Sometimes, when writers feel the need to avert Terrorists Without a Cause, they use this stock motivation, where the members of a guerrilla/insurgent/terrorist/freedom fighter/resistance/etc. movement and/or organisation justify their actions by claiming they want foreign occupiers to leave their nation. This is both Truth in Television and Older Than Feudalism, dating at least back to the 1st century BCE with the Sicarii zealots in Roman-occupied Judea.
A rather peculiar case of this trope occurs with some Animal Wrongs Groups, who claim humans are occupying the Earth despite the fact that humans also originate on Earth.
Compare Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters, a trope about moral grayness applicable to this motivation.
- The Black Knights and other groups fighting the Britannian occupation of Japan in Code Geass. However, the leader of the Black Knights has a more complicated motivation.
- The Zeons from Mobile Suit Gundam and its numerous sequels have a long and complex relationship with this trope. Though they started as an independence movement trying to gain sovereignty for the space colonies, they ended up as an oppressive imperialistic force that conducted a brutal invasion of Earth, while at the same time allying itself with various nationalist movements, primarily in Africa, that wanted independence from The Federation, putting them in the unique position of being occupiers and fighting a different set of occupiers at the same time. After the original series the Zeon home colonies get saddled with a nominally autonomous Federation puppet government while military remnants of both the Zeon forces and the nationalists they provided equipment to continue to be a thorn in the Federation's side up until the era of Mobile Suit Gundam F91 and even try invading or destroying Earth again a few more times.
- Block 109: Part of The Reveal at the end of the album Operation Blazing Sun. The African colonial troops manipulated the SS forces throughout the story to make them think the French are still an active threat (in fact, they had already been killed by the natives) so they could lure the Germans into a trap and kick all the colonial powers out of their country.
- Les Aigles de Rome dramatizes the life of Ermanamer the German, who grew up among the Romans as a political hostage before uniting the tribes under his leadership after he returns to his homeland and lures three Roman legions into a trap at Teutoburg Wald, driving the Romans out of Germania for good.
- Check out the page image on Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which subverts this for humor: "Yankee Go Home... With Me"
- The Scottish rebels in Braveheart.
- Billy Wilder's One, Two, Three with the "Yankee / Russkie go home" balloons.
- Subverted in Monty Python's Life of Brian, where the Jewish zealots are too busy squabbling amongst themselves (when the Romans aren't correcting their grammar) to do much. They also have a hard time even deciding what they don't like about the Romans.
- The Wind That Shakes the Barley is all about this, during the War of Independence in Ireland. It doesn't paint anybody solid white, but the guys that deviate from solid resistance action are definitely not regarded well compared to the stalwarts, and never mind England. Historical figures, incidentally.
- Lampshaded in Red Dawn (1984), when the Wolverines are going to shoot their prisoners.
Matt: "What's the difference, Jed? Tell me, what's the difference between us and them?"
Jed: "Because...WE LIVE HERE!" (shoots soldier)
- Most propagandistic war films from China, Russia and any number of Eastern Bloc countries feature this trope in spades, dealing either with the Japanese or Nazi invasions.
- Alexander Nevsky features the Teutonic Order as invaders.
- City of Craftspeople features transforms the setting into Middle-Age Europe, with invaders looking just like the aforementioned Teutonic Order.
- Inverted in 9th Company, which plays in Afghanistan - and the Soviet troops are the occupiers.
- North Korea loves to set films in the early twentieth century, during the period of colonial Japanese rule over Korea. And, of course, North Korean films about The Korean War cast Americans as this trope, which North Korean propaganda argues is still ongoing (while consistently ignoring all Chinese involvement, naturally). However, the Japanese seem to be North Korea's favorite historical villains.
- The Great Warrior Skanderbeg features the Ottomans and Venetians as invaders.
- The White Lotus Sect mentioned above from Once Upon A Time In China 2 are singularly nasty Knight Templar types who want all foreign influence, however beneficial, out of China. These guys are introduced by burning a dog because it was a foreign breed, attack and burn down a foreign language school, forcing Wong to take the displaced students of the school to the British consulate, and at one point, they even burn a cross in front of the consulate in a scene that may remind American viewers of another sect known for its bigotry and intolerance (though with different goals than the White Lotus).
