Benito Mussolini
Copyright Michael D. Robbins 2005


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Benito Mussolini—Fascist Dictator of Italy

July 29 1883, 2 PM, LMT, Predappio, Italy. (Source: Sabian Symbols and Michel Gauquelin) Died, April 28, 1945, Lake Como, Italy.

(Ascendant Scorpio; Sun and Mercury in Leo; Moon conjunct Mars in Gemini; Venus conjunct Jupiter, Cancer; Saturn conjunct Pluto in Gemini; Uranus, Virgo; Neptune, Taurus)

Mussolini had all the magnetism of the first ray in combination with Leo and Scorpio, and the facile brilliance of Gemini. He exemplified the grandiosity, vanity and egocentrism of the misuse of the Leo energy in combination with the first ray.

The first ray with Scorpio only intensified the already negative situation rendering it psychologically and physically destructive to both himself and his nation. His behavior was an example of a power complex compensating for an underlying sense of inferiority.


All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

Fascism is a religion. The twentieth century will be known in history as the century of Fascism.

Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity, quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace.

It is humiliating to remain with our hands folded while others write history. It matters little who wins. To make a people great it is necessary to send them to battle even if you have to kick them in the pants. That is what I shall do.

Socialism is a fraud, a comedy, a phantom, a blackmail.

The best blood will at some time get into a fool or a mosquito.

The function of a citizen and a soldier are inseparable.

The Liberal State is a mask behind which there is no face; it is a scaffolding behind which there is no building.

The truth is that men are tired of liberty.

This is the epitaph I want on my tomb: "Here lies one of the most intelligent animals who ever appeared on the face of the earth."

War alone brings up to their highest tension all human energies and imposes the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have the courage to make it.

War is to man what maternity is to a woman. From a philosophical and doctrinal viewpoint, I do not believe in perpetual peace.


Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was born July 29, 1883 in the Italian village of Romagna.

Mussolii moved to Switzerland in 1902 but was a failure as schoolteacher, bricklayer, anarchist, chocolate factory worker. He became a communist in 1903 and read Nietzche as well as Marx.

He returned to Italy in 1910 and became editor of the socialist newspaper Avanti! 1912-14 where he met the art critic Margheritaq Sarfatti who would turn him toward fascism. In 1914 he founded the newspaper Popolo d'Italia

In Dec. 1914 Mussolini joined a group of Italian socialists who broke away from socialism and formed the first "fascistii" to support Italian expansion to its "natural frontiers" (including Libya) and King Vittorio Emanuel III who declared war against Austria.

In 1915 Mussolini was conscripted into the army, injured by a grenade explosion in training, "the most beautiful moment in his life,'' was invalided out of the army and returned to his newspaper in June 1917.

With the Italian defeat at Caporetto Oct. 24, 1917, Mussolini called for national discipline and a dictator to take over the weak government.

On March 23, 1919, Mussolini launched his fascist movement, the Italian Combat Fascists (Fasci Italiani di Combattimento), at a meeting in Milan's Piazza San Sepoloro, although his ideology was still leftist and libertarian. He formed paramilitary squads of "arditi" similar to the Freikorps and used them against his political enemies.

Gabriele D'Annunzio led raid to annex Fiume Sept. 12, 1919, and conceived of the plan later adopted by Mussolini to march on Rome and seize the government.

Mussolini and his fascist party in 1921 joined the parliamentary National coalition of Giolitti and won 35 seats in the May 15 election, and the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento reorganized under the new name of the National Fascist Party.

The march on Rome began Oct. 28, 1922, with arditi seizing government offices, and the King decided to avoid bloodshed of an army repression and struck a deal with Mussolini by making him Prime Minister. Mussolini formed a coalition in parliament of Catholics, nationalists, and liberals to control the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.

In the 1924 elections, the fascists won 65% and 374 votes by using violence and intimidation, and murdering the leading socialist opponent Giacomo Matteotti.

In October 1926 after an attempted assassination in Bologna, Mussolini with the assent of the King expelled opposition deputies from Parliament, abolished all political parties orther than fascist and created a totalitarian dictatorship with a special judicial tribunal, no free press, and secret police. (but Renzo de Felice 8-vol. biography has argued was only authoritarian - article)

After 1926 Mussolini supported King Zog in Albania as a possible ally in a war with Yugoslavia; he suppressed Greek language and religion in the Dodecanese and fortified the islands of Rhodes and Leros against possible Turkish invasion; supported Croat rebels led by Ante Pavelic against king Alexander of Yugoslavia (who was killed in Oct. 1934); sent arms to Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary, and to Chancellor Englebert Dollfuss in Austria (who created a brutal fascist regime by 1934 and drove many Austrians to support anschluss with Germany), and even sent arms to Russia in return for Russian oil; he continued to support the Italian pacification of Libya led by Marshal Badoglio.

In 1928 Italy signed a friendship treaty with Ethiopia, but Mussolini sent arms and troops to his colonies of Eritrea and Somalia and prepared for a colonial war.

On Feb. 11, 1929, Mussolini signed the Lateran Agreements with the Vatican, reducing the claims for lost church property to 2 billion lire from the Italian capture of Rome in 1870, allowing clergy authority over marriage and the family, and Pope Pius XI agreed to accept the authority of the Fascist dictatorship.

In 1931, Mussolini began the 3-year project to drain and reclaim the Pontine Marshes for 3000 new farms. he built 1700 summer camps for city children, gave workers the 8-hour day and universal insurance benefits; the Corporate State of 22 corporations represented workers and owners with government supervision of wages and hiring and firing, no unions or strikes allowed.

