The severe penalties placed upon the defeated countries of World War I under the Treaty of Versailles fostered conditions that encouraged right wing nationalist political ideologies to flourish. Fascism as a political ideology first emerged in Italy and grew under the leadership of Benito Mussolini, who seized power in 1922 as the country’s economy was gripped by the great depression. Although Mussolini was an inspirational figure for Adolf Hitler during the rise of German Fascism, or Nazism, the two movements were largely independent of each other with some key differences and clashes of interest. Italian fascism promoted the restoration and expansion of the Italian nation, with economic cooperation between all Italians regardless of social class, whereas Nazism focussed on unity of the German people as a master race, regarding other races as inferior. Fascist movements were also present in Spain during its civil war and Austria, which became aligned with Germany.
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