- Colonel Kurtz describes this in Apocalypse Now. In his haunting speech to Captain Willard, he claims that the reason why America is eventually going to lose the war is because to America the war isn't a matter of life and deaththe Americans viewed Vietnam as a matter of containing Communism in the larger Cold War, while the Vietnamese wanted the Americans out of their country so much that they were willing to do whatever it took to win. Kurtz commends them, saying that if he had even so much as 10 divisions (about 100,000-200,000 troops) of men like that willing to do whatever was necessary to win, then the Vietnam War could be won with alarming speed.
- Both James Bond and Rambo have at some point in The '80s teamed up with the Mujahideen against the Soviet invaders in Afghanistan.
- In Lawrence of Arabia, the Arabs want to not be ruled over by Turks anymore. As Lawrence puts it:
Bentley: What, in your opinion, do these people hope to gain from this war?
Lawrence: They hope to gain their freedom.
Bentley: [blank stare]
Bentley: "They hope to gain their freedom." There's one born every minute.
Lawrence: They're going to get it, Mr. Bentley. I'm going to give it to them.
- It doesn't work out, of course. The British and French imperialists shockingly renege on their promises to the Arabs and the Arabs themselves ultimately fail to overcome their tribal differences. By the end of the movie, the Arabs have simply traded their old Turkish overlords for new British and French ones.
- Star Wars provides numerous examples:
- The Kaleesh, General Grievous' people, joined the CIS largely because their own planet had been economically ruined by the Republic for retaliating (with massacres) against the rival Huks, who had invaded their planet and enslaved the Kaleesh.
- A series of insurgent operations on Manaan by the native Selkath managed to drive The Empire offworld (though, much like the Rebel Alliance, they received help from Darth Vader.)
- The films themselves, too. The first one in particular has been viewed as an allegory for the Vietnam War, while Revenge of the Sith was seen as an Iraq War allegory. Lucas actually confirmed the Vietnam connections, but denied any intentional Iraq allegory (probably true since the films had been planned before it broke out).
- Robert A. Heinlein:
- Sixth Column. After the U.S. is invaded by the PanAsians, a group of U.S. soldiers forms an underground army (under the guise of a religion) to drive them out.
- The short story "Free Men," which appears in several different anthologies, including Expanded Universe and The Worlds of Robert A. Heinlein. In this story, the invaders' identity is never specified.
- Jerry Pournelle's story Sword and Sceptre. A rebel group on the planet New Washington hires Falkenberg's mercenaries to help remove the invading troops from their sister planet Franklin.
- Komarran terrorists in the Vorkosigan Saga, a rare case where the protagonist is one of the occupiers. The circumstances leading up to the occupation also involve a lot of Grey and Grey Morality (A generation before Barrayar invaded Komarr, the Komarrans had enabled a Cetagandan invasion of Barrayar, which caused the next example).
- The Barrayarans themselves, including Miles' grandfather, fit this trope themselves a few generations before the books in question.
- The Animorphs series takes this a step further. Not only are the Yeerks attempting to occupy Earth, but the very bodies and minds of humanity, including the brother of one member and the mother of another, and only the six Animorphs are even aware the occupation is happening.
- The Riftwar Cycle has this as the given reason the moredhel (dark elves) hate humans. Which makes sense, really, given that said occupation has driven the moredhel to live in the barren Northlands where they have to slaughter each other over scraps of food.
- The motivation of much of the Syrian rebels in The Egyptian. Although Sinuhe doubts the sincerity of their motives.
- The Tomorrow Series from Australia.
- Used frequently in the works of Harry Turtledove, for example, the Canadians resisting American occupation in Timeline 191, or the English resisting the Spanish in Ruled Britannia.
- Two of the earliest BattleTech novels, Decision at Thunder Rift and Mercenaries Star, involve a small force successfully doing this.
