“Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (29 July 1883 – 28 April 1945) was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism.

Mussolini became the 40th Prime Minister of Italy in 1922 and began using the title Il Duce by 1925. After 1936, his official title was “His Excellency Benito Mussolini, Head of Government, Duce of Fascism, and Founder of the Empire”. Mussolini also created and held the supreme military rank of First Marshal of the Empire along with King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, which gave him and the King joint supreme control over the military of Italy. Mussolini remained in power until he was replaced in 1943; for a short period after this until his death, he was the leader of the Italian Social Republic.

Mussolini was among the founders of Italian Fascism, which included elements of nationalism, corporatism, national syndicalism, expansionism, social progress, and anti-socialism in combination with censorship of subversives and state propaganda. In the years following his creation of the Fascist ideology, Mussolini influenced, or achieved admiration from, a wide variety of political figures.

Among the domestic achievements of Mussolini from the years 1924–1939 were: his public works programmes such as the taming of the Pontine Marshes, the improvement of job opportunities, the public transport, and the so-called Italian economic battles. Mussolini also solved the Roman Question by concluding the Lateran Treaty between the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See.

On 10 June 1940, Mussolini led Italy into World War II on the side of the Axis despite initially siding with France against Germany in the early 1930s. Believing the war would be short-lived, he declared war on France and the United Kingdom in order to gain territories in the peace treaty that would soon follow.

Three years later, Mussolini was deposed at the Grand Council of Fascism, prompted by the Allied invasion of Italy. Soon after his incarceration began, Mussolini was rescued from prison in the daring Gran Sasso raid by German special forces. Following his rescue, Mussolini headed the Italian Social Republic in parts of Italy that were not occupied by Allied forces. In late April 1945, with total defeat looming, Mussolini attempted to escape to Switzerland, only to be quickly captured and summarily executed near Lake Como by Italian partisans. His body was then taken to Milan where it was hung upside down at a petrol station for public viewing and to provide confirmation of his demise”. – Wikipedia

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, aged 22. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Future Italian dictator Benito Mussolini serves in the trenches during World War I. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images). Circa 1915

Italian dictactor Benito Mussolini. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images). Circa 1920

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini accompanied by Giacomo Acerbo, entering the Quirinale Palace, Rome, to be received by King Victor Emmanuel III, after his march on Rome. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images). October 1922

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini (centre), general and Fascist politician Emilio de Bono and aviator and politician Count Italo Balbo leading the blackshirts in the Fascist “March on Rome”. (Photo by BIPs/Getty Images). 1922

Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images). November 1922

Benito Mussolini going for a drive with his pet lion cub “Ras”, a gift from Aldo Finci. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini enjoying a ride on his horse in the grounds of his villa “Borgnese”. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images). 1925

Italian Premier Benito Mussolini leaving for Tripoli, 13th May 1926. His nose is bandaged after an assassination attempt on 26th April by Violet Gibson, who shot him with a revolver at close range. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini playing a violin. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images). 1927

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini with his wife Rachele Guidi and their five children, Edda, Vittorio, Bruno, Romano and Anna Maria. (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images). Circa 1930

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images). November 1930

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in action fencing, at which he was almost unbeatable. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images). 1930

Fascist Girls during a display to inaugurate the “Forum Mussolini”, a huge development in Rome, which includes two 20,000 seat stadiums. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images). 1932

Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini (left) and King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy (1869–1947) attend military manoeuvres in Bologna, 1934. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini shaking his fist during a speech. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images). Circa 1934

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini with his youngest son Romano on his shoulders. (Photo by General Photographic Agency/Getty Images). Circa 1935

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in military uniform, steel-helmeted and riding a horse. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images). Circa 1935

Benito Mussolini talking with Italian writer and political leader Gabriele D'Annunzio (1863–1938). (Photo by Henry Guttmann/Getty Images). 1935

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini testing a new type of gas bomb during a demonstration in Rome of various chemical weapons. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images). 20th May 1935

Benito Mussolini the Italian dictator and founder of the fascist “Blackshirt” party in 1919. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images). 1st October 1935

Benito Mussolini, the Italian dictator at the controls of an aeroplane. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images). 1935

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini saluting next to German dictator Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) outside the Temple of Heroes during a parade in Munich. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images). 1937

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini on his motorcycle in the grounds of his villa in Rome. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images). 1938

Italian dictactor Benito Mussolini saluting during a public address. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images). 1938

German dictator Adolf Hitler and his Italian counterpart Benito Mussolini share a joke during a drive in Florence. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images). 1938

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini inspecting an armoured vehicle during a tour of an armament factory in Genoa, 18th May 1938. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Signor Achille Starace, the secretary general of Italy's Fascist Party, leaps through a burning hoop at the physical fitness contest for officials in Rome. The contest has been arranged by order of the Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images). 3rd July 1938

British prime minister Neville Chamberlain (1869–1945) talks to Italian premier Benito Mussolini during the Munich Conference. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images). 30th September 1938

Various photographs taken of Benito Mussolini the Italian dictator making a speech. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images). 1939

Itralian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini addresses 50,000 blackshirts from a specially designed eagle shaped podium at Turin. Following the announcement of the Axis military alliance, Mussolini states that: “There are not at present, in Europe, questions of such amplitude and acuteness as to justify a war, which would, logically, become a universal war”. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images). 15th May 1939

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini giving an address from the top of an armoured vehicle, circa 1940. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini leads his officers in a spirited run in full military regalia. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images). Circa 1940

From left to right, Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler and Italian Foreign Minister Count Galeazzo Ciano (1903–1944) meet at the Brenner Pass during World War II, 5th October 1940. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Stalin, Mussolini, Churchill and Hitler are the protagonists in puppeteer Tom Haffenden's topical wartime Punch and Judy show, 23rd August 1941. (Photo by Bill Brandt/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

A bullet-holed portrait of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini fixed to a tree. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images). Circa 1944

Benito Mussolini, the former dictator of Italy, with high-rank German officers, inspects a newly formed Italian (Fascist) division. This was a rare public appearance some months after being “rescued” by Hitler's parachutists from the Abruzzi mountain hotel where he was held prisoner. (He had received more publicity of late, which was viewed by the Allies with some scepticism.) (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images). 27th May 1944

An American soldier looks at a bullet-riddled poster of the Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini near the Anzio beachhead. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images). February 1944

Benito Mussolini, the Italian dictator lies dead in Milan's Piazza Loroto with his mistress Claratta Petacci. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images). 28th April 1945
25 Jul 2011 12:24:00