Mickey Mouse (comic book)
Mickey Mouse is a comic book series that has a long-running history, first appearing in 1941 as part of the Four Color one-shot series. It received its own numbering system with issue #28, is published by IDW Publishing; the book emphasizes stories with Mickey and his supporting cast: Goofy, Donald Duck, Minnie Mouse and Mickey's nephews Morty and Ferdie Fieldmouse. Mickey's perpetual rival is the criminal Peg-Leg Pete. Other adversaries have included Emil Eagle, Eli Squinch, Sylvester Shyster, the team of Dangerous Dan McBoo and Idjit the Midget, the Phantom Blot. Two major artistic influences on the appearance of Mickey in comics are Floyd Gottfredson, who drew the Mickey Mouse daily newspaper strip from 1930 to 1975, comic book artist Paul Murry, who drew Mickey stories from 1950 to 1984. In the mid 1930s original Mickey comic book stories were being produced in Italy and the United Kingdom for local consumption. Publishing Mickey comic book stories in the United States was pioneered by the third Mickey Mouse Magazine series.
Published by Hal Horne, it had artwork by John Stanley and text pieces by Irving Brecher. By mid-1936, Horne turned over the magazine to Kay Kamen. Kamen the following year recruited Western Publishing to handle publication. Western added reprinted Disney comic strips to the book's lineup beginning with the July 1937 issue. In the words of historian Michael Barrier "Reprinted newspaper comics were never more than a minor part of its lineup until the last issue, dated September 1940, when they took up half the pages." But Barrier has judged the strip reprints "stood out by virtue of their crisp professionalism". The successor title, Walt Disney's Comics and Stories, described by Barrier as a true comic book, began publication with the Oct. 1940 issue and had the Gottfredson serials as a prominent feature. In the 1940s, Mickey's adventures appeared in a series of Four Color Dell Comics one-shots with the name "Mickey Mouse" prominently displayed on the cover. In 1953, these one-shots evolved into a regular series titled Mickey Mouse, starting with issue #28 and lasting through 1990.
Although other magazines called Mickey Mouse were available in many countries, they were less like the American title and more resembled WDC&S, acting as the flagship Disney title for its circulation area and thus containing stories of all the major Disney characters as a function of its anthology format. The American Mickey Mouse title experienced changes in artists, length and printing quality over the years. A unique experiment deviating from the norm occurred in 1966: Inspired by the James Bond spy mania of the period for three issues the comic was titled Mickey Mouse, Super Secret Agent with stories of Mickey and Goofy becoming international spies and interacting with human characters in realistic settings. While Mickey and Goofy were drawn in the usual "cartoony" style by Paul Murry, the other characters and backgrounds were done by Dan Spiegle in a realistic manner. Comic book historian Michael Barrier dubbed it an aesthetic failure in a contemporary review. By the 1970s, contents of the Mickey Mouse title consisted of the reprinting of earlier stories, sometimes from Walt Disney's Comics and Stories or other Disney publications.
The average paid circulation between September 1969 and September 1970, when the comic was published six times a year, cost 15 cents, was 223,396, whereas in 1960 the figure stood at 568,803. Gladstone Publishing assumed publication of Mickey Mouse in 1986, still publishing reprints, but which were recolored, taking advantage of more modern inking and printing techniques. Stories from foreign Walt Disney comic books were translated and included. Issues contained a description of the source of each story, gave credit to the writers and artists by name — which had not been done. Letters to the editor provided additional story background. Although the circulation of Mickey Mouse had declined for years compared to Uncle Scrooge, in 1987 Gladstone said it had become their top selling title. So, in late 1987 Gladstone announced they were cutting all their publications back to eight issues per year; the cover price went to 95 cents in 1987. Gladstone published many of Gottfredson's Mickey stories that had never been reprinted since the 1930s or 1940s.
