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|Head of Government of Italy and Duce of Fascism|
|Former political post|
|First officeholder||Benito Mussolini|
|Last officeholder||Benito Mussolini|
|Official residence||Palazzo Chigi
|Office began||24 December 1925|
|Office ended||25 July 1943|
Duce (Italian pronunciation: [ˈdu.t͡ʃe], leader) is an Italian title, derived from the Latin word dux, and cognate with duke. National Fascist Party leader Benito Mussolini was identified by Fascists as Il Duce ("The Leader") of the movement and it became a reference to the dictatorial position of Sua Eccellenza Benito Mussolini, Capo del Governo, Duce del Fascismo e Fondatore dell'Impero ("His Excellency Benito Mussolini, Head of Government, Duce of Fascism, and Founder of the Empire") was established in 1925 (Founder of the Empire was added in 1936), by Mussolini which he personally held until 1943. This position was the model which other fascist leaders adopted, such as the position of Führer by Adolf Hitler. In September 1943, Mussolini styled himself as the "Duce of the Italian Social Republic" (Italian: Duce della Repubblica Sociale Italiana).
History of etymology of the term "Duce"
'Duce Supremo' ("Supreme Leader") was more formally used by Victor Emmanuel III in 1915, during World War I, referring to his role as the commander in chief of the armed forces. The term was also used by Gabriele d'Annunzio as dictator of the self-proclaimed Italian Regency of Carnaro in 1920, and most significantly by the Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. The painting 'Il Duce' by Gerardo Dottori represents Mussolini, and the title 'Il Duce' has become associated with Fascism and is no longer in common use other than in reference to him. Because of modern anti-fascist sentiment, Italian speakers in general now use other words for leader, mainly including the English loanword. However, the term duce survives as an antonomasia for Benito Mussolini.
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- Image Description: Propaganda poster of Benito Mussolini, with caption "His Excellency Benito Mussolini, Head of Government, Leader of Fascism, and Founder of the Empire ...".
- Quartermaine, L. (2000). Mussolini's Last Republic: Propaganda and Politics in the Italian Social Republic. p. 21
- Lucy Riall, "Garibaldi, Invention of a Hero", London, 2007, Ch. 9
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