Foreign Occupation and Support for International Cooperation

Lasse Aaskoven*

*Corresponding author for this work

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A growing literature investigates how historical state repression affects later political outcomes, but little attention has been given to whether violence during foreign occupation affects support for international cooperation. This article investigates this issue by analyzing the 1972 Danish referendum on membership in the European Economic Community (eec) - an organization seen at the time as being dominated by Germany. The analysis shows that municipalities that experienced more German-inflicted violence during the German occupation of Denmark (1940-1945) in World War II had a higher rate of no votes in this referendum. This effect seems to have worked through increased support for Danish far-left parties that were associated with the Danish resistance movement and that actively used anti-German sentiment in their campaigns against eec membership. The results suggest that foreign-inflicted violence can be a substantial hindrance for popular support for international cooperation and that political parties play an important role in translating historical grievances into mass political behavior.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWorld Politics
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)285-325
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

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  • European Union
  • foreign occupation
  • international cooperation
  • legacies of violence political parties
  • referenda


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