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This article is about the Italian title. For other uses, see Duce (disambiguation).
"Il Duce" redirects here. For the single by Big Black, see Il Duce (single).
Head of Government of Italy and Duce of Fascism
Capo del Governo e Duce del Fascismo
Former political post
Flag of Prime Minister of Italy (1927-1943).svg
Benito Mussolini Duce.jpg
Benito Mussolini
Predecessor Luigi Facta
(as Prime Minister)
Successor Pietro Badoglio
(as Prime Minister, de jure)

Benito Mussolini (as Duce of the RSI, as claimed by the RSI)
First officeholder Benito Mussolini
Last officeholder Benito Mussolini
Style His Excellency
Official residence Palazzo Chigi
Palazzo Venezia
Appointer Grand Council
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").[1] It was established in 1925, whereby the holder of the position was to govern on behalf of the King of Italy. Founder of the Empire was added for the exclusive use by Mussolini in recognition of his founding of an official legal entity of the Italian Empire on behalf of the King in 1936 following Italy's victory in the Second Italo-Ethiopian War. The position was held by Mussolini until 1943 when he was removed from office by the King and the position was dismantled with the previous office of Prime Minister being restored. 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).[2]

History of etymology of the term "Duce"[edit]

The title was used outside its traditional noble sense in some of the publications praising Garibaldi during the Unification of Italy in 1860, though not taken up officially by Garibaldi himself.[3]

'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.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of duce at Wiktionary