Collaboration with the Axis Powers during World War II

During the period 1940 – 1945, the German Nazi found itself in a position to dominate a number of countries Europe. The collaboration is the support for different countries engaged in the occupation forces of the Third Reich. This has been done through governments in place, as in Norway or France, of government obeying the Nazi occupation authorities, the political parties and newspapers in favor of the Nazis, or private initiatives (in company, the world of art and entertainment, etc..).

The collaborationism goes beyond the act of collaboration. This term refers to the support in principle, the defense and the promotion of cooperation at all levels, including the military alliance. It has a membership ideological or local forms of German Nazism.

Different types

According to Werner Rings, sociologist originally from Switzerland, there are different types of collaborations.

Neutral Collaboration

The employee said, “I accept that life goes on. In all knowledge, because it is my interest, I work directly or indirectly for the occupying power, without adhering to the policies and ideological principles of National Socialism. My attitude is dictated by circumstances beyond my power. The only alternative is bankruptcy, unemployment, famine, chaos and ruin. In the best of my ability, I want to survive the war and the defeat of my country. ”

The author Werner Rings place in this category the action of governments in countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands, whose government fled to Britain. It also ranks the economic cooperation of countries like France or Denmark. In principle, the winner can impose whatever he wants, if necessary by force, but he also knows that a peaceful and conciliatory country is easier to manage and more productive a country in revolt. According Rings, it is for this reason that Germany recognizes the sovereignty and neutrality of France and Denmark still have a government.

Rings for not only manufacturers who do business with the occupants practiced a “neutral collaboration”, but also at their level, workers who leave their livelihood in Germany.

Unconditional cooperation

The unconditional employee said: “I join my forces with the occupier because I agree with its principles and ideals. My attitude is not the result of circumstances, but the result of an allegiance to National Socialism. I am willing to make sacrifices for the occupying power as long as I can serve our common cause. ”

This is typically the attitude of Vidkun Quisling, who took power in Norway in 1942. In all Western countries, there appeared what Rings called “Hitler in miniature” and that could or would want to play the same role as Quisling, but the Germans do not put in power. This is the case d ‘ Anton Mussert the Netherlands and Frits Clausen in Denmark. Quisling Mussert and Clausen are the local Nazi party leaders. They can genuinely claim Nazis because they are considered close to the German race by German Nazis. In other countries, there are also very close parties Nazism and who want their country to become true allies of the Germans. They are generally called “collaborators.”

Among the collaborators include the Flemish National Party (VNV) of Staf De Clercq, the party rexiste of Leon Degrelle in Wallonia, the National People’s Rally of Marcel Deat and PPF of Jacques Doriot, or the Breton National Party. According Rings, none of these leaders that he is a Nazi or just a pure fascist never got Hitler’s confidence. The only exception is the Russian Bronislaw Kaminski who enjoys the full confidence of the occupants in the ” Republic of Lokoty (in) “near Bryansk.

Collaboration conditional

The conditional employee said: “I am cooperating with the occupying power that I do not approve of some aspects of the Nazi doctrine. With reservation, I am ready to work faithfully because I want to change the circumstances that led me to this approach. ”

According Rings, conditional cooperation is the official policy of Vichy France and the Danish government partially practice. In October 1940, Pétain offers collaboration Hitler had not claimed. In a speech broadcast, he said the French, that “… to keep the French unit… in a constructive activity of the new European order, I is now in the process of collaboration. Thus, in the near future, could be lightened the burden of suffering in our country, improved the lot of our prisoners, eased the burden of occupation costs could be relaxed Thus the line facilities and the administration and supply of territory. “(Shield Petain).

For Rings, attitude Vlasov, founder of the Russian Liberation Committee and the Russian Liberation Army, also falls within the “conditional Collaboration”

Tactical Collaboration

Tactical contributor said: “I agree to cooperate despite my hostility vis-à-vis National Socialism and the Nazi Germany. I do this for a number of reasons: to liberate the country from the foreign yoke and regain my freedom, avoid as far as possible, the mass murder of innocent people… collaboration conceals the strength and form of combat. ”

To illustrate this form of collaboration Rings cites the example of railway employees who could run trains during the day and engage in sabotage the night. Another example of this kind of collaboration: in January 1941, after the Germans threatened to block the supply of coal from Denmark, the latter agrees to deliver stars torpedo, but after having made ​​it virtually unusable. This attitude was also the president Emil Hácha of Bohemia and Moravia, which continues in 1939 to keep in touch with Edvard Beneš, fled to London.

