BENITO MUSSOLINI 1883-1945
Named after three different heroes of revolutionary movements from around the world, Benito Andrea Amilcare Mussolini was the original "red diaper baby." His father had been a member of Marx and Engels' "First International," and read passages of Das Kapital aloud around the family dinner table. Benito rose meteorically through the ranks of Italy’s Socialist Party to become its most important leader by the time he was thirty.
But when war came in 1914 Mussolini failed to win over the majority of his comrades to his pro-war views. He split off from the Socialist Party to form a separate pro-war Leftist movement, the Fascists. Several years later, as their electoral fortunes sank, Mussolini led his party in a stunning leap from Left to Right declaring himself a socialist "heretic." He argued that for a poor country like Italy, “nation” was more important than “class.” This idea of National Socialism was absorbed by Adolf Hitler who studied Mussolini as a model, much as Mussolini had studied Lenin.
For more information, read interviews with:
Author, Communism, A History
Author, Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime