Statolatry, which combines idolatry with the state, first appeared in Giovanni Gentile's Doctrine of Fascism, published in 1931 under Mussolini's name, and was also mentioned in Gramsci's Prison Notebooks (1971) sometime between 1931-1932, while he was imprisoned by Mussolini. The same year, the encyclical Non abbiamo bisogno by Pope Pius XI criticized Fascist Italy as developing "a pagan worship of the state" which it called "statolatry".
The term was also popularized and explained by Ludwig von Mises in his 1944 work Omnipotent Government. Statolatry is literally worship of the State analogous to idolatry as worship of idols. It asserts that the glorification and aggrandizement of 'State' or 'Nation' is the object of all legitimate human aspiration at the expense of all else, including personal welfare and independent thought. Expansion of the power and influence of one's State is to be achieved, if necessary, through aggressive war and colonial adventures (i.e. imperialism). It far exceeds the patriotism of those who recognize the rights of people other than themselves to self-determination, and might best be described as super-patriotism or chauvinism.