- Given how often planets get occupied as a matter of course in the universe, this actually happens quite a bit. On a larger scale this is also one of the collective hats of the Capellan Confederation in particular (which, to be fair, never was the largest Successor State to begin with and lost a lot of territory in the Fourth Succession War in particular) — if a world they don't currently control ever was Capellan (or can be retconned as once having been Capellan by the official propaganda, they're not that picky), then it doesn't matter how much time has passed and how its current inhabitants feel about the matter, the official stance is that it still belongs to the Confederation and they want it back.
- The human resistance against the Psychlos in Battlefield Earth.
- Star Trek Novelverse:
- The Terok Nor trilogy chronicles the Cardassian occupation on Bajor from beginning to end, including the rise of the Resistance.
- Captain Mackenzie Calhoun of Star Trek: New Frontier fought in the Xenexian resistance against the Danteri before joining Starfleet following liberation.
- In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Relaunch, the True Way movement on Cardassia equates Federation and Bajoran aid movements with cultural imperialism, accusing them of attempting the final destruction of traditional Cardassian culture, and uses terrorism to try forcing them offworld. Also, on Trill, unjoined political groups come to see the Trill symbionts as a manipulative race of overlords controlling Trill society; after all, the Joined hold all the positions of overt political authority, and as far as some unjoined are now concerned, the humanoid Joined are puppets of the symbionts.
- Pan Tadeusz, rather understated for a XIX century Polish story, but still strong.
- A Symphony of Eternity has the various Maran resistance groups that fight against the Empire, and although they've had a recent string of successes they've also inflicted a lot of damage on the civilian population, making they're capital Maramanakama, a not so very pleasent place to live.
- The Silerian Trilogy: This is the Silerians' motive for rebelling.
- In the near-future thriller Victoria, many in the incipient Northern Confederation (and the New Confederacy) feel this way about the federal agents and government troops trying to maintain Washington's rule in these areas, even before they formally declare their independence. An even straighter example is the reaction to the UN-backed invasion that follows the downfall of the old regime.
- The Big Bad of Vatta's Peace turns out to be a separatist faction on Slotter Key dating to its Unification War almost a century earlier that wants to regain their home continent's independence. Fortunately the publication of their misdeeds causes them to lose all traces of popular support, and the uprising is quickly crushed.
- Star Trek:
- The Bajoran Resistance fighting the Cardassian occupation of Bajor in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Deep Space Nine also had a Cardassian resistance against the Dominion in later seasons. Discussed in "The Darkness and the Light" when a disfigured victim of one of Kira's bombs who has killed every member of her old resistance cell in revenge confronts her with the fact that he was just a civilian who did the laundry. Kira's reply is to angrily retort that he was a civilian who did the laundry for an occupying military force that had enslaved her entire planet and species! Not for nothing does Kira admit that she was a terrorist in those days.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The High Ground". The Ansata terrorists are trying to force the Rutian occupation forces to leave their country.
- The Maquis of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, who were made up of colonists who refused to move off colony worlds that were ceded to the Cardassians in the truce that ended the war between the two nations.
- Babylon 5: The Narns were occupied by the Centauri for almost a century prior to the series but fought them off. The Centauri reconquer Narn following a war in season two, and the Narns resume their resistance.
- Happens not once, but three times in Ronald Moore's Battlestar Galactica series:
- Tom Zarek's movement to repudiate the Colonial federal government from his homeworld of Sagittaron, which led to Zarek blowing up a government building to achieve his ends and being imprisoned for it.
- A resistance movement arises on Caprica in order to attempt to expel the Cylon occupiers, which Helo, Boomer and Starbuck all make contact with at some point. They get rescued in the season two finale. The Cylons decide to leave the 12 Colonies.
- The anti-Cylon resistance movement on New Caprica, who justify their attacks (particularly their suicide attacks) on several grounds, among which are expelling the Cylons from their planet.
- Also in Caprica, Tauron is occupied by foreigners. Many people fled the planet to richer Caprica to become an underclass. Many of the Tauron-derived gangsters want to help their homeland... but a few don't care, only seeing how much profit can be made.
