Finland History

By | January 9, 2023

Finland – national flag

Finland National Flag

Flag of Finland was officially adopted by law 29.05.1918. Although the country’s heraldic colors are red and yellow, many wanted to find a flag with other colors. The idea for the colors white and blue must have originated within the freedom movements against Russia in the 1800’s, and at the suggestion of the poet Zacharias Topelius, who interpreted them as a symbol of Finland’s snow-covered plains and lakes, they were included in the design of the flag. The cross must show the country’s connection to the other Nordic countries. The sketch for the blue and white flag was made by the artists Eero Snellman and Bruno Tuukkanen.

  • Countryaah: What does the flag of Finland look like? Follow this link, then you will see the image in PNG format and flag meaning description about this country.

During the Swedish era, the Swedish flag was the flag of Finland, just as in the period during the Russian Empire, the Russian flag was the flag of Finland.

Midsummer is flag day and one of the official 6 flag days annually. The flag goes glow evening (Fig. Juhannusaatto, sv. Midsommarafton), i.e. Friday night at 18 and lowered again on Sankthansdag, Saturday at 21, which varies in date from 20 to 26 June in Finland.

  • AbbreviationFinder: Check three-letter abbreviation for each country in the world, such as FIN which represents the official name of Finland.

Finland – prehistory

According to a2zgov, Finland’s oldest settlement belongs to the Mesolithic Suomusjärvi culture approximately 6500-4200 BC The tools were mainly made of quartz and quartzite, as flint does not occur in Finland. In Neolithic times (4200-2000 BC), when Finland was part of the chamber of ceramics, society was based partly on hunting seals, moose and beavers, and partly on fishing. At the end of that period, the boat ax culture occurs; on Åland the pottery culture. Agriculture was introduced in southern Finland under the Senneolithic Kiukais culture. In the Bronze Age (1500-500 BC) there were lively contacts with both Scandinavia and central and eastern Russia. The grave form was stone mounds. The pre-Roman Iron Age (500 BC-birth) is characterized by iron production, and relations with the Baltics were lively. In the Roman Iron Age (Birth of Christ-400), new tombs of a Baltic character appeared next to the cairns. From the migration period (400-600) the Germanic element in the find material grows, and in the Merovingian period (600-800) several national forms of jewelery were created. The burial custom was fire pits under flat ground. The Viking Age (800-1050) is characterized by a stable development with wealthy peasant communities and extensive trade relations. Finland’s youngest prehistoric period, the Crusade, ends in Western Finland in 1150, in Karelia in 1300. The Viking Age (800-1050) is characterized by a stable development with wealthy peasant communities and extensive trade relations. Finland’s youngest prehistoric period, the Crusade, ends in Western Finland in 1150, in Karelia in 1300. The Viking Age (800-1050) is characterized by a stable development with wealthy peasant communities and extensive trade relations. Finland’s youngest prehistoric period, the Crusade, ends in Western Finland in 1150, in Karelia in 1300.

Finland – history

The germ of what was later called Finland, was created during the Crusades approximately 1050-1300. The cultural connections between East and West, which took place via the young neighboring states of Sweden and Novgorod, met in Southern Finland among the peoples who lived along the important international trade route that connected East and West.

Crusades and colonization

In continuation of the European crusade movement, Sweden directed crusades towards the areas of the Gulf of Finland from the 1140’s. The southwestern part, Southwest Finland (Varsinais-Suomi), is traditionally considered to have been conquered through Erik the Holy’s crusade approximately 1155. During that period, Danish expeditions to Finland also occurred. From 1200-t. the Swedes turned towards Hämeenlinna (Häme) in the central interior of southern Finland, to which Birger Jarl approximately 1238 directed the Second Crusade. At that time, Swedes settled in the sparsely populated coastal areas of Uusimaa (Uusimaa) and Ostrobothnia (Pohjanmaa). The Third Crusade in 1293 led to the construction of the strategically important Viborg(Viipuri, Vyborg) in Karelia. The Swedish government then sought to gain direct control of the trade routes to Novgorod, but with the Peace of Nöteborg in 1323, it had to be abandoned for the time being. An agreement was now reached on a Swedish-Russian border that divided the Karelian Peninsula. West of the border, the Karelians became Catholics, while on the eastern side they gradually became Russian Orthodox. Initially, there was only an actual border in residential areas. To the north, the nomadic Sami lived, while the population in the south in both the Swedish and the Russian part used the lake system for fast transport, partly to conduct hunting and fishing, partly to trade with and tax the Sami. During the 1400’s and 1500’s. took place there from the Swedish side, especially from Savolax(Savo), a colonization to the north and northeast that gradually displaced the Sami and Russian Karelians. This led to confrontations with Novgorod and then with the Prince of Moscow, but the result of the Peace of Teusina was that the vast areas in the north in 1595 became Swedish.

