming down his face. The crowd attacked Gibson but she was rescued by the police. She was deported to England where she spent the remainder of her life in St Andrew’s Hospital in Northampton.
Violet Gibson from Dublin, who wounded Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, when she attempted to assassinate him, died in the year 1956 On This Day.
Mussolini by Oldmaison on 2008-02-12 22:56:32