148 Facts About Mussolini


Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician and journalist who founded and led the National Fascist Party.

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Mussolini was Prime Minister of Italy from the March on Rome in 1922 until his deposition in 1943, and "Duce" of Italian Fascism from the establishment of the Italian Fasces of Combat in 1919 until his execution in 1945 by Italian partisans.

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In 1914, Mussolini founded a new journal, Il Popolo d'Italia, and served in the Royal Italian Army during the war until he was wounded and discharged in 1917.

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Mussolini denounced the PSI, his views now centering on Italian nationalism instead of socialism, and later founded the fascist movement which came to oppose egalitarianism and class conflict, instead advocating "revolutionary nationalism" transcending class lines.

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On 31 October 1922, following the March on Rome, Mussolini was appointed prime minister by King Victor Emmanuel III, becoming the youngest individual to hold the office up to that time.

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In 1929, Mussolini signed the Lateran Treaty with the Holy See to establish Vatican City.

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Between 1936 and 1939, Mussolini ordered the successful Italian military intervention in Spain in favor of Francisco Franco during the Spanish civil war.

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Mussolini was born on 29 July 1883 in Dovia di Predappio, a small town in the province of Forli in Romagna.

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Benito Mussolini's father, Alessandro Mussolini, was a blacksmith and a socialist, while his mother, Rosa, was a devout Catholic schoolteacher.

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In 1902, at the anniversary of Garibaldi's death, Mussolini made a public speech in praise of the republican nationalist.

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Mussolini was sent to a boarding school run by Salesian monks.

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In 1902, Mussolini emigrated to Switzerland, partly to avoid compulsory military service.

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Mussolini worked briefly as a stonemason in Geneva, Fribourg and Bern, but was unable to find a permanent job.

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Mussolini later credited the Christian socialist Charles Peguy and the syndicalist Hubert Lagardelle as some of his influences.

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Mussolini became active in the Italian socialist movement in Switzerland, working for the paper L'Avvenire del Lavoratore, organizing meetings, giving speeches to workers, and serving as secretary of the Italian workers' union in Lausanne.

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In 1904, having been arrested again in Geneva and expelled for falsifying his papers, Mussolini returned to Lausanne, where he attended the University of Lausanne's Department of Social Science, following the lessons of Vilfredo Pareto.

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In December 1904, Mussolini returned to Italy to take advantage of an amnesty for desertion of the military.

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In February 1909, Mussolini again left Italy, this time to take the job as the secretary of the labor party in the Italian-speaking city of Trento, which at the time was part of Austria-Hungary.

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Mussolini did office work for the local Socialist Party, and edited its newspaper L'Avvenire del Lavoratore.

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Mussolini thought of himself as an intellectual and was considered to be well-read.

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Mussolini read avidly; his favorites in European philosophy included Sorel, the Italian Futurist Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, French Socialist Gustave Herve, Italian anarchist Errico Malatesta, and German philosophers Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx, the founders of Marxism.

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Mussolini had taught himself French and German and translated excerpts from Nietzsche, Schopenhauer and Kant.

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Mussolini wrote several essays about German literature, some stories, and one novel: L'amante del Cardinale: Claudia Particella, romanzo storico.

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In September 1911, Mussolini participated in a riot, led by socialists, against the Italian war in Libya.

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Mussolini bitterly denounced Italy's "imperialist war", an action that earned him a five-month jail term.

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John Gunther in 1940 called him "one of the best journalists alive"; Mussolini was a working reporter while preparing for the March on Rome, and wrote for the Hearst News Service until 1935.

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Mussolini was so familiar with Marxist literature that in his own writings he would not only quote from well-known Marxist works but from the relatively obscure works.

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Mussolini was influenced by Nietzsche's anti-Christian ideas and negation of God's existence.

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Mussolini felt that socialism had faltered, in view of the failures of Marxist determinism and social democratic reformism, and believed that Nietzsche's ideas would strengthen socialism.

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Mussolini was influenced by anti-Austrian Italian nationalist sentiments, believing that the war offered Italians in Austria-Hungary the chance to liberate themselves from rule of the Habsburgs.

