Saturday Scheme 2: The Sixth Column

A ‘fifth column’, according to Encyclopædia Britannica, ‘is a clandestine group or faction of subversive agents who attempt to undermine a nation’s solidarity by any means at their disposal. The term is credited to Emilio Mola Vidal, a Nationalist general during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39). 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.’ Their modus operandi is ‘the infiltration of sympathisers into the entire fabric of the nation under attack and, particularly, into positions of policy decision and national defence’.

However, a specific situation demands a specific solution and hence the sixth column.



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