According Rings, groups or organizations are encouraged to practice tactical collaboration: the Jewish consistory, to save time, the Communist parties before June 1941, to exist politically. Sometimes also some resistance groups are required to negotiate with the occupier: Tito in March 1943, for an exchange of prisoners, the Chetniks, much more repeated with both Germans with the Italians. In France, in 1944, the CMO of Bordeaux, the Germans agreed to deliver 45 tons of weapons parachuted from London in exchange for the release of 300 prisoners. In April 1942, just after his escape, Giraud agreed to meet Otto Abetz but reject proposals that are made.

Rings said that under the pressure of events, tactical cooperation can not last long: soon, the government of Emil Hácha, president of Czechoslovakia and then the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia from 1939 to 1945, must pass the tactical collaboration of conditional cooperation, then, unconditional from the summer of 1940. Communist parties pass outright resistance from June 1941, and even in Denmark, careful collaboration of the Danish government must end in August 1943 when it was dissolved.


In France, the collaboration policy is implemented by Marshal Petain under German occupation during the Second World War. This is Petain himself throwing this term in his radio speech of 30 October 1940, where he invites the French to collaborate with the enemy. But Hitler, who holds France to become a secondary power, not trying to drag France into a war alongside Germany. Despite their differences, the German leaders want to contact a legal authority and recognized as legitimate by the majority of the population to conduct the operation of the country at lower costs. Yves Durand objects in Hitler’s plans, France to a country like Norway, “For Hitler himself, France is not a racial partner or a central partner in the country where he committed Germany”. Petain and the Vichy forces, most admit that they can collaborate with the occupier. Believing safeguard the interests of France, they serve the best interests of Germany that would have done the declared fascists.


In Belgium, the government Hubert Pierlot went into exile in London, disagreed with the capitulation decided May 28, 1940 by Leopold III. The king considered a prisoner of war, but support the government in exile. Divide and conquer, the Germans are trying to create collaborationism of Flemish practicing Flamenpolitik, while also striving to oppose this movement to Rexists Walloons of Leon Degrelle.


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After the invasion of the country, the Axis dismember the territory of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and created several independent states, where the occupants Germans and Italians settled government employees based on local separatist claims. The Serbian government employee, directed by Milan Nedić, the Independent State of Croatia, led by chief Ustasha Ante Pavelic and the Kingdom of Montenegro are well established. Another part of Yugoslav territory is divided into German protectorates, Italian, Hungarian and Bulgarian. In these areas, the occupants use the resistance against the armed services like force anti-Communist Volunteer Militia, the Slovenian National Guard or the Russian Corps.


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The Czechoslovakia is dismembered in 1939, its territory being divided mainly in two areas: Bohemia and Moravia protectorate where President Emil Hácha remains in business, but powerless and subject to German military officers, and Slovakia, independent country led by Jozef Tiso, who is actively involved on the Eastern Front alongside the Germans.


Vidkun Quisling, leader of the local Nazi party Nasjonal Samling tent at the beginning of the occupation of running a pro-German government, but the Norwegian resistance deters Germans win. After a period of direct military government, Quisling finally returned to power in 1942, leading the Norwegian government employee. Quisling’s name then becomes an insult, used during the war to designate leaders collaborators, the term is still in use in the English and Scandinavian languages.


In Greece, Hitler appointed prime minister April 30, 1941 Georgios Tsolakoglou. Other Greek leaders are civilian employees that make up the pro-Nazi government, such Logothetopoulos Konstantinos and Ioannis Rallis.

Soviet Union

In Soviet Union, in areas controlled by the Wehrmacht, many people have helped the new occupants, whether by anti-Stalinism or patriotism (for areas such as the Baltic countries annexed by the USSR in 1940).

This is Antony Beevor in his book Stalingrad which appeared in 1999, dubbed the Soviet-collaborators Hiwi.

Andrei Vlasov General of the Red Army, defected after his capture and is an armed force, commonly referred to as the name of Vlasov Army and to assist the Germans.


There were conflicts between Soviet partisans and groups wishing to establish nationalist regimes in Belarus. Some resistance groups in the Baltic States and Poland wanted to restore the pre-1939 regimes. The Nazis immediately created a government of Belarus, the Belarusian Central Rada, which incorporated the principles of the Belarusian People’s Republic, but based on extreme nationalism.

The government was weak and entirely subject to Berlin. It was mainly used to enforce a regime of terror and repression. Some 700 villages were burned, sometimes with their inhabitants , and thousands of people were killed or deported under the administration of the Rada, which had no support from the local population. The Belarus was before the war one of the countries with the largest Jewish diaspora, the Jews of Belarus were almost completely decimated from 1942. The country had also several ghettos, including the Lakhva, famous for the revolt against the Nazis was held there in 1942.


