Definitions

Collaborationism

Collaborationism

[kuh-lab-uh-rey-shuh-nist]
Collaborationism, 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 murder, persecutions, pillage, and economic exploitation as well as participation in a puppet government.

In France, a distinction emerged between 'collaborators' and 'collaborationists'. 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. 'Collaborators', on the other hand, could engage in collaboration for a number of more pragmatic reasons, such as damage limitation 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.

Recent research by the British historian, Simon Kitson, has shown that France 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 France may negotiate from a position of strength. As Kitson has shown, the government engaged in many compromises along the way.

The term in this negative meaning is also used for German individuals and institutions cooperating with the Nazi regime, though in their case it was not a foreign occupation, and later to people cooperating with or helping other dictatorial regimes in their own countries, even when foreign occupation was not involved.

Etymology

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 escape of monarchists, and is itself derived from the Latin collaboratus, pp. of collaborare "work with", from com- "with" + labore "to work." Collaboration as "traitorous cooperation with the enemy dates from 1940, originally in reference to the Vichy Government of France and those who cooperated with or helped the Nazi Germany following the Battle of France defeat.

History of criminal collaboration

In France, a distinction emerged between the collaborateur and 'collaborationists'. 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. Collaborateur, 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.

Alleged collaborators

References

Sources

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