Mickey Mouse ceased publication in 1990, with issue #256, when Gladstone lost their license to publish the Disney characters. From 1990 to 2003, no Mickey Mouse comic book was published in the United States. However, from 1990 to 1991, a new comic book, Mickey Mouse Adventures, was published by Disney's then-new comic book imprint, Disney Comics. Disney Comics ceased all publications in 1993. Additionally, the two part "Perils of Mickey" adventure, "Return to Blaggard Castle/Shadows of the Past", by writer David Cody Weiss and artist Stephen DeStefano, was published in two consecutive 1993 issues of Disney Adventures magazine; this story was a direct sequel to the 1930s Floyd Gottfredson story, "Blaggard Castle," and featured a return to the classic Mickey Mouse art style. The story has been reprinted in Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse: "Trapped on Treasure Island" ISBN 978-1-60699-495-5. In 2003 Gemstone Publishing was granted the license for Disney's comic book characters, they relaunched Mickey Mouse under an expanded title, Mickey Mouse and Friends, continuing
Gian Galeazzo Ciano, 2nd Count of Cortellazzo and Buccari was Foreign Minister of Fascist Italy from 1936 until 1943 and Benito Mussolini's son-in-law. On 11 January 1944, Count Ciano was shot by firing squad at the behest of his father-in-law, under pressure from Nazi Germany. Ciano wrote and left behind a diary, used as a source by several historians, including William Shirer in his The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and in the four-hour HBO documentary-drama Mussolini and I. Gian Galeazzo Ciano was born in Livorno, Italy, in 1903, he was the son of his wife Carolina Pini. The elder Ciano, nicknamed Ganascia, was a founding member of the National Fascist Party and re-organizer of the Italian merchant navy in the 1920s. Costanzo Ciano was not above extracting private profit from his public office, he would use his influence to depress the stock of a company, after which he would buy a controlling interest increase his wealth after its value rebounded. Among other holdings, Costanzo Ciano owned a newspaper, farmland in Tuscany and other properties worth huge sums of money.
As a result, his son Galeazzo was accustomed to living a high-profile and glamorous life, which he maintained until the end of his life. Father and son both took part in Mussolini's 1922 March on Rome. After studying Philosophy of Law at the University of Rome, Galeazzo Ciano worked as a journalist before choosing a diplomatic career. On 24 April 1930, when he was 27 years old, he married Benito Mussolini's daughter Edda Mussolini, they had three children, though he was known to have had several affairs while married. Soon after their marriage, Ciano left for Shanghai to serve as Italian consul. On his return to Italy in 1935, he became the minister of press and propaganda in the government of his father-in-law. Ciano volunteered for action in the Italian invasion of Ethiopia as a bomber squadron commander, he reached the rank of captain. His future opponent Alessandro Pavolini served in the same squadron as a lieutenant. Upon his trumpeted return from the war as a "hero" in 1936, he was appointed by Mussolini as replacement Foreign Minister.
Ciano began to keep a diary a short time after his appointment and kept it active up to his 1943 dismissal as foreign minister. In 1937, he was involved in planning the murder of the brothers Carlo and Nello Rosselli, two exiled anti-fascist activists killed in the French spa town of Bagnoles-de-l'Orne on 9 June. In 1937, prior to the Italian annexation in 1939, Count Gian Galeazzo Ciano was named an Honorary Citizen of Tirana, Albania. Before World War II, Mussolini may have been preparing Ciano to succeed him as Duce. At the start of the war in 1939, Ciano did not agree with Mussolini's plans and knew that Italy's armed forces were ill-prepared for a major war; when Mussolini formally declared war on France in 1940, he wrote in his diary, "I am sad sad. The adventure begins. May God help Italy!" After 1939, Ciano became disenchanted with Nazi Germany and the course of World War II, although when the Italian regime embarked on an ill-advised "parallel war" alongside Germany, he went along, despite the terribly-executed Italian invasion of Greece and its subsequent setbacks.
Prior to the German campaign in France in 1940, Count Ciano leaked a warning of imminent invasion to neutral Belgium. In late 1942 and early 1943, following the Axis defeat in North Africa, other major setbacks on the Eastern Front, with an Anglo-American assault on Sicily looming, Ciano turned against the doomed war and pushed for Italy's exit from the conflict, he was silenced by being removed from his post as foreign minister. The rest of the cabinet was removed as well on 5 February 1943, he was offered the post of ambassador to the Holy See, presented his credentials to Pope Pius XII on 1 March. In this role he remained in Rome, watched by Mussolini; the regime's position had become more unstable by the coming summer and court circles were probing the Allied commands for some sort of agreement. On the afternoon of 24 July 1943, Mussolini summoned the Fascist Grand Council to its first meeting since 1939, prompted by the Allied invasion of Sicily. At that meeting, Mussolini announced; this led Count Dino Grandi to launch a blistering attack on his longtime comrade.
