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 left-leaning Second Spanish Republic, in alliance with the Anarchists and Communists, fought against the Nationalists, a Falangist, Carlist, Catholic, and largely aristocratic group led by General Francisco Franco. The war was known as a struggle between democracy and fascism, particularly due to the international political climate. The Nationalists won the war in early 1939 and ruled Spain until Franco's death in November 1975.
Emilio Mola y Vidal, 1st Duke of Mola, Grandee of Spain was a Spanish Nationalist commander during the Spanish Civil War. He was a veteran of the African wars where he rose to prominence serving with the Regulars. He led the military uprising that culminated in 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 on the Iberian Peninsula in Europe. 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 and Melilla 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, and short-story writer. 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. This post is normally filled by a high-ranking military officer who retains the commission while serving in an embassy. Opportunities sometimes arise for service in the field with military forces of another 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 United States 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 involvement in the war in Europe became more likely, the term "fifth column" was frequently 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 the members that "Parliament has given us the powers to put down Fifth Column activities with a strong hand."In July 1940, Time magazine called fifth column talk 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. 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 6 June 1944. Italy entered the war on 10 June 1940 and invaded France over the Alps.
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was a British politician, army officer, and writer, who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. As Prime Minister, Churchill led Britain to victory in Europe in the Second World War. Churchill represented five constituencies during his career as Member of Parliament (MP). Ideologically an economic liberal and British imperialist, for most of his parliamentary career he was a member of the Conservative Party, which he led from 1940 to 1955, but for twenty years from 1904 was instead 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".
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.
Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic country in Northwestern Europe whose territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula; the remote island of Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard are also part of the Kingdom of Norway. The Antarctic Peter I Island and the sub-Antarctic Bouvet Island are dependent territories and thus not considered part of the kingdom. Norway also lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land.
John Langdon-Davies, a British journalist who covered the Spanish Civil War, popularized the term "fifth column" by publishing an account called The Fifth Column in 1940. The New York Times published three editorial cartoons that used the term on August 11, 1940.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." 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 1941 film Meet John Doe , 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?"
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, highly respected 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 that would amplify damage inflicted by a potential attack by Japanese naval and air forces.
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 next 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".
Alfred Hitchcock's Saboteur 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. 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 even 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.
"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.
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.
A puppet state, puppet regime, or puppet government is a state that is de jure independent but is de facto completely dependent upon an outside power. It is nominally sovereign but effectively controlled by a foreign or otherwise alien power, for reasons such as financial interests, economic or military support.
The Great Patriotic War, is a term used in Russia and other former republics of the Soviet Union to describe the conflict fought during the period from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945 along the many fronts of the Eastern Front of World War II between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany and its allies. For some legal purposes its period might be extended to 11 May 1945 to also include the end of the Prague Offensive.
The National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands was a Dutch fascist and later national socialist political party. 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.
Johan Bernhard Hjort was a Norwegian supreme court lawyer. Having joined the law firm of Harald Nørregaard in 1932, he continued the firm after World War II as Advokatfirmaet Hjort, which today is one of Norway's leading law firms. Hjort was also noted for his involvement with the fascist party, Nasjonal Samling, in the 1930s, but left the party in 1937 and became an active member of the anti-Nazi resistance during World War II. He was imprisoned by the Nazis and is credited with saving the lives of many prisoners through his involvement with the White Buses. After World War II, he rose to become one of Norway's preeminent lawyers, and was noted for his defence of gay rights and controversial artists, as chairman of the Riksmålsforbundet language society, and as a liberal public figure.
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.
Nearly every country and territory in the world participated in World War II, with the exception of only a few nations which remained neutral. The Second World War pitted two alliances against each other, the Axis powers and the Allied powers. The leading Axis powers were Nazi Germany, the Kingdom of Italy and the Empire of Japan; while the United Kingdom, the United States, the Soviet Union and China were the "Big Four" Allied powers.
"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.
Archbishop Damaskinos Papandreou was the archbishop of Athens and All Greece from 1941 until his death. He was also the regent of Greece between the pull-out of the German occupation force in 1944 and the return of King George II to Greece in 1946. His rule was between the liberation of Greece from the German occupation during World War II and the Greek Civil War.
Collaborationism is cooperation with the enemy against one's country in wartime.
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.
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.
Foreign relations of the Axis powers includes states which were not officially members of the Axis but had relations with one or more Axis members.
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 partisan groups participated in sabotage and skirmishes with German police forces. Resistance culminated in the 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.
Victor Andreas Emanuel Mogens was a Norwegian journalist, editor and politician for the Fatherland League.
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.