Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (29 July 1883 – 28 April 1945, also known as Il Duce ("The Leader"), was the founder of Italian Fascism and ruled Italy from 1922 to 1943.
In 1912, Mussolini had been a leading member of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI), but was expelled from the PSI for advocating military intervention in World War I, in opposition to the party's stance on neutrality. Mussolini served in the Royal Italian Army during the war, until he was wounded and discharged in 1917. Mussolini denounced the PSI, his views now centering more on nationalism than on socialism. He founded the Partito Nazionale Fascista. Following the March on Rome in October 1922, Mussolini became Prime Minister. An authoritarian regime was soon implemented.
Italy conquered Albania and Ethiopia and briefly gained many additional territories during WWII. From 1936 through 1939, Mussolini provided large amounts of military aid to the Nationalist side during the Spanish Civil War.
On 10 June 1940, Italy officially entered WWII on the side of Germany, On 9 July 1943, the Allies invaded Italy. On 25 July 1943, Mussolini was removed from power. On 12 September 1943, Mussolini was rescued from captivity by German forces. Mussolini was put in charge of a German-dependent regime in northern Italy, the Italian Social Republic.
In late April 1945, Mussolini is stated to have been captured by Italian Communist partisans and summarily executed on 28 April 1945. Various other theories regarding what happened have been proposed.