The Overthrow and Execution of Mussolini

Mussolini was not in control of Italy from July 1943 when the fascist dictator and his Grand Fascist Council were arrested by order of King Victory Emanuel III. His execution by firing squad on the 28th April 1945 was a humiliating affair. His corpse and that of his young mistress Clara Petacci and other fascist leaders were hung upside down from a metal frame in the Milan Square. From 1943-1945 the Allied armies battled German divisions in Italy and Sicily to wrest control of the Italian peninsular and bring an end to the Mediterranean theatre of WWII.

This class will be delivered online via the online platform Zoom. Enrolling students need to ensure they have an email, a reliable internet connection, microphone/speakers and access to a tablet, smartphone or computer.


  • Giuseppe Finaldi, Mussolini and Italian Fascism, Routledge, 2008
  • Christopher Duggan, Fascist Voices, an Intimate History of Mussolini’s Italy, Bodley head 2012


  • Overview of Fascist Italy under Mussolini 1922-1943
  • Factors contributing to the demise of Mussolini especially after 1942
  • Collapse of the Mussolini government in July 1943 and his installation as a puppet ruler in a small puppet German states in the alpine region 1943-1945
  • Execution April 1945 and the various conspiracy theories surrounding his execution and humiliation
  • Legacy of Mussolini


By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Appreciate the main factors associated with Mussolini and the fascist dictatorship in Italy 1922-1945.
  2. Respond to the details surrounding the last two years of Mussolini’s life and his legacy in the 20th c and in 2020.
  3. Draw parallels with 2020 rise of the New Right in Europe.

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