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An Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of fascism.
Mussolini became the 40th Prime Minister of Italy in 1922. Mussolini also created and held the supreme military rank of First Marshal of the Empire along with King Victor Emmanuel III, which gave him and the King joint supreme control over the military of Italy. Mussolini remained in power until he was replaced in 1943; for a short period after this until his death, he was the leader of the Italian Social Republic. Mussolini was among the founders of Italian Fascism, which included elements of nationalism, corporatism, national syndicalism, expansionism, social progress, and anti-socialism in combination with censorship of subversives and state propaganda. In the years following his creation of the Fascist ideology, Mussolini influenced, or achieved admiration from, a wide variety of political figures. Among the domestic achievements of Mussolini from the years 1924-1939 were: his public works programs such as the taming of the Pontine Marshes, the improvement of job opportunities, the public transport, and the so-called Italian economic battles. Mussolini also solved the Roman Question by concluding the Lateran Treaty between the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See. Mussolini led Italy into World War II on the side of the Axis. Mussolini was aware that Italy did not have the military capacity to carry out a long war with France and the United Kingdom. Therefore, he waited until the former was on the verge of imminent collapse and surrender because of the German invasion before declaring war on France and the United Kingdom on 10 June 1940, on the assumption that - following France's collapse - the war would be short-lived. Mussolini was defeated in the vote at the Grand Council of Fascism, and the day after the King had him arrested.
An Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the Nazi Party. He was chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945 and dictator of Nazi Germany (as Führer und Reichskanzler) from 1934 to 1945. Hitler is commonly associated with the rise of fascism in Europe, World War II, and the Holocaust. A decorated veteran of World War I, Hitler joined the German Workers' Party, precursor of the Nazi Party, in 1919, and became leader of the NSDAP in 1921. In 1923 he attempted a coup but he failed coup resulted in Hitler's imprisonment, during which time he wrote his memoir, Mein Kampf (My Struggle). After his release in 1924, Hitler gained popular support by attacking the Treaty of Versailles and promoting Pan-Germanism, antisemitism, and anticommunism with charismatic oratory and Nazi propaganda. After his appointment as chancellor in 1933, he transformed the Weimar Republic into the Third Reich, a single-party dictatorship based on the totalitarian and autocratic ideology of Nazism. His aim was to establish a New Order of absolute Nazi German hegemony in continental Europe.
Hitler's foreign and domestic policies had the goal of seizing Lebensraum ("living space") for the Germanic people. He directed the rearmament of Germany and the invasion of Poland by the Wehrmacht in September 1939, leading to the outbreak of World War II in Europe. Under Hitler's rule, in 1941 German forces and their European allies occupied most of Europe and North Africa. These gains were gradually reversed, and in 1945 the Allied armies defeated the German army. Hitler's supremacist and racially motivated policies resulted in the systematic murder of eleven million people, including nearly six million Jews. In the final days of the war, during the Battle of Berlin in 1945, Hitler married his long-time mistress, Eva Braun. On 30 April 1945—less than two days later—the two committed suicide to avoid capture by the Red Army, and their corpses were burned.
A British Conservative politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during World War II. Widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century, he served as Prime Minister twice (1940-45 and 1951-55). A noted statesman and orator, Churchill was also an officer in the British Army, a historian, a writer, and an artist. He is the only British prime minister to have received the Nobel Prize in Literature, and was the first person to be made an Honorary Citizen of the United States. He gained fame as a war correspondent and wrote books about his campaigns. Out of office and politically "in the wilderness" during the 1930s, Churchill took the lead in warning about Nazi Germany and in campaigning for rearmament. On the outbreak of the Second World War, he was again appointed First Lord of the Admiralty. Following the resignation of Neville Chamberlain on 10 May 1940, Churchill became Prime Minister. His steadfast refusal to consider defeat, surrender, or a compromise peace helped inspire British resistance, especially during the difficult early days of the War when Britain stood alone in its active opposition to Hitler. Churchill was particularly noted for his speeches and radio broadcasts, which helped inspire the British people. He led Britain as Prime Minister until victory over Nazi Germany had been secured.
After the Conservative Party lost the 1945 election, he became Leader of the Opposition. In 1951, he again became Prime Minister, before retiring in 1955. Upon his death, Elizabeth II granted him the honour of a state funeral, which saw one of the largest assemblies of world statesmen in history.