CAIRO – 24 March 2022: Benito Mussolini, an Italian warrior of World War I and publisher of socialist newspapers, founded the National Party on March 23, 1919.
Named after the Italian peasant revolutionaries, or "fighting guerrillas" of the 19th century, Mussolini's new right-wing organization was known as the Fascist Party and advocated Italian nationalism. They wore black dress shirts and launched a program against its left-wing opponents.
In October 1922, Mussolini led the fascists in a march to Rome and in reaction King Emmanuel III, who had little faith in the Italian parliamentary government, asked Mussolini to form a new government.
Appointed prime minister at the head of the three-member fascist cabinet, Mussolini initially cooperated with the Italian parliament, but with the help of his police organization soon became Italy's de facto dictator. In 1924, the socialist backlash was suppressed and in January 1925 Italy was officially declared a fascist state, with Mussolini named the Duce, or "Commander".
Mussolini appealed to Italy's former Western allies for new treaties, but his 1935 invasion of Ethiopia ended all hopes of an alliance with the Western democracies.
In 1936, Mussolini joined Adolf Hitler in his support of Francisco Franco's nationalist forces in the Spanish Civil War, and a foreign policy cooperation treaty between Italy and Germany was signed in 1937.
In July 1943, the failure of the Italian war effort and the impending invasion of the Italian mainland by the Allies led to a rebellion within the Fascist Party. Two days after the fall of Palermo on July 24, the Fascist Grand Council rejected the policy dictated by Hitler through Mussolini.
On July 25, the Duce was arrested, and the fascist Marshal Pietro Badoglio took over the reins of the Italian government. In September, Italy surrendered unconditionally to the Allies. Eight days later, the German commandos released Mussolini from his prison in the Abruzzi Mountains, and he later became the commander of German-controlled northern Italy.
With the collapse of Germany in April 1945, Mussolini was captured by Italian revolutionaries. On April 29, he and his lover Clara Petacci were executed by a firing squad after a short court-martial as their bodies, brought to Milan, were hung by their feet in a public square for the whole world to see.