As founder and leader of the Fascist Party of Italy, Benito Mussolini (1883–1945) brought together the various elements that make fascism a distinctive ideology. As a young man Mussolini considered himself a Marxian socialist, but World War I convinced him that nations, not social classes, are the primary forces in history and politics. After seizing control of the Italian government in 1922, Mussolini set out to convert Italy into a modern industrial and military power in order to create a new Italian empire, one that would rival the ancient Roman Empire itself. The following article, published under Mussolini’s name but written by scholars sympathetic to fascism, appeared in the Enciclopedia Italiana in 1932.