“By the time World War II broke out, Mussolini had been the Italian dictator for 17 years, and all political life revolved around this flamboyant, crude peasant from the Romagna hills in Northeast Italy. His Fascist movement was, like Hitler’s invocation of an earlier racially pure Reich, predicated on a return to the glory days of the Roman Empire. . . . He built up a huge though ineffectual army and bankrupted and terrorized the country. Although one of his greatest achievements, it was claimed, was making the trains run on time, the truth is that, as the war dragged on, nothing in Italy worked. While Mussolini spouted lines from Virgil and Dante, his people grew hungry.” – The World War II Desk Reference, Douglas Brinkley and Michael E. Haskew, eds.