Why Mussolini?

In 1940, Mussolini took his country into World War II on the side of Nazi Germany.  After 5 years of war, Mussolini was captured on 27 April, 1945, by local partisans near Lake Como in Italy.  He was shot the following afternoon, two days before Adolf Hitler’s suicide in a Berlin bunker.  The body of Mussolini was later taken and hanged upside down on display in a Milan plaza. The Italian masses greeted Mussolini’s death without regret.  He had promised his people Roman glory, but his megalomania had overcome his common sense, bringing them only war and misery.

On 8th May 1945 – Winston Churchill announced VE Day – Victory in Europe. This day marked the end of WW2 in Europe. 

Street parties were held and bonfires lit all over Britain to celebrate the end of the war in Europe.  At the age of 9, I was there for one of these in a small town on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors.

End of WW2 bonfire-effigy


Not Hitler
This Scarecrow Figured
Fat Wicker man
Atop a May bonfire
But that lesser devil
Second rate despot
Sinister Latin sinner
Chosen sacrifice
Victory Symbol
Hanged upside down again
Dead and gone
Ring-a-ring of dead roses
Now danced around
On victory’s bonfire

The joy and jubilation surrounding me
I was part of
though I hardly comprehended
of its full meaning
Save some sinister presence
The current Guy
Personified devil
Evil’s symbol
Was being fire-and-flame crucified
Inverted as St Peter
But here
In England
For the world’s sins
And to lift a shadow
From our lives

While the tarmac ‘neath his pyre
Into one more moment of history
And then
Into nothingness

End of WW2 bonfire-vintage-photos