London, Nov. 17 (ANI): Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini considered Adolf Hitler an "old sentimentalist", but was furious at the general perception that he was following the footsteps of the Nazi dictator, his mistress' diaries have revealed.
Claretta Petacci's soon to be published journals describe a meeting he had with the German leader in 1938.
"The Fuhrer was very kind. At heart, Hitler is an old sentimentalist. When he saw me, he had tears in his eyes," The Telegraph quoted Mussolini, as saying.
The diaries also show Mussolini was irritated over being regarded as a junior partner to Hitler, maintaining that his fascism and anti-Semitism dated back to the 1920s.
"I've been racist since 1921. I don't know how they can think that I'm imitating Hitler, he wasn't even born then (in a political sense)," he proudly told his mistress on a boating trip on August 4, 1938.
In another diary entry, Petacci notes how Mussolini criticised Italians living in Italy's African colonies having relationships with locals.
"Every time I get a report from Africa, it makes me upset. Just today, another five arrested for living with blacks. Ah! These dirty Italians, they are destroying in less than seven years an empire. They have no consciousness of race," he said.
The book, 'Secret Mussolini', contains extracts from Petacci's diaries written between 1932 and 1938.
They say Mussolini was madly in love with Miss Petacci, once telling her he mentally undressed her at the theatre and that he had a "mad desire" for her.
She was just 20 when she met the fascist dictator, who was married with children and 29 years her senior.
In April 1945, with total defeat looming, the couple tried to escape to Switzerland but were caught by Italian partisans, executed and strung up from a petrol station near Milan. (ANI)