The term “Quinta Columna” is attributed to General Emilio Mola, who used it to refer to the advance of the rebel troops in the Spanish Civil War towards Madrid. The expression has since been used to designate a group of people who, in a situation of war or confrontation, maintain supposed loyalties to the enemy side, due to religious, economic, ideological or ethnic reasons. Such a characteristic makes the “Quinta Columna” a group of people who are potentially disloyal to the community in which they live and susceptible to collaborate in various ways with the enemy.
This idea and expression was subsequently used in all subsequent wars, such as World War II, and was used to refer to the French who, residing in France, were waiting for the Nazi Germany triumph in 1940. The term was also extended to the citizens of the Netherlands and Norway who showed more sympathy and loyalty to the Third Reich than to their own people, supporting the invasion of their home countries. Similarly, the United States used it as an expression during World War II to attack sympathizers of the Germans in our continent.
This is an example of the history of the “witch hunt” undertaken by the characters who took over trade in the Americas. Many took advantage of this situation to eliminate their commercial competitors and, in many cases, to take over their companies and assets.
On June 7, 1940, the Colombian government authorized Pan American Airways to take possession of all the airports and planes of SCADTA, remove all German personnel, and present it the following day as a change of name of the company from SCADTA “Colombo-German Air Transport Society” to AVIANCA “National Airways of Colombia.” This process is described in an article published in the Bogotá newspaper “El Tiempo” on August 7, 1940, which sheds light on the events that led to the elimination of all German personnel from AVIANCA. You can read the full article on the: “Quinta Columna”