Grandi put on the table a resolution asking King Victor Emmanuel III to resume his full constitutional powers – in effect, a vote leading to Mussolini's ousting from leadership. The motion won by 19-8, with Ciano voting in favor. Mussolini's replacement was an Italian general in both World Wars. Mussolini did not think that the vote had any real value, showed up at work the next morning like any other day; that afternoon, the king dismissed him from office. Upon leaving the villa, Mussolini was arrested. For the next two months he was moved from place to place to hide him and prevent his rescue by the Germans. Mussolini was sent to Gran Sasso, a mountain resort in Abruzzo, he was kept in complete isolation until rescued by German paratroopers on 12 September 1943. Mussolini set up a puppet government in the area of northern Italy still under German occupation called the Italian Social Republic. Ciano was dismissed from his post by the new government of Italy put in place
Kingdom of Italy
The Kingdom of Italy was a state which existed from 1861—when King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia was proclaimed King of Italy—until 1946—when civil discontent led a constitutional referendum to abandon the monarchy and form the modern Italian Republic. The state was founded as a result of the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which can be considered its legal predecessor state. Italy declared war on Austria in alliance with Prussia in 1866 and received the region of Veneto following their victory. Italian troops entered Rome in 1870, thereby ending more than one thousand years of Papal temporal power. Italy entered into a Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary in 1882, following strong disagreements with France about the respective colonial expansions; however if relations with Berlin became friendly, the alliance with Vienna remained purely formal as the Italians were keen to acquire Trentino and Trieste, corners of Austria-Hungary populated by Italians.
So in 1915, Italy accepted the British invitation to join the Allied Powers, as the western powers promised territorial compensation for participation, more generous than Vienna's offer in exchange for Italian neutrality. Victory in the war gave Italy a permanent seat in the Council of the League of Nations. "Fascist Italy" is the era of National Fascist Party government from 1922 to 1943 with Benito Mussolini as head of government. The fascists imposed totalitarian rule and crushed the political and intellectual opposition, while promoting economic modernization, traditional social values and a rapprochement with the Roman Catholic Church. According to Payne, " Fascist government passed through several distinct phases"; the first phase was nominally a continuation of the parliamentary system, albeit with a "legally-organized executive dictatorship". Came the second phase, "the construction of the Fascist dictatorship proper, from 1925 to 1929"; the third phase, with less activism, was 1929 to 1934.
The fourth phase, 1935–1940, was characterized by an aggressive foreign policy: war against Ethiopia, launched from Italian Eritrea and Italian Somaliland, which resulted in its annexation. The war itself was the fifth phase with its disasters and defeats, while the rump Salò Government under German control was the final stage. Italy was an important member of the Axis powers in World War II, battling on several fronts with initial success. However, after the German-Italian defeat in Africa and Soviet Union and the subsequent Allied landings in Sicily, King Victor Emmanuel III placed Mussolini under arrest, the Fascist Party in areas controlled by the Allied invaders was shut down; the new government signed an armistice on September 1943. German forces occupied northern Italy with Fascists' help, setting up the Italian Social Republic, a collaborationist puppet state still led by Mussolini and his Fascist loyalists; as conseguence, the country descended into civil war, with the Italian Co-belligerent Army and the resistance movement contended the Social Republic's forces and its German allies.
Shortly after the war and the liberation of the country, civil discontent led to the constitutional referendum of 1946 on whether Italy would remain a monarchy or become a republic. Italians decided to abandon the monarchy and form the Italian Republic, the present-day Italian state; the Kingdom of Italy claimed all of the territory which covers present-day Italy and more. The development of the Kingdom's territory progressed under Italian re-unification until 1870; the state for a long period of time did not include Trieste or Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, which were annexed in 1919 and remain Italian territories today. The Triple Entente promised to grant to Italy – if the state joined the Allies in World War I – several territories including former Austrian Littoral, western parts of former Duchy of Carniola, Northern Dalmazia and notably Zara and most of the Dalmatian islands, according to the secret London Pact of 1915. After the compromise was nullified under pressure of President Woodrow Wilson with the Treaty of Versailles, Italian claims on Northern Dalmazia were voided.
