Talk:Fifth column

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Sociology (Rated Start-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Sociology, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of sociology on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Military history (Rated Start-Class)
MILHIST This article is within the scope of the Military history WikiProject. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the project and see a list of open tasks. To use this banner, please see the full instructions.
Start This article has been rated as Start-Class on the quality assessment scale.

Ukrainian conflict[edit]

Took out the overt political references blaming Poroshenko for inciting conflict, for purposes of returning the article to an apolitical stance. (talk) 19:24, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

Muslim Brotherhood in late 2011[edit]

I removed the following, as late 2011 has not yet been reached so clearly the statement is false: "In late 2011, a group called "Muslims Against Crusades" created a campaign to introduce "Shariah controlled zones" and "Islamic Emirates" into the United Kingdom, in order to ultimately establish an Islamic State inside the United Kingdom. [1] This would fit the definition of "fifth column"." --duncan.lithgow (talk) 16:59, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

Au contrare, this is a great example of a fifth column. There have been numerous instances where it has made the news where 'Sharia controlled zones' and the Muslim fanatics enforcing these pseudo-vigilante regimes have beaten and done other atrocious things to people for batshit insane causes. Any instance where an outside force exerts it's 'way' on another party to make the other parties lands more alike to the ideals or agendas they pick or choose from their origin state would be a spot on example of a fifth column. It doesn't have to particularly be a group setting up a nation for invasion.

Islam is the most common element identified in fifth column activities in the past 30 years post-communism scares. I am actually surprised--well, not really--that it hasn't even made mention in this article given that we live in a times where a current fifth column exists in most nations, whether it can actually achieve it's goals of 'bringing forth a new caliphate' as many Islamic fifth columnists claim or not is irrelevant. It's a real agenda being pushed by, albeit a minority of loons, a portion of many first world nations demographics and something well and truly worth mentioning given that it is the only current example of a fifth column that makes the news almost daily somewhere in the world.

I can only deduce that it's lack of mention here is a great example of theist white-washing of Wikipedia, which as an anti-theist is something I irritatingly often notice goes on unabated under the guise of political correctness. But I am not naive enough to honestly expect any better from people deluded enough to deny all science and reason and believe in a fairy who lives in the sky, grants wishes, and watches you jerk off. :P BaSH PR0MPT (talk) 21:37, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

This entry is about the use of the term "fifth column", using the Spanish Civil War as a reference point, not about the broader phenomenon of infiltration, etc. Bmclaughlin9 (talk) 23:58, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
  1. ^


Shouldn't the term partisan be cited? Even Hemingway uses it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Davips99 (talkcontribs) 23:56, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

Other four columns[edit]

What are the other four columns? [[User:Anárion|File:Anarion.png]] 17:10, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The term was coined by General Mola in a radio address during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). As a Nationalist general, he sent four of his army columns to capture Madrid, which was being defended at the time by the Republican forces. The general referred to his hidden supporters inside the capital as his fifth column. -- towo 15:18, 2004 Sep 10 (UTC)
Ah... thanks. [[User:Anárion|АПА́ДІОП]] 15:22, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Why was this information removed from the article? I think that it should be mentioned.-- 07:22, 3 November 2005 (UTC)

The "Fourth Estate" is often used to refer to the Press/Journalism/Media. Sometimes, this is changed to "Fourth Column." In this way, a "Fifth Column" fits naturally into a progression of the first four columns being supporters of a society, and the fifth seeking to undermine it. However, this is merely a coincidence that only explains why the speech from General Mola entered so readily into the common lexicon.

"The "fifth column" follows, of course, four other "columns": the First, the Second, the Third, and the Fourth Estate." -- this should be removed or a cite listed. It was my impression that the term "fifth column" arose solely because of Gen. Mola's famous speech. The First-Fourth "estate/column" reasoning is quaint and interesting but without a legit citation it would appear to be only the author/editor's opinion.


Rather than singling out Britain as a nation believing Islamists to be Fifth Columnists, I think it should be changed to "Many Western nations [Many Westerners or Some political commentators] believe Islamists to be Fifth Columnists".

