[[quoteright:289:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/BenitoMussolini_8487.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:289:Il [[JustForPun Douche.]]]]
->''"Fascism is a religion. The twentieth century will be known in history as [[HarsherInHindsight the century of Fascism]]." ''

'''Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini''' (1883-1945) was an [[UsefulNotes/FascistItaly Italian fascist]] politician who was leader of Italy from 1922, pretty much up to his death. Unlike his German contemporary UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler, [[TheManBehindTheMan he was never in official command of his nation]] due to King Victor Emmanuel nominally being Mussolini's boss.

Mussolini first got the idea for fascism when he was a [[RedShirtReporter war reporter]] in the trenches of UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, following around the soldiers (and later becoming one). And he liked what he saw in the Army: he wanted to create a society organized like a military battalion, a rigid conformist society with no dissenters to undermine patriotic values.

Today, he is most famous for being the [[OlderThanTheyThink first fascist ruler of any country]], and for his colonial war against Ethiopia in 1935 (called Abyssinia at the time) which proved the ridiculous incompetence of the [[DoomedMoralVictor League of Nations]]. He was a close ally of UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler and fought on UsefulNotes/NaziGermany's side during [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII the war]], although the Italian Army were [[StopHelpingMe more of a hindrance to the Nazis than a help]]. To be fair, when Hitler wanted Italy to enter the war, Mussolini said what amounted to "[[UnfinishedUntestedUsedAnyway can it wait until I've industrialized my country in five years?]]" (this may have been a random number chosen to delay Italian entry ''indefinitely''... until Germany [[CurbStompBattle annexed half the continent with ease]], at least).

That all said, there is a real historiographical debate about how much of a Fascist Mussolini really was - as the most notable members of his cabinet consisted of political opportunists rather than die-hard Fascist fanatics - and Mussolini himself seemed to waver a lot when asked how far the Fascist revolution was intended to go. On at least one occasion, he even said that Italy was not ready to be Fascist. In other words, he seemed to believe in Fascism, but was too cynical about Italy and politics in general to believe that a Fascist revolution could take place and thus was content to run a straight-up dictatorship with Fascist dressing, electing to maintain his position rather than upsetting the status quo. Thus, UsefulNotes/FascistItaly was not as totalitarian as UsefulNotes/NaziGermany or Stalinist Russia - although it was a one-party state with media controlled and opposition banned, people were rarely killed for political reasons. It remained a de jure monarchy and was heavily influenced by the Catholic Church, with whom the Fascists maintained a complex relationship. During the interwar years, Italy was well known for its aggressive foreign policy: aside from conquering Ethiopia (Abyssinia) and participating in World War II, the Fascists also entered the Spanish Civil War (on the side of Francisco Franco), severely oppressed their colonies in Libya and Somalia, attacked the Greek island of Corfu to force diplomatic concessions, and invaded Albania as a show of power following Hitler's annexation of Czechoslovakia. Although Mussolini ruled for more than 20 years, several parts of Italy barely noticed any change from the previous fifty.

Mussolini was [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness deposed]] by King Victor Emmanuel III following a de facto vote of no confidence in the Grand Council of Fascism on 25 July 1943. In September [[HeelFaceTurn the Italians joined the Allies and declared war on Germany]]. The Germans responded by invading Italy and forcing Mussolini, by now wanting to retire, to form a Nazi state called the Italian Social Republic. He was caught while fleeing to Switzerland and executed by the [[LaResistance Italian resistance]] in 1945. They shot him in the gut first, [[NoKillLikeOverkill dragged him into the nearby city of Milan and then hung upside-down at a gas station while crowds of angry Italians spat and threw things (trash, bricks, other unpleasant things) at his body]].

Mussolini does not come up in history quite as often as Hitler does, despite [[FollowTheLeader being a significant influence on the development of Nazism.]] Basically, he was the [[LesserStar Garfunkel]] to Hitler's [[Music/SimonAndGarfunkel Simon]].

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!! Tropes Associated With Benito Mussolini Include:

* YouFailEconomicsForever: Autarchy, or an attempt at self-sufficiency, was actually a terrible idea.
