Wikijunior:World War II/Benito Mussolini
- Born: July 29, 1883
- Died: April 28, 1945
- Leader Of: Italy
- From: October 31, 1922
- To: July 25, 1943
Benito Mussolini was the leader of the Italian National Fascist Party. He became the Prime Minister of Italy in 1922 and appointed himself to head of the military.
Mussolini first thought that he would fight alongside France against Germany, but he changed his mind. In 1940, he declared war on Britain and made Italy part of the "Axis" powers with Germany. Mussolini tried to make himself important in Hitler's eyes by fighting the British in North Africa and invading Greece. But both times his armies were heavily beaten and had to be rescued by the Germans.
In 1943, the Allies invaded Italy and the Italians switched sides, joining the Allies. Mussolini was overthrown and put in prison. But German special forces rescued him and put him back in charge of the parts of Italy that hadn't been captured by the Allies.
In April 1945, when it was clear that the Allies were winning, Mussolini tried to run away to Switzerland. But he was caught by the British and executed by Italian partisans.