Les Miserables, Hitler, And The Nobel Peace Prize: 14 Things You Didn't Know About Benito Mussolini

By Sophia Maddox | January 1, 2020

More To Mussolini

When you think of Benito Mussolini, you probably envision stern speeches, military parades, and that famous fascist salute. But what if I told you there's a lot more to Il Duce than meets the eye? Buckle up, because we're about to dive into the surprising and often bizarre corners of Mussolini's life. From his unexpected connection to Victor Hugo's masterpiece "Les Miserables," to the time he caught Hitler off guard, and even his unlikely brush with the Nobel Peace Prize—yes, you read that right—Mussolini's life is a mix of historical twists and turns that you never learned in history class. Here are 14 intriguing facts about Benito Mussolini that will leave you both puzzled and fascinated.

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Benito Mussolini, Italian statesman circa 1940. (Photo by Roger Viollet via Getty Images)

When you hear the name Benito Mussolini, you probably think "fascist dictator" and "ruthless leader of World War II Italy." While those titles are accurate, there is much more to Mussolini than that. He was an odd and complex ruler who, believe it or not, was a huge fan of Les Mis and once nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Here are 14 things you didn't know about Benito Mussolini. 

Mussolini Was A Rotten Kid

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As a child, Mussolini stabbed two people. (sheffield-made.com)

Born in 1883, Benito Mussolini was a problem child. He was in constant trouble for fighting and bullying other children, which eventually escalated to assault with a deadly weapon. He was expelled from not one but two schools for stabbing other children, one a fellow classmate at a church-affiliated boarding school and the other his own girlfriend. Mussolini led gangs of neighborhood boys who raided area farms and local businesses and even disrupted church services by pinching, poking, and inflicting pain on random members of the congregation.