A fifth column is any group of people who undermine a larger group from within, usually in favour of an enemy group or nation. The activities of a fifth column can be overt or clandestine. Forces gathered in secret can mobilize openly to assist an external attack. This term is also extended to organised actions by military personnel. Clandestine fifth column activities can involve acts of sabotage, disinformation, or espionage executed within defense lines by secret sympathizers with an external force.
During the Siege of Madrid in the Spanish Civil War, Nationalist general Emilio Mola told a journalist in 1936 that as his four columns of troops approached Madrid, a "fifth column" (Spanish : Quinta columna) of supporters inside the city would support him and undermine the Republican government from within. :126–127
The Siege of Madrid was a two and a half year siege of the Spanish capital city of Madrid, during the Spanish Civil War of 1936 to 1939. The city, besieged from October 1936, eventually fell to the Francoist armies on 28 March 1939. Madrid was held by various forces loyal to the Spanish Republic and was besieged and subject to aerial bombardment by the rebel faction under General Francisco Franco. The Battle of Madrid in November 1936 saw the most intense fighting in and around the city when the Nationalists made their most determined attempt to take the Republican capital.
The Spanish Civil War took place from 1936 to 1939. Republicans loyal to the elected, left-leaning Second Spanish Republic, in alliance with the Anarchists and Communists, fought against a revolt by the Nationalists, an alliance of Falangists, Monarchists, Carlists, conservatives and Catholics, led by a military clique among whom General Francisco Franco soon achieved a preponderant role. Due to the international political climate at the time, the war had many facets, and different views saw it as class struggle, a war of religion, a struggle between dictatorship and republican democracy, between revolution and counterrevolution, between fascism and communism. It has been frequently called the "dress rehearsal" for World War II.
Emilio Mola y Vidal, 1st Duke of Mola, Grandee of Spain was one of the three leaders of the Nationalist coup of July 1936, which started the Spanish Civil War.
The term was then widely used in Spain. Ernest Hemingway used it as the title of his only play, which he wrote in Madrid while the city was being bombarded, and published in 1938 in his book The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories .
Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.
Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American journalist, novelist, short-story writer, and sportsman. His economical and understated style—which he termed the iceberg theory—had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his adventurous lifestyle and his public image brought him admiration from later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, and he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He published seven novels, six short-story collections, and two non-fiction works. Three of his novels, four short-story collections, and three non-fiction works were published posthumously. Many of his works are considered classics of American literature.
The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories is an anthology of writings by Ernest Hemingway published by Scribner's on October 14, 1938. It contains Hemingway's only full-length play, The Fifth Column, and 49 short stories.
Though Mola's 1936 usage is widely regarded as the origins of the phrase, historian Christopher Clark quotes a February 1906 letter by Austrian military attaché Joseph Pomiankowski using the phrase, "the fifth-column work of the [Serbian] Radicals in peacetime, which systematically poisons the attitude of our South Slav population and could, if the worst came to the worst, create very serious difficulties for our army."
Sir Christopher Munro Clark, is an Australian historian working in England. He is the twenty-second Regius Professor of History at the University of Cambridge. In 2015 he was knighted for his services to Anglo-German relations.
A military attaché is a military expert who is attached to a diplomatic mission, often an embassy. This post is normally filled by a high-ranking military officer who retains his commission while serving in an embassy. Opportunities sometimes arise for service in the field with military forces of another sovereign state.
The People's Radical Party was a political party in the Kingdom of Serbia and Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Yugoslavia) formed on 8 January 1881. The party was abolished after the establishment of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) in 1945.
Some writers, mindful of the origin of the phrase, use it only in reference to military operations rather than the broader and less well defined range of activities that sympathizers might engage in to support an anticipated attack.
