A mugshot of young Benito Mussolini. Image credit blogspot.com

ZIMSEC O Level History Notes: Dictatorship in Europe: Dictatorship in Italy: Benito Mussolini: The rise of Mussolini and the Fascists party 

  • Benito Mussolini was born in 1883 at Dovia and his mother was a school teacher.
  • He was once a socialist journalist, teacher and a soldier.
  • When Italy joined the First World War in 1925 Mussolini became a soldier.
  • After the war in June 1919 Mussolini formed the Fascist party at a meeting held in Milan.
  • The word Fascist was derived from the word fasces (a bundle of wooden sticks or an axe) carried by magistrates in the old Roman (Italian) Empire.
  • This was a symbol of authority and power.
  • The party’s name had links to the idea of force
  • Soon after the First World War, Mussolini supported factory seizures by workers so he was hated by capitalists and property owners.
  • Later on he opposed the seizure of property and land by workers and peasants thus gaining the support of property owners.
  • The Fascists militia (The Voluntary Militia for National Security) put on black shirts and were thus referred to as the “Black shirts.”
  • In May 1921 the Fascists won 34 seats on parliament.
  • The Fascists used violent campaigns and in August 1922 they won more support when they crashed the general strike which had been organised by the Socialists.

To access more topics go to the History Notes page.