Historical overview
ca. 6500-4200 BC The Suomusjärvi culture. Earliest settlement.
4200-2000 Chamber ceramic culture. Hunting for beavers, moose and seals as well as fishing.
2300-2000 Boat ax culture. New grave forms and external influences.
2000-1500 Kiukais culture. Introduction of agriculture.
1500-500 Bronze Age. Extensive contact with the rest of Scandinavia and Russia.
500-Birth of Christ Pre-Roman Iron Age. Beginning iron production.
Birth of Christ-400 Roman Iron Age. Baltic tombs.
400-600 The time of migration.
600-800 The Merovingian period. New jewelry shapes.
800-1050 The Viking Age. Rich farming communities with extensive trade links.
1050-1300 The Crusade. Christianity is introduced, Swedish settlement in the coastal areas.
1323 The peace in Nöteborg. The first border with Russia.
1400-1500-t. Western colonization in the north and east; Sami and Russian Karelians are displaced.
1548 The New Testament is translated into Finnish.
1595 The peace of Teusina confirms Swedish conquests in northern Finland.
1640 Åbo Akademi University is founded.
1713-21 Great riots; Finland is occupied by the Russians.
1809 Porvoo Landdag and Freden in Fredrikshamn; Finland becomes an autonomous Russian Grand Duchy.
1812 Helsinki (Helsinki) will be the capital.
1840- The Finnish movement is gaining ground.
1855-81 Emperor Alexander 2. Political life is activated and the Landtag is convened in 1863.
1863 The language manifesto. The Finnish language is equated with Swedish.
1899 The February Manifesto marks the tentative climax of Russification policy.
1905-07 The democratic breakthrough; Finland gets a one-chamber parliament with universal suffrage for women and men.
1917 Finland declares independence.
1918 Civil war between bourgeois and socialists.
1919 Finland’s Republican Constitution is signed.
1921 The dispute over the Åland Islands between Sweden and Finland is resolved in Finland’s favor.
1939-40 The Winter War against the Soviet Union; Finland cedes large tracts of land.
1941-44 The Continuation War. Finland at war with the Soviet Union by Germany.
1944-45 The Lapland War. Finland at war with Germany, and all German and Hungarian citizens in the country must be detained and transferred to the Soviet Union under the directive of the Control Commission.
1947 The peace in Paris confirms further cession and imposes large war damages on Finland, which are paid until 1952.
1948 Finnish-Soviet Pact of Friendship, Cooperation and Aid.
1955 The thaw; The Soviet Union renounces the Porkkala Peninsula. Finland member of the Nordic Council.
1961 The note crisis is averted by President Kekkonen.
1986 Full membership of EFTA.
1994 Finland joins NATO’s Partnership for Peace program.
1995 Finland joins the EU.

Finland is leading the way

The conquered areas in Finland were administered in line with other Swedish landscapes and were not perceived as a separate entity. The name Finland was therefore for a long time reserved for the area in the southwest, where Turku (Turku) was the center. Only in ecclesiastical terms was the whole of Finnish territory a unit, the diocese of Turku, to which the name Finland was also attached. This is probably the reason why Finland in the 1500’s. eventually applied to the entire eastern part of Sweden, which before that was called Østerland. The political integration in the Swedish kingdom can be considered complete in 1362, when Østerland was given the right to participate in the election of king in line with other Swedish landscapes.