** As was Mussolini's cartelization of the economy, price fixing of the means of production ''and'' consumer goods... lets just say ''everyone'' will find something to disagree with in fascist economics.
* AntiVillain: Compared to his allies. He was pretty much a standard 19th Century and 20th Century tin-pot dictator, who got caught up in things ''way'' above his pay grade.
* AdolfHitlarious: Both Mussolini and Hitler were mercilessly mocked from [[TheThirties the late 1930s]] to the end of UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo.
* AlwaysSomeoneBetter: Mussolini started the whole fascism thing. Then Hitler came along and "improved" it.
* {{Badass}}: In spite of what he did as a politician, he was a veritable badass, a decorated UsefulNotes/WorldWarI veteran in the ''Bersaglieri'' (an Italian corp of assault infantry trained TheSpartanWay), and prone to personally show the RatedMForManly behaviours he expected fascists to engage in (like swimming all the way in the dangerous tides of the Strait of Messina).
** He was also a much better politician than how he's often portrayed and a good propagandist.
* BalconySpeech: He was quite famous for delivering speeches from balconies.
* BeamMeUpScotty: Although he is popularly supposed to have coined the phrase "fascism should more appropriately be termed corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power," this was actually first said by Giovanni Gentile in his ''Doctrine of Fascism'', which Mussolini co-authored.
* ButtMonkey: Called himself "Duce" and had the initials BM. TWO triple entendres. And he brought "Duce" on himself.
** In Italian "duce" just means "leader", and has the same root as "duke" (the Latin word "dux", meaning "leader"). It was only ''after'' Mussolini that it took negative connotations, at least in Italy.
* TheCasanova: Mussolini had for all of his life numerous flirts and lovers. And he was not ashamed to show it, building a womanizer reputation for himself. He believed (perhaps correctly, being in Italy) that his success with women contributes to his perception as a strong leader.
* DayOfTheJackboot: Coming in right after the Soviet October Revolution and well before Hitler. The most iconic symbol of it probably being the March on Rome, a show of force to intimidate the Democratic government and the Constitutional Monarchy into giving him the reins. However, it wasn't really until the Acerbo Law that he fully took over.
* DeadGuyOnDisplay: Along with his mistress.
* EmbarrassingMiddleName: Andrea?
** [[CrossCulturalKerfuffle It means "manly"]].[[note]]Andrea, like Andrew, comes from [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrea the greek ''aner'', "man"]][[/note]]. That means it's actually the female use that's embarassing.
*** It's quite [[AndreaBocelli a common name]] for Italian men.
* EvilVsEvil: Mussolini vs. UsefulNotes/TheMafia. In 1924, Mussolini visited Sicily and refused accept protection by a local Mafia boss, leading the boss to order the townsfolk to boycott Mussolini's speech. Mussolini [[DisproportionateRetribution retaliated]] by sending armies of policemen and ''carabinieri'' who rounded up suspects by the hundreds of thousands, beat and tortured said suspects, and held their families hostage in exchange for surrender and property, resulting in over 1,200 gangsters being imprisoned or exiled. Mussolini's damage was so severe that the Sicilian Mafia didn't fully recover until after the war.
* FaceDeathWithDignity:
-->-- Shoot me in the chest!
** Then they shot him [[DeathByIrony in the head]].
* GenerationXerox: Not with Mussolini himself, but it turns out that his granddaughter Alessandra, who's a self-proclaimed fascist (even though she's a member of the [[{{Irony}} "People of Freedom" Party]][[note]]Founded by Silvio Berlusconi, who has Mussolini's bombast without his authoritarian policies[[/note]]), is apparently following in the Duce's footsteps. Let the fact that there's still a Mussolini around in Italian politics sink in.
** She is far from having something that resembles a position of power. She is marginalized as a fanatic and while she sits in the Italian parliament and was part of the majority coalition under Berlusconi, she is far from being influential. By the way, she was on a ''Magazine/{{Playboy}}'' cover in the seventies (her mother was Creator/SophiaLoren's sister, and apparently the looks run in the family).
* GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff: Mussolini was never especially popular in Italy, but was surprisingly (initially) admired abroad. Not only by fellow fascists like Hitler and Franco, but many British and American politicians, journalists and intellectuals viewed the Duce's outwardly efficient, well-organized regime as a potential role model. Then came [[MoralEventHorizon the invasion of Ethiopia]]
* GetItOverWith: When Mussolini was executed by local communist partisans, his [[FamousLastWords/RealLife last words]] were "Shoot me in the chest!"
** Then they hanged him from his feet instead (and did the same to his girlfriend).
* GreenEyedMonster: He was jealous of Germany's military strength and in an effort to keep up with Hitler made some stupid mistakes. He poured more resources, weapons and troops into the Spanish Civil War than the Germans ignoring the fact that the Germans were more industrialized, had more resources and more money to give. He invaded Albania (which was already basically under Italian control), in order to keep up with Germany after it took Austria and Czechoslovakia. Taking Albania pushed the French and British further toward supporting the Balkan states. Then he jumped into the war before the Italian military was ready when it looked like Germany was going to win, thus building anticipation for a British surrender. [[NiceJobFixingItVillain Except that the British didn't surrender...]]
* HeAlsoDid: Mussolini played a central role in the founding of UsefulNotes/VaticanCity, resolving the "Roman Question" which had persisted since the fall of the PapalStates.
* {{Irony}}: Mussolini wanted to restore the RomanEmpire in all its power and glory. He didn't get that, but he ''did'' get an appropriately ancient Roman punishment for failure: he was executed alongside his mistress, and [[KickTheSonOfABitch their bodies were strung up to be abused by an angry mob]].
* KneelBeforeZod: What a lot of his propaganda said. [[LargeHam OBEY!]]
** It's either that or "SI!" (Yes! in Italian). [[http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/europe/images/62xc3.jpg The headquarters of the National Fascist Party had a giant stone face of Mussolini looking down amidst a sea of "SI"]].
** The complete motto of the Fascists was ''Credere! Obbedire! Combattere!'' ("Believe! Obey! Fight!")
* LargeHam
* LanternJawOfJustice: An evil example.
* LazyBum: For all his big talk about grandiosely restoring The Roman Empire, he barely did anything and was dependent on Hitler for WWII, only invading Ethiopia and the Balkans and not getting anywhere after that.
* TheLoad: In the course of trying to bail him out of his difficulties Germany ended up sending tons of material to the Mediterranean where they were vulnerable to Allied logistic advantages. This culminated in the defeat of El Alamein and the surrender of hundreds of thousands of troops at Tunisia.
* MemeticBadass: In a strange way, as he made Italian trains run on time. It seems strange... But Italian trains are ''always late''
* MillionMookMarch: Mussolini expanded his forces far beyond the ability of his NCO[=/=]s to train them. [[FridgeLogic What's military efficiency compared with a good parade?]]
* ModernMajorGeneral
* MoreDakka: {{Averted}}, ''Insufficient'' Dakka pretty much defined the entire Italian war effort nearly as much as the Japanese, and Italian automatic weapons were either unreliable and/or ineffective (their machine guns, some of which have earned an entry in the ReliablyUnreliableGuns page) or were in insufficient numbers (their submachine guns, and in particular the Mod. 38, were reliable, rugged and cheap, but started being produced in adequate numbers only with the German occupation. And, to make things worse, the Germans tended to take most of the production of the Mod. 38, the one produced in the largest numbers).
* TheNapoleon: He was quite short. His jaw often juts out fowards in portraits in attempt to compensate for his height. Since Napoleon was not very short, Mussolini might be a better example of this trope among real life dictators.
* NiceHat: His fez, that he would wear almost always (including the page picture). Bonus point for the fez being proof he served in World War I as a Bersagliere, Italy's elite infantry.