During World War II, the Kingdom gained additional territory: it gained Corsica and Savoia from France after its surrender in 1940, territory in Slovenia and Dalmazia from Yugoslavia after its breakup in 1941 and Monaco in 1942. After World War II, the borders of present-day Italy were founded and the Kingdom abandoned its land claims; the Italian Empire gained territory until the end of World War II through colonies, military occupations and puppet states. These included Eritrea, Italian Somaliland, Ethiopia, British Somaliland, Tunisia, Kosovo, Montenegro and a 46-hectare concession from China in Tianjin; the Kingdom of Italy was theoretically a constitutional monarchy. Executive power belonged to the monarch; the legislative branch was a bicameral Parliament comprising an appointive Senate and an elective Chamber of Deputies. The kingdom's constitution was the Statuto Albertino, the former governing document of the Kingdom of Sardinia. In theory, ministers were responsible to the king. However, by this time it was impossible for a king to appoint a government of his ow
Edoardo Alfieri was an Italian fascist politician and diplomat. Alfieri was born in Bologna. In 1911 he finished law studies and soon after joined the nationalist group formed by Enrico Corradini. A volunteer in World War I, he was critical of the merger between Corradini's group and Benito Mussolini's Partito Nazionale Fascista. Nonetheless, he was elected to the Italian Chamber of Deputies on the PNF list in 1924. Under Mussolini's government, Alfieri was assigned several tasks: between 1929 and 1934, he was co-director of the Exhibition of the Fascist Revolution, deputy secretary of the Corporazioni, deputy secretary for Press and Propaganda from 1935, assuming the duties of Minister Galeazzo Ciano during the latter's mission in the Second Italo-Abyssinian War; when Ciano moved on to become Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dino Alfieri found himself appointed Minister of People's Culture in 1937, declared himself to the Antisemitical racial segregation laws passed in 1938. He was Italy's envoy to the Holy See starting 7 November 1939, five months to Nazi Germany.
A member of the Grand Council of Fascism, he supported Dino Grandi's coup d'état in July 1943, that led to the fall from power of the Italian Fascist government after 21 years and the arrest of Mussolini. When the Wehrmacht occupied Italy, Alfieri fled to Switzerland to save his life. In January 1944, he was sentenced to death in absentia by a kangaroo court during the Verona trial; the Swiss government tolerated his attendance in Switzerland. On 12 November 1946, an Italian court stated his innocence, he was pensioned off. In 1947, he returned to Italy and a year published his memoirs as Due dittatori di fronte. Lettere Inedite Di Vittorio Alfieri Alla Madre, a Mario Bianchi, E a Teresa Mocenni Newspaper clippings about Dino Alfieri in the 20th Century Press Archives of the German National Library of Economics Christian Zentner, Friedemann Bedürftig; the Encyclopedia of the Third Reich. Macmillan, New York. ISBN 0-02-897502-2
Fall of the Fascist regime in Italy
The fall of the Fascist regime in Italy known in Italy as 25 Luglio, came as a result of parallel plots led by Count Dino Grandi and King Victor Emmanuel III during the spring and summer of 1943, culminating with a successful vote of no confidence against the Prime Minister Benito Mussolini at the meeting of the Grand Council of Fascism on 24–25 July 1943. As a result, new government was established, putting an end to the 21 years of Fascist rule in Italy, Mussolini was placed under arrest. At the beginning of 1943, Italy was facing defeat; the collapse of the African front on 4 November 1942 and the Allied landings in North Africa on 8–12 November exposed Italy to an invasion of the Allied forces. The defeat of the Italian expeditionary force in Russia, the heavy bombings of the cities, the lack of food and fuel demoralized the population, the majority of whom wanted to end the war and denounce the alliance with Germany. Italy needed German aid in order to maintain control of Tunisia, the last stronghold of the Axis powers in Africa.
