He was the butt of British jokes and even his German allies portrayed Mussolini as a clown.
But now a British historian claims the Italian fascist leader was actually a mentor to Adolf Hitler - and says claims that his troops were cowards are a myth.
Dr Christian Goeschel of Manchester University, says that the real Il Duce was a guiding light behind the rise of Hitler - who idealised his Italian counterpart and did not see him as a political stooge.
Political satire: In this Beano cartoon strip, Mussolini is shown as a drunk. The comic book took many swipes at the leader and the Nazis, with Hitler and his cronies being bested by the likes of Lord Snooty and Pansy Potter
Beano: Mussolini is once again the butt of the joke as he runs from a horse - 'Musso The Wop - He's a Big-a-da-Flop', became a lampoon of him and he was shown as vain, stupid and greedy