October 13th 1943: Italy switches sides
On this day in 1943 during World War Two, the new government of Italy switches sides to the Allies from the Axis powers and declares war on Germany. Italy, when under the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini, had sided with Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany (see picture). However, following the Allied invasion of Italy and the fall of Mussolini, the new leader General Pietro Badoglio joined the Allies to expel invading German forces from Italy.
April 28th 1945: Mussolini executed
On this day in 1945 the Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci were executed by a firing squad of the Italian resistance movement. Mussolini became Prime Minister in 1922 and became head of government and ‘Il Duce’ in 1925. Mussolini’s Italy was a dictatorial and ruthless totalitarian state. Mussolini took Italy into World War Two in 1940 on the side of Germany, but by 1943 support for him had dwindled and he was defeated in a vote at the Grand Council of Fascism and was arrested by the King. He managed to escape but was soon captured and executed on April 28th. When his mistress was shot, Mussolini told the shooters to shoot him also. His body was taken to Milan and hung for public viewing.
"Look at his face, the emotions on his face don’t suit him."
- Mussolini’s executioner after shooting the dictator
July 25th 1943: Mussolini forced from power
On this day in 1943 the Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini was forced from office by his own Italian Grand Council. He was replaced by Pietro Badoglio. Mussolini had been in power since 1922 but his popularity had been declining due to his totalitarian rule and his leading Italy into World War Two. On July 24th 1943 the Council voted to restore powers to the King and the next day King Victor Emmanuel III had him arrested. Mussolini soon escaped and fled, but was tracked down and executed on 28th April 1945.