Remotely Controlled Killing Machines Made In The UK .. From 10-13 September, London’s ExCeL Centre hosted…
Mussolini Is Said To Have Slept With At Least 400 Women ..
One of Mussolini’s first sexual encounters, while he was looking for work as a schoolmaster, seems to have been the rape of a woman in Varano.
Mussolini himself once described the incident. “One day. I led her up some stairs, pushed her into a corner behind a door and had her on the spot. When she got up she was distressed and crying and started to insult me. I had “stained her honour” she said”.
Later came virgins and married women, socialists and socialites, Muslims and Jews (until his racial laws marginalised them).
He liked to waste no time.
He told Clara Petacci, his final mistress, that she should be scared, for his lovemaking was “like a cyclone”.
In matters of the heart Mussolini appears to have been as brutal, vainglorious and controlling as in his public life.
Having married Rachele, whom he met when she was still at school, he left her at home in Forli to bring up their children while he prowled the newspaper offices of Milan, fashioning his own extremist brand of revolutionary socialism.
One of his first serious attachments was to Angelica Balabanoff, a Ukrainian member of the Soviet Communist Party.
She taught him the art of politics, and shaped his reading.
A more influential and lasting mistress was Margherita Sarfatti, one of the primary theorists in his circle and, like Balabanoff, Jewish, cultivated and wealthy.
Sarfatti applied herself to building up Mussolini’s image as leader.
Clara Petacci, who was executed with him in 1945 after his fall from power, was a compulsive note-taker, recording her telephone conversations with Mussolini the moment they had taken place – and they spoke at least ten times a day.
Her voluminous archive, although still not wholly available, seems to confirm Mussolini’s crassness and brutishness when it came to his conquests.
The violence and political mayhem that accompanied the birth of fascism, the assassination of the socialist leader Giacomo Matteotti and the gradual subjugation of Italy.
Mussolini was a man without friends, obsessed with fame, ruthless with mistresses and enemies alike, delegating nothing, spending his days obsessively reading newspapers and issuing communiques.
“I’ve got all Italy in my head,” he once told Sarfatti.
Not surprising, perhaps, that he did not always have time to take off his boots before making love.
With his shaven, bullet head, lantern jaw and stocky figure, Mussolini was not a good-looking man.
Even given the seductive lure of power, it’s difficult to explain just why so many women were prepared to be mistreated, humiliated and betrayed by him.
Luckily For Mussolini The Gun Misfired ..
Posterity has not been kind to Benito Mussolini.
Reviled as the founder of fascism, the Italian Dictator is also scorned on a personal level as a puffed-up, almost comical figure.
But that wasn’t how he appeared in the twenties, when he was widely regarded as a vigorous and dynamic leader who had saved his country from Bolshevism.
He was often photographed stripped to the waist, his torso rippling with muscles.
Mussolini was particularly admired by upper-class English women – even Clementine Churchill fell under his spell.
But not everyone was a fan.
On April 7, 1926, Mussolini was striding through a crowd in Rome when a single shot rang out.
The dictator staggered back, blood pouring from his face.
The bullet had nicked his nose, but before his bodyguards could react, a second shot was aimed.
Luckily for Mussolini the gun misfired, and his assailant was wrestled to the ground.
Mussolini’s would-be assassin was a small, frail woman.
The police assumed she must be part of a communist plot, but the reality was a lot stranger.
She was Violet Gibson, a member of one of Ireland’s grandest families, who as a young woman had been presented as a debutante at the court of Queen Victoria.
Why did Violet do it?
The short answer is she was a religious fanatic, inspired by a blend of Catholicism and socialism.
Her original intention in going to Rome may have been to kill the Pope – Mussolini was her second choice.
If that second shot had gone off, the world might have been spared a great deal of suffering.
Mussolini, on the other hand, would have been mourned as Italy’s tragic lost leader.