Emigration to Switzerland and military service, Political journalist, intellectual and socialist, Expulsion from the Italian Socialist Party, Beginning of Fascism and service in World War I, Italian Social Republic ("Salò Republic"), Mussolini's views on antisemitism and race. [106] The tariffs promoted widespread inefficiencies and the government subsidies given to farmers pushed the country further into debt. Mussolini's foreign policy aimed to expand the sphere of influence of Italian fascism. For this reason I am far from accepting (Alfred) Rosenberg's myth. At the age of 19, a short, pale young man with a powerful jaw and enormous, dark, piercing eyes, he left Italy for Switzerland with a nickel medallion of Karl Marx in his otherwise empty pockets. He argued that the fall of Hohenzollern and Habsburg monarchies and the repression of "reactionary" Turkey would create conditions beneficial for the working class. During this time, he published "Il Trentino veduto da un Socialista" ("Trentino as seen by a Socialist") in the radical periodical La Voce. The German presence in Italy had sharply turned public opinion against Mussolini; for example, when the Allies invaded Sicily, the majority of the public there welcomed them as liberators. Italy's gains in Greece and Albania were also lost to Germany, with the exception of the Italian Aegean Islands, which remained nominally under RSI rule. During this socialist period of his life, Mussolini sometimes used the pen name "Vero Eretico" ("sincere heretic"). Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was born in Predappio, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. Early life and career In 1930, in "The Doctrine of Fascism" he wrote, "The so-called crisis can only be settled by State action and within the orbit of the State. [53] Further funding for Mussolini's Fascists during the war came from French sources, beginning in May 1915. [17][18][64] He legally recognized this son on 11 January 1916. He wanted glory. In 1923, he began the "Pacification of Libya" and ordered the bombing of Corfu in retaliation for the murder of an Italian general. The corpse of the deposed leader was subject to ridicule and abuse. The Fascisti grew rapidly; within two years they transformed themselves into the National Fascist Party at a congress in Rome. This came about not for reasons of self-interest or money. He was left with at least 40 shards of metal in his body. The next day, Mussolini and Petacci were both summarily shot, along with most of the members of their 15-man train, primarily ministers and officials of the Italian Social Republic. He was expelled and sent to the Giosuè Carducci School at Forlimpopoli, from which he was also expelled after assaulting yet another pupil with his penknife. After joining a new school, Mussolini achieved good grades, and qualified as an elementary schoolmaster in 1901.[17]. [154] However, when the Germans incarcerated 183 professors from Jagiellonian University in Kraków on 6 November 1939, Mussolini personally intervened to Hitler against this action, leading to the freeing of 101 Poles. After Adolf Hitler came into power, threatening Italian interests in Austria and the Danube basin, Mussolini proposed the Four Power Pact with Britain, France and Germany in 1933. The Fascists made up a small minority in his original governments. Does not exist. He saw the war as an opportunity, both for his own ambitions as well as those of socialists and Italians. The British wanted Italy on their side against Germany as it had been in World War I. Although the National Fascist Party was outlawed by the postwar Constitution of Italy, a number of successor neo-fascist parties emerged to carry on its legacy. For other people named Mussolini, see. [203][204] Pope Pius XI praised Mussolini, and the official Catholic newspaper pronounced "Italy has been given back to God and God to Italy. Furthermore, the conquest of Ethiopia cost the lives of 12,000 Italians and another 4,000 to 5,000 Libyans, Eritreans, and Somalis fighting in Italian service. [153], Hitler was intent on invading Poland, though Ciano warned this would likely lead to war with the Allies. [173] It was obvious by this time that the war was lost, but Mussolini was unable to find a way to extricate himself from the German alliance. Mussolini and the Italian military did not consistently apply the laws adopted in the Manifesto of Race. [226], Even after the introduction of the racial laws, Mussolini continued to make contradictory statements about race. [38] John Gunther in 1940 called him "one of the best journalists alive"; Mussolini was a working reporter while preparing for the March on Rome, and wrote for the Hearst News Service until 1935. Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci set out for Switzerland, intending to board a plane and escape to Spain. ]” It was the birth cry of fascism. Benito Mussolini was the less dominant half of the Rome-Berlin axis, formalized by the 1939 Pact of Steel between Adolf Hitler and himself. 