Benito Mussolini was an Italian political leader and dictator who ruled Italy as a Prime Minister from 1922 to 1943.
Benito Mussolini was notably known in Italy as a person who organized and founded a political party called the Facist Party that dominated Italian political scene in Italy as an only political party starting since the early 1920s until the end of the World War II in 1945. It was under Facist Party that Mussolini rose to power and established a totalitarian rule.
While in the European or the global scene, Benito Mussolini was more notable as one of the wartime leaders during the World War II. The other leaders with whom he collaborated were German Chancellor Adolf Hitler, and the Japanese Prime Minister Tojo Hideki.
Early Life of Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini was born in Dovia di Predappio, Italy, on 29 July, 1883. His father was Alessandro Mussolini who was a blacksmith and a socialist by ideology. While mother Rosa served as a school teacher.
Mussolini attended schools in a towns of Forlimpopoli and Faenza, but was unable to finish due to his immorality. However, at last, he was able to acquired a teaching certificate in 1901.
Early Career and Military Service
After earning the teaching certificate, Benito Mussolini taught as an elementary school teacher for a while. But, in 1902, he left the job and went to Switzerland. During his life in the Switzerland, Mussolini learned and developed more radical ideas in which learned and be inspired by many political thinkers such Niccolo Machiavelli, Karl Marx, and others.
Benito Mussolini started showing and practicing his radical socialist ideas in Switzerland, which eventually led to his deportation back home to Italy by the Swiss authority. He went back to the Switzerland, but in December 1904 he returned back to Italy and joined military service. However, before joining military, Mussolini already became member of the Italian Socialist Party since 1900.
In January 1905, Mussolini was posted to the Italian infantry soldiers called ‘Bersaglieri‘ at Forli. After serving more than one and half year, he left the service in 1906.
Political Career of Benito Mussolini
Even though a member of the Italian Socialist Party, Benito Mussolini did not became active politician until around 1909 to 1910. He started as a Secretary of the Labor Party in Austria-Hungary. Later, in 1910 he came back to Italy in the town of Forli where he became an editor for the weekly newspaper called ‘Lotti di Classe‘. As an editor of the newspaper, Mussolini earned a reputation as one of the best socialist writers and one of the top socialist leaders in Italy.
In 1914, the World War 1 broke out, and Italy intervened in the War. Mussolini supported the War, while his party did not. Therefore, this brought about disagreement between the Italian Socialist Party and Benito Mussolini to the extent that the Party expelled him.
Facism and Rise to Power
After Benito Mussolini left the Socialist Party because of his support to the Italian intervention in World War 1, he organized a revolutionary movement called ‘Fasci Rivoluzionari d’Azione Internazionalista‘. With the new organization, Mussolini criticized the type of socialism which was based on class conflict, and also asserted his support to the Italian intervention of the War. At the same time, Mussolini joined the Italian soldiers who were fighting in the World War II until 1917, when he was seriously injured that forced his withdrawal from the War.
After he returned home and recovered, Benito Mussolini reorganized his Fasci or simply Facist into an organized political party called the National Facist Party or in short the Facist Party. Under the Party that he ran for a seat in the Italian Parliament in 1919, but lost. However, he was not discouraged, rather he struggled and rallied to secured the support of the Italians specifically the youth.
In 1921 election, Benito Mussolini was elected to the parliament as a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies.
MARCH ON ROME
Gradually the Facist Party became a dominant Party in Italy, and Benito Mussolini became one of the top Italian political figures. His idealogy and aim of becoming a single strong leader started to appeared. After planning and organizing his hidden agenda, on 27 October, 1922, about 30,000 men wearing black shirts called the ‘Facist Blackshirts’ marched on Rome and forced the Italian King Victor Emmanuel to allowed the formation of a Facist government. At last, the King agreed and appointed Mussolini as the Italian Prime Minister and formed a new government under the Facist.
Dictatorship and the World War 2
After Benito Mussolini became the Prime Minister, he began to rule based on the Facist ideology that the government possessed all power and every citizen should obeyed and supported the government. By this way, Mussolini gradually eliminated all opposition and established his government as a totalitarian or dictatorial, in which he called himself ‘il Duce‘ which means a leader.
As part of his aim or dream of making Italy a new Roman Empire, Mussolini began strengthened his army capacity and instilled patriotic behaviors to the Italians. Most importantly was expansionism ideology, under which he set for invasion of European countries in the Mediterranean and the north African countries.
On the other hand, Benito Mussolini developed friendship with the German Chancellor Adolf Hitler whom they shared common objectives. Around the late 1930s, Mussolini and Hitler were seen as a threat to the world peace due to their aggressive behavior of violating world orders. On the process of expansionism, the Italian armies by his order invaded the east African country of Ethiopia in 1936. The action was worldwidely condemned especially by the organization of the world nations then called the League of Nations. The League of Nations demanded the withdrawal of the Italian troops from Ethiopia, but Mussolini ignored the orde Again in April 1939, Mussolini ordered the invasion of Albania. The Albanian invasion clearly showed Mussolini’s readiness to wage a war with any country who opposed his mission.
WORLD WAR II
In September 1939, the German armies invaded Poland by the order Adolf Hitler, and the action caused the outbreak of the World War II. Benito Mussolini intervened in the War in 1940 on the side of Italy against the Allied Powers of the Great Britain, United States, and the Soviet Union. He served as the wartime leader and managed the Italian War effort. Initially, his army seems to succeeded as they won some battles in the Mediterranean and north Africa. However, later, the Mussolini’s forces began facing huge setbacks in the War. Back home, the Italians became wary of the War because of how they were losing their brothers and their country’s resources.
In July 1943, Mussolini was removed from the power and replaced with Pietro Badoglio. He was also imprisoned, but rescued by the German forces and appointed him to take charge of the German War effort in northern Italy.
But,unfortunately, by April 1945 the World War II was nearly come to an end, with Germany and its allies including Italy lost the War. Therefore, Mussolini was captured by the Italian armies while trying to escaped. On 28 April, 1945, he was executed by the firing squad.