Fascism is commonly placed on the far right of today's political spectrum when it is described. Despite this, most scholars agree that influences by the left and right contributed to its development.
Italian Fascism was created with both right and left influences. The "Fascist right" was made of members of fascist paramilitary and some ex-members of the Italian Nationalist Association. The "Fascist left" included those who wanted to replace Italy's liberal parliament with a national syndicalism and promote the interests of common people and workers. The Fascist paramilitary members desired a dictatorship. The members originating from the Italian Nationalist Association wanted the existing elites to remain while implementing an authoritarian corporatist state. Fascist Italy also had small groups who tried to shift the movement towards their beliefs. These included the "clerical Fascists" who promoted Catholic beliefs and the "monarchist Fascists" who pushed for an absolute monarchy.
Several movements of fascism were self-described as a "third force" and not in today’s political spectrum. Benito Mussolini declined to specifically define his version of fascism in an attempt to gain support from as many people as possible. Benito Mussolini pictured that the economic system of his fascist Italy could be described as either state socialism or state capitalism.
Some political scientists have found that the left and right of the traditional political spectrum don't allow for the complexity of the fascist ideology. Some multi-dimensional models of the political spectrum have been devised to help explain this.
As fascism started to spread in Italy it gained popularity around the world. The results of World War II quickly dampened this popularity. Marcus Garvy, Winston Churchill, and Franklin D. Roosevelt were all initial supporters of fascist Italy.
Following World War II, fascism became quite unpopular around the world. Today, fascist is usually used to describe a preference for authoritarian rule. Fascism is used to attack both left and right wing stances and is often over-used and misrepresented.