2004, Baigorri-Jalón, Jesús. The blackshirts clashed with communists, socialists, and anarchists at parades and demonstrations; all of these factions were also involved in clashes against each other. His oldest son, Benito Albino Mussolini, from his marriage with Ida Dalser, was ordered to stop declaring that Mussolini was his father and in 1935 forcibly committed to an asylum in Milan, where he was murdered on 26 August 1942 after repeated coma-inducing injections. [188] The bodies were then stoned from below by civilians. He considered religion a disease of the psyche, and accused Christianity of promoting resignation and cowardice. However, he dissolved the Fascist Party two days after taking over and began negotiating an Armistice with the Allies, which was signed on 3 September 1943. The principles of the doctrine of Fascism were laid down in an article by eminent philosopher Giovanni Gentile and Mussolini himself that appeared in 1932 in the Enciclopedia Italiana. In Predappio, the dictator was buried in a crypt (the only posthumous honor granted to Mussolini). Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? [130] The other reason was because Mussolini was planning on bringing millions of Italian colonists into Ethiopia and he needed to kill off much of the Ethiopian population to make room for the Italian colonists just as he had done in Libya. [52], After being ousted by the Italian Socialist Party for his support of Italian intervention, Mussolini made a radical transformation, ending his support for class conflict and joining in support of revolutionary nationalism transcending class lines. [8] He fully demonstrated his transformation in a speech that acknowledged the nation as an entity, a notion he had rejected prior to the war, saying: The nation has not disappeared. In this way he succeeded in keeping power in his own hands and preventing the emergence of any rival. In the same year, an electoral law abolished parliamentary elections. [134] The 1930s were a time of rapid advances in military technology, and Sullivan wrote that Mussolini picked exactly the wrong time to fight his wars in Ethiopia and Spain. [199], Despite making such attacks, Mussolini tried to win popular support by appeasing the Catholic majority in Italy. Edition of 1999. Financed by the French government and Italian industrialists, both of whom favoured war against Austria, he assumed the editorship of Il Popolo d’Italia (“The People of Italy”), in which he unequivocally stated his new philosophy: “From today onward we are all Italians and nothing but Italians. In the 1920s, Italy's foreign policy was based on the traditional idea of Italy maintaining "equidistant" stance from all the major powers in order to exercise "determinant weight", which by whatever power Italy chose to align with would decisively change the balance of power in Europe, and the price of such an alignment would be support for Italian ambitions in Europe and Africa. Nothing will ever make me believe that biologically pure races can be shown to exist today. [191], Imprisonment may have been the cause of Mussolini's claustrophobia. Futurism, a revolutionary cultural movement which would serve as a catalyst for Fascism, argued for "a school for physical courage and patriotism", as expressed by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in 1919. [143] A military alliance with Germany as opposed to the already existing looser political alliance with the Reich under the Anti-Comintern Pact (which had no military commitments) would end any chance of Britain implementing the Easter Accords. [229], In September 1943 semi-autonomous militarized squads of Fascist fanatics sprouted up throughout the Republic of Salò. [229] Italy's refusal to comply with German demands of Jewish persecution influenced other countries. On 29 April 1945, the bodies of Mussolini, Petacci, and the other executed Fascists were loaded into a van and moved south to Milan. As a compromise between his parents, Mussolini was sent to a boarding school run by Salesian monks. He did contrive finally to impose the illusion of a definitive World War upon great masses of people. [75], Borrowing the idea first developed by Enrico Corradini before 1914 of the natural conflict between "plutocratic" nations like Britain and "proletarian" nations like Italy, Mussolini claimed that Italy's principal problem was that "plutocratic" countries like Britain were blocking Italy from achieving the necessary spazio vitale that would let the Italian economy grow. