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Benito Mussolini

Fascist dictator of Italy from 1922 until 1943, Benito Mussolini rose to power as the prime minister of Italy following the March on Rome. By 1925, he became virtual dictator of Italy and chose a political course that would lead to an alliance with Nazi Germany, known as the Rome-Berlin Axis. Mussolini sought to restore the glory of the Roman Empire to Italy and plunged his nation into World War II with disastrous results. Italian Fascist forces were defeated by the Allies, and after Mussolini’s ouster in 1943 the nation formally switched sides. German forces occupied much of the country and fought a long and costly campaign against the British and Americans that lasted until the conclusion of the war in Europe in 1945. Mussolini and his mistress, Clara Petacci, were captured and executed by communist partisans in April 1945.

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