Head of Government and Duce of Fascism of Italy
Former political post
Flag of Prime Minister of Italy (1927-1943).svg
Standard of the Head of Government and Duce of Fascism
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-2007-1022-506, Italien, deutsche Frontkämpfer in Rom crop.jpg
Benito Mussolini, Il Duce
Predecessor Prime Minister of Italy
Successor Prime Minister of Italy
First officeholder Benito Mussolini
Last officeholder Benito Mussolini
Political office started 24 December 1925
Political office ended 25 July 1943
Current pretender Position abolished

Duce (Italian pronunciation: [ˈduːtʃe], 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 became a reference to the dictator position of Head of Government and Duce of Fascism (Capo del Governo e Duce del Fascismo) of Italy was established in 1925 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.

History of etymology of the term "Duce"

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.[1]

Duce was more formally used by Victor Emmanuel III in 1915, during World War I. 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, indeed represents Mussolini. Because of Benito Mussolini, who gave himself the title Il Duce (Italian: [il ˈduːtʃe], The Leader) in 1925, it 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


  1. ^ Lucy Riall, "Garibaldi, Invention of a Hero", London, 2007, Ch. 9

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  • duce — [do͞o′che] n. [It < L dux (gen. ducis): see DUCT] leader: title (Il Duce) assumed by Benito Mussolini as head of Fascist Italy …   English World dictionary

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