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. pp. By 1925 Mussolini had dismantled Italy’s democratic institutions and assumed his role as dictator, adopting the title Il Duce (“The Leader”). The promotion was recommended because of his exemplary conduct and fighting quality, his mental calmness and lack of concern for discomfort, his zeal and regularity in carrying out his assignments, where he was always first in every task involving labor and fortitude. Badoglio kept up the appearance of loyalty to Germany, and announced that Italy would continue fighting on the side of the Axis. [121] For Mussolini, Italy's current population of 40 million was insufficient to fight a major war, and he needed to increase the population to at least 60 million Italians before he would be ready for war. The King's controversial decision has been explained by historians as a combination of delusions and fears; Mussolini enjoyed wide support in the military and among the industrial and agrarian elites, while the King and the conservative establishment were afraid of a possible civil war and ultimately thought they could use Mussolini to restore law and order in the country, but failed to foresee the danger of a totalitarian evolution. [173] Indeed, he lived under what amounted to house arrest by the SS, who restricted his communications and travel. In October 1940, Mussolini sent Italian forces into Greece, starting the Greco-Italian War. The bars of this prison are Corsica, Tunisia, Malta, Cyprus: the sentinels of this prison are Gibraltar and Suez". Mussolini blamed the Russian Revolution of 1917 on "Jewish vengeance" against Christianity with the remark "Race does not betray race ... Bolshevism is being defended by the international plutocracy. [38] When World War I started, Mussolini, like many Italian nationalists, volunteered to fight. The shootings took place in the small village of Giulino di Mezzegra and were conducted by a partisan leader who used the nom de guerre Colonnello Valerio. In 1914, Mussolini founded a new journal, Il Popolo d'Italia, and served in the Royal Italian Army during the war until he was wounded and discharged in 1917. 111. Overall, he totaled about nine months of active, front-line trench warfare. "[211] On several occasions, Mussolini spoke positively about Jews and the Zionist movement,[212] although Fascism remained suspicious of Zionism after the Fascist Party gained power. In September 1940, the Italian Tenth Army was commanded by General Rodolfo Graziani and crossed from Italian Libya into Egypt, where British forces were located; this would become the Western Desert Campaign. Italy fared poorly from the outset, with ignominious defeats in North Africa, Greece, and the Soviet Union. newspaper. As head of state and Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Italian Social Republic, Mussolini used much of his time to write his memoirs. [62], He was promoted to the rank of corporal "for merit in war". [102] Giuseppe Volpi, who had been appointed governor in 1921 was retained by Mussolini, and withdrew all of the measures offering equality to the Libyans. Many were linked to individual high-ranking Fascist politicians. Mussolini also initiated the "Battle for Land", a policy based on land reclamation outlined in 1928. Marinetti expressed his disdain for "the by now prehistoric and troglodyte Ancient Greek and Latin courses", arguing for their replacement with exercise modelled on those of the Arditi soldiers ("[learning] to advance on hands and knees in front of razing machine gun fire; to wait open-eyed for a crossbeam to move sideways over their heads etc."). Later that year, Mussolini issued several edicts to further control the economy, e.g. [16], Mussolini became active in the Italian socialist movement in Switzerland, working for the paper L'Avvenire del Lavoratore, organizing meetings, giving speeches to workers, and serving as secretary of the Italian workers' union in Lausanne. First, he went beyond the vague promise of future national renewal, and proved the movement could actually seize power and operate a comprehensive government in a major country along fascist lines. He was called up on 31 August and reported for duty with his old unit, the Bersaglieri. and was expelled from the Socialist Party. On 21 March 1939 during a meeting of the Fascist Grand Council, Italo Balbo accused Mussolini of "licking Hitler's boots", blasted the Duce's pro-German foreign policy as leading Italy to disaster and noted that the "opening to Britain" still existed and it was not inevitable that Italy had to ally with Germany. [25], In addition to his native Italian, Mussolini spoke English, accented but fluent French and questionable German (his sense of pride meant he did not use a German interpreter). http://www.maxschoenherr.de/Archiv/londonNews1936.html#Mussolini, References to Mussolini in European newspapers, Newspaper clippings about Benito Mussolini, National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands, National Socialist Workers' Party of Denmark, National Socialist Workers' Party (Sweden), German National Movement in Liechtenstein, German National Socialist Workers' Party (Czechoslovakia), Bulgarian National Socialist Workers Party, National Italo-Romanian Cultural and Economic Movement, Nationalsozialistischer Reichsbund für Leibesübungen, Union of Young Fascists – Vanguard (boys), Union of Young Fascists – Vanguard (girls), National Socialist German Students' League, Persecution of Serbs in the Independent State of Croatia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Benito_Mussolini&oldid=991024406, Deputies of Legislature XXV of the Kingdom of Italy, Deputies