In 1940, at the brink of World War II, Denmark found itself declaring neutrality and cutting its troops in half. Despite this, the German war machine was not to be stopped. The German army invaded Denmark offering an ultimatum demanding submission. To minimize Danish casualties at the hand of a superior German army, the Danish King Christian submitted. Although it was occupied by German troops, Denmark had not surrendered and remained a sovereign state.
Working conditions and wage levels in England in the early 19th century generally made laborers unable to support themselves and their families. According to the estimates of the Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum, the average laborer needed about fourteen shillings a week in order to pay his rent and purchase enough food for his family. Wages of nine or ten shillings “reduced families to starvation levels” unless wives or children were able to work as well. In the 1830s, however, the rate of pay for laborers in Tolpuddle, in Dorset County, England, was seven shillings a week.
In the late 19th century, Russia’s autocracy, led by a Tsar (also czar), came under increasing attack. Alexander II was forced to liberate the serfs, but he was still assassinated in 1881 by a group called The People’s Will. His heir, Tsar Alexander III was badly shaken by this and launched a massive crackdown. In 1894, Nicholas II became Tsar and attempted to make a number of liberal reforms. For most, however, the reforms didn’t go far enough. In addition, a disastrous war with Japan from 1904-1905 shattered confidence in the Tsar’s ability to rule.
Amidst the omnipresence of violence during World War II, nonviolent protest is often overlooked or unheard of. However, there were several resistance campaigns that took place in Germany, led by its own citizens. One such campaign in the period of 1942-1943 was the resistance initiated by the White Rose society. Although they were ultimately unsuccessful, the members of the White Rose became an influential example of student resistance against repressive regimes.
For the first eight months of 1968, the Czechoslovak Communist Party engaged in limited but significant reforms known as ‘Prague Spring,’ including declarations of freedom of expression and organization. The reform movement began in January, when moderate Alexander Dubcek replaced the Party’s hard-line First Secretary.
Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo campaign for democracy and the return of their “disappeared” family members, 1977-1983
Following a coup that ousted then-acting President Isabel Perón from power, Argentina’s armed forces established a military government in 1976, a year that marked the beginning of Argentina’s “Dirty War” period. Headed by General Jorge Videla, the new military junta dissolved Argentina’s Supreme Court, congress, and provincial governments, and implemented a government program known as the “National Reorganization Process.” This program sought to rid Argentinean society of perceived government subversives, and effectively institutionalized state-sponsored terror. Through th
Dominican activists challenge Rafael Trujillo’s dictatorship (Fourteenth of June Movement), 1959-1960
Rafael Leónidas Trujillo ruled the Dominican Republic from the moment he won the fraudulent elections of 1930, up until his assassination in 1961. Through his more than thirty-year rule, Trujillo demanded strict obedience from all Dominicans, and had no qualms in using repressive actions to force compliance or eliminate dissent. In fact, Trujillo and his regime were accountable for more than 50,000 deaths.
On February 4, 1976, a massive earthquake hit the highlands of Guatemala and displaced more than one million people. Indigenous groups from the departments of Sacatepequez, Chimaltenango, Guatemala, and Quiche were hit the hardest and the weak response from the national government brought to light the racial inequalities affecting indigenous peoples.
The kingdom of Denmark ruled Norway until May 1814, when Sweden defeated Denmark in the Napoleonic Wars. On 4 November 1814, Sweden took control of Norway, and the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway shared a Swedish monarch. Still, Norway retained its own separate governing body for local affairs.
Norway's Venstre Party and other liberal groups gained the support of the working class. In 1884, the Venstre Party formed the Norwegian Labor Association, bringing together industry workers and agricultural workers in one organization.