He threatened the press, joked about ruling for life and bullied everyone, including the allies who helped him get into office, while enjoying a cult following among his base. When a special judicial investigation threatened to reveal his financial corruption and complicity in criminal acts, he did not hesitate to destroy the democracy he led to remain in power.
Benito Mussolini created the world’s first Fascist dictatorship not just as a counter to the powerful Italian left — that’s a well-known story — but also as a desperate act to avoid prosecution. His time as prime minister of a coalition government (Oct. 31, 1922-Jan. 3, 1925) offers lessons in how democracies die and autocracies are born.
Read the entire essay at The Washington Post