BENITO MUSSOLINI (1883-1945), Fascist dictator of Italy from 1922 to 1943. He centralized all power in himself as the leader ?Il duce? of the Fascist party and attempted to create an Italian empire, ultimately in alliance with Hitler?s Germany. The defeat of
Italian arms in World War II brought an end to his imperial dream and led to his downfall.
BENITO MUSSOLINI Born in Predappio, near Forli, in Romagna, Northwestern Italy on July 29,1883. His father, Alessandro, was a blacksmith, and his mother, Rosa, was a schoolteacher. Like his father, Benito became a fervent socialist. He qualified as an
elementary schoolmaster in 1901. In 1902 he emigrated to Switzerland where he increased his knowledge of socialism. Unable to find a permanent job there and arrested for vagrancy, he was expelled and returned to Italy to do his military service and then taught
school again and became a local socialist leader. After further trouble with the police, he joined the staff of a newspaper in the Austrian town of Trento in 1908 and worked for a socialist newspaper. At this time he wrote a novel, subsequently translated into English as The Cardinals Mistress.
SOCIALIST AFFILIATIONS In 1912, Mussolini became
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