of Legislature XXVI of the Kingdom of Italy, Deputies of Legislature XXVII of the Kingdom of Italy, Deputies of Legislature XXVIII of the Kingdom of Italy, Deputies of Legislature XXIX of the Kingdom of Italy, Members of the Chamber of Fasces and Corporations, Italian military personnel of World War I, Recipients of the Order of Lāčplēsis, 1st class, Grand Crosses of the Order of the Cross of Vytis, Grand Crosses of the Order of the Tower and Sword, Recipients of the Order of the White Lion, Annulled Honorary Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, Heads of government who were later imprisoned, Articles with dead external links from July 2017, Articles with permanently dead external links, Articles with German-language sources (de), Articles with dead external links from November 2017, Pages containing links to subscription-only content, Short description is different from Wikidata, Wikipedia indefinitely semi-protected pages, Wikipedia indefinitely move-protected pages, Articles containing Italian-language text, Articles containing potentially dated statements from 2009, All articles containing potentially dated statements, Articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases from July 2016, Articles needing additional references from October 2018, All articles needing additional references, Articles with unsourced statements from January 2019, Articles with unsourced statements from November 2018, Articles with unsourced statements from June 2016, Wikipedia articles with BIBSYS identifiers, Wikipedia articles with CANTIC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with CINII identifiers, Wikipedia articles with MusicBrainz identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SELIBR identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SNAC-ID identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with Trove identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Politician, journalist, novelist, teacher, Mussolini is a major character in Niven and Pournelle's, The episode "The Ghost of Nero" of the television series, He is referenced in season 1 episode 3 of the, "Der Mussolini" is a hit single by the German, From 1951 to 1962, Edoardo and Duilio Susmel worked for the publisher "La Fenice" to produce, Lowe, Norman. Hence, the importance of natalism to Mussolini, since only by increasing the birth rate could Italy ensure that its future as a great power that would win its spazio vitale would be assured. Save 50% off a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. In 1929, Mussolini ordered his Army General Staff to begin planning for aggression against France and Yugoslavia. For the next few months, according to his own account, he lived from day to day, jumping from job to job. Walker, Ian W. (2003). Mussolini later confessed that a few resolute men could have altered public opinion and started a coup that would have swept fascism away. The Opera Nazionale Balilla was created through Mussolini's decree of 3 April 1926, and was led by Ricci for the following eleven years. The relationship between Mussolini and Adolf Hitler was a contentious one early on. [18] In the meantime, from about 1911 until 1938, Mussolini had various affairs with the Jewish author and academic Margherita Sarfatti, called the "Jewish Mother of Fascism" at the time. Mussolini's military experience is told in his work Diario di guerra. In 1927, Mori's inquiries brought evidence of collusion between the Mafia and the Fascist establishment, and he was dismissed for length of service in 1929, at which time the number of murders in Palermo Province had decreased from 200 to 23. At 3:00 a.m., the corpses were dumped on the ground in the old Piazzale Loreto. [citation needed] On 25 June 1941, he inspected the first units at Verona, which served as his launching pad to Russia. When he announced that the Germans were thinking of evacuating the south, Grandi launched a blistering attack on him. [126] In Mussolini's view, the move was a typically hypocritical action carried out by decaying imperial powers that intended to prevent the natural expansion of younger and poorer nations like Italy. [151] Though many gerarchi like Balbo were not keen on closer relations with Berlin, Mussolini's control of the foreign-policy machinery meant this dissidence counted for little. The list put forward was ultimately approved by 98.43% of voters.