Italy had joined the Great War of 1914-18 on the 'Allied' side, under the belief that if the allies won, Italy would gain territory along the Balkan coast and a small part of what was the Austro-Hungarian Empire. WW1 had proved disastrous for Italy, the land they had been promised in the Treaty of London, the deal made with Britain and France was not given to them. The people of Italy felt that the government had not delivered what they had promised. The middle classes of Italy were concerned by the sudden popularity of Socialism among the lower classes, as they campaigned for workers rights and removal of businesses from owners.
Mussolini, who was originally a socialist, set up the 'fascio di combattimento' (fascist movement) in 1919. They were mostly ex soldiers who were dissatisfied with the liberal government and the outcome of the war. Mussolini began to make promises to restore Italy to its former glory.
He ran his own newspaper ' Il popolo d'Italia' that proved the ideal tool in which to promote his ideals and spread propaganda. The movement also used violence in order to convert people into the idea of Fascism and not Socialism The weak Liberal government and the rise of Socialism scared many, allowing the growing support for the Fascist movement.
From the end of 1920 however Mussolini's popularity really began to grow. In addition, he gained support from the church, and the police. By late 1921, the Fascist Party had over .200,000 members. Liberal leaders tried to make deals with Mussolini to bring him into government, but he denied saying that unless he became Prime minister he would not consider the deal. Mussolini announced those unless he was made leader he would forcibly seize power. Now that the party had gained such huge...