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Allies of Germany

The term “collaboration” within the meaning of domestic policy collaboration is difficult to apply in the case of sovereign countries already before the war, and whose governments have deliberately chosen to contribute to the war effort of the Axis. However, the situation in some countries has been able to evolve and lead to current occupations, in which case the term political collaboration becomes relevant. In the opposite case, it is purely military alliances.


Losing the First World War, Bulgaria’s King Boris III was allied with Germany on 19 April 1941 due to its requests for revision of treaties and borders 1918) and its territorial claims on Yugoslavia (Macedonia), Romania (South Dobrogea) and Greece (Thrace Aegean). The collaboration was especially military (against Yugoslavia and Greece) and had little effect on domestic policy, even if the regime was authoritarian. The Bulgarian Jews were not worried as such (although some were deported, but for acts of resistance). Bulgaria breaks its alliance with Germany on 6 September 1944, following the entry of the Red Army on its territory and joined the Allies on 8 September 1944.


Attacked by the Soviet Union, then an ally of Germany, on 30 November 1939, Finland’s first financially supported by the United States, the United Kingdom and France during the Winter War. She sells territories in exchange for peace on 12 March 1940 but to recover, it is cobelligérante with Germany from 22 June 1941 when it attacks its former Soviet ally episode known in Finland as the war Continuation, following the Great Truce. Collaboration is exclusively military (against the USSR) and did not affect the domestic policy regime remains democratic. The (few) Finnish Jews were not worried. Finland breaks its alliance with Germany and requested an armistice with the USSR on 4 September 1944. The Wehrmacht therefore behaves as an enemy country, Finland declared war on Germany on 4 March 1945  during the Lapland War.


Loser of the First World War, Hungary of Admiral Horthy allied itself with Germany on 10 April 1941 because of its revisionist policy (requiring revision of the Treaty of Trianon and the borders of 1918) and its territorial claims on Romania (Transylvania), Czechoslovakia (border areas and Ruthenia) and Yugoslavia (Vojvodina). Domestic politics followed that of Nazi Germany, the authoritarian regime already turning to the military dictatorship. Hungarian Jews were excluded from economic and public life, and 75% of them were exterminated. In October 1944, while armed Soviet and Romanian invade the country, Admiral Horthy, who planned to sue for peace was arrested by the Germans. Ferenc Szálasi, leader of the Arrow Cross, is placed at the head of a new government, pursuing the war until the surrender of 4 April 1945.


The Italian leader Mussolini, Germany’s ally since November 1, 1936 (Rome-Berlin Axis) is deposed and arrested the 25 July 1943. On 12 September 1943, Otto Skorzeny delivers on the orders of Hitler. He gathers around him the most radical fascists, and reorganizing the fascist party, deposed the king and proclaimed the Republic, in the context of civil and foreign war. The new regime of the Italian Social Republic is taking place in areas controlled by the Germans who invaded Italy during the months of August and September territories. From that moment, while in Rome the royal government formed by Badoglio sign an armistice on 3 September 1943, joined the Allies and declared war on the Reich 13 October 1943, the Republican regime continues the war against the Allies. Kept in subjection enhanced, the regime sees granted equality in the agreements governing its relations with the Reich, but it maintains that supported by the German authorities, he is only a transmission belt despite its desire for autonomy.

Among Italian Jews, 17% were deported, two-thirds of the Republic of Salò. The Italian Social Republic expires 27 April 1945 with the death of Mussolini, who was killed by the Italian resistance.


Winner of the First World War and a member of the Little Entente, Romania defends the Treaties of 1918 : its borders are guaranteed by Britain and France on 13 April 1939. In September 1939, it allows Polish forces survivors to rally the British forces in Alexandria, bringing its fleet to them. King Carol II imprisoned the fascists. But the collapse of France, the dismemberment of Romania in favor of the Soviet Union, Hungary and Bulgaria and the coup of 6 September 1940 forced him to abdicate, and the regime of Marshal Ion Antonescu allied with the Axis 22 June 1941 to recover the lost territories against the Soviet Union. This is a military dictatorship that excludes Jews and Roma in economic and public life, and exterminate 47% of first and 20% second. In March 1944, the Red Army reached the Romanian border, and 23 August 1944, Antonescu was arrested, Romania declared war on the Axis (the Allies but not grant him the armistice until three weeks after September 12,).

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