The Peace Pledge Union Project has a good overview of Norway's highly successful use of nonviolent tactics to resist and stymie the Nazi occupation. Resistance began almost immediately after the occupation; actions were rapidly disseminated via 300+ underground newspaper/chain letters ("type 20 copies and give them to people you know") and through professional associations, unions, and social clubs.

When Germany tried to usurp these institutions, they'd dissolve via mass resignations (and the occasional accidental archive fire), only to reconstitute as an underground network. "A British military historian, interviewing German generals after the war, was told that they'd found nonviolent resistance much harder to deal with than armed and violent opposition."

Historians have worked hard to discover and record in great detail the military facts of war. The hidden history of civilian lives in wartime needs the same scrupulous telling. Damage done by and to civilians caught up in war's horrors is a warning to their leaders against embarking on war at all. The positive actions of civilians who choose to act nonviolently in the face of war's violence are a model for what might well be the only way to abolish war once and for all.
Reading I'm reminded of: Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life: Hindus and Muslims in India, by Ashutosh Varshney. "Strong associational forms of civic engagement, such as integrated business organizations, trade unions, political parties, and professional associations, are able to control outbreaks of ethnic violence, Varshney shows. Vigorous and communally integrated associational life can serve as an agent of peace by restraining those, including powerful politicians, who would polarize Hindus and Muslims along communal lines." [A New Scientist interview with Varshney.]

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

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greg [at] greg [dot ] org

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first published: April 4, 2003.

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