Benito Mussolini
1883 - 1945


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1883 Benito Mussolini was born on July 29 in Dovia di Predappio (Emilia Romagna) to father Alessandro, a black smith,  and mother Rosa Mussolini;
1892 Mussolini enrolls to a boarding school in Faenza (Emilia Romagna);
1894 Following a knifing, he is expelled from the boarding school and transfers to a high school in Forlimpopoli near his home town;
1901 Mussolini graduates to become an elementary school teacher. He joins the socialist party of Italy, "Partito Socialista Italiano" (PSI);
1901/02 He works as an elementary school teacher in Gualtieri near Reggio Emilia;
1902 To avoid mandatory military service, he moves to Switzerland where he holds jobs as a regular construction worker, office clerk and translator;
1905/06 Mussolini receives a pardon for his desertion and returns to Italy to serve in the military;
1906/09 He works again as a school teacher and becomes an activist in the socialist movement;
1909 Mussolini moves to Trieste where he publishes a newspaper for workers. Only a few month after his arrival, he is deported by the Austrian-Hungarian authorities. He moves to Forlė (Emilia Romagna), where he publishes his own socialist newspaper;
1910 He starts a relationship with the 17-year old Rachele Guidi who bares his first child;
1911 In opposition to Italy's expansionist war in Libya, Mussolini calls for a general strike and is arrested and convicted to serve 5 months in jail. (Between 1911 and 1915 He is arrested and jailed eleven times);
1912 In July, Mussolini is elected to the executive committee of the socialist party.  In November he is hired as Chief Editor of the socialist daily newspaper "Avanti" in Milan. He is able to increase the papers distribution from 20,000 to over 100,000;
1914 On July 29, Mussolini signs a non aggression/anti war manifest on behalf of  his party. However, in October he joins the proponents of war and calls for Italy's participation in WW1. He is consequently expelled from the socialist party. He resigns from the newspaper "Avanti" and publishes his own national newspaper "Popolo d'Italia". Together with the poet and writer Gabriele D'Annunzio he leads the movement for Italy's participation in the war;
1915 On August 31 Mussolini joins the army. He marries Rachele Guidi;
1917 In February, Mussolini is promoted to master sergeant and is severely wounded shortly thereafter. He returns to Milan in August where he resumes as managing  editor of his newspaper;
1919 On March 23d Mussolini co-founds the "fasci[a] di combattimento", a right-wing association of veterans with who call for an authoritarian order and the revision of the peace accords, more favorable for Italy. 
1921 May 15th, the "fascists" gain 34 seats in the Italian parliament. Mussolini, now the recognized leader of the Italian right-wing, transforms the "fasci" to the "National Fascist Party" known as the Partito Nazionale Fascista (PNF);
1922 At the heights of the political crises between October 27 and October 30 (which is also plagued by a mass strike), Mussolini takes advantage of the wide-spread fear for a revolution and openly threatens to overturn the government. (March on Rome). King Victor Emanuel III by-passes the parliament and appoints Mussolini Prime Minister;
1924 April 6, following Mussolini's new election law the "fascists" gain a two thirds majority during parliamentary election;
1925 January 3, Mussolini claims fascist's responsibility for the murder of Giacomo Matteotti (1885-1924), a member of the [socialist] opposition. During the following months Mussolini's dictatorship is further solidified in part promoted by several royal decrees;
1926 Ban of all parties other then the Fascist National Party ("PNF"), establishment of special courts focusing on suppression of any opposition.  Several attempts on Mussolini's life are unsuccessful;
1928 Foundation of the "Fascist Council"

1929

February 11, the Vatican and Italy recognize each others sovereignty after 58 years of isolation.  The reconciliation  with the Vatican and the catholic church results in a high approval rating Mussolini's among Italians;

1933

June, first meeting between Mussolini and Adolf Hitler;
1935 October, Italy starts the war against Ethiopia;
1936 May 9, following victory in the war against Ethiopia, Mussolini proclaims the "Italian Empire" and claims Italy's supremacy over the Mediterranean region;
November 1, following the alliance with Hitler, Mussolini announces the creation of the "Rome-Berlin Axes";
1938 September 29, Mussolini is able to mediate an agreement between Hitler and the Western Alliance.  In spite of this success, Mussolini becomes increasingly dependent from Hitler and eventually introduces anti Semitic laws in Italy;
1939 Italian forces occupy Albania;
1940 June 10, Italy declares war to France and Grate Britain.  October, following the three-country pact between Italy, Germany and Japan, Italy attacks Greece;
1941 Italy is forced to withdraw from Ethiopia;
1943 July 9, the Allied invasion of Sicily weakens Mussolini's position and strengthens the anti fascist movement;
The Fascist Council deposes Mussolini on July 24/25 and King Victor Emanuel III orders his arrest;
September 12, German Para troopers free Mussolini from his jail in Gran Sasso (Abruzzi) and take him to Hitler's HQ, the "Wolfschanze";
September 23, with Hitler's help, Mussolini forms a fascist shadow government and proclaims the "Social Republic of Italy".  Operating from Salo (lake Garda), Mussolini attempts to regain power over Northern and Central Italy. He remained a puppet of the German forces.
1944 June 5, Allied forces occupy Rome; Germany's power in the region is rapidly shrinking;
1945 April 27, forces of the Italian underground detain Mussolini at lake Como as he attempts to flee to Germany;
April 28, Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci are shot and beaten. Their bodies are hung in public

Last Updated: 06/09/2003 23:16