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Mussolini eventually decided to declare support for the war by appealing to the need for socialists to overthrow the Hohenzollern and Habsburg monarchies in Germany and Austria-Hungary who he said had consistently repressed socialism.

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Mussolini further justified his position by denouncing the Central Powers for being reactionary powers; for pursuing imperialist designs against Belgium and Serbia as well as historically against Denmark, France, and against Italians, since hundreds of thousands of Italians were under Habsburg rule.

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Mussolini argued that the fall of Hohenzollern and Habsburg monarchies and the repression of "reactionary" Turkey would create conditions beneficial for the working class.

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Mussolini said that for Italy the war would complete the process of Risorgimento by uniting the Italians in Austria-Hungary into Italy and by allowing the common people of Italy to be participating members of the Italian nation in what would be Italy's first national war.

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Mussolini attacked the opponents of the war and claimed that those proletarians who supported pacifism were out of step with the proletarians who had joined the rising interventionist vanguard that was preparing Italy for a revolutionary war.

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Mussolini began to criticize the Italian Socialist Party and socialism itself for having failed to recognize the national problems that had led to the outbreak of the war.

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Mussolini was expelled from the party for his support of intervention.

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Mussolini was a sincere and passionate advocate, first of vigilant and armed neutrality, and later of war; and he did not believe that he was compromising with his personal and political honesty by making use of every means—no matter where they came from or wherever he might obtain them—to pay for his newspaper, his program and his line of action.

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Mussolini formed the interventionist newspaper Il Popolo d'Italia and the Fascio Rivoluzionario d'Azione Internazionalista in October 1914.

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On 5 December 1914, Mussolini denounced orthodox socialism for failing to recognize that the war had made national identity and loyalty more significant than class distinction.

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Mussolini fully demonstrated his transformation in a speech that acknowledged the nation as an entity, a notion he had rejected prior to the war, saying:.

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Mussolini continued to promote the need of a revolutionary vanguard elite to lead society.

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Mussolini became an ally with the irredentist politician and journalist Cesare Battisti.

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Mussolini was turned down because of his radical Socialism and told to wait for his reserve call up.

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Mussolini's unit took part in the Third Battle of the Isonzo, October 1915.

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Mussolini was promoted to the rank of corporal "for merit in war".

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Mussolini was left with at least 40 shards of metal in his body and had to be evacuated from the front.

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Mussolini was discharged from the hospital in August 1917 and resumed his editor-in-chief position at his new paper, Il Popolo d'Italia.

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Mussolini wrote there positive articles about Czechoslovak Legions in Italy.

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In 1917 Mussolini got his start in politics with the help of a £100 weekly wage from the British security service MI5, to keep anti-war protestors at home and to publish pro-war propaganda.

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In early 1918 Mussolini called for the emergence of a man "ruthless and energetic enough to make a clean sweep" to revive the Italian nation.

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Much later Mussolini said he felt by 1919 "Socialism as a doctrine was already dead; it continued to exist only as a grudge".

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On 23 March 1919 Mussolini re-formed the Milan fascio as the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento, consisting of 200 members.

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Mussolini drew from the works of Plato, Georges Sorel, Nietzsche, and the economic ideas of Vilfredo Pareto, to develop fascism.

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Mussolini admired Plato's The Republic, which he often read for inspiration.

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Mussolini equated a nation's potential for economic growth with territorial size, thus in his view the problem of poverty in Italy could only be solved by winning the necessary spazio vitale.

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Mussolini claimed that the world was divided into a hierarchy of races, and that history was nothing more than a Darwinian struggle for power and territory between various "racial masses".

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Mussolini believed that the United States was doomed as the American blacks had a higher birthrate than whites, making it inevitable that the blacks would take over the United States to drag it down to their level.

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In Mussolini's thinking, demography was destiny; nations with rising populations were nations destined to conquer; and nations with falling populations were decaying powers that deserved to die.

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In 1921, Mussolini won election to the Chamber of Deputies for the first time.

