Benito Mussolini

Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (Italian: [beˈniːto mussoˈliːni];[1] 29 July 1883 – 28 April 1945) was an Italian politician and journalist who founded and led the National Fascist Party. He was Prime Minister of Italy from the Fascist coup d'état in 1922 until his deposition in 1943, and Duce ("Leader") of Italian Fascism from the establishment of the Italian Fasces of Combat in 1919 until his execution in 1945 during the Italian Civil War. As dictator of Italy and founder of the fascist movement, Mussolini inspired other totalitarian rulers such as Adolf Hitler and Francisco Franco.[2][3][4][5]

Mussolini was originally a socialist politician and a journalist at the Avanti! newspaper. In 1912, he became a member of the National Directorate of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI),[6] but was expelled from the PSI for advocating military intervention in World War I, in opposition to the party's stance on neutrality. In 1914, Mussolini founded a new journal, Il Popolo d'Italia, and served in the Royal Italian Army during the war until he was wounded and discharged in 1917. Mussolini denounced the PSI, his views now centering on Italian nationalism instead of socialism, and later founded the fascist movement which came to oppose egalitarianism[7] and class conflict, instead advocating "revolutionary nationalismtranscending class lines.[8] On October 31, 1922, following the March on Rome (October 28-30), Mussolini was appointed prime minister by King Victor Emmanuel III, becoming the youngest individual to hold the office up to that time. After removing all political opposition through his secret police and outlawing labor strikes,[9] Mussolini and his followers consolidated power through a series of laws that transformed the nation into a one-party dictatorship. Within five years, Mussolini had established dictatorial authority by both legal and illegal means and aspired to create a totalitarian state. In 1929, Mussolini signed the Lateran Treaty with the Vatican, ending decades of struggle between the Italian state and the Papacy, and recognized the independence of Vatican City.

Mussolini's foreign policy aimed to expand the sphere of influence of Italian fascism. In 1923, he began the "Pacification of Libya" and ordered the bombing of Corfu in retaliation for the murder of an Italian general. In 1936, Mussolini formed Italian East Africa (AOI) by merging EritreaSomalia and Ethiopia following the Abyssinian crisis and the Second Italo–Ethiopian War. In 1939, Italian forces occupied Albania. Between 1936 and 1939, Mussolini ordered the successful Italian military intervention in Spain in favor of Francisco Franco during the Spanish civil war. Mussolini's Italy initially tried to avoid the outbreak of a second global war, sending troops at the Brenner Pass to delay Anschluss and taking part in the Stresa front, the Lytton Report, the Treaty of Lausanne, the Four-Power Pact and the Munich Agreement. However, Italy then alienated itself from Britain and France by aligning with Germany and Japan. Germany invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, resulting in declarations of war by France and the UK and the start of World War II.

 

(Taken from Wikipedia)