In the years following World War I, Italy, much like Germany, faced many economic and social problems. These difficult times led to a rise in nationalism, which Mussolini and his fascist party used to gain support. Mussolini and the fascists claimed they would restore Italy to the glory it experienced during the Roman Empire. This was an idea that was strongly supported by Italian nationalists.
Mussolini, much like Hitler, was also a strong critic of the Treaty of Versailles. He criticized the handling of the end of the war by the Italian government and used public displeasure with the Treaty to gain support for the fascist party.
Mussolini also developed a group of supporters called the "black shirts," who used violence and intimidation to harm Mussolini's opponents. By eliminating opponents, Mussolini was able to increase his political power. Mussolini was eventually appointed to the position of Prime Minister in 1922, and by 1925 he held the status of a fascist dictator.
The rise to power of both Hitler and Mussolini can be traced to the poor and desperate conditions in post–World War I Germany and Italy. In both cases, people were encouraged by fascist rhetoric which spoke of superiority, blamed scapegoats, and promised a return to glory. To further encourage people, the ideas of fascist leaders like Hitler and Mussolini seemed to contrast with the old governments of these nations, which many citizens believed had failed them.
Mussolini's leadership would bring Italy into an alliance with Hitler's Nazi Germany, and into World War II on the side of the Axis powers. In 1945, with much of Italy in ruins from years of warfare, Mussolini would be captured and executed by angry Italian citizens.