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Mussolini favored the complete restoration of state authority, with the integration of the Italian Fasces of Combat into the armed forces and the progressive identification of the party with the state.

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In 1923, Mussolini sent Italian forces to invade Corfu during the Corfu incident.

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Mussolini ordered a cover-up, but witnesses saw the car that transported Matteotti's body parked outside Matteotti's residence, which linked Amerigo Dumini to the murder.

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Mussolini later confessed that a few resolute men could have altered public opinion and started a coup that would have swept fascism away.

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On his release, Dumini allegedly told other people that Mussolini was responsible, for which he served further prison time.

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On 31 December 1924, MVSN consuls met with Mussolini and gave him an ultimatum: crush the opposition or they would do so without him.

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On 3 January 1925, Mussolini made a truculent speech before the Chamber in which he took responsibility for squadristi violence.

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German-American historian Konrad Jarausch has argued that Mussolini was responsible for an integrated suite of political innovations that made fascism a powerful force in Europe.

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Mussolini made a significant effort to include the previously alienated Catholic element.

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Mussolini defined public roles for the main sectors of the business community rather than allowing it to operate backstage.

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Mussolini shut down all alternative political formations and parties.

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Between 1925 and 1927, Mussolini progressively dismantled virtually all constitutional and conventional restraints on his power and built a police state.

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Mussolini was no longer responsible to Parliament and could be removed only by the King.

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On 7 April 1926, Mussolini survived a first assassination attempt by Violet Gibson, an Irish woman and daughter of Lord Ashbourne, who was deported after her arrest.

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Mussolini survived a failed assassination attempt in Rome by anarchist Gino Lucetti, and a planned attempt by the Italian anarchist Michele Schirru, which ended with Schirru's capture and execution.

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Mussolini nominated Mori as a senator, and fascist propaganda claimed that the Mafia had been defeated.

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Giuseppe Volpi, who had been appointed governor in 1921 was retained by Mussolini, and withdrew all of the measures offering equality to the Libyans.

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Mussolini launched several public construction programs and government initiatives throughout Italy to combat economic setbacks or unemployment levels.

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Mussolini's earliest was the Battle for Wheat, by which 5,000 new farms were established and five new agricultural towns on land reclaimed by draining the Pontine Marshes.

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Mussolini initiated the "Battle for Land", a policy based on land reclamation outlined in 1928.

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Mussolini attempted to turn Italy into a self-sufficient autarky, instituting high barriers on trade with most countries except Germany.

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Mussolini was keen to take the credit for major public works in Italy, particularly the railway system.

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Mussolini pretended to incarnate the new fascist Ubermensch, promoting an aesthetic of exasperated Machismo that attributed to him quasi-divine capacities.

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At various times after 1922, Mussolini personally took over the ministries of the interior, foreign affairs, colonies, corporations, defense, and public works.

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Mussolini was head of the all-powerful Fascist Party and the armed local fascist militia, the MVSN or "Blackshirts", who terrorized incipient resistance in the cities and provinces.

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Mussolini portrayed himself as a valiant sportsman and a skilled musician.

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Mussolini always portrayed himself as an intellectual, and some historians agree.

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Mussolini had had his children baptized in 1923 and himself re-baptized by a Roman Catholic priest in 1927.

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At the time of the Corfu incident, Mussolini was prepared to go to war with Britain, and only desperate pleading by the Italian Navy leadership, who argued that the Italian Navy was no match for the British Royal Navy, persuaded Mussolini to accept a diplomatic solution.

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Subsequently, Mussolini took part in the Locarno Treaties of 1925, that guaranteed the western borders of Germany as drawn in 1919.

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In 1929, Mussolini ordered his Army General Staff to begin planning for aggression against France and Yugoslavia.

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In July 1932, Mussolini sent a message to German Defense Minister General Kurt von Schleicher, suggesting an anti-French Italo-German alliance, an offer Schleicher responded to favorably, albeit with the condition that Germany needed to rearm first.

