In 1922, the rising political violence in post-war Italy reached a frightening new level of intensity with the shocking death of the thirty-nine year old leader of the National Fascist Party Benito Mussolini during his ill-fated March on Rome.
Earlier Death of MussoliniBorn in a run-down house in the shadow of a medieval castle, his twisted dreams of grandeur began with his christening. He was named after Benito Juarez the republican leader of a Mexican uprising against the domination of the Church and aristocacy. Despite numerous childhood expulsions and suspensions he entered the teaching profession before the outbreak of the Great War. After the peace settlement, he used his war-time experiences to set about forming a paramilitary organization the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento ("Italian Fasci of Combat").
Elected to the Chamber of Deputies on the second attempt, he took matters into his own hands by launching a naked grab for power in 1922. In a violent confrontation, his twenty-five thousand blackshirts were stopped by the authorities and anti-fascist forces, and due to his hot headedness, he lost his life in the street-fighting. And in Germany, his erstwhile protégé Adolf Hitler was shocked to the core to read that Mussolini had conducted various affairs with a Jewish author and academic by the name of Margherita Sarfatti. But the failure of the Italian fascist movement would have longer term effects upon his own project. To combat the Biennio Rosso the military would push the monarchy aside and takeover the country, an outcome paralleled in Spain. That would ensure Hitler's Germany was surrounded by like-minded authoritarian militaristic states who ironically were utterly unwilling to go to war.