For we were young and we had wings
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author of military history
Benito Mussolini
In 1919 Mussolini founded in Milan the first political group to be called fascist. At first, its program was strongly nationalistic, intended to appeal to war veterans. He urged the Italian people to rebuild the glories of ancient Rome. Sometime later, he drafted a program appealing to Italian property owners and by 1922, his fascist party was powerful enough to force King Victor Emmanuel 111 to call on Mussolini to head the government. Mussolini soon began to create a political dictatorship and abolished all parties except the Fascist Party. Then he seized control of the nation’s industries, newspapers, police and schools.

As Dictator, Mussolini took the title Il Duce and reduced the unemployment and improved the railway system. But the price of his reforms was the enslavement of the Italian people. Mussolini kept control by such methods as murder, exile, and prison camp. In 1935 and 1936, his troops invaded Ethiopia using machine guns, tanks and airplanes to overpower the poorly equipped army. When the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, both Mussolini and Adolf Hitler decided to support the rebel leader, General Franciso Franco. Italy sent troops to fight in Spain.

After Germany had almost completely conquered France in 1940, Mussolini’s army entered France and a few days later, France surrendered. However, disaster after disaster followed the Italian armies in Africa, Greece and finally Italy itself. The will of the Italian army vanished and troops surrendered to the Allied armies in 1943 in the tens of thousands. The Fascist Grand Council turned against Mussolini in 1943 and he was overthrown and imprisoned. But German paratroopers rescued him and he became the head of the puppet government in northern Italy, controlled by Germany.

In the spring of 1945, the German forces in northern Germany collapsed. Along with his mistress, Cara Petacci and some followers, Mussolini fled. The Italian underground discovered them at Lake Como and shot Mussolini and Petacci soon afterward. Their bodies were hung by their heels in Milan town square.


Benito Mussolini was born in 1883 in Dovia, Italy and graduated from teacher training, briefly teaching elementary school. In 1902 he worked in Switzerland and often got into trouble as a vagrant and rebel. Mussolini returned to Italy to perform the required Military service. He taught school in 1907 and 1908 following which he moved to Trent, Austria (now Trento, Italy). There he worked for a Socialist newspaper and wrote several literary works, often supporting the Italian claim that Trent belonged to Italy. For this reason, he was expelled from the Austrian territory and returned to Italy where he edited a socialist newspaper at Forli. He became editor of Avanti, the leading socialist newspaper in Italy in 1912.

When the First World War broke out, Mussolini angered the Socialist Part leaders when he advocated that Italy should enter the war against Germany. As a result, he was expelled from the Socialist Party in 1914 and immediately founded his own newspaper, Il Popalo d’Italia. He wrote violent editorials trying to drive Italy into the war. When Italy did enter the war, Mussolini enlisted and served from 1915 until he was wounded in 1917.
In 1919 Mussolini founded in Milan the first political group to be called fascist. At first, its program was strongly nationalistic, intended to appeal to war veterans. He urged the Italian people to rebuild the glories of ancient Rome. Sometime later, he drafted a program appealing to Italian property owners and by 1922, his fascist party was powerful enough to force King Victor Emmanuel 111 to call on Mussolini to head the government. Mussolini soon began to create a political dictatorship and abolished all parties except the Fascist Party. Then he seized control of the nation’s industries, newspapers, police and schools.

As Dictator, Mussolini took the title Il Duce and reduced the unemployment and improved the railway system. But the price of his reforms was the enslavement of the Italian people. Mussolini kept control by such methods as murder, exile, and prison camp. In 1935 and 1936, his troops invaded Ethiopia using machine guns, tanks and airplanes to overpower the poorly equipped army. When the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, both Mussolini and Adolf Hitler decided to support the rebel leader, General Franciso Franco. Italy sent troops to fight in Spain.
Mussolini the dictator
April 28, 1945