On July 29, 1883, Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was born into the family of a blacksmith in the north central Italian town of Predappio, lying at the eastern foothills of the Apennine Mountain range that runs south through the heart of Italy.
In 1902, Mussolini left Italy and moved to Switzerland to seek employment. There he became part of the socialist movement.
In 1904, Mussolini moved back to Italy where he worked at a socialist press. His support for Italy’s entering into world War I led him to part with his socialist views at the time.
In September 1915, Mussolini was drafted into the Italian army where he became a rifleman.
By 1919, Mussolini set out to re-establish the Roman Empire and in the process make himself the next Caesar.
In March 1919, Mussolini founded the Fascist Party, which proved to be a rallying point for many of Italy’s unemployed World War I veterans. Mussolini was a radical militant who formed gang-like squads of his Fascist followers known as Black Shirts. The Black Shirts targeted rival politicians and political groups, much like Obama’s New Black Panthers did during the 2008 elections.
In 1921, the Fascist Party becomes part of Italy’s coalition government.
By the end of 1922, political uncertainty and confusion begins to be the norm in Italy. Mussolini’s Black Shirts roamed the streets of Rome, intimidating anyone or any political group that opposed the Fascist Party.
According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of fascism is:
“a way of organizing a society in which a government ruled by a dictator controls the lives of the people and in which people are not allowed to disagree with the government.”
“a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition”
In October 1922, Italy’s King Victor Emmanuel requests that Mussolini form a government to help stabilize the nation. Mussolini becomes Prime Minister of Italy.
In 1922, Mussolini started a campaign to make as much of the eastern Mediterranean area part of this new Roman Empire. He invaded Libya, conquering it in 1932.
In 1925, Benito Mussolini declares himself to be dictator of Italy and assumes the title of ‘Il Duce.’
In 1935, Mussolini invades then Abyssinia, known today as Ethiopia.
On May 9, 1936, Mussolini conquers Ethiopia, and makes it part of his Italian empire.
In 1939, Mussolini lends military support to General Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War. He also invaded and seized Albania.
In 1939, Mussolini signs the Pact of Steel with German’s Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler and begins passing anti-Jewish laws similar to Germany.
On 10 June 1940, Mussolini declared war against France and Great Britain.
In August 1940, Italy moves further into Africa and occupy Somaliland.
In September 1940, Mussolini invades Egypt.
On September 27, 1940, Italy, Germany and Japan sign the Tripartite Pact, also known as the Axis Pact.
On October 28, 1940, Mussolini invades Greece.
On November 10 and 11, 1940, a significant part of the Italian fleet is attacked at Taranto, Italy, inflicting crippling damage.
On November 22, 1940, Greek forces defeat the Italian 9th army.
On November 11, 1942, Italian and German forces invade Vichy, France, which at the time was relatively unoccupied. Mussolini tried to convince Hitler cease his war with Russia and make them part of the Axis in order to help fight and defeat American and British forces.
On July 9 and 10, 1943, Allied forces land in Sicily.
On July 19, 1943, Allies began aerial bombing of Rome.
On this day, July 25, 1943, Benito Mussolini was voted out of office by the Grand Council of Italy. Afterward, he briefed King Emanuele who informed Mussolini that Marshall Pietro Badoglio would assume the position and powers of Prime Minister. Upon leaving his meeting with the king, Mussolini was arrested and imprisoned, putting an end to his Fascist Party.
On September 8, 1943, Italy formally surrenders to the Allies.
On September 11, 1943, Nazi Germany occupies Rome
On September 12, 1943, Mussolini freed from prison by German forces.
On September 23, 1943, Italy’ Fascist Party is re-established by newly freed Mussolini.
On October 1, 1943, Allied forces arrive at Naples, Italy.
On October 13, 1943, Italy pulls a surprise move by declaring war on Germany.
January 22, 1944, Allied force, largely composed of American troops, landed at Anzio, Italy.
On February 16, 1944, Germany launches counterattack against the Allied forces at Anzio.
On May 25, 1944, Germany withdraws its forces from Anzio.
On June 5, 1944, Allied forces reach and enter Rome.
On April 27, 1945, members of the Italian underground captured Mussolini at Mezzegra as he was trying to flee Italy.
On April 28, 1945, Mussolini was executed by his captors and then hung his body in a Milan plaza for everyone to see.
Sources for the above includes: Timeline of Selected Events 1931-1945; Mussolini Falls From Power; Benito Mussolini Biography; Benito Mussolini; Benito Mussolini (1883-1945); World War II in Europe; Fascism