Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was born on 29 July 1883 in Varano di Costa, Predappio northeast of Italy (Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia; Benito’s Birthday). His parents Alessandro a blacksmith and his mother Rosa a schoolteacher had two other children. Despite both being in employment, they were poor like many families were in Italy at the time. As soon as he could, Mussolini helped his father. This gave him an opportunity to listen to and share his father’s ideological beliefs. Alessandro was a republican and a socialist. He strongly believed that the monarchy should be scrapped and Italy’s wealth fairly distributed among its population (Zeeman 36).
After being exposed to so much political talk from his father, Mussolini found that he rebelled against most things his father did not agree with. As a young boy, he behaved so badly in his first school, which was a catholic school to the point of being expelled. This was because his father believed that the church was an enemy of Italy for not supporting it being a state. He did better in his second school and went ahead to become a schoolteacher despite having developed a keen interest in politics.
In 1902 in a move to avoid military service, Mussolini fled to Switzerland where he interacted with some Italian socialists. He did work as a bricklayer, which was a tough job. In 1903, he had joined a trade union and even suggested that they hold a general strike. This got him expelled from Switzerland because it was still a revolutionary idea at the time.
In 1904, Mussolini returned to Italy to take advantage of an amnesty on dissertation of military duty. He volunteered to serve the military for 2 years after which he went back to teaching. Between 1908 and 1910 held a series of positions in the Italian-speaking city of Trento, which was under Austrian rule, and his hometown of Forli. He worked in the office of a socialist party and even got an opportunity to edit its paper ‘the Future of the Worker’. In his hometown, he edited the weekly socialist paper ‘The Class Struggle’. He also tried to help the local farmers to get better wages; this got him noticed by officials of the socialist party. He was appointed as the editor of the socialist newspaper “Avanti” (Forward). As the popularity of the paper increased so did influence on the people (Musiedlak b).
At the beginning of World War 1 Mussolini held the socialist party position and did not support the war. However as time went by, he quickly changed his position to support the war (Musiedlak 395a). His father’s ideas of Nationalism and the need for all Italians to be free helped him to change his mind. He saw the war as an opportunity for Italy to free itself from Austria, which held part of its territory. He defended his support for the war by claiming that the vast social changes that Italy would gain made the war a revolutionary war (VIshnia).
After his expulsion from the socialist party, Mussolini transitioned from speaking against class conflict to supporting nationalist goals, which transcended class issues. He started a newspaper the ‘II Popolo d’Italia’. Through the paper, he raised money for D’Annunzio through an appeal that appeared in the paper. D’Annunzio a political figure taught Mussolini a great deal about public speaking (Nicoli 776). He learnt how to gesticulate and involve the public in his speeches by asking questions he expected them to reply. He used this approach later in his public speeches (Marcello 224).
After the war, Mussolini attacked Vittorio Orlando for failing to meet Italy’s objectives at the Versailles Peace Treaty. After a series of riots, the King Victor Emmanuel III appointed him into government in1922 to avert a possible communist revolution (Marcello 225). However, this was after Mussolini had managed to organize a number of right-wing outfits into the Fascist Party. He headed this coalition until 1924 when the socialist leader Giacomo Matteotti was murdered. Left wing parties were suppressed and by 1929, Italy had become a one party state.
When Mussolini came to power, he embarked on a mission to show his strength. At the time, Italy occupied Eritrea Addis Ababa forcing the emperor Haile Selassie to flee into England. Following this move the League of Nations issued sanctions against Italy. In 1943 in an effort to oust him from power, Winston Churchill the Prime Minister and Franklin D. Roosevelt the president of USA determined that if they took over Sicily Mussolini would fall (Roosevelt). This plan was executed and it worked because Mussolini was dismissed and arrested. He was rescued by German troops in a brave mission and encouraged to return to power. Adolf Hitler pushed him to return to power because he needed an ally he could use to propagate his ideologies. Mussolini also needed the opportunity to pay back fellow fascist leaders who had betrayed him. He returned to power knowing that he was merely a puppet and did not have real power like the one he had enjoyed before (Doumanis).
