How were traitors and saboteurs treated by the different nations?

My Question for Out of the Foxholes:
How did nations treat traitors and saboteurs,
who they caught?

Were there differences from situation to situation and nation to nation?
And where did these betrayals and sabotages happen?


I believe that British who joined the Germans in the “British Free Corps” were fined and or imprisoned after the war


Correct. Mark Felton made a video about it [SPOILERS].


This is a relatively simple question with a complex answer.

I won’t go into detail as there is a lot of information out there on this but at the same time there isn’t as well.

Every country dealt with traitors and saboteurs differently although there were similarities. As a general rule in the Soviet Union if you were a traitor or saboteur you were generally given a quick trial and then shot but more often than not both were shot on the spot.

Many allied and axis countries depending on the charges you could be either jailed, executed or be expelled for their crimes. Other countries especially those who were classified as neutral axis leaning or allied leaning depending would often take traitors and saboteurs in to prevent them from being shot, jailed or given a trial.

After the war many countries shunned traitors and saboteurs, left to the populace to decide their fate or were branded and exiled. This can be seen in France after liberation french women who collaborated with the Nazis were often publicly shamed by having their hair cut, stripped naked, beaten and sometimes branded to name but a few. French men who collaborated with the Nazis were often publicly beaten, sometimes tortured and like the females could be stripped naked and branded as well.

In Canada traitors were often put on trial or could be shot on the spot at the senior officers discretion. Saboteurs were often put on trial and again depending on the senior officer in charge could make a command decision.


The UK and US had markedly different strategies. The UK operated the ‘Doublecross System’ whereby German captured German spies/saboteurs where a significant number of captured spies were turned and used a double agents. Spies and saboteurs who were not turned or were deemed unsuitable were executed by hanging if civilian or by shooting if military.

The Amerians did not operate a double-agent system and didn’t want to be bothered with spies. The first German saboteurs who landed in the US were captured and executed in the Washington, DC Electric Chair. Two were spared due to their co-operation and six were executed. It was the largest mass execution in the US in the 20th Century. Germany only sent another spy team, also ineffectual, in 1944.

The UK passed the Treachery Act to create a new offence to modernize the definition of treason due to some arcane procedure and interpretations pertaining to treason.

Canada captured a German spy who landed on the Gaspe Peninsula in 1942 and turned him into a doubke-agent. He was later sent to the UK and deported to Gernany after the war.