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In late 1932–early 1933, Mussolini planned to launch a surprise attack against both France and Yugoslavia that was to begin in August 1933.

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Mussolini's planned war of 1933 was only stopped when he learned that the French Deuxieme Bureau had broken the Italian military codes, and that the French, being forewarned of all the Italian plans, were well prepared for the Italian attack.

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Confident of having been given free hand by French Premier Pierre Laval, and certain that the British and French would be forgiving because of his opposition to Hitler's revisionism within the Stresa front, Mussolini received with disdain the League of Nations' economic sanctions imposed on Italy by initiative of London and Paris.

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In Mussolini's view, the move was a typically hypocritical action carried out by decaying imperial powers that intended to prevent the natural expansion of younger and poorer nations like Italy.

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Mussolini personally ordered Graziani to execute the entire male population over the age of 18 in one town and in one district ordered that "the prisoners, their accomplices and the uncertain will have to be executed" as part of the "gradual liquidation" of the population.

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Mussolini favored a policy of brutality partly because he believed the Ethiopians were not a nation because black people were too stupid to have a sense of nationality and therefore the guerrillas were just "bandits".

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The other reason was because Mussolini was planning on bringing millions of Italian colonists into Ethiopia and he needed to kill off much of the Ethiopian population to make room for the Italian colonists just as he had done in Libya.

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In January 1936, Mussolini told the German Ambassador Ulrich von Hassell that: "If Austria were in practice to become a German satellite, he would have no objection".

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Mussolini had applied strong pressure on the Austrian Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg to sign the treaty in order to improve his relations with Hitler.

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In January 1937, Britain signed a "Gentleman's Agreement" with Mussolini intended to limit Italian intervention in Spain, and was seen by the British Foreign Office as the first step towards creating an Anglo-Italian alliance.

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The Foreign Office understood that it was the Spanish Civil War that was pulling Rome and Berlin closer together, and believed if Mussolini could be persuaded to disengage from Spain, then he would return to the Allied camp.

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The American historian Barry Sullivan wrote that both the British and the French very much wanted a rapprochement with Italy to undo the damage caused by the League of Nations sanctions, and that "Mussolini chose to ally with Hitler, rather than being forced…".

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The economic costs of the conquest proved to be a staggering blow to the Italian budget, and seriously delayed Italian efforts at military modernization as the money that Mussolini had earmarked for military modernization was instead spent in conquering Ethiopia, something that helped to drive Mussolini towards Germany.

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The 1930s were a time of rapid advances in military technology, and Sullivan wrote that Mussolini picked exactly the wrong time to fight his wars in Ethiopia and Spain.

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From 1936 through 1939, Mussolini provided huge amounts of military support to the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War.

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In May 1938, during Hitler's visit to Italy, Mussolini told the Fuhrer that Italy and France were deadly enemies fighting on "opposite sides of the barricade" concerning the Spanish Civil War, and the Stresa Front was "dead and buried".

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At the Munich Conference in September 1938, Mussolini continued to pose as a moderate working for European peace, while helping Nazi Germany annex the Sudetenland.

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Mussolini stated his belief that declining birth rates in France were "absolutely horrifying" and that the British Empire was doomed because one-quarter of the British population was over 50.

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Mussolini saw international relations as a Social Darwinian struggle between "virile" nations with high birth rates that were destined to destroy "effete" nations with low birth rates.

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Mussolini believed that France was a "weak and old" nation as the French weekly death rate exceeded the birthrate by 2,000, and he had no interest in an alliance with France.

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The Easter Accords in turn were intended by Mussolini to allow Italy to take on France alone by sufficiently improving Anglo-Italian relations that London would presumably remain neutral in the event of a Franco-Italian war.

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In January 1939, the British prime minister, Neville Chamberlain, visited Rome, during which visit Mussolini learned that though Britain very much wanted better relations with Italy, and was prepared to make concessions, it would not sever all ties with France for the sake of an improved Anglo-Italian relationship.

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The Pact of Steel was an offensive and defensive military alliance, though Mussolini had signed the treaty only after receiving a promise from the Germans that there would be no war for the next three years.