The Reformation did not lead to major upheavals in Finland, but it did through Mikael Agricola’s translations of ecclesiastical texts, e.g. The New Testament in 1548, of great importance for the development of the Finnish language.

The Swedish monarchy gained an important financial and political base in Finland, where there was only a very small nobility. This, together with the growing importance of relations with Russia, meant that Finland came to play an important role in the Swedish empire. In connection with the diplomatic game around the Russo-Swedish War of 1555-57, Finland became a duchy in 1556 under Gustav Vasa’s son Johan (3rd), and during the continued war it elevated Finland to the Grand Duchy.

After the Peace of Stolbova in 1617, which ended Sweden’s war in Russia, Russia had to further cede Kexholm län with its Russian Orthodox population, who in large numbers fled and were replaced by Finnish peasants. Demands for streamlining the administration meant that the Finnish language was gradually supplanted by Swedish, but to ensure that qualified people were trained for the administration within Finland’s borders, the Swedish Governor-General Per Brahe founded a university, Åbo Akademi University, in 1640.

Emerging separatism

Great Nordic War 1700-21 began the process that in 1809 was to lead to the end of Swedish rule in Finland. After inflicting a crushing defeat on the Russians at Narva in 1700, Charles waged war in Poland in the 12th, leaving the Baltic and Finnish provinces vulnerable. In 1702, Peter the Great began a conquest of the area’s fortresses and in 1703 founded his future capital, St. Petersburg, on Swedish territory. With Sweden’s defeat at the Battle of Poltava in 1709, the Baltics and Finland were at the mercy of Russia. From 1713-14 until the Peace of Nystad in 1721, the Russians occupied most of Finland, the so-called Great Unrest. By peace, Sweden had to relinquish its Baltic possessions as well as the southeastern parts of Finland, so that the border became almost like the present one. During the 1700’s. Sweden made two unsuccessful attempts to win back what was lost. In 1741-43, when noble factions during the Freedom Period 1718-72 fought for power, a poorly planned and poorly waged war led to the Russians being able to keep the whole of Finland occupied again during the so-called Purple riot. At the Peace of Turku in 1743, Sweden had to cede further land up to the Kymmene Älv (Kymijoki). During the war, the Russian Empress Elisabeth Petrovna had issued a manifesto in which the idea of ​​Finland as an independent state appeared for the first time.

In 1772, Gustav III reinstated in a coup a strong monarchical government, which was laid down in the form of government of 1772 and the Association and Security Act of 1789 was to become Finland’s constitutional basis until 1919. Gustav III made another attempt in 1788-90 to regain the lost areas. Despite a defeat, Sweden emerged from the war without loss of territory, but the campaign led to an officers’ revolt in 1788 against the king, the Anjala Confederation, which had clear Finnish separatist undertones.

1700-t. became an economic and cultural flowering period for Finland. Thanks to the liberal propaganda of the economist, pastor and politician Anders Chydenius (1729-1803), which gained great importance in both Finland and Sweden, the Finns were able to trade directly on the world market, and especially the coastal coastal towns flourished. At the same time, with the pastor Daniel Juslenius ‘(1676-1752) treatises on the history and language of Finland, a Finnish sense of identity arose, which was further developed by his younger relative Henrik Gabriel Porthan, who in a series of epoch-making treatises asserted the Finns’ historical and cultural identity.

The Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars created the last conditions for the rest of Finland to be separated from Sweden; this happened when Napoleon and Alexander I in Tilsit in 1807 agreed that Russia should have free hands in Finland if Sweden did not terminate the alliance with England. When that did not happen, the Russians in the Russo-Swedish War of 1808-09 were able to conquer Finland.

Russian Grand Duchy

After the Peace of Fredrikshamn in 1809, Finland became an autonomous Grand Duchy with the Russian Emperor Alexander I as Grand Duke. The emperor then nurtured the desire to reform the form of government in Russia, and that is probably the reason why he accepted a position as constitutional monarch on the basis of Gustav III’s constitution. Therefore, already at Porvoo Landdag, where he received the oath of the Finnish estates, he had guaranteed the continued validity of Swedish laws and constitutions. Previously, Finland had only differed from the rest of Sweden in that a larger proportion of the population was Finnish-speaking, but now the country constituted a politically, economically and administratively delimited area, which was even significantly expanded, as Alexander I had the border shifted towards north toTorne River (Tornionjoki).

