Collaborationism is cooperation with enemy forces against one's country.[1] Legally, it may be considered as a form of treason.[citation needed] Collaborationism may be associated with criminal deeds in the service of the occupying power, which may include complicity with the occupying power in murder, persecutions, pillage, and economic exploitation or participation in a puppet government.



The term collaborate dates from 1871, and is a back-formation from collaborator (1802), from the French collaborateur as used during the Napoleonic Wars against smugglers trading with England and assisting in the escape of monarchists, and is itself derived from the Latin collaboratus, past participle of collaborare "work with", from com- "with" + labore "to work." The meaning of "traitorous cooperation with the enemy"[2] dates from 1940, originally in reference to the Vichy Government of France and those who cooperated with or helped the Nazis, following the French defeat in the Battle of France.[3]

World War II

German-occupied zones


In France, a distinction emerged between the collaborateur and the collaborationniste. The latter expression is mainly used to describe individuals enrolled in pseudo-Nazi parties, often based in Paris, who had an overwhelming belief in fascist ideology or were simply anti-communists.[4] Collaborateurs on the other hand, could engage in collaboration for a number of more pragmatic reasons, such as preventing infrastructure damage for use by the occupation forces or personal ambition, and were not necessarily believers in fascism per se. Arch-collaborators like Pierre Laval or René Bousquet are thus distinct from collaborationists.[5][6]

Recent research by the British historian, Simon Kitson, has shown that French authorities did not wait until the Liberation to begin pursuing collaborationists. The Vichy government, itself heavily engaged in collaboration, arrested around 2000 individuals on charges of passing information to the Germans. Their reasons for doing so was to centralise collaboration to ensure that the state maintained a monopoly in Franco-German relations and to defend sovereignty so that they could negotiate from a position of strength. It was among the many compromises that the government engaged along the way.[7]

Low countries

The collaborators in Belgium were chiefly Walloons organized into the Rexist movement.[8] There was an active collaboration movement in the Netherlands.[9]


Vidkun Quisling (1887-1945), a senior officer in the Norwegian army, served the Nazis as prime minister. He gave his name to the high profile government collaborator.[10]


Leon Rupnik (1880-1946) was a Slovene general who collaborated as he took control of the semi-independent region of the Italian-occupied southern Slovenia known as the Province of Ljubljana, which came under German control in 1943.[11]


High-profile collaborators included Dutch actor Johannes Heesters or English radio-personality Lord Haw-Haw.[12]

Postwar Europe

Post-World War II Soviet-occupied Eastern Europe saw institutions and individuals collaborating with occupying Soviet forces until the Soviet-backed regimes in their countries collapsed in 1989 and 1990.

More recent examples of collaboration, according to some, have included institutions and individuals in Afghanistan who collaborated with the Soviet occupation until 1989 and individuals in Iraq and Afghanistan today who continue to work with American forces.

Among Palestinians

In Palestinian society, collaboration with Israel is viewed as a serious offence and social stain.[13] Suspects have even on occasion been killed:[14] in the few years preceding 2009, hundreds of suspected collaborators have been killed by fellow Palestinians.[15] In addition, during the period of 2007-2009, around 30 Palestinians have been sentenced to death in court on collaboration-related charges, although the sentences have not been carried out.[13]

In June 2009, Raed Sualha, a 15-year-old Palestinian boy, was brutally tortured and hanged by his family because they suspected him of collaborating with Israel. Palestinian authorities launched an investigation into the case and arrested the perpetrators.[15][16] Police said it was unlikely that such a young boy would have been recruited as an informer.[14]

During the Arab Uprising against British rule in Mandatory Palestine in 1936, a large number of the thousands of Arabs who died were accused of collaboration with Jews. These included people with contact with Jews, such as village elders, teachers, students, farm laborers, skilled laborers, nurses and businessmen. Many of those deemed pro-Jewish often retaliated, but more either left Palestine or ended contact with Jews out of fear for their lives.

Among Israelis

See also



  • Paul Webster, Petain's Crime: The Complete Story of French Collaboration in the Holocaust, Ivan R. Dee, 1999 ISBN 1566632498
  • The Oxford English Dictionary, vol.3, Oxford University Press.
  • Sweets, John F (1997), Review:La France a l'heure Allemande, 1940-1944. The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 69, No. 3 (Sep., 1997), pp. 611-613, University of Chicago Press .
Further reading


  1. ^ "Collaborationism", The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
  2. ^ p.469, Oxford English Dictionary
  3. ^ p.70, Webster
  4. ^ George Grossjohann. 2005. Five Years, Four Fronts. New York: Ballantine Books. p. 155
  5. ^ Philippe Burrin, France Under the Germans: Collaboration and Compromise (1998)
  6. ^ Gerhard Hirschfeld and Patrick Marsh, eds. Collaboration in France: Politics and Culture During the Nazi Occupation 1940-1944 (1989)
  7. ^ p.?, Kitson
  8. ^ Eddy de Bruyne and Marc Rikmenspoel, For Rex and for Belgium (2004)
  9. ^ Gerhard Hirschfeld and Louise Wilmot, eds., Nazi Rule and Dutch Collaboration: The Netherlands under German Occupation, 1940-45 (1992)
  10. ^ Hans Fredrik Dahl, Quisling: A Study in Treachery (2008)
  11. ^ Stevan K. Pavlowitch, Hitler's new disorder: the Second World War in Yugoslavia (2008) p. 142
  12. ^ "Nederlanderse-entertainer-sin-Duitsland" (in Dutch). Die Welt. 17 April 2010. Retrieved 7 April 2011. 
  13. ^ a b "Woman Convicted as Israeli Abettor". June 15, 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  14. ^ a b Palestinian boy 'hanged for collaboration', BBC News 12-06-2009
  15. ^ a b Khaled Abu Toameh, Palestinian family kills 15-yr-old son, Jerusalem Post 11-06-2009
  16. ^ Palestinian teen killed by his family, United Press International 12-06-2009
  17. ^ "Palestinian boy 'hanged for collaboration'". BBC News. June 12, 2009. Retrieved April 30, 2010. 

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • collaborationism — noun Date: 1923 the advocacy or practice of collaboration with an enemy • collaborationist adjective or noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • collaborationism — See collaborationist. * * * …   Universalium

  • collaborationism — noun The act of collaborating, especially with an enemy See Also: collaboration, collaborationist …   Wiktionary

  • collaborationism — n. principle of cooperating with an enemy …   English contemporary dictionary

  • collaborationism — col·lab·o·ra·tion·ism …   English syllables

  • collaborationism — noun act of cooperating traitorously with an enemy that is occupying your country • Syn: ↑collaboration, ↑quislingism • Derivationally related forms: ↑collaborationist, ↑collaborationist (for: ↑collaboration), ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Turkic, Caucasian, Cossack, and Crimean collaborationism with the Axis powers — Soldier of the Free Arabian Legion in Greece, September 1943. Contents 1 Ara …   Wikipedia

  • List of alleged collaborators — Collaborationism, as a pejorative term, can describe the treason of cooperating with enemy forces occupying one s country. As such it implies criminal deeds in the service of the occupying power, including complicity with the occupying power in… …   Wikipedia

  • collaborationist — collaborationism, n. /keuh lab euh ray sheuh nist/, n. a person who collaborates with an enemy; collaborator. [1920 25; COLLABORATION + IST] * * * …   Universalium

  • Collaboration with the Axis Powers during World War II — World War II seriesv · d · e …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”