Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, UndergraduateA, March 1996

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'We shall succeed because we shall work,' said Mussolini, and no one worked harder - or more visibly - than he did. He spent days touring the province, escorted by a claque of blackshirted Fascist Party functionaries, a small army of body guards and a train of journalists and photographers convincing his people to follow him and create a new Italian empire. In the following essay I will briefly explain why the Italian people followed Mussolini, how he came to power, and compare the beliefs and practices of fascism with those of Nazism.

        For a man who was to occupy such a conspicuous place on the world stage, Benito Mussolini rose from unlikely beginnings. He was born in 1883 in Romaga, an ill-defined region abutting the Adriatic between Florence and Venice. Benito's father, a blacksmith, was a rarity among men of his station: He was literate. His reading had made him an ardent champion of the Socialist Party, which in Italy had organized labour leagues and strove to improve wages and working conditions through public ownership of industry.

Benito himself parroted with youthful arrogance the ideas he heard voice by his father. He fought incessantly with his classmates, and at the age of 11 he was expelled from school for stabbing an older boy.

        Although in time he curbed his temper sufficiency to graduate with honours and a certificate entitling him to teach in elementary school. He first came to public notice as the editor of 'Avanti, a Socialist daily in Milan. In 1914 he broke with his associates and lost his editor's job over the issue of Italy's role in World War I. He soon founded his own newspaper, 'II Popolo d'Italia', and by 1915 e was urging direct Italian intervention in the conflict. When Italy did go to...