In Western culture, the names Judas, Brutus and Benedict Arnold are often synonymous with the word traitor. Some more recent examples include John Walker Lindh, the “American Taliban,” and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. But in other areas of the world, traitors who sold out their countries are also given the “honor” of having their names associated with that despicable label. Mir Jafar, Vidkun Quisling and Wang Jingwei are prime examples of people who traded their country’s freedom for power or revenge. Let’s take a look at some of the world’s biggest Benedict Arnolds.
5 Wang Jingwei: Japan’s Puppet Leader
Wang Jingwei is yet another example of a leader of a puppet government who betrayed his country in exchange for the appearance of power. The man began as a left-wing member of the Chinese Nationalist Party known as the Kuomintang. He lost control of the party to Chiang Kai-shek. After the Japanese invasion in 1937, Wang Jingwei accepted the invaders’ offer to be their puppet leader. He convinced people to reject the Republic of China and welcome the Imperial Japanese. The plan failed when the Japanese surrendered.
4 Benedict Arnold: The Most Hated Man in U.S. History
The biggest traitor in the history of the United States is Benedict Arnold, who, ironically, was nearly responsible for there not being a U.S. Arnold began as a decorated Revolutionary war hero whose actions got him in charge of West Point. He planned to sell this strategic point to the British, which could have lost the war for the colonies. Why would he do this? Ego. His feelings got hurt when he wasn’t sufficiently honored for his prowess in battle. Apparently, the point of winning victories for your country is to get medals and bragging rights. You don’t get your kudos, you defect, right? Arnold did in 1782. He escaped to London and died there in 1801.
3 Vidkun Quisling: The Nazi of Norway
Vidkun Quisling was a bureaucrat and army officer who allied himself with the Nazis, becoming one of several rulers of puppet governments in Europe who were in bed with the Nazi Party during World War II. The Norwegian founded a fascist party in 1933. After the Nazis took over his country in 1940, Quisling’s party, of which he served as the Minister of Defense, became the new government. Wouldn’t we all love a Minister of Defense who is pro-invasion? Quisling served as the President of occupied Norway between 1942 and 1945. The day after the Nazis surrendered in 1945, Quisling was arrested. He later faced a firing squad.
2 Mir Jafar: Betrayer of the True Faith
Mir Jafar is credited as the guy who made it possible for the British to take over Bengal. When he basically handed his country over, he effectively opened the doors to the British occupation of India. He is known as the “Betrayer of the True Faith.” Jafar was the last guy to rule Bengal as an autonomous state. When he died, the British took over. However, he was merely a figurehead of a puppet state controlled by the British East India Company that eventually dominated the Indian subcontinent.
1 Marcus Junius Brutus: Et Tu, Brute?
Marcus Junius Brutus will forever be known as the guy who inspired the classic Shakespearean line “Et tu, Brute?,” though it is unlikely Julius Caesar actually said that. Everything sounds catchier when Shakespeare puts his spin on it. Brutus practically committed patricide when he joined in the schemes to kill his patron. The story goes that when Caesar spotted his protege among the assassins he lost the will to fight back. Brutus killed himself two years after the murder when Mark Antony’s army kicked his traitorous butt.