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Benito Mussolini - Social Issues in Switzerland

Updated on August 27, 2016

Benito Mussolini was born on July 29, 1883 in the small Italian town of Dovia di Predappio.  Alessandro Mussolini was his father and a blacksmith, as well as, an activist for anarchism.  Benito's mother, Rosa Mussolini was a school teacher with strong Catholic beliefs.

During his younger days, Benito Mussolini, helped in his father's blacksmith shop.  This is where Benito did his initial learning about politics and political outlooks.  His father's views combined anarchism, nationalism, and military authoritarianism.  Mussolini's parents held different views on religion.  As a compromise, he was not baptized as a child but was sent to a boarding school that was run by monks.  He ended up being kicked out of the school for poor behavior.  He eventually finished school in 1901 and was a natural student at the new school.

The following year, Mussolini moved to Switzerland to avoid serving in the military. He initially found work as a stone mason but spent most of his time studying philosophers of the time and wasn't able to secure permanent work.

While in Switzerland, Mussolini joined the Italian socialist movement there and became very active in organizing gatherings and giving speeches to members of the Italian workers' union. He returned to Italy in 1904 but not before being arrested twice in Switzerland.

Benito Mussolini initially was against World War I but came to support it to further his support. His support did grow and he began having strong opposition from socialists. In his verbal offensive he accused them of being blind to national problems that led to the start of the war.

Mussolini gradually changed his support for class conflict into a push for revolutionary nationalism that spanned all classes. He acquired funding from an armaments firm and from socialists inside France. The budding Fascist made a speech on December 5, 1914 to finish his political transformation. It his speech he referred to the nation as an entity and claimed that this entity needed to be led by a revolutionary vanguard elite made of people from any social class.

Mussolini's new political views and followers were dubbed Fascisti.  These Fascists had no set policies and were harassed by socialist and government supporters while trying to have meetings among themselves.  The tension between Socialists and Fascists grew to severe violence quickly.  This violence sculpted his view that political violence was necessary for Fascism to thrive. 

He decided to join the army and serve in the war.  After being injured by a grenade explosion, he was promoted to corporal.  Mussolini experiences trench warfare on the front line for about nine months.  His military career was cut short in 1917 after a mortar accidentally exploded in his trench.  He was discharged from the hospital with over 40 metal shards remaining in his body.

After his service in World War I, Benito Mussolini decided that socialism was dead.  This is when he became the founding father of Fascism and would go on to instill his system in Italy.


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