* NiceJobFixingItVillain: Mussolini was aware that Italy's military wouldn't be ready for a general war until 1943 at the very least so when he joined the Axis, Hitler agreed that he wouldn't go to war until then. [[ILied He lied.]] Had Mussolini waited until 1943, the weaknesses of the Axis nations (lack of resources and the [[AwakeningTheSleepingGiant sleeping giants they were bound to face]]), would have become apparent to him. Italy would have kept it's colonies (including the Libyan oil fields), would have been one of the only industrialized nations undamaged by the war and they would have likely kept their seat on the Security Council when the League of Nations was replaced with the United Nations. Oops.
* OnlySaneMan: Ironically, for all his bombast, he may have had the best sense of the way Europe was going in 1930s among Italian fascist politicians. Most of his advisors either wanted to resist Hitler by force or join him eagerly. Mussolini, however, was GenreSavvy enough to know that none of the fascist propaganda was true and Italy had nothing to wage war with, either against or alongside Germany. When the war began, his first reaction was to demand as absolutely necessary an absurdly long list of materials from Hitler that he knew Germany could not spare--the list was described as "long enough to kill a bull, if a bull could read"--so that he'd have an excuse to stay out of war. Then he waited until the war seemed essentially over, with the French on the verge of defeat and the British having been driven without weapons across the English Channel, and joined the side that seemed to have won. It turned out that Italy was even less prepared for war than he had thought and the war was far from nearly over. Oops!
** Asked by his foreign minister (and son-in-law) Count Ciano as to why he was declaring war when he did, Mussolini said he is not interested in fighting, but for Italy to have suffered just enough casualties to have a seat at the postwar negotiation table on the winning side.
*** Ironically, Italy did wind up joining with the winning side after World War II after all[[note]]as a NATO ally of the United States and Britain, and, well, West Germany, too[[/note]], just not the way Mussolini expected.
* [[OvershadowedByAwesome Overshadowed By Awful]]: Unsurprisingly gets this due to his close proximity to Hitler. Count how many times he gets referred to as a *protege* of Hitler or that he was following in Hitler footsteps when often times he was the TropeMaker of what it's referring to.
* RatedMForManly
* TheRival: Gabriele D'Annunzio, author, poet, war hero and right wing demagogue. Though Mussolini initially regarded D'Annunzio as an ideological mentor (especially for his 1919 takeover of Fiume), the two men never trusted each other and Mussolini regarded the writer as a potential competitor. It's rumored that Mussolini engineered D'Annunzio's near-death in August 1922, where D'Annunzio fell (or was pushed) from a hotel window. D'Annunzio survived, but no longer played an active role in Italian politics.
** Another rival of Mussolini was the aviator Italo Balbo, whom Mussolini described as "the only man who could have killed me." Balbo and Mussolini were violently at odds over Italy's foreign policy during 1930s: Balbo considered an alliance with Germany a dangerous trap and bitterly opposed Nazi anti-semitism, to the point of publicly inviting his Jewish fascist colleagues to a state dinner in honor of Hitler. Balbo was killed, however, when his plane was shot down by FriendlyFire over Libya within days of Italy's entry into UsefulNotes/WorldWarII.
* ShirtlessScene: Believing it was a sign of a strong and virile Roman man, Mussolini was frequently photographed with his shirt off, showing off his StoutStrength, posing with rifles or diving into the sea.
* ShoutOut: He was named after Benito Juarez, one of the most revered presidents of Mexico's history (the Italian form of his name would be "Benedetto").
* TheSocialDarwinist: The ultimate real-world definition of the trope.
* {{Squick}}: Look up how he and [[DarkMistress his mistress]] died. Seriously, it's bad.
* StoutStrength: He was short and apparently fat, but was only made of muscles, and would show it off every single time he could get away with it.
* TakeThat: Mussolini's book, ''The Cardinal's Mistress''[[note]]That or ''Literature/AtlasShrugged''[[/note]] was the subject of DorothyParker's famous quip, "This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force."
* UnnecessarilyLargeInterior: Mussolini had his visitors cross an excessively large hall to meet him, as a psychological intimidation tactic.
