Fascism is a philosphy of government that believes in an authoritarian leader who embodies the ideals of the nation. This political term refers to the movement introduced by Benito Mussolini at the end of World War I. The name fascist came from the Italian word fascio, which refers to a "bundle" of stick bound to an axe that was an ancient symbol for unity and power. Fascism was a response to the economic hardships and the longing for renewal that many Italians shared.
In October 1922, in the course of a "March on Rome", Mussolini was aked to form a new government by King Victor Emmanuel II. The first years of the Fascist regime were devoted to political consolidation. The Fascist squads took control of the streets away from the socialists and communists and placed them under central authority. Fascists were convinced that modern policies would feature politically active masses, that would be inspired by their charasmatic leader, a self-selected revolutionary vanguard.
Mussolini seized control of the Italian government and established a dictatorship. Under the dictatoship the parlimentary system was abolished, laws were rewritten, and a totalitarian regime was forced on the country bt means of terror and constitutional subversion. Mussolini's skill in the use of propaganda, militarism, and apperance of order helped him build up his popularity and prestige.
As a political regime, fascism dominated Italy from 1922 to it's destruction in 1945. During this time the transpotation, communication, and educational infrastructure of Italy matured. Industralization proceeded at a respectable rate, and experiments with the management of the economy were undertaken. During the interwar years, Fascists Italy was respected as one of the world's major powers. The fatal associaltion with Germany drought Italy into an international conflict for which it was totally unprepared.