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Mussolini and Hitler Compared Because of military unpreparedness Mussolini did not enter World War II until June 1940 when the Germans had overrun France Italy fought the British in Africa invaded Greece and joined the Germans in beating up Yugoslavia attacking the Soviet Union and declaring war on the United States After Italys many military defeats King Victor Emmanuel dismissed Mussolini in 1943 and in September obtained an armistice with the Allies who had invaded southern Italy At the same time the Germans rescued Mussolini and made him organize a Social Republic in northern Italy In the final days of the war Mussolini attempted an escape to Switzerland with his mistress Clara Petacci Italian partisans captured and shot them on April 28 1945 at Giulino di Mezzegra near Lake Como In view of their countrys wartime disasters few Italians regretted the overthrow of the Fascist regime and the death of its Duce Hitler spread his gospel of racial hatred and contempt for democracy He organized meetings and terrorized political foes with his personal bodyguard force the Sturmabteilung SA or Storm Troopers He soon became a key figure in Bavarian politics aided by high officials and businessmen In November 1923 a time of political and economic chaos he led an uprising in Munich against the postwar Weimar Republic He proclaimed himself chancellor of a new authoritarian regime Without military support however the Putsch collapsed As leader of the plot Hitler was sentenced to five years imprisonment and served nine months which he spent dictating his autobiography Mein Kampf The failure of the uprising taught Hitler that the Nazi party must use legal means to assume power Released as a result of a general freedom in December 1924 he rebuilt his party without interference from those whose government he had tried to overthrow When the Great Depression struck in 1929 he explained it as a Jewish-Communist plot an explanation accepted by many Germans Promising a strong
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