** Which was later stolen by Hitler, and from ''there'' parodied in ''TheGreatDictator''.
* WarIsGlorious: He loved war. In fact, Mussolini modeled fascism after the discipline and unity of the military. He viewed the besieged trenches of World War 1 as a perfect microcosm of his ideal Italy.
** He even said that "War is to a man what maternity is to a woman". Mussolini's utopian society would always be at war.
** Mussolini was actually a bit of subversion of this trope. He talked a lot of the glories of war, but he was not eager to enter a war where his enemies would be able to fight back on equal terms (to be fair, even in cases where he thought the would-be-enemies were cakewalk, things did not go well). He entered UsefulNotes/WorldWarII only when he thought Hitler had basically won, after all.
* WeAreStrugglingTogether: Despite their similar ideologies, Mussolini always had a fractious relationship with Hitler. In 1935 he threatened to intervene during the Nazis' first attempt to occupy Austria, and signed the Stresa Front with Britain and France to block further Nazi aggression. It wasn't until the Spanish Civil War that Il Duce and Der Fuhrer found themselves on the same side. Even during the war, Mussolini and Hitler distrusted each other so much that they often didn't make the other privy to major military operations (Mussolini didn't tell Hitler about his plans to invade Greece, for example).
** In some sense, this applies to Mussolini's relationship with both Hitler and the Western Allies. In mid 1930s, as noted above, Mussolini was fearful of Hitler and wanted to join Britain and France against Germany, provided that his colonial interests were respected, especially in Ethiopia. But when Italy invaded Ethiopia, Britain and France imposed economic sanctions on Italy through the League of Nations and signed a pact with Nazi Germany recognizing its remilitarization (specifically, the navy), which convinced Mussolini that the Western Allies could not be trusted and that in case of conflict, Italy would be left holding the bag against Germany by itself.
* YeGoodeOldeDays : Mussolini wanted to make his regime a grandiose revival of TheRomanEmpire...and yet did next to nothing in WWII. It is hard to tell whether the Romans would have been amused or insulted. That said, as ruthless as the Romans were, they would've been put off by his incompetence.
* YesMan: While Mussolini ''initially'' appointed competent and free-thinking individuals to important government positions, he eventually bought into his own hype so much that he would only tolerate the spineless yes-men, and quickly surrounded himself with them. Needless to say, this was to have [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo disastrous consequences]].
** After Italy surrendered in 1943, Mussolini ''de facto'' became Hitler's yes-man.

!!Works In Which Benito Mussolini Appears Or Is Cited Include:

* One episode of ''Series/{{Cheers}}'' had Carla trying to get around a family naming tradition that would have [[UnfortunateImplications unintentionally]] [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast forced the name "Benito Mussolini"]] onto her unborn baby.
* Frequently appeared in the wartime comics of CarlGiles. Giles was saddened to hear of Mussolini's death, as it meant he would no longer be able to mock him, uttering the immortal words: "''I've lost my Musso!''".
* Mussolini makes an appearance in Creator/{{Disney}}'s UsefulNotes/WorldWarII propaganda short, "Disney/DerFuehrersFace".
* He is the narrator of a chapter in ''Captain Corelli's Mandolin''. The entire chapter is a furious megalomaniac rant by Mussolini, where he raves about [[TheSocialDarwinist the "survival of the fittest"]], praises the discipline and martial virtues of the Roman Empire, and how he wants the Italian people to have "ice in their soul". It ends with Mussolini being disturbed by his cat, and promptly [[KickTheDog kicking the cat to death.]]
* Mussolini plays an important part in Creator/LarryNiven and Jerry Pournelle's [[Literature/TheDivineComedy Dante]]-based ScienceFiction novel, ''Literature/{{Inferno}}'', where he [[spoiler:guides the novel's protagonist [[ToHellAndBack Through Hell And (Not-Quite) Back]]]].
* In ''ThePrideOfLife'', Othello's superbeasts are named for European dictators, including "Mussol" for Mussolini.
* Mussolini appears in LemonDemon's "Music/UltimateShowdownOfUltimateDestiny" as part of the BadassCrew that takes down ChuckNorris.
