Between 1983 and 1985, Sarah Douglas could be seen playing a Fifth Columnist-like character on 'Falcon Crest' and in the top-rated TV mini-series, 'V: The Final Battle'. Sarah told 'United Press International', "American prime time television has invented an entirely new category of roles for British actresses. And I must give credit to Joan (Collins) for her marvelously malevolent part in 'Dynasty'. 

"I play more of an outright villainess than bitch as Pamela Lynch in 'Falcon Crest'. Pamela is a thoroughly bad woman and a delight to play. The really important thing is our turn of phrase. A British woman’s way with words makes her more cynical than her American counterpart. We get away with murder when we deliver bitchy lines with a wry smile and a theatrically trained voice. 

"The delivery disconcerts the audience because they never know whether we quite mean what we’re saying, most of the time, of course. I very much do mean what I’ve said, and so does the character of Pamela. I’m basically trashy, but the accent helps because Americans can't possibly believe they've heard what I’ve said, especially if it is wickedly racy. 

"Historically, a certain class of English family had made a point of rearing female children to be frightfully British in manner. It is most clearly seen in the Royal family – the stiff upper lip. Maggie Thatcher is another good example of the Englishwoman’s aloofness and concealment of emotion. Actually, I’m quite well-bred. I was brought up in the English tradition of ever-so-nice circumstances." 

The word "fifth column" was first used during the Spanish civil war of 1936-39. It was during the siege of Madrid that the Nationalist Generalissimo Francisco Franco divided his forces into 4 columns to attack against the Loyalists. It was understood each of the column was more or less independent of each other, but all were advancing against the defending troops. 

However Generalissimo Francisco Franco argued the most effective work, or the ultimate victory, was being done or would be won, not by any of the 4 columns of troops but by the 'fifth column' (the people supporting him) already in the city or behind the Loyalist lines. The fifth columnists would undermine morale by endangering national unity through creating confusion of counsel leading to public indecision, political paralysis and, eventually, a state of panic.

It was reported Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Benito Mussolini used fifth columnists during World War II to centralize governmental power, and made themselves the sole interpreters of people's rights. As noted, it was in a democracy that the fifth column could function most freely and effectively because of freedom of speech and of the press. German researcher Werner Guttmann wrote in the October 1940 issue of 'Survey Graphic', "Developed from the most ancient artifice of the military trade – espionage – it showed up in embryonic form.

"Espionage and sabotage are nothing new, nor is the idea of the Trojan horse. The activities of fifth column mass organizations are divided into 4 main branches: cultural and political propaganda; military training; economic espionage and penetration; industrial espionage and sabotage. The ways and means to organize these activities in the different countries do not differ greatly, one from another."

The Secretary of Navy Frank Knox elaborated in 1940, "Fifth column objectives were: First, to create confusion of thought, suspicion and dissension among the masses in order to weaken their morale and lower the stamina of the people. Secondly, to incite jealousy and antagonism between different classes of society as well as between various political, racial, and religious groups. This is an effective means of weakening a country, by disrupting its unity of purpose and action. Third, to retard any effective preparation for defense.

"Fourth, the fear of radicalism so prevalent among the rich and the ruling classes was used as a potent argument for a more friendly, tolerant feeling toward a new regime and as a point of leverage for a policy of appeasement. Subtle persuasion, secret pressure, and in all probability, open bribery were all used to break down the loyalty and to secure the cooperation of a few key men in official positions and in the armies. Fifth, before the outbreak of the second world war and throughout its earlier stages the smaller countries were constantly urged to maintain their neutrality and were warned to avoid any collaboration with other nations for their common defense.

"Government officials and the public, by means of propaganda, were constantly assured of safety and immunity from war if only they practiced the strictest neutrality and abstained from any military cooperation with their neighbors. The little democracies were so impressed with this myth of neutrality and the security it would give them, that the Nazis were successful in their strategy of overrunning one nation at a time and thus avoided any united opposition. Fifth column propaganda played an important part in keeping public attention focused on the necessity for a neutrality which, in the end, proved to be pure fiction and which made effective defense impossible."

The mini-series 'V' told the story of visitors from another world on planet earth in search of food and water. John O'Connor of the 'New York Times' observed, "The entire of 'V', originally written and directed by Kenneth Johnson, is ingenious. The production offers straightforward action-adventure entertainment with a carefully applied veneer of social and political issues that hint, just hint, of more profound reverberations. While the earth exists in current time, the visitors are using 28th-century technology." Duane Dudek added, "Beneath its ludicrous premise is a parable about fascism, a reworking of 'It Can't Happen Here.' But earthlings are a resilient lot, and a group of rebels led by news cameraman Mike Donovan and scientist Dr Julie Parrish and aided by fifth columnists, plot to expose the lizard-like aliens as well as battle human collaborators and free mankind."  

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