A Finnish government body, the Senate, was created, and the connection between Grand Duke and Grand Duchy was arranged so that a Governor-General, usually a Russian, represented the Grand Duke, while a Secretary of State who until Russification in the late 1800’s. usually was Finnish, in St. Petersburg they presented Finnish affairs to the Grand Duke.

Heads of state after 1809
grand princes Sort
1809-25 Alexander 1.
1825-55 Nicholas 1.
1855-81 Alexander 2.
1881-94 Alexander 3.
1894-1917 Nicholas 2.
head of state
1918 PE Svinhufvud
1918 Frederik Karl
head of state
1918-19 Gustaf Mannerheim
1919-25 KJ Ståhlberg
1925-31 LK Relander
1931-37 PE Svinhufvud
1937-40 Kyösti Kallio
1940-44 Risto Ryti
1944-46 Gustaf Mannerheim
1946-56 JK Paasikivi
1956-81 Urho Kekkonen
1982-94 Mauno Koivisto
1994-2000 Martti Ahtisaari
2000-12 Tarja Halonen
2012- Sauli Niinistö

Helping to secure the country’s special position was that the border between the Finnish Grand Duchy and the Russian Empire was a customs border that catered to Finland. Furthermore, until the policy of Russification changed, it was significant that only Russians born in the Grand Duchy of Finland could obtain rights as Finnish citizens. Therefore, only the Russians who had settled in Old Finland in 1721-1812 (which Sweden had ceded in 1721 and 1743) could occupy offices in Finland, as Old Finland in 1812 was incorporated into the Grand Duchy. This later meant that the eastern border of Old Finland also became the independent border of Finland in 1920.

After 1812, Alexander I abandoned his reform plans, and Stænderlanddagen was not convened again until 1863, but otherwise the Finnish institutions could function unhindered. What was first and foremost worrying was the prospect of Swedish revanchism, and to prevent this, in 1812 the capital was moved from Turku (Turku) to the strategically better located Helsinki (Helsinki). In 1828 the university was also moved, where the development was now closely followed by the Russian Governor-General, for it was among the students that one might expect to detect dangerous tendencies. In the time leading up to Nikolaj I’s death, therefore, all political activity was marked by caution.

The language battle

The Finnishness movement, which was an offshoot of the Romanticism nationality movement, could, on the other hand, unfold unhindered, especially driven by Johan Vilhelm Snellman. Although the aim was basically to preserve Finland as a nation within the Russian Empire, one of the consequences was that leading circles moved away from the Swedish heritage. Those who, influenced by the movement, equated language with nation, and who had to choose a national language, were all Swedish-speaking. But it was also part of the ideology of Romanticism that it was the people’s spirit that constituted the nation, and therefore one had to seek the linguistic basis in the language of the majority of the people. A large part of the Swedish-speaking cultural elite chose to be refined. When there were others of the Swedish-speakers who did not want to sacrifice their mother tongue, there were sharp confrontations, and the language and nationality problem therefore came to dominate Finnish history for several periods until World War II. The first political parties, the Finnish Party and the Swedish Party,

Growing self-government

The takeover of the throne by the liberal-minded Alexander II in 1855 led, in connection with the defeat in the Crimean War, to a period of reform and a revival of political life. From 1863, the Landtag was convened again at regular intervals, and a number of reforms could now be implemented. Finland got its own military and its own currency, and in general they sought to expand the country’s position so that it came to appear as a separate state that was merely in personnel union with Russia. In 1863, with the so-called language manifesto, Snellman was persuaded that Finnish in the administration was equated with Swedish.

Finland entered a period of economic growth, in which forestry in particular and, over time, the wood processing industry became very important. Periods of misgrowth, however, led to the suffering of the socially disadvantaged, who were not represented in the Landtag, and the need for reforms for the large landless rural population, the crofters, grew.