[101]. [57] This perception of the failure of orthodox socialism in the light of the outbreak of World War I was not solely held by Mussolini; other pro-interventionist Italian socialists such as Filippo Corridoni and Sergio Panunzio had also denounced classical Marxism in favor of intervention. On 7 April 1926, Mussolini survived a first assassination attempt by Violet Gibson, an Irish woman and daughter of Lord Ashbourne, who was deported after her arrest. My star has fallen. In 1936, Mussolini formed Italian East Africa (AOI) by merging Eritrea, Somalia and Ethiopia following the Abyssinian crisis and the Second Italo–Ethiopian War. It is far from what I have said, written and signed on the subject. [148], In January 1939, the British prime minister, Neville Chamberlain, visited Rome, during which visit Mussolini learned that though Britain very much wanted better relations with Italy, and was prepared to make concessions, it would not sever all ties with France for the sake of an improved Anglo-Italian relationship. forcing banks, businesses, and private citizens to surrender all foreign-issued stock and bond holdings to the Bank of Italy. On 30 November 1938, Mussolini invited the French ambassador André François-Poncet to attend the opening of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, during which the assembled deputies, at his cue, began to demonstrate loudly against France, shouting that Italy should annex "Tunis, Nice, Corsica, Savoy! In that line of work he was greatly esteemed and beloved. Starace, who once said of Mussolini "He is a god,"[189] saluted what was left of his leader just before he was shot. [213] In 1934, Mussolini supported the establishment of the Betar Naval Academy in Civitavecchia to train Zionist cadets under the direction of Ze'ev Jabotinsky, arguing that a Jewish state would be in Italy's interest. In the telegram, Mussolini wrote to Mori: Your Excellency has carte blanche; the authority of the State must absolutely, I repeat absolutely, be re-established in Sicily. More than once he was arrested and imprisoned. This morning I told this to the King who had been pleased about the event. He resigned from Avanti! [177] Hitler had made plans to arrest the king, Crown Prince Umberto, Badoglio, and the rest of the government and restore Mussolini to power in Rome, but the government's escape south likely foiled those plans. In September 1911, Mussolini participated in a riot, led by socialists, against the Italian war in Libya. Hitler says so.[218]. [139] Mussolini stated his belief that declining birth rates in France were "absolutely horrifying" and that the British Empire was doomed because one-quarter of the British population was over 50. Scientists say so. The initiative had a mixed success; while projects such as the draining of the Pontine Marsh in 1935 for agriculture were good for propaganda purposes, provided work for the unemployed and allowed for great land owners to control subsidies, other areas in the Battle for Land were not very successful. [162] Also in the East African Campaign, an attack was mounted against Italian forces. [123] Mussolini's planned war of 1933 was only stopped when he learned that the French Deuxième Bureau had broken the Italian military codes, and that the French, being forewarned of all the Italian plans, were well prepared for the Italian attack.[123]. [131] By recognizing Austria was within the German sphere of influence, Mussolini had removed the principal problem in Italo-German relations. Historically, the largest neo-fascist party was the Italian Social Movement (Movimento Sociale Italiano), which disbanded in 1995 and was replaced by National Alliance, a conservative party that distanced itself from Fascism (its founder, former foreign minister Gianfranco Fini, declared during an official visit to Israel that Fascism was "an absolute evil"). He pretended to incarnate the new fascist Übermensch, promoting an aesthetic of exasperated Machismo that attributed to him quasi-divine capacities. His real identity is unknown, but conventionally he is thought to have been Walter Audisio, who always claimed to have carried out the execution, though another partisan controversially alleged that Colonnello Valerio was Luigi Longo, subsequently a leading communist politician in post-war Italy. Bergen Evans wrote in 1954: The author was employed as a courier by the Franco-Belgique Tours Company in the summer of 1930, the height of Mussolini's heyday, when a fascist guard rode on every train, and is willing to make an affidavit to the effect that most Italian trains on which he travelled were not on schedule—or near it. Updates? Mussolini unleashed, 1939–1941: Politics and Strategy in Fascist Italy's Last War. [223] There were even some Jews in the National Fascist Party, such as Ettore Ovazza, who in 1935 founded the Jewish Fascist paper La Nostra Bandiera ("Our Flag"). [212] Antisemitism was unpopular within the Fascist party; once when a Fascist scholar protested to Mussolini about the treatment of his Jewish friends, Mussolini is reported to have said "I agree with you entirely. The King then handed over power to Mussolini (who stayed in his headquarters in Milan during the talks) by asking him to form a new government. [149] With that, Mussolini grew more interested in the German offer of a military alliance, which had first been made in May 1938. [80] One thousand "Slav" teachers were forcibly exiled to Sardinia and to Southern Italy. He read widely and voraciously, if not deeply, plunging into the philosophers and theorists Immanuel Kant, Benedict de Spinoza, Peter Kropotkin, Friedrich Nietzsche, G.W.F. Though he denounced orthodox socialism and class conflict, he maintained at the time that he was a nationalist socialist and a supporter of the legacy of nationalist socialists in Italy's history, such as Giuseppe Garibaldi, Giuseppe Mazzini, and Carlo Pisacane. His father never attended. Sharma, Urmila. The remnants of the trade-union movement called a … Despite putting up some resistance, they were overwhelmed at the Battle of Keren, and the Italian defense started to crumble with a final defeat in the Battle of Gondar. [136] Between 1935 and 1939, Mussolini's wars cost Italy the equivalent of US$500 billion in 1999 values, a sum that was even proportionally a larger burden given that Italy was such a poor country. [200] On 11 February 1929, he signed a concordat and treaty with the Roman Catholic Church. 