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When Italy entered the war on the Allies in 1915, Mussolini volunteered and served with distinction on the front. He was severely injured in 1917 and was forced to leave the army.<ref>Whittam, p. 117.</ref> Mussolini, like Hitler, Mussolini was deeply influenced by the war, and he came to believe that war was essential for a nation, as it would allow it and its people to achieve greatness. Later on, as Italy's leader, he would seize every opportunity to become involved in war and conflict. The war also confirmed Mussolini's belief that action mattered more than debate and reason, which was central to his fascist ideology. In turn, this led to the glorification of violence.<ref> Kallis, Aristotle. 2000. ''[https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0415216125/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0415216125&linkCode=as2&tag=dailyh0c-20&linkId=7f886345b5e4f3a16e2fc31dab010522 Fascist Ideology]''( London, Routledge 2000)p. 45.</ref>
After the war, Mussolini
found the Italian Fascist Party. The ideology of the party was a fusion of socialism and nationalism. The Party called for a strong nation led by an elite to guide Italy and solve its interminable social and economic problems.<ref>Anthony James Gregor (1979). ''[https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0520037995/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0520037995&linkCode=as2&tag=dailyh0c-20&linkId=4a5f21e69ccadd77db64058f31f928c3 Young Mussolini and the Intellectual Origins of Fascism]''. University of California Press, p. 111</ref> Mussolini’s new party was attractive to many, especially ex-soldiers. The party soon had genuine mass appeal, and much of this was based on Mussolini's calls that all Italians unite and overcome their class differences.<ref>Kallis, p. 9 </ref> As the war ended, many war veterans joined the new Fascist Party and believed that it offered Italy's best hope.
Many of these men were unemployed after the war, and they felt that their sacrifices during the war had been in vain. Mussolini cleverly formed these veterans' squadrons and employed them against all those he declared to be the enemies of Italy. These former soldiers' squads became known as ‘Blackshirts,’ and they proved to be a formidable paramilitary force.<ref>Kallis, p. 45</ref>
== How did World War I change Italy? ==
Italy’s military performed dismally during the war and had sustained extremely high casualties, and there had also been mass desertions. Many people, and especially soldiers, were disenchanted with the political class’s handling of the war. They were widely seen as corrupt and ineffective, and many held them personally responsible for the country's failings during the war. The Italian political system, though technically a democracy, was dominated by the traditional landowning and business elite. <ref>Gregor, 1979, p. 56</ref>