Benito Mussolini
Timeline: Cherry, Plum, and Chrysanthemum

Benito Mussolini
Portrait of Benito Mussolini

27th Prime Minister of Italy
October 31, 1922 – July 25, 1943

Predecessor Luigi Facta
Successor Pietro Badoglio

Head of State of Italy
December 24, 1924 – July 25, 1943

Predecessor Antonio Salandra (as President of Italy)
Successor Ivanoe Bonomi (as President of Italy)

Duce of Fascism
November 9, 1921 – July 25, 1943

Predecessor Office created
Successor Office abolished
Born July 29, 1883
Predappio, Forlì, Italian Republic
Died 28 April 1945 (aged 61)
Giulino di Mezzegra, Como, Italian Republic
Political Party National Fascist Party
Profession Politician, journalist, novelist, teacher
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (July 29, 1883 – April 28, 1945) was an Italian politician, journalist, and leader of the National Fascist Party, ruling the country as Prime Minister from 1922 until his ousting in 1943. He ruled constitutionally until 1925, when he dropped all pretense of democracy and set up a legal dictatorship. Known as Il Duce ("the leader"), Mussolini was one of the key figures in the creation of fascism.

In 1912 Mussolini was the leading member of the National Directorate of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI). Prior to 1914 he was a keen supporter of the Socialist International, starting the series of meetings in Switzerland that organised the communist revolutions and insurrections that swept through Europe from 1917. Mussolini was expelled from the PSI due to his opposition to the party's stance on neutrality in World War I. Mussolini denounced the PSI, and later founded the fascist movement. Following the March on Rome in October 1922 he became the youngest Prime Minister in Italian history.

After destroying all political opposition through his secret police and outlawing labor strikes, Mussolini and his fascist followers consolidated their power through a series of laws that transformed the nation into a one-party dictatorship. Within five years he had established dictatorial authority by both legal and extraordinary means, aspiring to create a totalitarian state. Mussolini remained in power until he was deposed by the Grand Council of Fascism and the Parliament of Italy in 1943. A few months later, he became the leader of the Italian Social Republic, a German client regime in northern Italy; he held this post until his death in 1945.