Benito Mussolini was the leader of the Socialist Party of Italy, before a new term was adopted to describe him.  Like many modern media Mussolinis, he was a socialist and a journalist. Between 1912 and 1914 he was the editor of the Socialist Party newspaper, "L'Avanti" (Avanti means "in front", "advance" or "forward" or even "come in"). In 1914 he started his own socialist newspaper "Il Popolo d'Italia" ("The people of Italy"). 

He was considered by socialists to be a great writer about socialism. He was a staunch proponent of revolutionary rather than reformist socialism, and actually received Lenin's endorsement and support for expelling reformists from the Socialist Party.  He was in fact first dubbed "Il Duce" (the Leader) when he was a member of Italy's (Marxist) Socialist Party. 

When Mussolini differed with some socialists it was over participation in World War I, not over abstract theory, nor economic doctrine.   Many socialists were neutralists in the First World War, whereas Mussolini correctly foresaw that the Austro/German forces would not win the war and therefore wanted Italy to join the Allied side and thus get a slice of Austrian territory at the end of the war. 

During World War I, Mussolini publicized what he admitted was his new brand of socialism.

On October 28, 1922, Mussolini led his "March on Rome", which brought him to power for 23 years.

In late 1937, Mussolini visited Germany and pledged himself to support the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. 

In 1938, he introduced his ‘reform of customs.’”  Hand-shaking was suddenly banned as unhygienic: a salute was to be used instead - the right forearm raised vertically.  He imposed a new march on the Italian Army which was simply the goose-step of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party.  According to the book “A Concise History of Italy” by Christopher Duggan, these reforms were introduced mainly to underline ideological kinship with the National Socialist German Workers’ Party and to impress its leader. 

The so-called “Roman salute” (saluto romano) is as much of a fiction as is the so-called “Roman step” (passo romano) as is the idea that the National Socialist German Workers’ Party emulated Mussolini and not vice versa.  

The most notorious instance of Italy imitating the National Socialist German Workers’ Party was in the racist laws imposed in November 1938. 

Before and during it all (from 1892), children in the U.S. attended government-schools where racism and segregation were mandated by law, and where they performed a straight-armed salute to the U.S. flag, and were forced to robotically chant a pledge written by a national socialist who wanted to produce an “industrial army” for totalitarian socialism as popularized worldwide in a best-selling novel written by his like-minded cousin.