Collaboration in war refers to the willful cooperation of local populations or elites with a foreign invader in a time of war.
Collaboration in war refers to the willful cooperation of local populations or elites with a foreign invader in a time of war. This can involve
Invading armies often seek the collaboration of enemy populations in order to limit casualties and expenditure of resources. Subversive activity by collaborators behind enemy lines can hasten the collapse of a defending force. Likewise, by co-opting local administrative personnel, an invader can improve security, exploitation, and communications in its occupied territories at relatively little cost. Regardless of motive, wartime collaboration can result in significant and lasting changes for a population. Whether successful or not, the presence of collaboration may ultimately force a society to redefine itself, both politically and culturally.
Collaboration has existed in some form as long as groups of people with divided loyalties and survival instincts have been in conflict with one another. Before the rise of the modern nation-state, such behavior did not necessarily have the ugly connotations it has today.
Greek loyalty to the city-state was made evident in the
In their later campaigns of expansion, the Romans actively sought the collaboration of local auxiliaries, especially in the form of cavalry, which they lacked. From the point of view of the collaborators, however, such acts did not constitute treason. Troops in auxiliary units were primarily loyal to their leader, who might well choose to ally with the Romans against other tribes for personal gain. Thus, Julius Caesar conquered Gaul with the help of other Gauls, but their tribal nature meant that, like the Greek Medizers, they were more allies than collaborators.
The medieval period saw few developments in Western concepts of collaboration. Despite the bonds of chivalry, the
Religious wars, such as the
The centralization of military and political authority in Europe that followed the
The age of revolution brought new, ideological motives for collaboration.
Napoleon’s conquests were not equaled until
World War II introduced a new term for collaborators. During and since the conflict, collaborators came to be referred to as
Other groups collaborated with the Nazis on ideological grounds, but without subordinating their ideas so completely to German chancellor
German and Italian occupation forces were able to use religious and ethnic divisions in the Balkans to their advantage, gaining collaborators to help administer and police the conquered territories. A fascist regime was established in
As the war progressed and partisan resistance became greater, local auxiliaries became increasingly important to Axis policies in occupied Europe. Large numbers were recruited in the occupied
Collaboration remains an important goal of occupation forces in present operations, though for very different aims and in new ways. In Afghanistan,
Dean, Martin. Collaboration in the Holocaust: Crimes of the Local Police in Belorussia and Ukraine, 1941-44. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000. Dean catalogs the actions of Belorussian and Ukrainian auxiliaries in the antipartisan campaign and genocide in the east. These forces outnumbered their Nazi colleagues. Ghazarian, Jacob G. The Armenian Kingdom in Cilicia During the Crusades: The Integration of Cilician Armenians with the Latins, 1080-1393. Richmond, Surrey, England: Curzon, 2000. Ghazarian traces Armenian efforts to form an independent kingdom in Cilicia between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries. Part of their strategy was to ally with the Crusaders against their former masters. Gillis, Daniel. Collaboration with the Persians. Wiesbaden, Germany: Franz Steiner, 1979. In one of the few works to deal explicitly with concepts of collaboration in the ancient world, Gillis analyzes the actions of Greek Medizers in the Persian War. Hoidal, Oddvar K. Quisling: A Study in Treason. Oslo: Norwegian University Press, 1989. Hoidal’s is the most thorough account of the archetypal collaborator: Vidkun Quisling. Alongside biography, Hoidal ably places Quisling in his Norwegian and European context. Jackson, Julian. France: The Dark Years, 1940-1944. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. Dividing his focus between collaboration and resistance in occupied France, Jackson argues that the Vichy regime enjoyed some popular backing. Tomasevich, Jozo. War and Revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945: Occupation and Collaboration. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2001. Tomasevich focuses on Pavelić’s regime in Croatia, arguing that his collaboration was misguided: The Axis would never have allowed the complete independence Pavelić desired.
Peace Movements and Conscientious Objection to War
Prisoners and War
War Crimes and Military Justice