* In Harry Turtledove's ''Literature/{{Worldwar}}'', Mussolini is overthrown when Italy is eventually overrun by the Race, but is busted out of prison by [[CrazyAwesome Otto Skorzeny]] and later seen in exile in the United States.
* ''Literature/AGreaterBritain'', a work aimed at rescuing Oswald Mosley from the scrappy heap, does the same to Mussolini: he fights on the Allied side of the truncated equivalent to UsefulNotes/WW2, and it reflects on his political gifts which tend to be brushed over nowadays.
* ''TheBeano'' had two main wartime comic strips, ''Addie and Hermie'' (about Hitler and Goering) and ''Musso [[OnceAcceptableTargets the Wop]]'', which used Italian stereotypes cheerfully and mocked the Italian Army for its lack of success in North Africa.
* Joey from {{Friends}} claimed his grandmother was the 6th person to spit on Mussolini's corpse.
* Homer from {{the Simpsons}} non-deliberately mimics Mussolini's way of gesturing during speeches (fittingly held from a balcony during their holiday stay in Italy) during the episode [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Italian_Bob The Italian Bob]]. He actually wanted to mimic DonaldTrump, but it [[GoneHorriblyWrong went horribly wrong]].
** Also, Milhouse's full name is "Milhouse Mussolini Van Houten".
* Mussolini features prominently in [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincere-link Vincere]], a recent movie which tells the life of the young Benito Mussolini and his rise to power from the point of view of his first wife (Ida Dalser), who was abandoned when Mussolini returned from the first World War. Both Ida and her son (called Benito Albino) were later forced into a mental institution and died of "natural" causes.
* ''Tea With Mussolini'', obviously.
* In ''Series/TheOfficeUS'' Dwight reads a speech by Benito Mussolini apparently trying to say that paper salesmen are a ProudWarriorRace.
** [[PunctuatedForEmphasis "We...Are...Warriors!"]]
* Mussolini was brought to the present in a time machine to fight against Roberto Benigni in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/CelebrityDeathmatch''.
* While Moe is doing his best Hitler impersonation in ''Film/TheThreeStooges'' short "You Nazty Spy", Curly does a spot-on impersonation of Mussolini.
* Is parodied along with Hitler in ''TheGreatDictator'', in which the two conflict over which country would invade Austria. TruthInTelevision at the time, though the two became close allies later.
* In ''{{Mafalda}}'', Miguelito's grandfather is an admirer of Mussolini. He even [[InsaneTrollLogic manages to trace the]] [[SpaceRace Moon Landing]] to Mussolini (Mussolini -> Hitler -> Von Braun -> NASA -> Moon Landing).
* [[http://xkcd.com/282/ This]] ''Webcomic/{{xkcd}}'' strip.
* The protagonist of Lena Wertmuller's ''Seven Beauties'' uses a Mussolini imitation as part of his insanity defense to weasel out of a murder charge.
* Appears as the BigBad in the Gaddafi-era Libyan propaganda film ''Lion of the Desert'' (based on the story of the suppression of Omar Mukhtar's anticolonial revolt in Italian Libya in the late 1920s and early 1930s), portrayed by Creator/RodSteiger, with the position of The Dragon filled by the ruthless General Rodolfo Graziani, plated by Oliver Reed.
* Lampooned by British comedian Alexi Sayle of the show ''Series/TheYoungOnes'', whose version of Mussolini enters the Eurovision Song Contest to sing a song about making yourself feel better through the fine art of making stupid noises.
* On Music/ScottWalker's 2006 album ''The Drift'' there's a song called "Clara", which is supposedly sung by Mussolini to his mistress Clara Petacci while they're [[DeadAllAlong hanging from the gas station]].
* The Music/BigBlack song "Il Duce" is a bout Mussolini.
* In the pilot episode of Marvel's ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'', Agent Coulson refers to ComicBook/{{Loki}} as "the Asgardian Mussolini."
* He appears in ''Music/TheUltimateShowdownOfUltimateDestiny'', and is part of the BadassCrew that takes down [[spoiler: [[MemeticBadass Chuck]] [[ChuckNorris Norris]] ]].
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