122–23. [201] Under the Lateran Pact, Vatican City was granted independent statehood and placed under Church law—rather than Italian law—and the Catholic religion was recognized as Italy's state religion. It was in those years that the first Fascist youth wings were formed: Avanguardia Giovanile Fascista (Fascist Youth Vanguards) in 1919, and Gruppi Universitari Fascisti (Fascist University Groups) in 1922. [70] Plato was an idealist, focused on achieving justice and morality, while Mussolini and fascism were realist, focused on achieving political goals. In February 1909,[32] Mussolini again left Italy, this time to take the job as the secretary of the labor party in the Italian-speaking city of Trento, which at the time was part of Austria-Hungary (it is now within Italy). Mussolini feared that with the losses in Tunisia and North Africa, the next logical step for Allied General Dwight Eisenhower's armies would be to come across the Mediterranean and attack the Italian peninsula. Until May 1939, the Axis had not been entirely official, but during that month the Pact of Steel treaty was signed outlining the "friendship and alliance" between Germany and Italy, signed by each of its foreign ministers. [99], Mori did not hesitate to lay siege to towns, using torture, and holding women and children as hostages to oblige suspects to give themselves up. [209], In the early 1920s, Mussolini stated that Fascism would never raise a "Jewish Question" and in an article he wrote he stated "Italy knows no antisemitism and we believe that it will never know it," and then elaborated, "let us hope that Italian Jews will continue to be sensible enough so as not to give rise to antisemitism in the only country where it has never existed. Author of. [194] Mussolini was superstitious; after hearing of the curse of the Pharaohs, he ordered the immediate removal from the Palazzo Chigi of an Egyptian mummy he had accepted as a gift. "Do we win?" Mussolini’s politics took a turn to the right midway through World War I, when he became a proponent for the war effort. Furthermore, Italy was criticized for its use of mustard gas and phosgene against its enemies and also for its zero tolerance approach to enemy guerrillas, authorized by Mussolini. "[201] He wanted to persuade Catholics that "[f]ascism was Catholic and he himself a believer who spent some of each day in prayer ..."[201] The Pope began referring to Mussolini as "a man sent by Providence. While the Italian constitution stated that ministers were responsible only to the sovereign, in practice it had become all but impossible to govern against the express will of Parliament. The following excerpts are from a police report prepared by the Inspector-General of Public Security in Milan, G. Gasti, that describe his background and his position on the First World War that resulted in his ousting from the Italian Socialist Party. The racial laws declared Italians to be part of the Aryan race and forbid sexual relations and marriages between Italians and those considered to be of an "inferior race", chiefly Jews and Africans. Will it ever exist? However, only Mussolini could summon the Grand Council and determine its agenda. [63] He was discharged from the hospital in August 1917 and resumed his editor-in-chief position at his new paper, Il Popolo d'Italia. [22], The conflict between his parents about religion meant that, unlike most Italians, Mussolini was not baptized at birth and would not be until much later in life. In 1919, the Italian state had brought in a series of liberal reforms in Libya that allowed education in Arabic and Berber and allowed for the possibility that the Libyans might become Italian citizens. Adone Zoli, the then-current prime minister, contacted Donna Rachele, the dictator's widow, to tell her he was returning the remains, as he needed the support of the far-right in parliament, including Leccisi himself. He led Italy into three straight wars, the last of which led to his overthrow by his own people. In the same way, Mussolini argued that Italy was right to follow an imperialist policy in Africa because he saw all black people as "inferior" to whites. [20] Mussolini's early political views were strongly influenced by his father, who idolized 19th-century Italian nationalist figures with humanist tendencies such as Carlo Pisacane, Giuseppe Mazzini, and Giuseppe Garibaldi.