- Many, many Doctor Who stories, starting with "The Dalek Invasion of Earth". Notably interesting variations are in "The Mutants", "The Power Of Kroll" and "Planet of the Ood" in which humans are the occupying force.
- The 100 has the Grounders view the Sky People as invaders who must be cast out or destroyed. The Sky People aren't trying to occupy anyone, but they lack the means to return to space, and while on the ground they keep making reckless, poorly-thought out decisions that anatagonize the Grounders. By Season 3, the Sky People and The Grounders (or at least the Tree People) have reached a peaceful coexistence.
- The V (1983) franchise (no, not that V). A human resistance group tries to expel the aliens who have taken control of Earth.
- The eponymous Freedom Fighters, who are made up of United States citizens organizing armed resistance against their Soviet occupiers in New York City. Like the Selkath, they had some aid, from Colonel Bulba, disguised as a man named Mr Jones.
- In the Europa Universalis expansion InNomine you'll get two kinds of these types of rebels: "Patriots" seek to have areas of a certain culture defect to another state with that culture. (eg. french patriots in provinces owned by the Netherlands will try to defect to France) Nationalists support a particular nation-state, and either want to defect to that state if it exists, or recreate it if it doesn't.
- Half-Life 2 focuses on liberating Earth from the Combine.
- The first-person shooter Project Reality features Iraqi Insurgents as a playable faction, pitting them against the occupation forces of the US Army, US Marines, and British Army.
- A fairly prominent part of the in-universe history in Dragon Age: Origins, where Big Bad Loghain's personal xenophobia and Paranoia Fuel largely stems from his time as a La Résistance fighter struggling to throw the Orlesians out of Ferelden. Although he's shown to be right in at least one occasion that Orlais will try to conquer Ferelden again.
- The story of Valkyria Chronicles follows the exploits of a militia squad - well, Welkin says it best :
Welkin: Let's drive these Imperials back out of Gallia! Squad 7, move out!
- The first part of Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn focuses on the Dawn Brigade's efforts to force Begnion's oppressive occupation army out of Daein.
- The civilians caught in the crossfire between Soviet and NATO troops in Operation Flashpoint. The game's Resistance expansion pack is all about this trope and its campaign deals with it in a surprisingly nuanced matter.
- The Elder Scrolls
- In Morrowind, kicking the Empire out of Morrowind is an open part of Dagoth Ur's plan. This sentiment is actually shared by quite a few other groups, ranging from the ruthless gangster Camonna Tong to even honorable groups like House Redoran. It's just that those groups lack the resources to actually drive the Empire out, while Dagoth Ur certainly would if he gets his hands on all of the Tools of Kagrenac.
- The Stormcloaks are fighting to rid Skyrim of the Empire. In some respects, it's taken even another level deeper by The Empire itself, as, in the aftermath of the Great War, a humiliating peace treaty forced them into making large concessions to the Fascist Aldmeri Dominion, including allowing them to police the Imperial countryside and persecute Imperial citizens for worshiping Talos, the "Ninth Divine" and Deity of Human Origin whose divinity many elves refuse to acknowledge and who the Thalmor that lead the Dominion absolutely hate. Appropriately, The Empire treats the Stormcloak Rebellion as an attempt to undermine their efforts to stand up to the Thalmor. The Dominion is secretly encouraging both sides to fight and maintain a stalemate specifically to keep the Empire too weak to stand up to them.
- The Reachmen, the tribal inhabitants of the Reach in western Skyrim, have been resisting any and all groups who attempt to claim the Reach dating all the way back to the First Tamriellic Empire. While their successes have waxed and waned over that time, they experienced a resurgence during the Great War, successfully capturing the Nord city of Markarth and holding it for two years while the Empire was preoccupied. Though a Nord militia would eventually drive them out, they hold strong in the countryside of the Reach as the "Forsworn", led by Madanach, with their numbers swelling.