Finland. Suomi-Jomfruen is attacked; painting by Edvard Isto (1865-1906) entitled Attack. Isto painted the picture when the first wave of Russification policy was at its height with the February Manifesto in 1899. The Suomi-Virgo, whose defensive position roughly corresponds to the contours of Finland at the time, tries to prevent Russia in the form of the double-headed eagle from wrecking the country’s law. The picture became incredibly popular in Finland, and reproductions were found in many homes, just as it was sold as a postcard.

From the 1890’s, Russian nationalism began to seriously shape the Russian emperor Nikolai II’s view of Finland’s position in the empire. Finnish special rights were to be abolished and the country Russified, as were Poland and the Baltics. This led to an alliance across the language divide, so that the Finnish party split into old Finns who would pursue a policy of leniency towards the Russians to preserve what had been gained in the language field, and the young Finns who allied with the Swedes in opposition to Russification. The policy of Russification reached a preliminary peak in 1899 with the February Manifesto and the dictatorial rule of Russian Governor General NI Bobrikov.

The unrest of 1905 after Russia’s defeat in the Russo – Japanese War led to democratization, first in Russia, then in Finland. In 1906, Stænderlanddagen was replaced by a one-chamber system with universal suffrage for men and women over the age of 24. The universal suffrage meant that the social strata, which had hitherto had no political influence, now gained great importance. In the first election, Finland’s Social Democratic Party, SDP, which had been founded in 1899, won 80 of 200 seats thanks to the Torps. The support for the party grew in the subsequent elections, and in 1916 it gained an absolute majority of 103 seats.

As early as 1908, however, the emperor and the Russian nationalists had regained control of Russia, and Russification set in with renewed vigor. The Landtag was ignored and not convened during World War I, although elections continued to be held.


The February Revolution in Russia in 1917 had great significance for Finland. Together with the emperor, the link to Russia disappeared; the provisional Russian government took over the prince’s powers and allowed the Finnish political institutions to function. The Landtag, in which the SDP (Social Democrats) had a majority, was convened and a coalition government was formed. In July 1917, the SDP passed a law, the Power Act, which, despite the maintenance of a common foreign policy, effectively made Finland independent. With bourgeois help, however, the Russian government dissolved the Landtag, and in the ensuing election, the SDP lost the majority, which, together with growing hunger in the cities, strengthened the revolutionary wing of the party. After the October Revolutionin Russia in 1917, a general strike broke out in Finland, during which armed Red Guards faced the bourgeois “white” protection corps (protection corps). Although Pehr Evind Svinhufvud succeeded in forming a bourgeois government, which on 6 December 1917 declared Finland an independent republic, the government found it difficult to control the domestic political situation. To counter the threat of the large Russian forces still in the country, the security forces were transformed into government forces, and Svinhufvud ordered Commander-in-Chief Gustaf Mannerheim to disarm the Russian garrisons in the white core area of ​​Ostrobothnia. Disarmament began on 27.1.1918; at the same time, a “red” government seized power in Helsinki, triggering the Finnish Civil War.

