Resistance in German-occupied Europe is generally understood as insurrectional violence. However, as soon as the war broke out, thousands of people engaged in civil disobedience-manifested through strikes, demonstrations, and the activities of medical organizations, courts of law, and churches. Jacques Semelin gathers evidence for the untold story of a movement that took place in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, and Denmark as well as Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Germany itself. A widespread campaign contested authority and paved the way for later armed resistance and the eventual defeat of the Nazis.
This study goes beyond historical interest. It is ethical in scope and deals with civilian strategy at large. To what extent is society prepared to face aggression, whether external or internal? As such, it is of value not only to military historians and other students of World War II, but it provides thoughtful approaches for political scientists and others concerned with contemporary issues of violence and civil disobedience.
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About the Author
JACQUES SEMELIN is a historian and political science researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Paris. A post-doctoral fellow of the Center for International Affairs at Harvard, Dr. Semelin's earlier works include Pour Sortir de la Violence and La Dissuasion Civile.
Table of Contents
The Main Traits of the Nazi Occupation in Europe
The Complexities of Noncooperation
The Question of Legitimacy
Elements of Social Cohesion
The Role of Opinion
Civilian Resistance Agains Repression
Civilian Resistance to Genocide
Which Role for Which Results?
:The New Field of Civilian-Based Defense Strategies
Appendix: Elements of Methodology: List of Examples Studies