- This is ultimately revealed to be the motives of the Charr in Guild Wars, seeking to drive out the humans who occupied the ancestral Charr homeland of Ascalon. Also the motives of the centaurs in Guild Wars 2, again seeking to drive humans out of their ancestral homeland of Kryta.
- Both the Latin Junta and the African Warlords in March of War came to power by overthrowing the old colonial regimes in Latin America and Africa.
- This is the motive of the Al-Samad terrorist group in Alpha Protocol. which is clearly not based on Al-Qaeda. Though surprisingly, their leader is portrayed as something of a Noble Demon, genuinely being honest with Thorton about his ties to Halbech. If he hadn't shot down an airliner, he might be considered a heroic character.
- Crusader Kings II has nationalist and religious revolts (the latter are not to be confused with heretic revolts), wherein peasant rebels led by a character of a province's local culture or religion rise up against a different culture/religion liege. Cultural and religious differences also makes AI vassal rulers more likely to join independence factions against their liege.
- In Final Fantasy XIV, the resistance against the Garlean occupiers in neighboring Ala Mhigo serves as a subplot through much of the main story, until an extremist unleashes a Primal in a False Flag Operation which forces the Eorzean Alliance to finally take an active role in the conflict, thus setting off the events of the Stormblood expansion. Meanwhile, another resistance in the far eastern land of Doma rises up against the Garlean occupiers there as well, only to be brutally crushed; during the course of the Stormblood story, the Alliance decides to send aid to the Doman resistance (in the form of the player) in order to force the Garleans to split their attention between the two fronts, a plan which ultimately succeeds in liberating both nations.
- The Guiding Hand in Feng Shui is based upon the kind of Well Intentioned Extremists and out-and-out Knight Templar-ish people that made up the Boxers at the turn of the twentieth century.
- BattleTech has a few instances of this trope:
- Some Federated Suns and St Ives Compact planets that were former Capellan Confederation worlds had such movements, though the overwhelming majority were actually terrorist networks formed by the Maskirovka, the Capellan Confederation's secret police, and therefore not made of natives of the planets.
- All of the Clan Occupation Zones in the Inner Sphere ended up with these. They provided intelligence and shelter for Inner Sphere forces that came to raid the planets and harassed the Clan troops that garrisoned them. The Jade Falcons and Smoke Jaguars responded with brutal reprisals, in some cases even burning entire cities. Most other Clans were less harsh with their responses, though not always. One of the longest lasting and most powerful was the Motstand in the Ghost Bear Occupation Zone, which sponsored a long terrorist campaign against the Ghost Bears. They finally fell out of favor with the civilian population when they killed several hundred people in a bombing, including Christian Mansdottir, an elder statesman and beloved hero of the FRR. Overnight their image among Rasalhaguens went from "noble freedom fighters" to "dirty terrorists."
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, a combination of this and revenge is the motivation for Jet's freedom fighters. They're portrayed less than positively, due to their willingness to kill even civilians to reclaim their land.
- This is also the main source of conflict in The Promise comic book continuation. After the war ends, the Earth Kingdom forces all Fire Nation colonies out, only to discover that after generations of living there, people are less than willing to leave (especially the many mixed families). Eventually, they make these areas new neutral zones, neither belong to Earth or Fire. The largest of these becomes Republic City.
- Occurs in the fifth set of comics North and South when representatives of the Northern Water Tribe start modernizing the Southern Water Tribe in their own image ahead of opening a refinery that will distribute the large oil deposit that was found under the South Pole that the Northerners think the Southerners are too primitive to handle. A group of traditionalists resent the Northerners for disparaging and erasing their traditions (plus the fact that they'll never be equal to the other empires no matter how hard they try) and form a terrorist cell. We know that things will end peacefully since by Legend of Korra the Southerners are on equal footing with the rest of the empires and control their oil.
- This is the premise of Star Wars Rebels, where the Ghost crew steal supplies from the Galactic Empire, sabotage their operations, and convince citizens to unite against the Empire so that they can be strong enough to expel them from Lothal. However, that gets screwed over when Darth Vader and Thrawn arrive. Later on, it's come to the point of being a Hopeless War.