The truth is that men are tired of liberty.
Benito Mussolini, the Italian dictator is credited with this statement. Holding the reins of a European power for 21 years, he didn’t start off as an autocratic dictator. In fact, he started off as a Socialist journalist, writing on the principles his father had imbibed into him. This continued till he disagreed with Socialist views on Italy’s entrance into the World War 1. Expelled from the Socialist party, Mussolini’s views underwent a radical change and he emerged as the founder of the Fascist movement. He believed in the absolute supremacy of the State over the individual. The individual in his opinion could be subdued by the usage of all means including violence. Fascism, founded by him went on to become a political ideology which attained notoriety through a slew of revolutions across twentieth-century Europe. Mussolini started an armed revolution which ended up with him as the prime minister of Italy. Slowly, but steadily, he dismantled the democratic machinery and transitioned from a prime minister to a dictator. As a dictator, he wielded efficient power efficiently. He carried out an extensive public-works program and reduced unemployment, making him very popular among the people. In line with his fanciful vision of an Italian empire and in a bid to showcase the strength of his regime, he invaded Ethiopia. He followed this up with sending Fascists to Spain in a bid to influence the Spanish Civil War. These conquests brought him to the notice of Adolf Hitler who invited him to sign the military alliance called the “Pact of Steel”. This alliance with Germany proved useful to Mussolini as they bailed him out of precarious situations several times in the future. Soon after, Mussolini was forced to resign after the Allies started capturing parts of Italy. Attempts by the Germans to bring him back to power failed. He was shot to death by Italian partisans while attempting to escape Italy. Today, Mussolini’s name brings mixed reactions from Italians. He is of course, condemned for unfair laws passed by him against Jews. But, beyond this, several leaders have been known to make statements praising his regime for the good it did to people. He has been credited with a rule that consisted of less brutality that other dictatorships. He draws praise for having radically altered Italy’s economy and having made it much more efficient. The most famous person to have praised Mussolini is Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister. There are also reports of several underground movements which support Mussolini and call for a strong leader to take over the reins of Italy. These movements have enjoyed increased popularity in recent times. He may not have been one of the greatest leaders of the twentieth century, but he certainly was among the most influential ones. Let us not forget the man who shaped Italy with his actions and founded a political ideology that swept across a continent.