Italy's Duce, Benito Mussolini, was persuaded that the war could be decided in the Mediterranean theater. On 29 April 1943, at the meeting in Klessheim, Hitler rejected Mussolini's proposition to seek a separate peace with Russia and move the bulk of the German Army south; the request for reinforcements to defend the bridgehead in Tunisia was refused by the Wehrmacht, which no longer trusted the Italian will to maintain resistance. Mussolini's health was another main factor of uncertainty, he was sick after being diagnosed with gastritis and duodenitis of a nervous origin. Because of his illness, the Duce was forced to stay at home, depriving Italy of effective government. In this situation, several groups belonging to four different circles began to look for a way out. Aristocrats, such as Crown Princess Maria José, members of the upper class, politicians belonging to the pre-Fascist elite independently started plots to establish contact with the Allies. Following the declaration of Casablanca, the Allies would only accept unconditional surrender.
Despite the Crown Princess' involvement, the Anglo-Americans expected a move from higher-placed personalities, like the King, disregarded contact with these groups. The anti-Fascist parties, weakened by 20 years of dictatorship, were still in an embryonic state. All except the communists and the republicans of the Partito d’Azione waited for a signal from King Victor Emmanuel III, whose inaction was prompted by his character, his fears and constitutional scruples, the fact that the monarchy was finished regardless of how the war turned out; the King had considerable contempt towards the pre-Fascist politicians, whom he called "revenants". He was distrustful of those who claimed that the Anglo-Americans would not seek revenge on Italy. Victor Emmanuel III did retain his trust in Mussolini, he hoped that the Duce could save the situation; the King isolated himself from anyone who tried to learn his intentions. Among them was the new Chief of the General Staff, General Vittorio Ambrosio, devoted to the King and hostile to the Germans.
Ambrosio was persuaded that the war was lost for Italy, but he never took personal initiative to change the situation without first consulting the King. Ambrosio, with the help of Giuseppe Castellano and Giacomo Carboni proceeded to occupy several key positions in the armed forces with officials devoted to the King, he tried to bring back as many of Italy's abroad forces as possible, but it was difficult to do so without raising suspicion from Germany. On 6 February 1943, Mussolini carried out the most wide-ranging government reshuffle in 21 years of Fascist power. All of the ministers were changed, including the Duce's son-in-law, Galeazzo Ciano, Dino Grandi, Giuseppe Bottai, Guido Buffarini Guidi and Alessandro Pavolini; the situation was compromised, the primary goal of the operation to placate public opinion about the Fascist Party failed. Among the new appointments, the new Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Giuseppe Bastianini, was aware of the seriousness of the situation. Bastianini's strategy was twofold: like Mussolini, he tried to argue in favor of a peace between Germany and the USSR.
He aimed to create a block of Balkan countries led by Italy who could act as a counterbalance to the excessive power of the German Reich in Europe. On 14 April, the Duce substituted the chief of Carmine Senise, with Lorenzo Chierici. Five days he changed the young and inexperienced secretary of the Party, Aldo Vidussoni, to Carlo Scorza. Mussolini wanted to galvanize the Party with the appointment of Scorza; the fall of Tunis on 13 May 1943 radically changed the strategic situation. It was important for Germany to control Italy, which had turned into an external stronghold of the Reich, because they were susceptible to invasion; the Germans developed plans for operations Alarich and Konstantin, devoted to the occupation of Italy and to the Balkan areas occupied by the Italian Army, in order to take control of Italy and disarm the Italian forces after their expected armistice with the Allies. In preparation, the Germans wanted to increase land forces in Italy. Ambrosio and Mussolini refused and asked only for more airplanes because they wanted to preserve Italian independence.
On 11 June 1943, the Allies captured the
Fascist Italy (1922–1943)
Fascist Italy is the era of National Fascist Party government from 1922 to 1943 with Benito Mussolini as head of government of the Kingdom of Italy. The fascists imposed totalitarian rule and crushed political and intellectual opposition, while promoting economic modernization, traditional social values and a rapprochement with the Roman Catholic Church. According to Payne, " Fascist government passed through several distinct phases"; the first phase was nominally a continuation of the parliamentary system, albeit with a "legally-organized executive dictatorship". Came the second phase, "the construction of the Fascist dictatorship proper, from 1925 to 1929"; the third phase, with less activism, was 1929 to 1934. The fourth phase, 1935–1940, was characterized by an aggressive foreign policy: war against Ethiopia, launched from Eritrea and Somaliland; the war itself was the fifth phase with its disasters and defeats, while the rump Salò Government under German control was the final stage. Italy was an important member of the Axis powers in World War II, until it signed an armistice with the Allies in September 1943 after ousting Mussolini and shutting down the Fascist Party in areas controlled by the Allies.
