Fascist Blackshirts March On Rome In 1922: How The Fascist Party Made Themselves Known

By Jacob Shelton
(Unknown author/Wikimedia Commons)

In 1922, after years of drumming up support for his fascist ideals, Benito Mussolini ordered his followers to march on Rome, dooming socialists and liberals in Italy. It wasn't just a coming out party for Mussolini; it was a show of strength and power so intimidating that he was given control of the government shortly after his followers seized newspapers and government offices. As big a win as this was for Mussolini, though, he wasn't even present for the march.

Mussolini: Origins

Mussolini went into World War I a socialist, but over the course of the war, he denounced Marxism for failing to recognize class distinctions in Italy. In 1914, however, he changed his mind about proletarian leadership and instead called for people of any social class to take up the reigns of the country as long as they were revolutionary.

In 1917, after Mussolini was injured in action and sent home from the front, he began putting together his plans for Italian Socialism. While he didn't initially lean into eugenics, he believed in the "natural law" of stronger people dominating those who he felt were "inferior," such as Italy's Slavic neighbors.