On This Day

Benito Mussolini

Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini

Profession: Italian Dictator


Why Famous: One of the main leaders of the Axis Powers during World War II, Mussolini founded the Italian Fascist Party and was called 'Il Duce' or the leader by its members. In this capacity he governed Italy from 1922 until his dismissal in 1943 following Italy's collapse in World War II.

Mussolini organized the March on Rome in 1922 and was appointed prime minister, the youngest in history until Matteo Renzi's appointment in 2014. Following this he systematically destroyed the opposition forces. Aspiring to create a totalitarian state, he established dictatorial authority by both legal and extraordinary means.

Creating a strong alliance with Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany, Mussolini sought to establish an empire of his own. He annexed Abyssinia (Ethiopia) and officially joined the war on the side of Germany in 1940, just prior to the Fall of France. Italy did not have the military capability to conduct a lengthy war with the United States and the British Empire. The country suffered several disasters in Russia, North Africa and in Sicily, which the Allies occupied, followed by mainland Italy itself.

Dismissed by the government, Mussolini was rescued from house arrest by German paratroopers and put in charge of a client state in Northern Italy until 1945. Attempting to escape at the end of the war, Mussolini was captured, executed and his body hung upside down in public.

Born: July 29, 1883
Birthplace: Predappio, Forlì, Italy

Generation: Lost Generation
Star Sign: Leo

Died: April 28, 1945 (aged 61)
Cause of Death: Shot by communist partisans

Articles and Photos

Married Life

  • 1915-12-17 Journalist Benito Mussolini marries Rachele Guidi in Treviglio Lombardy

Historical Events

  • 1914-11-24 Benito Mussolini leaves Italy's socialist party
  • 1919-02-23 Fascist Party formed in Italy by Benito Mussolini
  • 1919-03-23 Benito Mussolini forms Fascist movement in Milan Italy
  • 1920-11-21 Mussolini's squad begins terror, 11 die in Bologna, Italy
  • 1921-05-14 Mussolini's fascists obtain 29 parliamentary seats in Italian elections
  • 1921-11-09 Partito Nazionalista Fascista formed in Italy by Mussolini
  • 1922-06-01 Over 50,000 Fascists gather for a meeting in Bologna where Mussolini warns that he will lead a full-scale revolt against a government favoring 'anti-Fascist reaction'
  • 1922-10-26 Italian government resigns under pressure from fascists & Benito Mussolini
  • 1922-10-27 In Italy, Liberal Luigi Facta resigns in the face of threats from Mussolini that 'either the Government will be given to us or we will seize it by marching on Rome'

  • 1922-10-28 Italian fascists conduct the March on Rome, leading to the assumption of power by Benito Mussolini
  • 1922-10-30 Benito Mussolini forms government in Italy
  • 1922-10-31 Benito Mussolini (Il Duce) becomes premier of Italy
  • 1922-11-24 Italian parliament gives Benito Mussolini dictatorial powers "for 1 year"
  • 1923-02-01 Fascists Voluntary Militia forms in Italy under Benito Mussolini
  • 1923-08-31 Mussolini orders the Greek Government to apologize for the deaths of an Italian general and his staff on the Greco-Albanian border
  • 1924-01-24 Benito Mussolini disallows non-fascist work union
  • 1924-02-07 Benito Mussolini's Italian government exchanges diplomats with USSR
  • 1924-03-16 The free port of Fiume is formally annexed by Mussolini's fascist regime.
  • 1924-09-06 Assassination attempt on Benito Mussolini fails
  • 1924-12-31 Italian Fascist Mussolini orders the suppression of opposition newspapers
  • 1925-01-03 Benito Mussolini dissolves the Italian parliament and proclaims himself dictator of Italy, taking the title "Il Duce" (the Leader)
  • 1925-01-06 Mussolini forms a cabinet composed entirely of Fascists in Italy
  • 1925-11-05 Mussolini disbands Italian socialist parties
  • 1926-04-07 Mussolini is shot at 3 times by Violet Gibson in Rome, she only hits him once in the nose
  • 1926-10-31 Failed assassination attempt on Benito Mussolini by 15-year-old Anteo Zamboni, who was lynched on the spot
  • 1928-03-15 Benito Mussolini modifies Italy electoral system (abolishes right to choose)
  • 1928-05-12 Benito Mussolini announces moves to end women's suffrage in a speech to the Senate in Italy
  • 1928-08-02 Benito Mussolini signs peace treaty with Abyssinia (Ethiopia)
  • 1931-06-29 Pope Pius XI publishes encyclical on Nun abbiamo bisogno (We do not need fascism and Mussolini)

  • 1932-10-25 Benito Mussolini promises to remain dictator for 30 years
  • 1932-11-05 Benito Mussolini frees 16,000 convicts
  • 1934-03-17 Dollfuss, Mussolini & Gombos sign Donau Pact (protocols of Rome)
  • 1935-01-07 French Foreign minister Pierre Laval and Benito Mussolini sign the Franco-Italian Agreement
  • 1935-10-02 Mussolini's Italian army attacks Abyssinia (Ethiopia)
  • 1936-11-01 Benito Mussolini describes alliance between Italy and Germany as an "axis"
  • 1938-07-14 Benito Mussolini publishes anti-Jewish/African manifesto
  • 1938-09-01 Benito Mussolini cancels civil rights of Italian Jews
  • 1938-09-30 Treaty of Munich signed by Hitler, Mussolini, Daladier and Chamberlain, forces Czechoslovakia to give territory to Germany
  • 1939-05-22 Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini sign "Pact of Steel" in Berlin, Germany
  • 1939-08-08 7th Venice Film Festival opens with a United States boycott due to Benito Mussolini's Fascist Italian regime
  • 1940-03-18 Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler meet at Brenner Pass where the Italian dictator agrees he will, in due course, join Germany's impending war effort in the west
  • 1941-11-18 Mussolini's forces leave Abyssinia/Ethiopia
  • 1943-04-07 Adolf Hitler & Benito Mussolini met for an Axis conference in Salzburg
  • 1943-07-25 Benito Mussolini dismissed as Italian Premier and arrested on the authority of King Victor Emmanuel III
  • 1943-07-28 Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini resigns
  • 1943-08-28 Benito Mussolini transferred from La Maddalena Sardinia to Gran Sasso
  • 1943-09-12 Waffen-SS (Skorzeny) frees Benito Mussolini at Gran Sasso
  • 1943-09-15 Benito Mussolini forms a rival fascist government in Italy
  • 1944-04-22 Adolf Hitler & Benito Mussolini meet at Salzburg
  • 1944-06-04 5th Army enters and liberates Rome from Mussolini's Fascist armies
  • 1945-04-17 Benito Mussolini flees from Salò to Milan
  • 1945-04-27 Italian partisans capture Benito Mussolini at Dongo (Lake Como)
  • 1985-11-24 NBC miniseries "Mussolini: The Untold Story" starring George C. Scott premieres in the US

Famous Dictators