Son of Alexander and Rosa Maltoni, a blacksmith and an elementary teacher, Benito Mussolini was born in Dovia di Predappio, in Romagna, on 29 July 1883.
When he was very young he joined the socialist political formations. In 1901 he became an elementary teacher and, after a period of militancy in Switzerland, returned to Italy. In 1909 he was in Trento where he was appointed secretary of the local Chamber of Labor and director of the socialist newspaper 'Avvenire'. In September of the same year he moved to Forlì where he obtained the position of secretary of the provincial socialist federation and director of the bulletin 'The class struggle'. In 1911 he distinguished himself for a fervent campaign against Italian intervention in Libya and the following year, in July 1912, he entered the national leadership of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) taking over the national newspaper, the 'Avanti!' .
Contrary until September 1914 at the entrance to the 'Great War' of the Italian forces, two months later it will radically change its position by publishing the first issue of the interventionist and ultranationalist sheet 'Il Popolo d'Italia'. It will cost him the expulsion from the PSI on November 23rd of '14. Called to arms in 1915, he was framed in the 11th Army Bersaglieri Regiment and in '17 he was wounded in combat.
After the war, in 1919 he supported the workers 'employment of the factories in Dalmine and on 23 March, with an anti-capitalist, anti-clerical and anti-monarchical program - although strongly nationalistic - in 1919 he founded the movement of the' Fasci di Combattimento '' movement in Milan. in '21 becomes a party - that will take him to Parliament in 1921. In 1922 he is at the National Congress of the party where he organizes the 'March on Rome' of 28 October. It is the beginning of the fascist era.
The Italian army threatens to disperse its followers but King Vittorio Emanuele III refuses to sign the state of siege and Mussolini, on October 30, after the fall of the Facta government, and received the commission from the sovereign, constitutes his first ministry supported by the PNF, the National Fascist Party which, over time, guarantees unlimited executive power.
After asserting by force the electoral victory of 1924 - with a strong majority prize guaranteed by the provisions of the 'Acerbo' law of '23 - following the crisis of the Aventine, is involved in the assassination of the Socialist MP Giacomo Matteotti, but making use of the indifference of the House of Savoy, which, in fact, supports the progressive liquidation of the oppositions - and of the hesitation of the other political forces, in January 1925 proclaims the liberal constitutional order and the consequent new fascist course.
Thus arises the dictatorship marked by the single party in power, by the suppression of the civil liberties of the press, assembly, speech; from the strengthening of the government's prerogatives, from the attribution of constitutional powers to the Grand Council of Fascism, from the birth of the OVRA (the secret police) and of the special tribunals. It also follows a progressive and systematic propaganda operation that identifies the social and cultural characteristics of Italian totalitarianism: new institutes of the regime are born, the exaltation of the warrior virtues of the condottiere spreads, the 'duce', a mass culture is born. with new symbols, new rituals, new languages aimed at consolidating an absolute consent to the 'Littorio' regime.
During the fascist era the IRI, the Institute of the Italian Encyclopédie 'Giovanni Treccani', the CNR, the AGIP, the INPS, the INAIL, the Cinecittà, the Venice Film Festival.
In 1929 Mussolini stipulated the Lateran Pacts with the Catholic Church with the intention of closing the 'Roman question' which had divided, from the years of the Risorgimento, the unitary Italian State and the Holy See. After waging war on Ethiopia with the aim of creating an Italian colonial empire, in 1935 he formed an alliance with Germany of Adolf Hitler 'who came to power two years earlier. This alliance is consolidated with the 1936 war of Spain, the anti-semitic racial laws of 1938 and is ratified by the 1939 "Steel Pact". It is the beginning of the Second World War and fascist Italy fights alongside the Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan, but it is a disaster, first in Greece and then in Russia.
On 25 July 1943 Mussolini was discouraged by the Grand Council of Fascism, the supreme governing body of the state, raised by the king's head and arrested. It will be freed on September 11 by German paratroopers on the Gran Sasso and brought to Germany from where it reconstitutes the fascist party and proclaims the Italian Social Republic based in Salò, northern Italy.
On 28 April 1945, he tried to escape disguised as a German officer but was captured by the partisans in Dongo, near Como, and shot together with his companion Claretta Petacci to Giulino di Mezzegra.
His body battered by the blows is then exposed to the crowd in Milan at Piazzale Loreto. His body lies in the family chapel of the Predappio cemetery.