Mussolini had sought to delay a major war in Europe until at least 1942. However, Germany invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, resulting in declarations of war by France and the United Kingdom and starting World War II. On 10 June 1940, with the Fall of France imminent, Mussolini officially entered the war on the side of Germany, though he was aware that Italy did not have the military capacity and resources to carry out a long war with the British Empire. Mussolini believed that after the imminent French armistice, Italy could gain territorial concessions from France and then he could concentrate his forces on a major offensive in North Africa, where British and Commonwealth forces were outnumbered by Italian forces. However, the UK government refused to accept proposals for a peace that would involve accepting Axis victories in Eastern and Western Europe, plans for an invasion of the UK did not proceed, and the war continued. In the summer of 1941 Mussolini sent Italian forces to participate in the invasion of the Soviet Union, and war with the United States followed in December. On 24 July 1943, soon after the start of the Allied invasion of Italy, the Grand Council of Fascism voted against him, and the King had him arrested the following day. On 12 September 1943, Mussolini was rescued from prison in the Gran Sasso raid by German special forces. In late April 1945, with total defeat looming, Mussolini attempted to escape north, but was captured and summarily executed near Lake Como by Italian Communists. His body was then taken to Milan, where it was hung upside down at a service station for public viewing and to provide confirmation of his demise.


Ernest Hemingway,

A Farewell to Arms,

The Hemingway Library Edition,

Scribner; Reprint edition (July 8, 2014),

ISBN 1476764522

Christopher Duggan,

A Concise History of Italy,

Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (January 20, 2014),

ISBN 0521747430


Christopher Hibbert,

Mussolini: The Rise and Fall of Il Duce,

St. Martin's Griffin (July 22, 2008),

ISBN 0230606059

R.J.B. Bosworth,

Mussolini's Italy: Life Under the Fascist Dictatorship, 1915-1945,

Penguin Press HC, The; 1st American Edition edition (February 2, 2006),

ISBN 1594200785