28 April-Mussolini

Benito Mussolini was journalist and socialist politician who founded the Fascist party in Italy in 1919. He was appointed Prime Minister of Italy in 1922 and ruled Italy until he was ousted from power in 1943. He was captured and executed by the Italian resistance while trying to escape in April 1945.

Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was born in Dovia di Predappio, Forlì in north central Italy on July 29th 1883. He qualified as an elementary schoolteacher in 1901. Mussolini moved to Switzerland in 1902 where he became involved in socialist politics. He returned to Italy in 1904 to work for the socialist press. Following World War I Mussolini founded the Fascist Party in March 1919.

By 1922 Italy was in political chaos. 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 in 1925. He established a regime which was held together by strong state control. Violet Gibson from Dublin, wounded Mussolini, when she attempted to assassinate him on April 7th 1926.

As part of his efforts to form a new Italian Empire Mussolini invaded Ethiopia (then Abyssinia) in 1935. During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) he provided military support for Franco who went on to become dictator of Spain. In 1939 he signed the Pact of Steel which increased cooperation with Nazi Germany. Mussolini declared war on the Allies in June 1940.

The Italian Army suffered several defeats in North Africa and the Allies landed troops in Sicily in July 1943. Mussolini was overthrown by his own Fascist party and imprisoned. He was rescued by German commandos and installed as leader of a puppet government in northern Italy. When the Allies began to advance northwards in 1945, Mussolini attempted to flee to Switzerland. He was captured and executed by Italian partisans in Mezzegra on the shores of Lake Como in Northern Italy.

Benito Mussolini was executed in the year 1945 On This Day.

Mussolini

Mussolini’s body hanging upside down in Milan

 

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