Benito Mussolini, known as “Il Duce,” was the founder of the totalitarian form of government known as Fascism. However that was not enough recognition; Mussolini wanted to demonstrate to the world that he could be a successful ruler as well. Mussolini came to power and remained in power primarily due to the actions of the Italian Blackshirts. As the Blackshirts maintained law and order, terrorized political opponents, defended Italy, and marched on Rome, Mussolini successfully ruled as dictator.
Controlled and led by Mussolini, the Italian Blackshirts also known as the Squadre d’ Azione, were made up of war veterans and young people led by ringleaders. The Blackshirt uniform consisted of a green jacket and trouser with a black shirt and tie. The green colors were similar to that of the army uniforms, but the black shirt and tie differentiated the Blackshirts from the other combat forces. The Blackshirts were first created on March 23, 1919 and played a vital role in the rule of Mussolini. Benito Mussolini’s rise to power primarily relied on the Blackshirts’ march on Rome. On October 24, 1922, Mussolini hosted a Fascist convention in Naples as the reason for the March on Rome. There he declared, “Either the government will be given to us, or we will seize it by marching on Rome.” Mussolini’s plan was to threaten to occupy the nation’s capital of Rome with his forces, the Blackshirts, and pressure King Victor Emmanuel III into inviting him into the government.