The examples and perspective in this section deal primarily with the USA and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (February 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
By the late 1930s, as American involvement in the war in Europe became more likely, the term "fifth column" was commonly used to warn of potential sedition and disloyalty within the borders of the United States. The fear of betrayal was heightened by the rapid fall of France in 1940, which some blamed on internal weakness and a pro-German "fifth column". A series of photos run in the June 1940 issue of Life magazine warned of "signs of Nazi Fifth Column Everywhere". In a speech to the House of Commons that same month, Winston Churchill reassured MPs that "Parliament has given us the powers to put down Fifth Column activities with a strong hand."In July 1940, Time magazine referred to talk of a fifth column as a "national phenomenon".
The Battle of France, also known as the Fall of France, was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries during the Second World War. France had previously invaded Germany in 1939. In the six weeks from 10 May 1940, German forces defeated Allied forces by mobile operations and conquered France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, bringing land operations on the Western Front to an end until the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944. Italy entered the war on 10 June 1940 and invaded France over the Alps.
The House of Commons, officially the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the upper house, the House of Lords, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. Owing to shortage of space, its office accommodation extends into Portcullis House.
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was a British politician, army officer, and writer. He was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, when he led Britain to victory in the Second World War, and again from 1951 to 1955. Churchill represented five constituencies during his career as a Member of Parliament (MP). Ideologically an economic liberal and imperialist, for most of his career he was a member of the Conservative Party, which he led from 1940 to 1955, but from 1904 to 1924 was a member of the Liberal Party.
In August 1940, The New York Times mentioned "the first spasm of fear engendered by the success of fifth columns in less fortunate countries".One report identified participants in Nazi "fifth columns" as "partisans of authoritarian government everywhere," citing Poland, Czechoslovakia, Norway, and the Netherlands. During the Nazi invasion of Norway, the head of the Norwegian fascist party, Vidkun Quisling, proclaimed the formation of a new fascist government in control of Norway, with himself as Prime Minister, by the end of the first day of fighting. The word "quisling" soon became a byword for "collaborator" or "traitor".
The New York Times is an American newspaper based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership. Founded in 1851, the paper has won 127 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. The Times is ranked 18th in the world by circulation and 3rd in the U.S..
Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres (120,733 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With a population of approximately 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, and Szczecin.
Czechoslovakia, or Czecho-Slovakia, was a sovereign state in Central Europe that existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until its peaceful dissolution into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on 1 January 1993.
The New York Times on August 11, 1940 featured three editorial cartoons using the term.John Langdon-Davies, a British journalist who covered the Spanish Civil War, wrote an account called The Fifth Column which was published the same year. In November 1940, Ralph Thomson, reviewing Harold Lavine's Fifth Column in America, a study of Communist and fascist groups in the U.S., in The New York Times, questioned his choice of that title: "the phrase has been worked so hard that it no longer means much of anything."
Immediately following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox issued a statement that "the most effective Fifth Column work of the entire war was done in Hawaii with the exception of Norway."In a column published in The Washington Post , dated 12 February 1942, the columnist Walter Lippmann wrote of imminent danger from actions that might be taken by Japanese Americans. Titled "The Fifth Column on the Coast," he wrote of possible attacks that could be made along the West Coast of America that would amplify damage inflicted by a potential attack by Japanese naval and air forces. Suspicion about an active fifth column on the coast led eventually to the forced internment of Japanese Americans.
During the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in December 1941 said the indigenous Moro Muslims were "capable of dealing with Japanese fifth columnists and invaders alike".Another in the Vancouver Sun the following month described how the large population of Japanese immigrants in Davao in the Philippines welcomed the invasion: "the first assault on Davao was aided by numbers of Fifth Columnists–residents of the town".
James Ellroy heavily references the presence of fifth column activities in Los Angeles following the attacks on Pearl Harbour in his novels, Perfidia and This Storm.
In the US an Australian radio play, The Enemy Within, proved to be very popular, though this popularity was due to the belief that the stories of fifth column activities were based on real events. In December 1940 the Australian censors had the series banned.
British reviewers of Agatha Christie's novel N or M? in 1941 used the term to describe the struggle of two British partisans of the Nazi regime working on its behalf in England during World War II.