My perception is that Britain may have experienced higher than average immigration of peoples from largely Islamic countries (or Islamic people from mixed-religion countries), and that it may be a better example than others of a host country exhibiting some measure of "pop" fear that newcomers are not fully loyal. I don't know if any of these points is in fact correct, but I think Britain is an adequate example of a country experiencing this. However, I will concede that perhaps France could be seen as an even better example than Britian (and, to form a bit of a scale, America or Canada as being poor examples of this, due to fairly conventional numbers of Islamic immigrants compared to Britain/France). Dxco 22:57, 15 October 2005 (UTC)


"The title hints at the similarity of the protagonists with the supporters of Emilio Mola." Wasn't Hemingway fighting Mola? Would he want to identify his protagonists wtih him? If he merely coopted Mola's idea, the wording should be changed.

Acegikmo1 18:03, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)

"in that both were attempting to influence events while performing "behind enemy lines". " Keeping it in the context of the complete sentence, it makes perfect sense: Hemmingway is not supporting Mola's ideology but is instead illustrating his doctrine.

-- 05:07, 11 July 2005 (UTC)


This whole article needs to be reorganized. Lose the horizontal lines, get some headings going to organize the material and help it to flow better, and remove the redundant links in the term "Fifth Column".

That would be "Disorganized" ....

British Jews???[edit]

"Jews in early 20th Century Britain were suspected of being a disloyal fifth column, thought to be loyal to 'European' Anarchism and Bolshevism (the feared ideologies of the day)"

I think this should be removed, because if the term was coined int he late 1930s then it obviously wasn't used in the early 20th century.

Completely concur, the term 'fifth column' was coined in 1936 and popularized by Hemingway in 1938; it is anchronistic to apply it to views of Jews in the late nineteenth-early twentieth century.

Perhaps instead it should just be clarified, so it is clear that the British suspicions were an example of what today we would call a fear of a percieved fith column. Dxco 23:01, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

1930s IS the 20th century ...Moron ..

I wouldn't call anyone a moron; the point remains that no one was referred to as a fifth column prior to 1936. Jews-suspected-of-being-Anarchists would have been an issue before then and would not be referred to, in their own time, as a fifth column.

It's all moot chaps. The article has been religiously cleansed of any potentially truthful commentary! Although should any editors dare to bring up any of the thousands of contemporary examples, a better example going back to the 40's would be the whole allegations the Nazi's used claiming that the (ethnic) Jews were 'disloyal' during WWI and even going as far as alleging they were the cause of their defeat, ignoring the plethora of Jews who fought and died for their country at the time in said war! It was a key argument they put forward to help condition the populace into the eventual ethnic cleansing that took place and touched on the fear mongering of 'the otherness' of ethnic Jews at the time to demonize them further. BaSH PR0MPT (talk) 21:51, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

Again. This entry is about the use of the term "fifth column", using the Spanish Civil War as a reference point, not about the broader phenomenon of infiltration, etc. We're not looking for examples of a particular activity, but for examples of the use of the distinctive term "fifth column". Bmclaughlin9 (talk) 00:00, 29 June 2013 (UTC)

World War II[edit]

I believe this article needs more on the phenomenon of 'fifth column' agitation and paranoia during the Second World War, notably in Britain, the Low Countries, the USA and Canada. It perhaps reached a scale that can be described as one of the biggest outbreaks of popular hysteria of the century. In Britain during 1940, for instance, fear of the 'fifth column' produced from reports of parachute landings in the Netherlands, a frenzied reaction from the media, and belief in the existence of a 'fifth column' at the highest levels had massive implications: the 'careless talk cost lives' propaganda campaign, the promulgation of new laws for the security of the nation, the internment of enemy aliens, and so on. The article might also benefit from a brief discussion of the pyschological underpinnings that identify 'fifth columnists' among the population, particularly during times of war.

The article states that Japanese citizens were interned by the U.S. It makes no mention of the thousands of nisei -- American citizens of Japanese ancestry -- who were interned for years, or of the fact that much of their property, including busineses, was stolen while they were imprisoned. (talk) 01:46, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

And World War I[edit]

The Ottomen massacre of Armenians is another example. The Armenians were seen as a proxy army for Russia. The Armenians had a different religion and wanted their own homeland.

The perception that an internal minority (Fifth column) is working for an outside enemy can quickly switch our beehive brains into a killing machine!!. 

The Rwandan massacres of April 1994 were also prompted by fear of external invasion. In this case moderate Hutus were seen a fifth column for a Tutsi takeover. ``````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````` — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:19, 25 February 2017 (UTC)

French Resistance[edit]

The statement that the French Underground during World War Two is an example of 5th Column is incorrect in my opinion as the resistance was founded as a reaction to Germany's invasion of France. As such it was a resistance movement aimed at "defending" France against German occupation. The sentence "The French Underground is a particularly well-known fifth column." should thus be removed.

