fifth column

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fifth column

1. (originally) a group of Falangist sympathizers in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War who were prepared to join the four columns of insurgents marching on the city
2. any group of hostile or subversive infiltrators

Fifth Column


a term used to designate a group of General Franco’s agents who operated in the Spanish Republic during the National Revolutionary War of 1936–39.

The term “fifth column” originated in early October 1936, when the Francoist general E. Mola declared on the radio that the rebels were conducting an offensive on Madrid using four columns, while the fifth would strike from the rear at the decisive moment. The fifth column spread panic and engaged in sabotage, espionage, and diversionary activity. During World War II the term was used to designate groups of Nazi agents in various countries who aided the fascist troops in the capture of these countries.

References in periodicals archive ?
The propaganda against Parliament is being made by those having fifth column mindset and people will foil their nefarious designs as they are very much aware about them.
Baker renders The Fifth Column and the First Forty-nine Stories as First 49, thereby chucking Hemingway's only play along with the capital letters.
She accused them of having close connections with anti-Israel neighboring Arab countries, 'Many of these Arabs can be accused of treachery and of being a Fifth column that is expanding within the Jewish state,' she said.
But I do have a big problem with the policies pursued by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and with the Artabs who support the Iranian regime, whom I consider to be a fifth column.
A kind of fifth column from land seizers was formed in semi-informal settlements on Bishkek suburbs, who came from regions after March 2005, called by Usen Sydykov.
Frankly, we do not know the difference between the deviant sects of militants and the fifth column (.
It relates to Aaron's intentions and the intentions of the diabolical in Israel's midst, the fifth column who wanted to undermine the faith base of the people.
And, for the present, he focuses on Moslems as a Fifth Column in Europe and America; and he concludes with the failing policy of Western Appeasment, and what the West should do to confront this growing "menace" in its midst.
Those people, a dominant force in mainstream American media, comprise a fifth column in support of those skilled at waging war by way of deception.
Editor's note: This is the fifth column in a 10-part series chronicling the summer travel adventures of Welch and others.
Shariatmadari added that Mousavi was trying to "escape punishment for murdering innocent people, holding riots, cooperating with foreigners and acting as America's fifth column inside the country.