Prime Ministers and Governments
1917-18 PE Svinhufvud (Uf, Fp, Ag, Sfp)
1918 JK Paasikivi (Fp, Uf, Ag, Sfp)
1918-19 Lauri Ingman (Sam, Fr, Sfp)
1919 Kaarlo Castrén (Fr, Ag, Sfp)
1919-20 JH Vennola (Fr, Ag)
1920-21 Rafael Erich (Sam, Fr, Ag, Sfp)
1921-22 JH Vennola (Fr, Ag)
1922 AK Cajander (Ministry of Civil Servants)
1922-24 Kyösti Kallio (Ag, Fr, Sam)
1924 AK Cajander (Ministry of Civil Servants)
1924-25 Lauri Ingman (Sam, Ag, Sfp, Fr)
1925 Antti Tulenheimo (Sam, Ag, Fr)
1925-26 Kyösti Kallio (Ag, Sam)
1926-27 Väinö Tanner (SDP)
1927-28 JE Sunila (Ag)
1928-29 Oskari Mantere (Fr, Sam)
1929-30 Kyösti Kallio (Ag, Fr)
1930-31 PE Svinhufvud (Sam, Ag, Sfp, Fr)
1931-32 JESunila (Ag, Sam, Fr, Sfp)
1932-36 TM Kivimäki (Fr, Sam, Sfp, Ag)
1936-37 Kyösti Kallio (Ag, Fr, Sam)
1937-39 AK Cajander (Fr, SDP, Ag)
1939-40 Risto Ryti (Fr, Ag, SDP, Sfp)
1940-41 Risto Ryti (Fr, Ag, SDP, Sfp, Sam)
1941-43 JW Rangell (Fr, Ag, SDP, Sam, Sfp, IKL)
1943-44 Edwin Linkomies (Sam, SDP, Ag, Sfp, Fr)
1944 Antti Hackzell (Sam, SDP, Ag, Sfp, Fr)
1944 UJ Castrén (Sam, SDP, Ag, Fr, Sfp)
1944-45 JK Paasikivi (unbound, SDP, Ag, Fr, Sfp, Df)
1945-46 JK Paasikivi (unbound, Df, SDP, Ag, Fr, Sfp)
1946-48 Mauno Pekkala (Df, Ag, SDP, Sfp)
1948-50 KA. Fagerholm (SDP)
1950-51 Urho Kekkonen (Ag, Sfp, Fr)
1951 Urho Kekkonen (Ag, SDP, Sfp, Fr)
1951-53 Urho Kekkonen (Ag, SDP, Sfp, Fr)
1953 Urho Kekkonen (Ag, Sfp)
1953-54 Sakari Tuomioja (Ff, Sam, Sfp)
1954 Ralf Törngren (Sfp, Ag, SDP)
1954-56 Urho Kekkonen (Ag, SDP)
1956-57 KA.Fagerholm (SDP, Ag, Sfp, Ff)
1957 VJ Sukselainen (Ag, Ff, Sfp)
1957-58 Rainer von Fieandt (Ministry of Civil Servants)
1958 Reino Kuuskoski (Ministry of Civil Servants)
1958-59 KA.Fagerholm (SDP, Ag, Sam, Ff, Sfp, Fr)
1959-61 VJ Sukselainen (Ag)
1961-62 Martti Miettunen (Ag)
1962-63 Ahti Karjalainen (Ag, Sam, Ff, Sfp and JRC)
1963-64 Reino Lehto (Ministry of Civil Servants)
1964-66 Johannes Virolainen (Ag, Sam, Ff, Sfp)
1966-68 Rafael Paasio (SDP, Cp, Df, Soc.F)
1968-70 Mauno Koivisto (SDP, Cp, Df, Soc.F, Sfp)
1970 Teuvo Aura (Ministry of Civil Servants)
1970-71 Ahti Karjalainen (Cp, SDP, Df, Sfp, Lf)
1971-72 Teuvo Aura (Ministry of Civil Servants)
1972 Rafael Paasio (SDP)
1972-75 Kalevi Sorsa (SDP, Cp, Sfp, Lf)
1975 Keijo Liinama (Ministry of Civil Servants)
1975-76 Martti Miettunen (Cp, SDP, Df, Sfp, Lf)
1976-77 Martti Miettunen (Cp, Sfp, Lf)
1977-79 Kalevi Sorsa (SDP, Cp, Df, Lf, Sfp)
1979-82 Mauno Koivisto (SDP, Cp, Df, Sfp)
1982-83 Kalevi Sorsa (SDP, Cp, Df, Sfp)
1983-87 Kalevi Sorsa (SDP, Cp, Sfp, Lp)
1987-91 Harri Holkeri (Sam, SDP, Sfp, Lp)
1991-95 Esko Aho (Cp, Sam, Sfp, Kr)
1995-99 Paavo Lipponen (SDP, Sfp, Sam, V, G)
1999-2003 Paavo Lipponen (SDP, Sfp, Sam, V, G (until 2002))
2003 Anneli Jäätteenmäki (C, SDP, Sfp)
2003-07 Matti Vanhanen (C, SDP, Sfp)
2007-10 Matti Vanhanen (C, Sam, Sfp, G)
2010-11 Mari Kiviniemi (C, Sam, Sfp, G)
2011-14 Jyrki Katainen (Sam, SDP, V, G, Sfp, KD)
2014-15 Alexander Stubb (Sam, SDP, Sfp; G: 24.6.2014 – 26.9.2014)
2015- Juha Sipilä (C, PS, Sam)
(The Prime Minister’s party is listed first)
Ag: Agrarförbundet, Cp: Centerpartiet, Df: Demokratiska förbundet för Finlands folk, Ff: Finska folkpartiet, FFC: Finsk LO, Fp: Finska partiet, Fr: Framstegspartiet, G: De Gröna, IKL: Isänmaallinen kansanliike (Fædrelandske folkebevægelse), Kr : Finnish Christian League, Lf: Liberal People’s Party, Lp: Finnish Rural Party, PS: Perussuomalaiset/True Finns (De Gænse Finner), Sam: Samlingspartiet, SDP: Socialdemokratiet, Sfp: Svenska folkpartiet, Soc.F: Socialdemokratiska förbund, Uf: Ungfinska partiet, V: Vänsterförbundet. KD: The Christian Democrats in Finland.

