Benito Mussolini 🇮🇹

BIRTH / EARLY LIFE

Born: July 29, 1883

P.O.B: Predappio, Italy

Died: April 28, 1945

P.O.D: Giulino, Azzano, Italy

BEFORE POLITICS

At the age of 10, he was expelled from his first boarding school as he stabbed a fellow student.

Four years later, he stabbed another student but this time was only suspended.

During the early years of his adulthood, he travelled around Switzerland. In 1909, he moved to Austria-Hungary where he became the editor of a socialist newspaper. However, he was deported back to Italy for violating laws which restricted press freedom.

In 1910, Mussolini became the editor of another socialist newspaper, but was jailed for six months for inciting violence. While he was imprisoned, he began writing his autobiography.

Mussolini split from the Socialist Party in 1914 and started his own newspaper, encouraging violence, while unrest spread across the country.

In 1915, Mussolini joined the Italian army. He reached the rank of corporal, but was discharged after being injured fighting in WW1.

ENTERING POLITICS

By 1918, Mussolini was calling for a dictator to seize control of Italy, and in 1919 , he was especially angered by the Treaty of Versailles.

By the end of 1919, Mussolini entered the general election as the Fascist candidate but lost following a Socialist landslide victory.

In 1921, the Italian King dissolved Parliament due to increased violence and chaos. In the elections, the fascists took a huge win, and Mussolini became deputy in Parliament.

In October of 1922, fascist troops entered Rome to take the city. King Victor Emmanuel III transfers the title of Prime Minister of Italy to Mussolini without armed conflict.

DICTATORIAL RULE / KEY POLICIES

Mussolini's regime changed the electoral law in 1924 to favour the fascists. Under this ‘Acerbo Law’, if one party gets at least 25% of the votes cast in an election, they would get 66% of the seats in parliament .

During voting, the hall where politicians voted was full of armed fascist thugs who could see if you voted for/against the policy.

He introduced a Fascist Grand Council which would decide policy for Italy without consulting the non-fascists in the government first.

Like the SA did in early years, critics of Mussolini were beaten up and anti-fascist newspapers were banned.

By November 1926, all rival political parties and opposition newspapers had been banned in Italy.

In 1927, the OVRA (secret police force) was set up.

HISTORIAN'S QUOTE

“We and indeed many Italians tend to play down the role and importance of Mussolini and Fascist Italy, often seeing it as more benign than Hitler and the Nazis. But this is untrue: Mussolini was the world’s first Fascist dictator, heading an unpleasant regime which used poison gas in Abyssinia and sent oppositionists into repressive ‘confinement’.”

~~~ Dr Christian Goeschel

REFLECTION

Listen to this episode of my podcast for my reflection on the quote.