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However, when the Germans incarcerated 183 professors from Jagiellonian University in Krakow on 6 November 1939, Mussolini personally intervened to Hitler against this action, leading to the freeing of 101 Poles.

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Mussolini planned to concentrate Italian forces on a major offensive against the British Empire in Africa and the Middle East, known as the "parallel war", while expecting the collapse of the UK in the European theatre.

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On 24 October 1940, Mussolini sent the Italian Air Corps to Belgium, where it took part in the Blitz until January 1941.

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Mussolini first learned of Operation Barbarossa after the invasion of the Soviet Union had begun on 22 June 1941, and was not asked by Hitler to involve himself.

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Mussolini is so happy about it that I am happy with him, though I am not too sure about the final advantages of what has happened.

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Mussolini feared that with Allied victory in North Africa, Allied armies would come across the Mediterranean and attack Italy.

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Several of his colleagues were close to revolt, and Mussolini was forced to summon the Grand Council on 24 July 1943.

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Mussolini showed little visible reaction, even though this effectively authorized the king to sack him.

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Mussolini did ask Grandi to consider the possibility that this motion would spell the end of Fascism.

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Mussolini allegedly viewed the Grand Council as merely an advisory body and did not think the vote would have any substantive effect.

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Mussolini was unaware of these moves by the king and tried to tell him about the Grand Council meeting.

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Only two months after Mussolini had been dismissed and arrested, he was rescued from his prison at the Hotel Campo Imperatore in the Gran Sasso raid on 12 September 1943 by a special Fallschirmjager unit and Waffen-SS commandos led by Major Otto-Harald Mors; Otto Skorzeny was present.

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The rescue saved Mussolini from being turned over to the Allies in accordance with the armistice.

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Three days after his rescue in the Gran Sasso raid, Mussolini was taken to Germany for a meeting with Hitler in Rastenburg at his East Prussian headquarters.

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Mussolini opposed any territorial reductions of the Italian state and told his associates:.

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Mussolini told one of his colleagues that being sent to a concentration camp was preferable to this status.

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In December 1915, Mussolini married Rachele Guidi, who had been his mistress since 1910.

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Mussolini had several mistresses, among them Margherita Sarfatti and his final companion, Clara Petacci.

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Mussolini was raised by a devoutly Catholic mother and an anti-clerical father.

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Mussolini considered religion a disease of the psyche, and accused Christianity of promoting resignation and cowardice.

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Mussolini was superstitious; after hearing of the curse of the Pharaohs, he ordered the immediate removal from the Palazzo Chigi of an Egyptian mummy he had accepted as a gift.

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Mussolini made vitriolic attacks against Christianity and the Catholic Church, which he accompanied with provocative remarks about the consecrated host, and about a love affair between Christ and Mary Magdalene.

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Mussolini denounced socialists who were tolerant of religion, or who had their children baptized, and called for socialists who accepted religious marriage to be expelled from the party.

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Mussolini once attended meetings held by a Methodist minister in a Protestant chapel where he debated the existence of God.

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In 1924, Mussolini saw that three of his children were given communion.

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Mussolini was given a funeral in 1957 when his remains were placed in the family crypt.

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In 1934, Mussolini supported the establishment of the Betar Naval Academy in Civitavecchia to train Zionist cadets under the direction of Ze'ev Jabotinsky, arguing that a Jewish state would be in Italy's interest.

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Until 1938 Mussolini had denied any antisemitism within the Fascist Party.

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Relationship between Mussolini and Adolf Hitler was a contentious one early on.

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Mussolini declared that the ideas of eugenics and the racially charged concept of an Aryan nation were not possible.

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Mussolini dismissed the idea of a master race as "arrant nonsense, stupid and idiotic".

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When discussing the Nazi decree that the German people must carry a passport with either Aryan or Jewish racial affiliation marked on it, in 1934, Mussolini wondered how they would designate membership in the "Germanic race":.

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Mussolini reached out to the Muslims in his empire and in the predominantly Arab countries of the Middle East.

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