Early on in the Second World War, Bulgaria was a member of the Axis powers, having signed the Tripartite Pact on March 1, 1941. However, Bulgaria was not emotionally attached to the ideals of the major Axis powers. They simply signed on because they desired - and were guaranteed by Germany - the nearby territories of Thrace and Macedonia, which they had lost after their defeat in World War One. As a result, though Hitler was certainly a persuasive influence on Bulgaria’s foreign and domestic policy, he was not quite dictating every action taken by Bulgaria’s ruler, Tzar Boris III.
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.
In May of 1940, the Netherlands was occupied by the Nazi war machine. At that time, the Netherlands had a total area of 33,000 square kilometers, and only approximately nine million people living there. The country was also relatively flat, with little natural features that could contribute to an armed resistance against the Nazis. The Netherlands had a policy of neutrality and had no recent experience with outside invading forces. In addition, Queen Wilhelmina and the Dutch royal family refused to accept the Nazi offer for protection under the Reich and instead fled to London.
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) emerged in England in the late 1640's among those who challenged the standard doctrine of the Church of England. Quakerism began as a sect whose members believed that there was a piece of God within every person and that everyone could communicate with God directly. This was a radical view for the time. Out of this belief, Quakers developed a strong sense of equality and believed that every person could be a minister.
For much of the nineteenth century, Finland was under Russian rule. This began in 1809 when Finland was made part of the Russian Empire. As part of the Russian Empire, Finland was autonomous in domestic policy but not foreign policy. Finland was allowed to create its own laws through its parliament, but Russian tsars controlled Finland and decided Finnish foreign affairs. Finns generally had no problem with this situation because the Russian government did not interfere with internal affairs.
In the 1940s, Nazi Germany under the government of Adolf Hitler was advancing its conquest of Europe during the Second World War. By May 1940, Luxembourg, a small neutral country bordering Germany, was placed under military occupation by forces of the Third Reich. The meager resistance made by local police forces and customs officers at the border crossing was quickly crushed by the German Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Regarding the First Intifada as "nonviolent" is controversial because of the violence that accompanied the campaign. Aden Tedla's narrative does not try to hide the violent dimension. Three considerations lead us to include the case in this database. First, a significant part of the campaign leadership worked very hard to keep the campaign nonviolent. Second, the masses participated in the nonviolent methods, not in the violence. Third, other scholars in the field of nonviolent action include the Intifada, although acknowledging its ambiguities.
The Samoan archipelago, located in the southwest of the Pacific Ocean, is comprised of six main islands and several smaller ones. Prior to World War I, Germany and the United States occupied most of the Samoan Islands. During WWI, New Zealand, upon a request by Britain, captured German Samoa and established the British Military Occupation of Samoa. An influenza pandemic in November 1918 killed about 22% of the Samoan population. The administration's lack of response to the disaster became the foundation for Samoans grievances against the New Zealand administration.
In 1960 and 1961, the Washington, D.C., area experienced an increase in diplomatic representatives from Africa, causing tension and emphasizing the issue of segregation in the area. Visiting African diplomats were exposed to segregation in many restaurants, facilities, and other public accommodations, particularly along Route 40 - a primary means of travel between the embassies in Washington D.C. and the United Nations headquarters in New York - where nearly all of the restaurants and facilities were only open to white customers.
The Channel Islands, two British territories, fell under German occupation in 1940 during WWII. The Islands politically took on a policy of “passive cooperation.” Fearing a German monopolization of oil, Britain interned German civilians living in Persia in 1941. In retaliation, German soldiers deported 2200 Channel Islanders to internment camps in Germany and France. The majority of deported were English born males between the ages of 16 and 70.
In 1988 Burmese students led mass demonstrations against the oppressive military junta of Burma (the country now referred to as Myanmar). The result was 3,000 civilians dead after a governmental crackdown and a prevailing junta. Shortly after, as the “rallying symbol for the population,” pro-democracy leader Aung Sun Suu Kyi was confined to her house by the junta, not to be seen by the public for 12 out of the next 18 years.
By 1830 the enslaved people in the “West Indian” colonies of the British Empire understood that slavery, as an institution, was about to fall. White abolitionists in Britain and around the world had been pushing legislation through the Parliament that would free all the enslaved in British colonies, and in 1833 the British government passed the Emancipation Bill and announced that it would bring an end to the practice of slavery beginning August 1, 1834.