The remnant fascist state in northern Italy that continued fighting against the Allies was a puppet state of Nazi Germany, the Italian Social Republic, still led by Mussolini and his Fascist loyalists. The post-armistice period saw the rise of the Italian Resistance, opposers of the Italian Fascism and the occupying German forces, which joined the Allies and led to the liberation of the country. Shortly after the war, civil discontent led to the 1946 institutional referendum on whether Italy would remain a monarchy or become a republic. Italians decided to abandon the monarchy and form the Italian Republic, the present-day Italian state. After rising to power, the Fascist regime of Italy set a course to becoming a one-party state and to integrate Fascism into all aspects of life. A totalitarian state as was declared in the Doctrine of Fascism of 1935: The Fascist conception of the State is all-embracing, thus understood, Fascism is totalitarian, the Fascist State—a synthesis and a unit inclusive of all values—interprets and potentiates the whole life of a people.— Doctrine of Fascism, 1935 With the concept of totalitarianism and the Fascist regime set an agenda of improving Italian culture and society based on ancient Rome, personal dictatorship and some futurist aspects of Italian intellectuals and artists.
Under Fascism, the definition of the Italian nationality rested on a militarist foundation and the Fascist's "new man" ideal in which loyal Italians would rid themselves of individualism and autonomy and see themselves as a component of the Italian state and be prepared to sacrifice their lives for it. Under such a totalitarian society, only Fascists would be considered "true Italians" and membership and endorsement of the Fascist Party was necessary for people to gain "Complete Citizenship", as those who did not swear allegiance to Fascism were banished from public life and could not gain employment; the Fascist government reached out to Italians living overseas to endorse the Fascist cause and identify with Italy rather than their places of residence. Despite efforts to mould a new culture for fascism, Fascist Italy's efforts were not as drastic or successful in comparison to other one-party states like Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in creating a new culture. Mussolini's propaganda idolized him as the nation's saviour and the Fascist regime attempted to make him omnipresent in Italian society.
Much of Fascism's appeal in Italy was based on the personality cult around Mussolini and his popularity. Mussolini's passionate oratory and personality cult was displayed at huge rallies and parades of his Blackshirts in Rome which served as an inspiration to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in Germany; the Fascist regime established propaganda in newsreels, radio broadcasting and a few feature films deliberately endorsing Fascism. In 1926, laws were passed to require that propaganda newsreels be shown prior to all feature films in cinemas; these newsreels were more effective in influencing the public than propaganda films or radio, as few Italians had radio receivers at the time. Fascist propaganda was present in posters and state-sponsored art. However, artists and publishers were not controlled: they were only censored if they were blatantly against the state. There was a constant emphasis on the masculinity of the "new Italian", stressing aggression, youth and sport. Women were to attend to stay out of public affairs.
In 1870 the newly formed Kingdom of Italy annexed the remaining Papal States, depriving the Pope of his temporal power. Relations with the Roman Catholic Church improved during Mussolini's tenure. Despite earlier opposition to the Church, after 1922 Mussolini made an alliance with the Catholic Partito Popolare Italiano. In 1929, Mussolini and the papacy came to an agreement that ended a standoff that reached back to 1860 and had alienated the Church from the Italian government; the Orlando government had begun the process of reconciliation during World War I and the Pope furthered it by cutting ties with the Christian Democrats in 1922. Mussolini and the leading Fascists were anti-clericals and atheists, but they recognized the opportunity of warmer relations with Italy's large Roman Catholic element; the Lateran Accord of 1929 was a treaty that r
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician and journalist, the leader of the National Fascist Party. He ruled Italy as Prime Minister from 1922 to 1943. Known as Il Duce, Mussolini was the founder of Italian Fascism. In 1912, Mussolini had been a leading member of the National Directorate of the Italian Socialist Party, but was expelled from the PSI for advocating military intervention in World War I, in opposition to the party's stance on neutrality. Mussolini served in the Royal Italian Army during the war until he was wounded and discharged in 1917. Mussolini denounced the PSI, his views now centering on nationalism instead of socialism and founded the fascist movement which came to oppose egalitarianism and class conflict, instead advocating "revolutionary nationalism" transcending class lines. Following the March on Rome in October 1922, Mussolini became the youngest Prime Minister in Italian history until the appointment of Matteo Renzi in February 2014. After removing all political opposition through his secret police and outlawing labor strikes and his followers consolidated their power through a series of laws that transformed the nation into a one-party dictatorship.
