8.7 Global Resistance to Established Power Structures After 1900

5 min readfebruary 13, 2023


Katie Moore

Jillian Holbrook

Jillian Holbrook

AP World History: Modern 🌍

577 resources
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An Era of Conflict

Although conflict dominated much of the 20th century, many individuals and groups—including states—opposed this trend. However, some individuals and groups intensified conflicts.

Intensified Conflict Responses

Spain: Francisco Franco 🇪🇸

Francisco Franco was a ruthless dictator from 1936-1975, killing thousands of political opponents (especially Catalans and Basques) and oppressing many more by utilizing a secret police network. The only safe religion to practice was Catholicism.

Uganda: Idi Amin 🇺🇬

Similar to Franco, Idi Amin was a violent dictator from 1971-1979. He extensively expanded the Ugandan military during his rule and used it for whatever whim possessed him at the moment, such as persecuting the Acholi and Lango tribes. Idi Amin expelled thousands of Asians from Uganda, confiscated their property, and gave it to his supporters. He also targeted ethnic groups he perceived as a threat, and it is estimated that up to 500,000 people were killed or disappeared during his regime. When he fell from power, Uganda was left with dissolving a military dictatorship. 

Chile: Augusto Pinochet 🇨🇱

Ruling from 1974-1990, Augusto Pinochet attempted to reverse any vestiges of leftist land reform policies. In the process, he killed thousands of political opponents and committed countless human rights crimes, including torture, disappearances, and extrajudicial killings. Pinochet's rule was characterized by repression of political opposition, censorship of the press, and the establishment of a secret police force known as the National Intelligence Directorate (DINA).

Military-Industrial Conflict and Weapons Trading

As conflicts increased around the world, countries responded in kind, increasing their arms storage and trading to get them. However, instead of making the world more peaceful it became more violent. The mass trading of weapons made nations more warlike. Militaries and militarized states often responded to the proliferation of conflicts in ways that further intensified conflict.

Violent Movements 💥

Shining Path

The Shining Path, also known as the Communist Party of Peru, was a Maoist guerrilla group that waged a violent insurgency in Peru from the 1980s until the late 1990s. Led by Abimael Guzmán, the group aimed to overthrow the Peruvian government and establish a communist state. The Shining Path drew its support from rural peasants, many of whom were disillusioned with the government and saw the group as a legitimate alternative.
Their tactics were brutal, and the group carried out numerous bombings, assassinations, and other acts of violence against civilians, government officials, and security forces. The Shining Path also sought to isolate rural communities from the government by disrupting transportation and communication networks, which allowed them to impose their own strict rules and regulations.
The group was largely defeated by a combination of government military action, popular rejection, and internal schisms. Only remnants are left today.


Al-Qaeda is a terrorist military organization founded by Osama bin Laden composed of Islamic extremists and Salafist Jihadists. It should be noted that Al-Qaeda does not represent the interests of the totality of the Muslim faith and should not be viewed as such.
Originally, Al-Qaeda was founded to fight off the Soviet Union, which supported the communist Afghan government. They rallied to fight off the invaders and entered a holy war (or Jihad). Al-Qaeda saw the United States as a target because it supported “bad” governments like Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. This led to the declaration of holy war on the United States, and, eventually, the planning of the 9/11 attacks and the destruction of American embassies.
Despite being referred to in the context of terrorist or military acts/attacks, the term Jihad actually refers to the struggle that Muslims experience, which can be either internal or external. There are three main types of Jihad, consisting of internal struggles, rejection of Satan, and the preservation of the Muslim faith. Jihad itself does not encourage terrorism in any way, and simply put is a term that is often misconstrued based on the context of warfare that it is typically presented in.

Nonviolent Protest ☮️

Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi was one of the most prominent leaders of the nationalist movement in India, heading the Indian National Congress. He popularized the concept of nonviolent protest, also known as civil disobedience, as a means of social and political change. Gandhi believed that violence only perpetuated injustice and that nonviolence was a more effective way of bringing about social and political change.
Through hunger strikes, boycotts, and peaceful protests, Gandhi led India to independence. Most famously, he led the Salt March, a 240-mile journey to the Arabian Sea to protest against repressive British salt taxes.
Gandhi's nonviolent protest methods inspired many other civil rights and social justice movements around the world, including the American civil rights movement, the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, and the Solidarity movement in Poland. Nonviolent protest remains an important tool for social and political change to this day, and Gandhi's legacy continues to influence movements around the world.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Inspired by Gandhi’s ideas, Martin Luther King Jr. campaigned against the deep-rooted segregation in the U.S. in the 1950s and 60s with nonviolent protests, such as sit-ins, marches, and boycotts. Similar to Gandhi, nonviolence emphasized the anger and rage of racist whites and police, drawing nationwide attention to the cause. King believed that nonviolent civil disobedience was not only a moral imperative but also a practical means of achieving change, as it allowed for the possibility of reconciliation and transformation rather than perpetuating a cycle of violence and retribution.

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He played a key role in the fight against apartheid, a system of institutionalized racial segregation and discrimination that was in place in South Africa from 1948 to the early 1990s.
Mandela began his activism as a member of the African National Congress (ANC), a political party that fought against apartheid. He was arrested and imprisoned for 27 years, during which time he became a symbol of the struggle against apartheid. Following his release in 1990, Mandela worked to negotiate an end to apartheid and a peaceful transition to democracy in South Africa.
In 1994, Mandela was elected as the first black president of South Africa in a democratic election, and he led the country through a period of reconciliation and healing after decades of racial oppression. He worked to promote social justice and economic development, and his government instituted policies to address the legacy of apartheid, including land reform, job creation, and the provision of basic services.

Source: Freemanpedia

Review Game

Match each term to its category
  • Peaceful resistance against established power structures
  • Violent resistance against established power structures
  • Power structures that utilized violence and incited resistance
  • Pinochet in Chile 
  • MLK in America
  • Al-Qaeda
  • Franco in Spain 
  • Military-industrial complex and weapons trading 
  • Mandela in South Africa 
  • Palestinian Liberation Front 
  • Amin in Uganda 
  • Gandhi in India
  • Shining Path in Peru


Peaceful resistance
Violent resistance
Power that utilized violence and incited resistance
MLK in America
Pinochet in Chile
Mandela in South Africa
Palestinian Liberation Front
Franco in Spain
Gandhi in India
Shining Path in Peru
Amin in Uganda
Military-Industrial Complex + Weapon Trading

Browse Study Guides By Unit
🐎Unit 1 – The Global Tapestry, 1200-1450
🐫Unit 2 – Networks of Exchange, 1200-1450
🕌Unit 3 – Land-Based Empires, 1450-1750
🍕Unit 4 – Transoceanic Interactions, 1450-1750
✊🏽Unit 5 – Revolutions, 1750-1900
🚂Unit 6 – Consequences of Industrialization, 1750-1900
💣Unit 7 – Global Conflict, 1900-Present
🥶Unit 8 – Cold War & Decolonization, 1900-Present
✈️Unit 9 – Globalization, 1900-Present
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