In Frank Capra's film Meet John Doe (1941), newspaper editor Henry Connell warns the politically naïve protagonist, John Doe, about a businessman's plans to promote his own political ambitions using the apolitical John Doe Clubs. Connell says to John: "Listen, pal, this fifth-column stuff is pretty rotten, isn't it?", identifying the businessman with anti-democratic interests in the United States. When Doe agrees, he adds: "And you'd feel like an awful sucker if you found yourself marching right in the middle of it, wouldn't you?"
Alfred Hitchcock's Saboteur (1942) features Robert Cummings asking for help against "fifth columnists" conspiring to sabotage the American war effort.[ citation needed ] Soon the term was being used in popular U.S. entertainment.
Several World War II era animated shorts include the term. Cartoons of Porky Pig asked any "fifth columnists" in the audience to leave the theater immediately.In Looney Tunes' Foney Fables, the narrator of a comic fairy tale described a wolf in sheep's clothing as a "fifth columnist". There was a Merrie Melodies series that ran in 1943 titled The Fifth-Column Mouse. Comic books also contained references to the Fifth column.
Graham Greene, in The Quiet American (1955) famously uses the phrase, "Fifth Column, Third Force, Seventh Day" in the second chapter.
The V franchise is a set of TV shows, novels and comics about an alien invasion of Earth. A group of aliens who are opposed to the invasion, and who assist the human Resistance Movement are called The Fifth Column.
In the episode "Flight Into the Future" from the 1960's TV show "Lost In Space", Dr. Smith was referred to as the fifth columnist of the Jupiter 2 expedition. In the series first episode he was a secret agent sent to sabotage the mission who got caught on board at liftoff.
Popular almost weekly rhetorical assault the new cycle, the people who make it and occasionally themselves the Podcast "The Fifth Column"hosted by Kmele Foster, Matt Welch, Michael C. Moynihan, and Anthony Fisher.
Quisling is a term originating in Norway, which is used in Scandinavian languages and in English for a person who collaborates with an enemy occupying force – or more generally as a synonym for traitor. The word originates from the surname of the Norwegian war-time leader Vidkun Quisling, who headed a domestic Nazi collaborationist regime during World War II.
Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Jonssøn Quisling was a Norwegian military officer and politician who nominally headed the government of Norway during the occupation of the country by Nazi Germany during World War II. He first came to international prominence as a close collaborator of explorer Fridtjof Nansen, organizing humanitarian relief during the Russian famine of 1921 in Povolzhye. He was posted as a Norwegian diplomat to the Soviet Union, and for some time also managed British diplomatic affairs there. He returned to Norway in 1929, and served as Minister of Defence in the governments of Peder Kolstad (1931–32) and Jens Hundseid (1932–33), representing the Farmers' Party.
The Axis powers, also known as "Rome–Berlin–Tokyo Axis", were the nations that fought in World War II against the Allies. The Axis powers agreed on their opposition to the Allies, but did not completely coordinate their activity.
The National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands was a Dutch fascist and later national socialist political party that called itself a "movement". As a parliamentary party participating in legislative elections, the NSB had some success during the 1930s. It remained the only legal party in the Netherlands during most of the Second World War.
Anton Adriaan Mussert was one of the founders of the National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands (NSB) and its formal leader. As such, he was the most prominent Dutch fascist before and during World War II. During the war, he was able to keep this position, due to the support he received from the Germans. After the war, he was convicted and executed for high treason.
Defence Regulation 18B, often referred to as simply 18B, was one of the Defence Regulations used by the British Government during the Second World War. The complete name for the rule was Regulation 18B of the Defence (General) Regulations 1939. It allowed the internment of people suspected of being Nazi sympathisers. The effect of 18B was to suspend the right of affected individuals to habeas corpus.
"The Darkest Hour" is a phrase coined by British prime minister Winston Churchill to describe the period of World War II between the Fall of France in June 1940 and the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, when the British Empire and Commonwealth stood alone against the Axis Powers in Europe.