For a half-century prior to the Acehnese campaign, the Indonesian government had ruled Aceh, located at the northwestern end of the island of Sumatra. The Acehnese suffered a high level of human rights abuses at the hands of the Indonesian government. From the 1950s until 1998, an Acehnese group resisted using violence. But in the late 1990’s, their resistance, led by student activists, took the form of nonviolence in a series of rallies, boycotts and strikes.
By 1924, Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) was administered and occupied by the British government as an official British protectorate. While the Colonial Office headed administration, a group of interconnected companies financed by Britain, South Africa, and the United States came to control what became the ‘Copperbelt’ in Northern Rhodesia. Copper was becoming more valuable due to increased demand for electrical components and motors and regional deposits were easy to extract and profitably attracted investors.
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.
Grenada under the dictatorship of Eric Gairy suffered from economic deterioration and widespread corruption. In the face of domestic repression, support for the Left built strength during events leading up to the creation of the New Jewel Movement (NJM). In November 1970, 30 nurses staged a non-violent protest demonstration against poor working conditions at St. George’s General Hospital, their place of work. They were joined by youth groups, trade unions, and school children. Police responded by teargasing demonstrators and arresting 22 nurses.
In July of 1968, as the student-led uprising of May and June in France was fading away, a new one was just beginning in Mexico City. Students inspired by the success of the movement in France saw their own opportunity to bring more open democracy to Mexico. They saw the summer Olympics that were to take place in Mexico City in October as an opportunity to put pressure on the government, led by President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
The Brent Spar, a 450-foot-long floating rig used as a loading buoy and storage tank for oil from the North Sea for fifteen years, was decommissioned in 1991. When Greenpeace learned of plans to dump the Brent Spar by sinking the structure in the North Atlantic, just west of Ireland and Scotland, and of the UK government’s approval, it jumped into action. More than 24 activists from 6 North Sea countries made plans to occupy the rig. Video and photo staff documented the occupation.
In March 1942, the British Parliament sent a delegation to India under Sir Stafford Cripps, a Labor Party Politician, in order to negotiate with the Indian National Congress a constitution that would secure Indian support of World War II. The Indian National Congress (INC) found the proposal for the new constitution unsatisfactory, since the draft declaration promised India domination status—but not complete independence—in return for its total cooperation during the war.
The “Gulf of Tonkin Incident” in early August 1964 marked the beginning of dramatic escalation of the United States’ involvement in the civil war in Vietnam. As a close ally, Australia made a commitment to support the United States’ intervention in Southeast Asia. To support the war effort, Prime Minister Robert Menzies’s Liberal government introduced conscription for national military service on November 10, 1964. A few months later on April 29, Menzies announced that Australian troops, including National Service conscripts, would be sent to Vietnam to assist in the American war effort.
As soon as the Sino-Japanese War broke out in July 1937, Japanese dominated the tide of the war, seizing major cities of northern parts of the China (Beijing, Tenjin, etc.). By the end of November, the Japanese army captured Shanghai; the great number of deaths and casualties was unprecedented in the war. As the hostility toward Chinese grew among Japanese soldiers after the hard-won battle in Shanghai, the Japanese army advanced toward the city of Nanking.
Le Chambon-sur-Lignon was a community located in south central France. With a history of being a refuge for persecuted Protestant Huguenots in 17th century, it was primarily a Presbyterian town.
In 1979 the United States of America (USA) supported a coup against Salvadoran General Humberto Romero in reaction to the deaths, disappearances, and torture that had reached international attention. The new Salvadoran government became a civilian-military “revolutionary junta” which used armed forces to suppress the Salvadoran population. Opposition forces acted, using nonviolent and violent means, in order to prevent their suppression. The government enforced a complete and violent repression against dissent.
From 1961 to 1996 Guatemalans endured a bloody civil war. During this conflict the military-controlled government fought the leftist guerillas or the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG). These groups fought each other for political control. The extreme violence pushed many indigenous Guatemalans high into the country’s highlands or displaced them as refugees into other countries.
Peace Brigades International (PBI) protects and aids Guatemalan Mutual Support Group (GAM), 1984-1989
From 1960 to 1996 Guatemalans endured a civil war in which the Guatemalan military and leftist guerrillas fought for control. In order to defeat the guerrillas, the government focused on controlling and depleting the potential guerrilla population- generally the Mayan Guatemalans.