AKA ‘Il Duce’ (The Leader).
Kill tally: Over 400,000 Italians killed during the Second World War. At least 30,000 Ethiopians killed during Italian occupation of Ethiopia.
Background: The factious Italian confederation emerges from the First World War on the side of the victorious Allies and with its eastern African colonies in Eritrea and Somalia in tact. But serious economic problems plague the state. Inflation escalates and unemployment climbs. The political climate is also destabilised as left and right groups from around the country resume their struggle for influence.
Mini biography: Born on 29 July 1883 near Predappio in the Forli Province of Romagna, in northeastern Italy, into a working class family. His father is a blacksmith, his mother a school teacher.
1901 – After a difficult childhood during which he is twice expelled from schools for attacking fellow students but easily passes his exams, Mussolini obtains a teaching diploma and works for a year as a schoolteacher at Gaultieri, northeast of Parma, until he is dismissed.
1902 – By now a committed socialist, he emigrates to Switzerland, where he gains a reputation as a journalist, public speaker and political agitator. He is arrested and imprisoned several times. Read the rest of this entry »