Nonviolence in a Time of War

The war in Ukraine has horrified much of the world. Reports indicate that most people believe it is absolutely necessary to arm Ukraine as much as possible to fight the Russian assault. At the same time, we also hear many people say the only way wars ever end is with diplomacy. Nevertheless, while people call for peace, we hear only a minority advocating for nonviolence as a viable way to achieve it, a seeming contradiction.

To address this seeming contradiction, we offer some references that present a different perspective. We recommend:

A Force More Powerful, a documentary series on one of the 20th century’s most important and least-known stories: how nonviolent power overcame oppression and authoritarian rule. It includes six cases of movements for India, the U.S., South Africa, Denmark Poland, and Chile. Each case is approximately 30 minutes long and can be watched here: https://www.nonviolent-conflict.org/force-powerful-english/.

Danish Citizens Resist the Nazis, 1940-1945, an article available at: 

https://nvdatabase.swarthmore.edu/content/danish-citizens-resist-nazis-1940-1945.

Bringing Down a Dictator, a documentary about a student movement called Otpor! (‘resistance’), who, in 2000, nonviolently attacked the regime of Slobodan Milosevic in Yugoslavia with ridicule, rock music, and a willingness to be arrested. Their courage and audacity inspired others to overcome their fear and join the fight. The indicted war criminal Slobodan Milosevic fought to hold power. He controlled a battle-hardened army, a tough police force, and most of the news media. But he underestimated his youthful opponents. Watch it at https://www.nonviolent-conflict.org/bringing-dictator-english/.

Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict (Columbia Studies in Terrorism and Irregular Warfare) by Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan

Do This in Memory of Me, a Pax Christi International webinar with Maria Stephan, PhD, co-author of Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict, who talks about the power of nonviolent, nonmilitary actions in Ukraine. Watch at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbNt3ozgAN0.

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