Resistance and Rebellion: Lessons from Eastern Europe

By Roger D. Petersen | Go to book overview
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Rebellion in an Urban Community:
The Role of Leadership and Centralization

In the organization of the June 1941 revolt, members of one particular community played a disproportionate role. The students, alumni, and networks of the Grandis fraternity, the Catholic engineering fraternity of the University of Kaunas, were exceptionally influential in creating widespread +2 organization.

A membership roll of the Grandis students was produced by one of the students and can be found in Figure 1.2. This chapter reconstructs the 1940–1941 history of this group through interviews with seven members of the Grandis network and a special focus on the role and action of two leaders. Chapter 2 discussed five important structural properties of a strong community and specified how these properties relate to movement to the +2 position. Chapter 3 discussed three of these characteristics density of ties, size factors, and heterogeneity as they operated in various communities during the first Soviet occupation of Lithuania. Here, leadership properties, the role of political entrepreneurs, and the effects of centralization become the primary concern.

The existence of first actors operating at local levels is crucial to rebellion, especially rebellion against strong, invasive regimes. Not only the presence of political entrepreneurs, however, but their specific location in local community structures explain their influence. With this comment in mind, a theoretical review and discussion of leadership precedes and guides the story of Grandis and its development of organized rebellion.


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