- Another possiblity would be to discuss the Resistance activities specifically in Vichy France, where they could be considered a Fifth Column. But I agree that the sentence as it stands is odd and misleading. (In context, it sounds almost like they were pro-German.)

"The French Underground is a particularly well-known fifth column." is completely miss-leading. An important element of the distinctiveness of this expression that the fifth column are loyal to the outsiders, not their nation. The French Underground where loyal to France & French liberation. The collaborators & the Vichy where the fifth column.

-- this last statement: "The French Underground where loyal to France & French liberation. The collaborators & the Vichy where the fifth column.", though perhaps true as a value judgment, is not accurate. What we call "Vichy" was the legally consituted govt of (unoccupied) France and was recognised as such by, among others, the United States. Hence why it is conceivable to consider, as someone above noted, the resistance within unoccupied France to be a Gaullist or Communist Fifth Column. As a side note, Vichyists considered themselves loyal to France and were often despised by radical and pro-German French fascists (Deat, Doriot, Brassilach). ....

But -- the term can be neutralized. The French Underground, like any fifth column that ever got the chance, served an army of invasion even if those invaders were genuine liberators. Remember the origin of the term in Francisco Franco describing the conquest of Madrid in the Spanish Civil War: four columns advanced on Madrid, and a fifth column awaited the other four and facilitated their victory. Franco considered that fifth column heroic and its members saw themselves as liberators of Madrid. For forty years the fifth column that aided Franco was understood to be heroic patriots -- not traitors -- at least in Spain. The French Underground co-ordinated its actions with directions from US and British armed services much as Franco's collaborators inside Madrid (and elsewhere) did.

If the term is neutralized to a military term, then the French Underground is one of the largest and most effective fifth columns ever to exist. I am fully satisfied that the French Far Right saw a Nazi victory as deliverance from the Third Republic as a godsend for "freeing" France from socialist and secular tendencies. Such people might now be understood as vile traitors in a France that rightly denounces a murderous and inhuman regime. But in view of the cooperation of the French Underground with British, Canadian, and US troops it is a fifth column in the military sense even if its purposes are entirely heroic. As military assistance to an invader it was a fifth column and a strategic consideration for the invader and part of the plans. Those invaders were fully satisfied with a free, independent, democratic France. What the French Underground did after liberation isn't an issue. Pbrower2a (talk) 23:25, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

Translation for גיס חמישי[edit]

Can anybody provide a translation or at least transliteration for the Hebrew term in the last paragraph? Unfortunately, for us non-Hebrew-speakers it isn't much help as it is. --Bucephalus 13:28, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

I fail to see the phrase in the actual article, but גיס חמישי is the usual translation of Fifth Column in Hebrew. It is not, howerver, an exactly literal translation. The word column, (Hebrew טור) implies a line, where as גיס is more literally a conscripted force, or a very large military unit.

Picture deleted[edit]

Because it was too large. If necessary, resize and properly frame. Pennywisepeter

Red Scare[edit]

Wasn't this term used in the US during the 1950's Red Scare (anti-communistist campaign)? I expected to see this referenced when I read this topic. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Nowax (talkcontribs) 18:53, 8 March 2007 (UTC).

The new "Fifth Column" is the Main Stream Media (MSM) for their efforts to undermine the war on terrorism, and their undermining of the troops who are defeating radical Islam. (2007)

Do you mean media like Fox News? By the way-- we are not at war with "radical Islam". We're at war with the people of Iraq -- whose country we are occupying so we can have unfettered access to their oil. If we were actually going after the "radically Islamic", we would have caught Osama bin Laden a long time ago, and then gone after Saudi Arabia -- where all the money funding radical Islam originates. (May 2007 -- Nowax)

VERY INTERESTING, new to Wikipedia talk page. wow very smart, thinking people, all IS NOT lost! I followed link to the great terror and French Revolution, unbelievable! did I miss this is school? there's so much to learn. All the goings ons in 1792-1794, in some ways, sounds like NOW. OK, back on topic... == Red Scare == pertaining to the fifth column , you gotta watch the following DVD; The KGB Connections 1982 (BBC? CBC?) this documentary covers, what could be considered the Russian/Communist the fifth column in western hemisphere 1950 - 1970. My DVD copy was contained in [1] purchased at Fleet Farm store in 2006. also contains most of the WHY WE FIGHT series of 1940's films - LOTS of references in these DVDs to fifth column (--Hillblade (talk) 02:53, 2 January 2008 (UTC))