Within five years, Mussolini had established dictatorial authority by both legal and extraordinary means and aspired to create a totalitarian state. In 1929, Mussolini signed the Lateran Treaty with the Vatican, ending decades of struggle between the Italian state and the Papacy, recognized the independence of Vatican City. After the Abyssinia Crisis of 1935–1936, Mussolini invaded Ethiopia in the Second Italo–Ethiopian War; the invasion was condemned by the Western powers and was answered with economic sanctions against Italy. Relations between Germany and Italy improved due to Hitler's support of the invasion. In 1936, Mussolini surrendered Austria to the German sphere of influence, signed the treaty of cooperation with Germany and proclaimed the creation of a Rome–Berlin Axis. From 1936 through 1939, Mussolini provided huge amounts of military support to Franco's forces in the Spanish Civil War; this active intervention further distanced Italy from Britain. Mussolini had sought to delay a major war in Europe, but Germany invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, resulting in declarations of war by France and the UK and the start of World War II.
On 10 June 1940—with the Fall of France imminent—Italy entered the war on the side of Germany, though Mussolini was aware that Italy did not have the military capacity and resources to carry out a long war with the British Empire. He believed that after the imminent French armistice, Italy could gain territorial concessions from France, he could concentrate his forces on a major offensive in North Africa, where British and Commonwealth forces were outnumbered by Italian forces. However, the British government refused to accept proposals for a peace that would involve accepting Axis victories in Eastern and Western Europe. In October 1940, Mussolini sent Italian forces into Greece; the invasion failed and the following Greek counter-offensive pushed the Italians back to occupied Albania. The Greek debacle and simultaneous defeats against the British in North Africa reduced Italy to dependence on Germany. Beginning in June 1941, Mussolini sent Italian forces to participate in the invasion of the Soviet Union, Italy declared war on the United States in December.
In 1943, Italy suffered one disaster after another: by February the Red Army had destroyed the Italian Army in Russia. As a consequence, early on 25 July, the Grand Council of Fascism passed a motion of no confidence for Mussolini. After the king agreed the armistice with the allies, on 12 September 1943 Mussolini was rescued from captivity in the Gran Sasso raid by German paratroopers and Waffen-SS commandos led by Major Otto-Harald Mors. Adolf Hitler, after meeting with the rescued former dictator put Mussolini in charge of a puppet regime in northern Italy, the Italian Social Republic, informally known as the Salò Republic. In late April 1945, in the wake of near total defeat and his mistress Clara Petacci attempted to flee to Switzerland, but both were captured by Italian communist partisans and summarily executed by firing squad on 28 April 1945 near Lake Como, his body was taken to Milan, where it was hung upside down at a service station to publicly confirm his demise. Mussolini was born on 29 July 1883 in Dovia di Predappio, a small town in the province of Forlì in Romagna.
During the Fascist era, Predappio was dubbed "Duce's town" and Forlì was called "Duce's city", with pilgrims going to Predappio and Forlì to see the birthplace of Mussolini. Benito Mussolini's father, Alessandro Mussolini, was a blacksmith and a socialist, while his mother, was a devout Catholic schoolteacher. Owing to his father's political leanings, Mussolini was named Benito after liberal Mexican president Benito Juárez, while his middle names Andrea and Amilcare were from Italian socialists Andrea Costa and Amilcare Cipriani. Benito was the eldest of his parents' three children, his siblings Arnaldo and Edvige fol