The biggest role Benito Mussolini played in World War II was allying with the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in 1939. Mussolini believed that by allying with Nazi Germany, the British and French forces could be defeated.
Mussolini was misled by the Germans into thinking that the war led by the allied forces would not start until the mid-1940s. He was taken by surprise, however, when Hitler unexpectedly started the war in 1939, just months after becoming allied with Italy. Since Mussolini's military was ill prepared and worn down from previous battles that they had fought, he was forced to stay out of the war when it began. The next year, in 1940, however, he got his country's troops involved in the war, but Italian forces were quickly defeated when they attempted to take over African and Greek regions. In 1942, Mussolini tried to encourage Hitler to ally with Stalin to strengthen the Axis forces even further, but these attempts failed and the Italian dictator began losing power in his country. After Mussolini was ousted from power, Hitler employed him as a puppet dictator where he continued making war plans for Hitler and facilitated German military actions. In 1945, the Germans surrendered to the Italian forces and Mussolini was killed.