Sorry, the reference didn't show up on page, 50 Movie Pack, WAR Classis, 2006 MILL CREEK ENTERTAINMENT (disc 11 / side A), The KGB Connections, 1982 CBC documentary (--Hillblade (talk) 03:01, 2 January 2008 (UTC))


During World War II, German minority[edit]

Nazi German terrorist and political networks were created long before the war, read the German article.Xx236 09:13, 22 October 2007 (UTC)


Isn't the fact that most of the Notes (4-11) are on Israel a bit odd?—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:22, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

- Agreed, but the focus as usual is on demonizing the Palestinians within Israel. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:41, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

Yeah, I love the patent hypocrisy of listing Palestinians as fifth columners while not mentioning the Americans who have been caught and sentenced for spying on the US for Israel. Of course, if you were to mention this tidbit of information, there would be such an outpouring of indignation that Wikipedia would have to cave and remove it. Way to keep it neutral Wikipedia. Rollo44 (talk) 15:41, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

  • The entry is about the term "fifth column" and the term has indeed been used to refer to Palestinians resident in Israel. Spies are not a "fifth column" phenomenon. Espionage is something different. I did a lot of editing on this entry recently and removed a lot of nonsense, but this strikes me as appropriate, though it in no way represents my politics. The entry is not "listing Palestinians as fifth columners" -- rather it provides examples of the use of the term. Bmclaughlin9 (talk) 17:52, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

potential copyright issue[edit]

See this and our opening para.Geni 16:33, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Regarding "fifth column", the 'thing' certainly preceded the term. There is no easy parallel in the world and "fifth column" is a poor fit. Biologically, if one considered a distributed organism, parts of which could be physically separated yet retain common identity, other than slime molds, we are it. It is an emergent property of humans. A group of one identity can live enmeshed in another and work for the benefit of its own supraidentity.

Why isn't America in the examples list? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:48, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

Usage section language[edit]

Near the end of the Usage section, there is the use of a term, or misspelling, I'm not sure. The term or whatever is "TA", as in, " well as TA return to these countries of territories...". Should "TA" just be "the"? It would seem to make more sense. Or is it some obscure abbreviation? --TechnoDanny (talk) 22:07, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

Internment reference removed[edit]

There was a mention of the internment of German descendants in Britain, Canada and Japan, but it was a short two sentences and there was no mention of Japan's internment of Americans in the Philippines or elsewhere or similar internments in countries around the world. Instead of adding that in, and then requiring a line about the different citizenship rules (America being in the distinct minority of countries that follow Jus soli or right of the soil citizenship rules, meaning children born in America are citizens regardless of the parents citizenship), I just removed the reference. It didn't seem to add anything to the understanding of "fifth column". If there were some quotes using the phrase, however, then I could see including some info. --Bruce Hall (talk) 14:55, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Citation not needed[edit]

In the 'Later Usage' section, a "citation needed" has been added to the blurb regarding Heinlein's book Sixth Column. This seems rather idiotic as the book would be the citation - you must read the book to obtain the information contained in the blurb. The purpose of a citation is to provide a reference to a specific location, not explicit in the text, that a reader can look to validate the statement made by the author. Since the location in this scenario is an entire book and is referenced in the text of the statement ("Robert A. Heinlein's 1949 science-fiction novel Sixth Column"), requiring a citation is redundant and somewhat silly. Propose to remove the tag. AnonTech (talk) 19:27, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

It needed a reference instead of just a wikilink. Yes, the book is the citation. A book citation is more than the name of the author and the title. And in this case an actual citation is available. Bmclaughlin9 (talk) 01:37, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

City of Heroes[edit]

This MMORPG had an NPC element called "The Fifth Column" with German Nazi markings that were eventually removed. The game has been decommissioned, and this reference may be hardly relevant to the article, but I figured it would be worth a mention. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:51, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified one external link on Fifth column. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, you may follow the instructions on the template below to fix any issues with the URLs.

You may set the |checked=, on this template, to true or failed to let other editors know you reviewed the change. If you find any errors, please use the tools below to fix them or call an editor by setting |needhelp= to your help request.

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

If you are unable to use these tools, you may set |needhelp=<your help request> on this template to request help from an experienced user. Please include details about your problem, to help other editors.

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 13:24, 30 September 2017 (UTC)