Flemish National Union

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Flemish National Union
Vlaams Nationaal Verbond
Leader Staf de Clerq (1933–1942)
Hendrik Elias (1942–1944)
Slogan Authority, discipline, and Dietsland
Founded 1933 (1933)
Dissolved 1944 (1944)
Succeeded by none
Newspaper Volk en Staat
Ideology National Socialism
Fascism
Dietsism
Political position Far-Right
Colors Orange/Blue, Red/Black
Politics of Belgium
Political parties
Elections

The Flemish National Union (Dutch: Vlaams Nationaal Verbond, VNV) was a Nationalist Flemish political party in Belgium, founded by Staf de Clercq on October 8, 1933. De Clercq became known as den Leider ("the Leader").

Creation[edit]

The party initially grew out of the long-established Frontpartij, a moderate group that de Clerq had taken control of and moved to the right in 1932.[1] The VNV, as the Frontpartij became the following year, was tied to the idea of uniting the many Flemish parties in post-1920s Belgium into a single movement, an objective finally attained with the party's creation, and it moved on to advocate the creation of a pan-Dutch state, called Dietsland, to include both Flanders and the Netherlands. Its slogan was: Authority, discipline and Dietsland.

Along the way, the new party became more and more authoritarian in doctrine, and it quickly became a Fascist movement - despite including a large grouping of democratic elements.

The party controlled the Frontist newspaper De Schelde.[2]

Collaboration[edit]

When Nazi Germany invaded Belgium in 1940, de Clercq immediately chose its side, disregarding his own previous declarations that he would not collaborate should such a situation occur. Adolf Hitler chose not to install a civilian government (such as he had done in the Netherlands) but instead installed a government headed by Alexander von Falkenhausen of the Wehrmacht. This, along with the departure of Ward Hermans and René Lagrou to form the Algemeene-SS Vlaanderen,[3] led the VNV out of focus, forcing it to intensify its collaboration in order to gain influence. Hitler and SS-leader Heinrich Himmler made profit from the situation, and increased competition between various groups by founding some more extreme collaborationist groups like the 6th SS Volunteer Sturmbrigade Langemarck and DeVlag, the German-Flemish Workers Community.

De Clercq died suddenly in October 1942, and was succeeded by Hendrik Elias, a member of the more moderate side. Elias continued the collaboration but tried to come to terms with the military government to prevent the installation of a civilian government, which would be composed of Nazis. Elias failed, as Hitler installed the new body and declared the annexation of Flanders by Germany in 1944; seven weeks later, Belgium had been liberated by the Allies. The VNV was outlawed after the liberation of Belgium. Elias had fled to Germany, he was tried after the war and imprisoned until 1959.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Ishiyama, John T.; Brening, Marijke (1998); p. 1123
  2. ^ Clough, Shepard B. (1946); p.124
  3. ^ Rees, Philip (1991); p. 179

References[edit]

  • Clough, Shepard B. (1946) [1945]. "IX: The Flemish Movement". In Goris, Jan-Albert. Belgium. The United Nations. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 
  • Ishiyama, John T.; Breuning, Marijke (1998). Ethnopolitics in the New Europe. Lynne Rienner Publishers. ISBN 978-1555876104.