- Flemish National Union
The Flemish National Union (Dutch: "Vlaamsch Nationaal Verbond", "VNV") was a Nationalist Flemish
political partyin Belgium, founded by Staf de Clerqon October 8, 1933. De Clerq became known as "den Leider" ("The Leader").
The VNV was tied to the idea of uniting the many Flemish parties in post-1920s Belgium into a single movement, an objective finally attained with the party's creation, and it moved on to advocate the creation of a pan-Dutch state, called "
Dietsland", to include both Flandersand the Netherlands. Its slogan was: "Authority, discipline and Dietsland".
Nazi Germanyinvaded Belgium in 1940, de Clerq immediately chose its side, disregarding his own previous declarations that he would not collaborate should such a situation occur. Adolf Hitlerchose not to install a civilian government (such as he had done in the Netherlands), but instead installed a government headed by Alexander von Falkenhausenof the Wehrmacht. This led the VNV out of focus, forcing it to intensify its collaboration in order to gain influence. Hitler and SS-leader Heinrich Himmlermade profit from the situation, and increased competition between various groups by founding some more extreme collaborationist groups like the 6th SS Volunteer Sturmbrigade Langemarckand DeVlag, the German-Flemish Workers Community.
De Clerq died suddenly in October 1942, and was succeeded by
Hendrik Elias, a member of the more moderate side. Elias continued the collaboration but tried to come to terms with the military government - in order to prevent the installation of a civilian government, which would be composed of Nazis. Elias failed, as Hitler installed the new body and declared the annexation of Flanders by Germany in 1944; seven weeks later, Belgiumhad been liberated by the Allies. The VNV was outlawed after the war, and Elias was put in prison.
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