The violence of revolutionary armed conflict was once considered the only way for oppressed peoples to change desperate and severe injustice. Bloodshed was deemed necessary, often justified by the cliché that what was taken by violence can only be retrieved by violence. In recent decades, however, it has become abundantly clear that armed insurrection is not the only choice for aggrieved groups and societies. Nonviolent civil resistance, relying on a variety of forms of nonviolent action, has been coherently used to achieve political and social change for well over a century by varying peoples and societies in differing cultures and political systems, with some impressive results, as well as some failures. This phenomenon has recently gained greater respect as a potentially formidable strategic force by policy makers, political analysts, scholars, peacemakers, and international specialists of many fields.