Back in Time is a newspaper type column that reports an incident from the past as though it has happened just yesterday. It allows the reader to re-live it several years later, on the date it had occurred.
For this incident, we go back in time to 1943.
Milan, Italy, Saturday, April 28: In a shocking development, Benito Mussolini, dictator of Italy has been killed by partisans here in Lecco district.
Trying to flee with his mistress and a few Nazi soldiers, Mussolini was arrested by a mob before reaching Switzerland and was executed by machine gun fire.
The corpses were then dumped in Milan’s Piazzale Loreto for everyone to see. The location was chosen because of its historical significance. Eight months ago, Nazi soldiers under the orders of Hitler had strung up the bodies of fifteen rebels at the same place. This time, though, Mussolini and his convoy had to meet the same fate as passers-by came and mutilated the bodies, showing their frustration against their infamous leader.
Mussolini came to power in 1919 as the leader of the Fascist Party. Taking advantage of the political upheaval during that time in Italy, he became Prime Minister in 1922 and declared himself the ruler of Italy (or Duce) in 1925. Impressed by his rule, Hitler had approached him to join his side for the war to come. The alliance was sealed through the Tri-Partite Pact, the third party being Japan, in 1940.
But the war became his undoing as Italy suffered heavy losses during the war. The citizens of Italy rebelled and Mussolini was kept under house arrest until German forces rescued him and made him the ruler of The Social Republic of Italy (It was the part of Italy which Hitler had captured).
Mussolini had tried to flee Italy after he was informed that Hitler – his close friend and ally – was planning to surrender unconditionally to the Allied Powers in 1945. Sensing that his own life would be at stake, he was trying to escape to Switzerland wearing the disguise of a Nazi officer but was unsuccessful.
Learning of Mussolini’s death, Hitler also killed himself two days later instead of allowing himself to be captured by the Allied Forces.
Mussolini was one of the last fascist rulers. Initially popular among his people because of his extensive reforms program, his hunger for power led to his downfall.
Even after his death, his body was not left alone. Initially buried in an unmarked grave, the corpse was vandalized frequently by his haters until it was taken away. The remains of his body were finally given to his widow by the Italian Government in 1957.
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