Research event

Foreign occupation and support for international cooperation: Evidence from Denmark

An online presentation by Lasse Aaskoven (University of Essex). This event is part of the Political Economy Lunch Seminar.

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