Benito Mussolini By Maggie Stohler and Danni Schwartz

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Benito Mussolini

  • By Maggie Stohler and Danni Schwartz


  • Our objective is to discover Benito Mussolini’s journey to dictatorship throughout the era of World War II.

Benito’s Background

  • Benito Mussolini was born on July 29, 1883 in Varnano dei Costa near the village of Predappio.

  • His parents Rosa Maltoni and Alessandro Mussolini influenced his beliefs, creating the foundation of his socialist views.

  • As an avid writer, he became an editor for Avanti, a Milan socialist paper, and proclaimed his views against Germany at the start of World War I.

Mussolini’s Socialist Views

  • While working at the Avanti he grew to be “ the most forceful of all labor leaders of Italian socialism”.

  • At the start of WWI, Mussolini supported Italian involvement in the war, but the socialist didn’t support his ideas.

  • This fallout lead to Mussolini’s change in beliefs and he left the Socialist Party and the Avanti.

The Origin of Fascism

  • After leaving the Avanti, he developed a new Italian newspaper called Il Popolo d’Italia along with the pro-war group Fasci d’Azione Rivoluzionaria in November, 1914.

  • Mussolini became a ruthless dictator within the Fascist group and was supported by liberals.

  • He treated non-supporters of the Fascist Movement harshly and with no respect.

  • On March 15, 1921 he was elected into the Italian Chamber of Deputies with 35 other Fascists as a right-wing member.

Fascist Dictatorship

  • Within the Italian Chamber, Mussolini became able to achieve the governmental powers in order to stabilize Italy’s economy and save it from economic troubles.

  • Mussolini took over the Ministries of the Interior, Foreign Affairs, Italian Army, and the Fascist Militia Corporations.

The Beginning of Mussolini’s Rise to Power

Assuming Dictatorial Powers

  • Mussolini became in charge of nationalists, fascists and the parliamentary government until the death of Giacomo Matteotti, a socialist leader, in 1924.

  • Giacomo’s death triggered the collapse of the left-wing parties, making Italy a one-party, police state.

  • Giacomo’s death significantly helped Mussolini and his conquest to dictatorship.

The Use of Propoganda

  • Mussolini relied on the radio, press, and education to spread the word about fascism by calling it “the doctrine of the 20th century that was replacing liberalism and democracy”.

  • Then, he started to rid Italy of the parliamentary system. He rewrote law codes and made all schools and universities swear by the Fascist regime. He also hand selected the newspaper editors of each Italian newspaper.

  • He wanted the government to control the Italian industry, but Italy did not have the resources or the concentration to fulfill Mussolini’s goal.

Mussolini’s Foreign Policy

  • When Mussolini had gained enough power, he wanted to show off his regime and take over the country. He had a dream to the make the Mediterranean “mare nostrum” (our sea).

  • In October 1935 Mussolini sent 400,000 troops to Ethiopia and in May 1936, they capture Addis Ababa, the capital.

Following in Germany’s Footsteps

  • Along with the non-military alliance with Nazi Germany, Italy also signed on to the German annexation of Austria in 1938, the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia in 1939, and the Pact of Steel with Hitler in May 1939.

  • Like Hitler, Mussolini adopted a racial policy, creating an apartheid in Italy.

The Downfall of the Italian Military

Mussolini’s Arrest and Rescue

  • When the Allies captured Sicily, Mussolini was troubled, for he knew that they would use it as a base to invade Italy.

  • On July 24, 1943, the Fascist Grand Council met and decided to sign a peace treaty with the Allies. On July 25, King Victor Emmanuel III dismissed Mussolini from office and Pietro Badoglio proclaimed martial law and placed Mussolini under arrest.

Establishing the Republic of Salo

  • After being rescued, Mussolini decided to establish a Republican Fascist state in the northern part of Italy called the “Republic of Salo”.

  • In his Fascist state, Mussolini returned to his original views of collectivization and socialism.

  • Mussolini also had the Fascist leaders that had turned against him executed, including his own son-in-law, Galeazzo Ciano.

The Downfall and Death of Mussolini

  • As Italy and Germany weakened, Mussolini began to blame the Italian people for not “fulfilling the Italian dream”.

  • Placing the blame on others was no use. Verona and Parma had already been taken and uprisings had begun in Genoa and Milan.

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