The Allies of World War II, called the "United Nations" from the 1 January 1942 declaration, were the countries that together opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War (1939–1945). The Allies promoted the alliance as a means to control German, Japanese and Italian aggression.
Collaborationism is cooperation with the enemy against one's country of citizenship in wartime. The term is most often used to describe the cooperation of civilians with the occupying Axis Powers, especially Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, during World War II. Motivations for collaboration by citizens and organizations included nationalism, ethnic hatred, anti-communism, antisemitism, opportunism, self-defense, or often a combination of these factors. Some collaborators in World War II committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, or atrocities such as the Holocaust. More often collaborators simply "went along to get along," attempting to benefit from the occupation or simply survive. The definition of collaborationism is imprecise and subject to interpretation.
Divide and Conquer (1943) is the third film of Frank Capra's Why We Fight propaganda film series, dealing with the Nazi conquest of Western Europe in 1940.
After the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was invaded by the Axis powers during World War II, all of Bosnia was ceded to the newly created Independent State of Croatia. Axis rule in Bosnia led to widespread persecution and mass-killings of native undesirables and anti-fascists. Many Serbs themselves took up arms and joined the Chetniks, a Serb nationalist and royalist resistance movement that conducted ineffective guerrilla warfare against the occupying Nazi forces, only to collaborate with them later in the war against the communist partisans. The Chetniks were also known to persecute and murder non-Serbs and communist sympathizers. On 12 October 1941 a group of 108 notable Muslim citizens of Sarajevo signed the Resolution of Sarajevo Muslims by which they condemned the persecution of Serbs organized by Ustaše, made distinction between Muslims who participated in such persecutions and whole Muslim population, presented information about the persecutions of Muslims by Serbs and requested security for all citizens of the country, regardless of their identity.
Bosnia was the geographical mother of the partisan movement, providing ample space amongst its mountains for training and development.
The Allied leaders of World War II listed below comprise the important political and military figures who fought for or supported the Allies during World War II. Engaged in total war, they had to adapt to new types of modern warfare, on the military, psychological and economic fronts.
František Moravec CBE was the chief Czechoslovak military intelligence officer before and during World War II. He moved to the United States after the war.
During World War II, the Soviet Union occupied and annexed several countries effectively handed over by Nazi Germany in the secret protocol Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of 1939. These included Eastern Poland, as well as Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, part of eastern Finland and eastern Romania. Apart from Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and post-war division of Germany, USSR also occupied and annexed Carpathian Ruthenia from Czechoslovakia in 1945.
Otto Špaček was a Czechoslovakian World War II fighter pilot who fought against Nazi Germany in Great Britain and France.
Resistance to the German occupation of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia during World War II is a scarcely documented subject. Compared to other countries under German occupation, there was little formal resistance, partly due to an effective German policy that deterred acts of resistance and annihilated organizations of resistance. In the early days of the war, the Czech population participated in boycotts of public transport and large-scale demonstrations. Later on, armed communist partisan groups participated in sabotage and skirmishes with German police forces. Resistance culminated in the so-called Prague uprising of May 1945; with Allied armies approaching, about 30,000 Czechs seized weapons. Four days of bloody street fighting ensued before the Soviet Red Army entered the nearly liberated city.
The War That Came Early is a six-volume alternate history series by Harry Turtledove, in which World War II begins in 1938 over Czechoslovakia. The first volume, Hitler's War, was released in hardcover in 2009 without a series title. Subsequently, the paperback edition was announced as The War That Came Early: Hitler's War.
Gerhard von Mende was a Baltic German who was head of the Caucasus division at the Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territory, or Ostministerium, in Nazi Germany. He was a scholar on Asiatic and Muslim minorities within the Soviet Union and was considered the pioneer of mobilising them as a fifth column against the Communists, while being one of their staunchest advocates within Nazi Germany and post-war West Germany. Following World War II, he established the Research Service Eastern Europe through financing by the West German foreign office, a company which replicated his activities at the Ostministerium, becoming an intelligence asset for the CIA and BND.