Books Magazine

The World War Z Quisling

By Ajfitz @theajwriter

Mark Forsyth explains the history of the word Quisling in his wonderful book, The Etymologicon. Vidkun Quisling convinced Nazi Germany during World War II to conquer Norway so that he could then become Prime Minister of a collaborationist socialist regime in Norway. Vidkun Quisling was executed as a traitor for his betrayal to his own country after the war.

The word Quisling then became synonymous with traitor, a term coined by The Times in an editorial published on 19th April 1940, entitled ‘Quislings Everywhere’.

“The monsters that rose from the dead are nothing compared to the ones we carry in our hearts.”

Max Brooks, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

I recognised the term Quisling in a book I had read recently about zombies! Max Brooks’ book, World War Z is a surprisingly intelligent and thought-provoking portrayal of what would happen around the world; socially, economically and politically if zombies really did run amuck among us!

What does a book about zombies, of all things, have to do with a traitor in World War II? In the book Max Brooks uses the term Quisling to refer to a ‘zombie traitor’ or a person who has become mad with fear of being attacked by a zombie that they take on the personality of a zombie. The zombies are unconvinced, but the humans at first believed that the zombies were attacking each other and soon the world would be rid of the zombie filth as they slowly ate each other.

“I think that most people would rather face the light of a real enemy than the darkness of their imagined fears.”

Max Brooks, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

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