CONFLICTS IN THE NARRATION OF FINNISHNESS FROM THE YEAR 1914 TO THE YEAR 2014
Civil War 1918
Finland was part of Sweden from the 1100´s to the year 1809 and then, after Swedish-Russian war, it was autonomic part of Russia until 1917 when it got its independence on the 6th of December.
In the early years of the 20th century there was formed a big gap between poor people of the countryside & urban industrial towns and the people who owned the land – and also factories. On the other hand, the gap was also between people who symphatised Russian revolution & Russian troops in Finland and people who symphatised German politics.
Both, the so called Reds and Whites formed armed groups which went to a big conflict in January 1918, to the Civil War of Finland. The whole country was divided into areas controlled by Red troops and other areas controlled by the White troops. This war was horribly cruel with both white and red terror. When the White troops won in early May 1918 the war did not ended: in concentration camps were more than 80 000 men who had fought in the Red troops. During the summer 1918 about 13 000 prisoners died because of hunger, diseases and also executions with almost illegal judgments.
The aftermath of the Civil war was officially over in the year 1919 but because the winners were not punished or not even investigated although their terror caused the death of about 27 000 “reds” the aftermath was in fact never made. Losses of the “whites” were about 5 000 people, almost all during the wartime. As a matter of fact this war divided the population of Finland in the 20´s and the 30´s until the Winter War 1939-1940 against Russia.
The Winter War 1939-1940
The WWII started in Finland when Soviet Union attacked Finland in November 1939. This war was considered as a defensive war against one enemy and in a way unified the people of Finland. This defense was successful and the war ended in March 1940: Finland kept its independence but lost some territories to Soviet Union.
The Continuation War 1941-1944
The peace contract with Soviet Union broke in June 1941 and the new war lasted until the September 1944. It was called The Continuation War because it was seen as a continuation to the winter War and its losses. This war was not unifying Finnish people as much as the Winter War because Finnish troops not only took back the lost territories but also conquered new territories from the Soviet Union. Also there were intentions to build up so called “Greater Finland” and Finland was also connected to the German Nazi-politics.
Results of the war were losing the Carelia area to Soviet Union and politics until the 1990´s where Soviet Union was officially treated as a close friend of Finland. This period was also called years of “Finlandization” although it may have been the only way to make realpolitik.
Civil war 1918
In the 20´s and 30´s the narration of the Civil War was among the winners a heroic narration: winning the rebellions and remaining the independence and preventing the Russian-style communism. On the other hand those people who were on the side of the red ones these stories were totally different and keeping the memory of the white terror; because of the rightist policy of 20´s and 30´s their stories were not heard in public, they were told merely as secret narrations.
After the WWII those stories of people who were supporting reds were told more public but still the main stream of politics in Finland was rightist.
When the last people who were involved to the Civil War retired in the late 60´s and slowly faded in the 80´s and 90´s this war seemed to vanish from the memories, narrations and stories. But in recent years there have been more and more discussion about what really happened during the Civil war, who were those individuals who died, where they died and what really caused their death?
The Civil War is just now in Finland under a new magnifying glass: not accusing but trying to get out what happened and why.
Winter War 1939-1940
The memories of the patriotic Winter War formed a great narration from the 50´s to the 70´s producing many novels and fiction films. Unification against one enemy, patriotism and the heroic Finnish soldier were in the focus. During the 70´s and 80´s this narration languished because the young generation did not shared these patriotic values any more. But in the 2000´s this narration has been renewed; there have also been a new point of view that points out that Finnish soldiers were also just human beings with their immorality and cruelness which has been considered as the features only of the “bad” enemies, Soviet troops.
The Continuation War 1941-1944
In the narration during the 50´s to the 70´s The Continuation War was seen as a second part of the great patriotic war against Soviet Union but nowadays there are new questions: was this war also some kind revenge war with Germans - or independently?
THERE ARE TWO QUESTIONS WHICH HAVE NOT BEEN DEALT IN THE MEMORIES AND NARRATIONS:
- Which narrations different generations have and
- was Finland part of Europe or an island in the sea with independent conflicts – mostly caused by Russia and Soviet Union, our great and close enemy during the centuries?