Flemish National Union
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|Flemish National Union
Vlaamsch Nationaal Verbond
|Leader||Staf de Clerq (1933–1942)
Hendrik Elias (1942–1944)
|Slogan||Authority, discipline, and Dietsland|
|Newspaper||Volk en Staat|
|Political position||Far Right|
The Flemish National Union (Dutch: Vlaamsch 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").
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. 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.
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, 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 an imprisoned until 1959.
- John T. Ishiyama & Marijke Breuning, Ethnopolitics in the New Europe, Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1998, p. 1123
- Philip Rees, Biographical Dictionary of the Extreme Right Since 1890, 1990, p. 179