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Posted: 10/4/2002 7:54:41 AM EDT
Okay, I have seen this term twice now. Fith Column: What does it mean?? Who has a definition?? Ben
Link Posted: 10/4/2002 7:58:09 AM EDT
IIRC, the fifth column (originally) was a secret counter-government in Germany during the reign of Hitler. But as I age, my memory fails me. It has something to do with something alongthose lines. I think maybe Heinlein touches on the origins of the term in "Sixth Column", if I am not mistaken, when the protagonists are discussing how they can defend America with the remnants of the US Army. (Six or seven people IIRC.) Scott
Link Posted: 10/4/2002 8:02:20 AM EDT
As I said, I am aging. [url]http://www.dictionary.com/search?q=Fifth%20Column[/url] A subversive group operating within a target area to sow discontent and seeds of counter-government discord. First used in 1936 to refer to operatives who were acting secretly inside Madrid, Spain. The city was under siege by four columns of troops, so the subversives were a "fifth column" acting behind the scenes.... Scott
Link Posted: 10/4/2002 8:02:23 AM EDT
According to Britannica.com, a fifth column refers to any clandestine group or faction of subversive agents who attempt to undermine a nation's solidarity. Who came up with the phrase, and what's with the columns? Emilio Mola Vidal, a Nationalist general during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), originally coined the term. As four of his army columns moved on Madrid, the general referred to his militant supporters within the capital as his "fifth column," intent on undermining the loyalist government from within. So the fifth column is a group of secret sympathizers or supporters of an enemy that engage in espionage or sabotage within defense lines or national borders. Recent conflicts have had their fifth columns: Iraqi insurgents in the Gulf War, Cuban rebels in the Bay of Pigs. Those columns didn't fare quite as well.
Link Posted: 10/4/2002 8:03:33 AM EDT
It's not a new term. It has been around for a long time, at least back to WWII, probably long before. It means a spy organization in a foreign or occupied country. I don't know the exact meaning, but that is how I have always seen it used.
Link Posted: 10/4/2002 8:03:44 AM EDT
Neener neener neener. Beat ya by three seconds...... Scott
Link Posted: 10/4/2002 8:04:15 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/4/2002 8:06:39 AM EDT by Benjamin0001]
Ohh, well I saw it used in a scentence in another thread and that was the second time I saw it, so I asked?? Hmmm, I guess your definition would make sense based on the scentence I saw it used in. My personal rule of thumb is when I come across a new word twice I ask about it. Thanks DSCOTT. LarryG, yeah it isn't new, but the term is new to me. I have never heard it before. Ben
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