How does a democracy deal with threats to its stability and continued existence when those threats come from political parties that play the democratic game? In Defending Democracy, political scientist Giovanni Capoccia studies key European nations between World Wars I and II which survived such democratic crises. The in depth analysis of cases of difficult democratic stability such as the interwar democratic systems of Finland, Czechoslovakia, and Belgium highlights the importance of strategies of response by the incumbents in preserving democracy against strong and rising extremist parties and movements. By comparing these countries with the well known democratic failures of interwar Italy and Germany, Capoccia adds a further, more genuinely political, perspective to the study of the determinants of democratic persistence beyond the analysis of socio-economic preconditions. A comprehensive and thoughtful historical analysis of the democracies of interwar Europe, Defending Democracy provides a unique perspective on the many lessons to be learned from their successes and failures. With this exclusively empirical investigative approach, Capoccia develops a methodology for analyzing contemporary democracies - such as Algeria, Turkey, Israel and others - where similar political conditions are present. Given the rise of terrorism and the persistence of extremism in both established and new democracies today, continued research and dialogue on the defense of democracy are necessary for its preservation.