After Achille Starace became secretary of the fascist party in Dec. 1931, he proclaimed all meetings and public occasions would begin with the official Roman "salute to the Duce" and all fascists would wear military-style uniforms.

Hitler and Mussolini met for the first time in June 1934 in Vienna, friendly on the outside but antagonistic in private, disagreeing in private over Dollfuss (who was assassinated in July by pro-nazi Austrians).

(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.
Mussolini was born in Predappio, near Forli, in Romagna, 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. Unable to find a permanent job there and arrested for vagrancy, he was expelled and returned to Italy to do his military service. After further trouble with the police, he joined the staff of a newspaper in the Austrian town of Trento in 1908. At this time he wrote a novel, subsequently translated into English as The Cardinal's Mistress.

, Political Leader / World War II Figure
• Born: 29 July 1883
• Birthplace: Predappio, Italy
• Death: 28 April 1945 (Shot to death)
• Best Known As: Italy's dictator during World War II
Known as "Il Duce" -- the Leader -- Mussolini was the Fascist dictator of Italy during World War II. Mussolini grew active in Italian politics in the first decade of the 1900s. He then spent time in exile in Switzerland and Austria, where he worked writing and editing socialist newspapers. He returned to Italy after serving in World War I and gained power and notoriety as a revolutionary nationalist. He founded the Fascist Party in 1919, used force and intimidation against political opponents and took power in 1922. Nicknamed Il Duce, Mussolini created a dictatorship and dissolved the parliament. Yet for many years he was popular as he expanded government services and public works. In the 1930s Italy invaded Ethiopia and Albania and in 1939 Mussolini promised an alliance with Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany. Italy's failures in the war led to Mussolini being removed from government, and when the war ended he was arrested, tried and executed.
Early Career
His father, an ardent Socialist, was a blacksmith; his mother was a teacher. Mussolini taught briefly and lived (1902–4) in Switzerland to avoid military service. He achieved national prominence for his opposition to the Libyan War (1911–12) and, as leader of the revolutionary left of the Socialist party, became editor of the Socialist daily Avanti (1913). Soon after World War I began, Mussolini abruptly turned nationalist and joined the pro-Allied interventionists. The Socialist party, which opposed all participation in nationalist wars, expelled him. He then founded his own daily, the Popolo d'Italia, which was subsidized by the French to encourage Italy's entry into the war on the side of the Allies. He joined (1915) the army and attained the rank of corporal.
The Fascist Leader
In the troubled postwar period Mussolini organized his followers, mostly war veterans, in the Fasci di combattimento, which advocated aggressive nationalism, violently opposed the Communists and Socialists, and dressed in black shirts like the followers of D'Annunzio. Amid strikes, social unrest, and parliamentary breakdown, Mussolini preached forcible restoration of order and practiced terrorism with armed groups. In 1921 he was elected to parliament and the National Fascist party (see fascism) was officially organized. Backed by nationalists and propertied interests, in Oct., 1922, Mussolini sent the Fascists to march on Rome. King Victor Emmanuel III permitted them to enter the city and called on Mussolini, who had remained in Milan, to form a cabinet.
As the new premier, he gradually transformed the government into a dictatorship. In 1924 the Socialist deputy Matteotti was murdered. Opposition was put down by an efficient secret police and the Fascist party militia, and the press was regimented. Parliamentary government ended in 1928, and the state economy was reorganized along the lines of the Fascist corporative state. Conflict between church and state was ended by the Lateran Treaty (1929).
Mussolini was called Duce [leader] by his followers; his official title was “head of the government,” and he held, besides the premiership, as many portfolios as he saw fit. His ambition to restore ancient greatness found expression in grandiloquent slogans and speeches and in the erection of monumental buildings. The encouragement he gave to the already high Italian birth rate, his imperialistic designs, and his incitement of extreme nationalist groups created an explosive situation.
Fateful Alliance with Germany
Mussolini was at first cool to Adolf Hitler and opposed his designs on Austria. However, Mussolini's diplomatic isolation after his attack (1935) on Ethiopia led to a rapprochement with Germany. In 1936, Hitler and Mussolini aided Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War; the Rome-Berlin Axis was strengthened by a formal alliance (1939), which Mussolini's son-in-law and foreign minister, Galeazzo Ciano, helped to create.
In 1938, Mussolini allowed Hitler to annex Austria and helped bring about the Munich Pact; in Apr., 1939, he ordered the Italian occupation of Albania. Under German pressure, he inaugurated an anti-Semitic policy in Italy, which found little popular response. The Ethiopian and Spanish wars had diminished the Duce's popularity, and he did not enter World War II until France was falling in June, 1940.
The failure of Italian arms in Greece and Africa and the imminent invasion by the Allies of the Italian mainland at last caused a rebellion within the Fascist party. In July, 1943, the Fascist grand council refused to support his policy—dictated by Hitler—and the king dismissed him and had him placed under arrest. He was freed two months later by a daring German rescue party and became head of the Fascist puppet government set up in N Italy by Hitler.
On the German collapse (Apr., 1945) Mussolini was captured, tried in a summary court-martial, and shot with his mistress, Clara Petacci. Their bodies, brought to Milan, were hanged in a public square and buried in an unmarked grave. Mussolini's body was later removed, and in 1957 it was placed in his family's vault.


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