The Will to Change: Understanding the Political Conversion of Benito Mussolini
The fascist Duce, Benito Mussolini, is well known for his role as Dictator of Italy and for his alliance with Nazi Germany during World War Two. However, Mussolini was once a poor young boy who lived in a small Italian village with his Catholic mother and socialist revolutionary father. In his young adult years he adopted many of the socialist beliefs of his father and began his political career as a journalist and editor for several socialist newspapers. Then the catastrophe struck with the First World War and Mussolini was expelled from the socialist party for his pro-war political position. In 1919, Mussolini formed the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento and began to gain support from nationalists across Italy seeking political stability and control. Then, in 1922 Mussolini and his fascist party took over the Italian government during their March on Rome, thus beginning the two decade rule of the Duce. In this presentation I will be sharing my research on why Mussolini transformed from an avid socialist into the leader of the fascist movement, effectively shifting from the radical left to the radical right in a matter of years.