In 1945, Mussolini was shot dead together with his mistress Clara Petacci while attempting to escape into Switzerland. The following day, their bodies were hanged in public upside down in Milan.
Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia. “Benito Mussolini (1883-1945)” Academic Search Premier. 2011
This source provides a brief outline and events surrounding the life of Mussolini, Benito. The encyclopedia describes him as an Italian leader and dictator who guided the Fascist movement. The text is described into four different headings detailing his early career, his role as a fascist leader, his fateful alliance with Germany, and the texts used in preparation of his biography. By reading this text, the reader can capture all insights revolving around the life of Mussolini, Benito and get to understand him better.
Roosevelt, Franklin. “Message to Adolf Hitler & Benito Mussolini; Olive Branch Petition”. Academic Source Premier. Great Neck Publishing. 2009.
This article presents the message written to Adolf Hitler, the then Chancellor of the German Reich, and Benito Mussolini detailing the concerns of the people of America and the rest of the world. Roosevelt aimed to restore peace and settlement for economic, social, and political problems without necessarily having to resort to the use of arms. I believe the author of this text did manage to explain the intended message to Mussolini and Hitler.
Marcello, Flavia. “Mussolini and the idealization of Empire: The Augustan Exhibition of Romania”. Modern Italy. 16.3 (2011): 223-247
Marcello uses this text to exemplify the ritualization, aestheticisation, and sacralisation of politics during the era of Facism in Italy. As such, he conducts a multi-layered analysis of different sequences during the period. The author managed to draw a connection between the ancient leadership of Augustus and the leadership of Mussolini in the Fascist society.
VIshnia, Rachel. “Ancient Rome in Italian cinema under Mussolini: The case of Scipionel’ Africano”. The italianist 28 (2008): 246-67
This article describes Italian fascism under Mussolini in addition to relating it to the continuation of ideologies started in ancient Rome. It also gives an account of foreign and inappropriate principles introduced in Italy following its Unification.
Whittal, Daniel. “Colonial Fascism”. History Today. 60.10 (2010)
In this article, Whittal describes the section on Britain and the Italian Invasion of Abyssinia (now Ethiopia). The author describes this period as a crucial moment for Mussolini and his Italian Fascist forces during the run-up to the Second World War. The author manages to discuss complex issues that were caused by the invasion of Britain and the strategies that the Britons used to respond to the Invasion.
Nicoli, Marina. “Entrepreneurs and the State in the Italian Film Industry, 1919-1945.” Business History Review 85. (Winter 2011). 775-798
The author uses this text to provide an illumination into the Italian Movie industry during the 20th century and as well, provides an illumination into the challenges faced in the political environment. Referring it to Societa Pittaluga, the article examines complicated issues related to Benito Mussolini’s regime and the power of the film industry that were used to influence the masses through Mussolini’s interests.
Musiedlak, Didier. “Mussolini, charisma, and decision-making.” Portuguese Journal of Social Science. 8.1 (2009).
Musiedlak examines how Mussolini used complex systems and power agencies to establish his authority. These agencies ranged from personal, political, party, and traditional bureaucracies and were crucial channels for bringing competition into the political market. Through Mussolini’s charisma, he managed to identify loyal and faithful groups from the others enabling him to make his decisions wisely.
Doumanis, Nicholas. “Dodecanese Nostalgia for Mussolini’s rule” History and Memory.1998
In this article, the author discovers favorable memories of Italian occupation experience by the Dodecanese Greeks in the years 1912-1943.
Musiedlak, Didier. “Religion and political culture in the thought of Mussolini.” Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions. 6.3 (2005): 395-406
Religion was an important dimension in Mussolini’s rule and it was a well-established factor in the Socialist Party. However, everything seemed to be a paradox when it changed the entire picture of politics.
Benito’s Birthday. Time: Academic Search Premier. 1.23. 1923
This article presents an overview of the life and leadership of Benito Mussolini, his political alliances, experience in the war, and Fascism.
Bert Zeeman, (1997) "Western Europe since 1945: A Bibliography", Reference Reviews, Vol. 11. 4 (1997):.36 – 36
In this series of books divided according to four sections, European Union, Europe, Famous people, and countries of Western Europe, Benito Mussolini’s life is well featured and described in detail.