After being freed from an Italian prison by German special forces in 1943, Benito Mussolini established the Italian Social Republic in northern Italy.


Although he claimed autonomy, the republic Mussolini ruled for 1 1/2 years as Head of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs, was essentially a puppet state of Nazi Germany. During his rule of the Italian Social Republic, Mussolini  orchestrated the executions of several fascist leaders who had betrayed him, including his own son-in-law, Galeazzo Ciano.

In 1945, Mussolini combined his memoirs with his autobiographical writings published in 1928 in a book entitled My Rise and Fall.

In April 1945, with Allied forces approaching, Mussolini, disguised as a Luftwaffe officer, attempted to escape to Switzerland. He and his entourage were stopped by Italian partisans at Dongo, Lombardy. On April 28, 1945, close to the northwestern shore of  Lake Como, Mussolini and his mistress, Clara Petacci were summarily executed in Giulino, Como. Their bodies were subsequently taken to Milan where they were desecrated by an angry crowd and hung upside down.