Leaders that stood by their people in times of crisis and war

History is punctuated by capable leaders and rulers who stood by their people in times of crisis. Here are some examples of some world leaders who stayed with their people through thick and thin.

King George VI

Modern generations may only know King George VI as the father of the current Queen Elizabeth or that guy from the King’s Speech but during his time, King George VI was known and loved by his people for sharing their plight at the height of the Second World War.

During the darkest days of ‘The Blitz,’ with German planes bombing London almost daily, the British Monarch chose to stay in his capital and suffer the same fate as his people instead of evacuating to the countryside with his wife and two children. It was a difficult decision (the royal couple was almost killed by the bombings) but one that proved popular among their subjects and built a sense of solidarity among the people of the United Kingdom to resist the Nazi onslaught.

Benigno Aquino Jr

Ninoy Aquino was a popular, young Filipino politician that was jailed and then forced into exile in the United States by the dictatorial Ferdinand Marcos government.

Despite being away from his country, Ninoy tried to galvanize international support for the pro-democracy movement in his home country and vowed to return to his people despite the threats of assassination by the Marcos government.

He chose to return to the Philippines in 1983. Before returning, he told the world that he was aware of the risks of his return but said “the Filipino is worth dying for.” He was shot in the head as he got off the plane.

Aquino’s assassination sparked a pro-democracy movement that eventually toppled the Marcos regime. His wife would become the country’s first democratically elected president.

Aung San Suu Kyi

Burmese students carry a portrait of Nobel peace prize laureate and leading opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was detained under house arrest in July 1989, during a rally 08 August 1994 outside the burmese Embassy in Bangkok marking the 6th anniversary of a mass anti-governmental rally in Rangoon. (Photo by KULTIDA PIRIYAPHAN / AFP)

Despite her tarnished reputation today, Aung San Suu Kyi was the darling of the world’s liberal movements for decades because of her fight against the military dictatorship of Myanmar/Burma.

Suu Kyi led the pro-democracy movement when she returned to her home country in 1988 and led peaceful rallies against the decades-long rule of the military in Myanmar.

Despite being arrested multiple times and being placed under house arrest for 15 years, Suu Kyi never left her people and chose to stay in captivity in Myanmar despite being offered exiled multiple times.

Her stubborn resilience eventually paid off and she became the country’s de-factor leader after defeating the military in elections in 2015.

King Christian X of Denmark

Until the Second World War, King Christian X was most known in his country as the monarch who tried to wrestle back some of his power from parliament during a political crisis. Defeated by the people and faced with the overthrow of the monarchy, King Christian accepted his role as a constitutional monarch with limited power and became a model figurehead for Denmark.

His popularity soared for his actions during the Second World War after his country was invaded by Nazi Germany. Instead of choosing to flee into exile, Christian stood by his people and stayed in his capital for the duration of the war. He made speeches galvanizing people and rode his horse regularly through town to show solidarity with his subjects and that he was unafraid of the Nazi occupiers.

He is also famous for slighting Adolf Hitler by telegram prompting Hitler to withdraw his ambassador to Denmark and expelling the Danish ambassador.

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