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Benito Mussolini Rome’s Would-Be Emperor Mussolini as a Child • Mussolini was born to a poor rural family in 1883. • As a child, Mussolini was wild, aggressive, and hyperactive. He was expelled from multiple schools • In his own words, Mussolini described himself as “not a good boy” QuickTime™ a nd a BMP decompressor are need ed to see this picture. Young Mussolini • Later, Mussolini was both charismatic and a bully • As a young man, Mussolini travelled Europe. He learned about various radical socialist theories • Mussolini relocated often, saying just ahead of debts, the husbands of married women with whom he had had affairs, and the hand of justice QuickTime™ and a BMP decompressor are neede d to see this picture. Mussolini in WWI • By his mid-1920s, Mussolini was married and the editor of a socialist newspaper. He quickly lost patience with intellectuals, however, and left the formal socialist movement • WWI seemed like a great opportunity for Mussolini. He enlisted and saw combat in the Alps. QuickTime™ an d a BMP decomp ressor are need ed to see this p icture . Mussolini in WWI • Mussolini spent two years in the trenches. War, Mussolini decided, was “the only way that a contry can become great ... the only way that a man can become complete...” • He also said that “war is to man what maternity is to woman' After WWI • When the war was over, Mussolini returned to a devastated Italy. There was chaos, wars, and hunger. • In this chaos, Mussolini felt he could gain the “glory and wealth” that he craved Ideas Forming • Mussolini's politics had now swung from extreme left to extreme right • He spoke of the rebirth of the glory of Rome • Many of Mussolini's ideas were shaped by his first mistress, Martherita Sarfatti The Fasces • Mussolini took the ancient symbol of a fasces. This was derived from ancient Rome. This symbol represented the authority of Roman law. Originally, the sticks were used for beating prisoners and the axe was used for decapitation QuickTime™ and a BMP decompressor are neede d to se e this picture. “Il Duce” • In 1919, Mussolini organized his fascist army to overrun the socialist thinkers that he had previously supported. This show of force was known as “chivarious violence” • At this time, Mussolini became known as “Il Duce” or “The Duke” • By 1922, Mussolini seized power. On October 22nd, 26,000 of his fascist supporters, known as blackshirts, marched into Rome and seized the city. Those in power have no choice but to appoint Mussolini as Italy's new Prime Minister. He is 39 years old. • Mussolini will rule Italy as a fascist for 20 years Mussolini’s Early • Reign In Mussolini's early years, the shattered Italian economy is rebuilt at great speed and its army was restored • In June 1923, the government passed a law that essentially turned Italy into a single-part state • Early in his time as Prime Minister, Mussolini survived multiple assassination attempts. One of these was made on October 31st 1926. The would-be assassin, a 15-year old boy named Anteo Zamboni, was lynched on the spot QuickTime™ and a BMP decompressor are neede d to se e this picture. War in Ethiopia • In an effort to build a “New Roman Empire”, Mussolini invaded Etheopia in 1935. By May 1936, the Emperor of Ethiopia was in exile and the nation was called Italian East Africa • The victory is decisive for the Italians. The Ethiopians are exposed to weapons they have never seen, most notably poison gas. • This victory was Mussolini’s moment of greatest glory. Following a victory speech in Rome, a group made up largely of his blackshirts called him back to wave to the crowd on ten separate occasions. In this speech, Mussolini said: “at last Italy has her empire ... the Italian people have created an empire with their blood. They will fertilize it with their work. They will defend it against anyone with their weapons. Will you be worthy of it?"
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