Aided by German troops, the white forces conquered during the spring of 1918. Several of the surviving red leaders, including Otto Ville Kuusinen, fled to Russia and formed the Finnish Communist Party. The number of casualties in the actual battles, approximately 6700, was not largely in relation to the victims of red and white terror and the revenge of the victors. The war thus caused the deaths of more than 30,000 people, and the hatred between losers and victors and especially the victors’ revenge came to cast a shadow over the interwar period.

Frightened by the revolt of the Reds, the bourgeoisie for the time being abandoned the idea of ​​a republic. On the basis of the still valid monarchical constitution, Svinhufvud was appointed governor until a king was found. The significant German troop supplies during the Civil War had given Germany a dominant position, prompting Mannerheim to leave his post as army commander. Furthermore, the German influence meant that the future king had to be German. In October 1918, Frederik Karl of Hesse, who was closely associated with the Danish royal family, was elected king, which in effect made Finland a German vassal state. However, Germany’s collapse in World War I the following month quickly put an end to this. Frederik Karl retired, and in order to regain the trust of the Western powers, Mannerheim was appointed head of state. A new election brought strong Social Democratic representation, and thus the monarchy’s time was over. A republican constitution was adopted, which gave the president great power, and in 1919, a clear majority in the Reichstag elected Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg as the country’s first president. During the Civil War, the Swedish government had sought recognition from the great powers of the Åland Islands’ return to Sweden, but the issue was resolved in Finland’s favor in 1921 byLeague of Nations. The border with Russia was established at the Peace of Dorpat (Tartu) on 14.10.1920, giving Finland the Petsamo area and thus access to the Arctic Ocean in return for giving up demands on the neighboring East Korean parishes, which many would have liked to see incorporated into Greater Finland. The East Karelian question was then together with authenticity, ie. expulsion of the Swedish language from official Finland, key issues for the Academic Karelia Society.

The interwar period

The bitterness in Finland over Sweden’s appearance in the Åland conflict and the resurgent language dispute made it impossible for Finland to orient itself towards the Nordic countries. Instead, they turned to Poland and the Baltic states, but gave up entering into a risky alliance that had turned against both Soviet Russia and Germany. When the Soviet Union, under the impression of the threat from Germany, approached the League of Nations, in 1932 Finland concluded a non-aggression pact with its neighbor to the east. It was not until the mid-1930’s, after a preliminary solution to the language dispute, that Finland began to orient itself towards the Nordic countries.

Finland underwent a quiet internal development after 1918, and until 1922 a number of laws were enacted, whereby the large landless rural population got its own land through confiscation and subdivision of large land holdings with subsidies of state land. The laws made Finland a country of smallholders and removed some of the social contradictions; a negative effect, however, was that the country’s industrial development was slowed down.

With the exception of a Social Democratic minority government 1926-27, most governments during the period were bourgeois coalition governments. The Communist Party was banned, but by running under various pseudonyms, the party succeeded in being represented in the Riksdag in several elections. With the world crisis in the late 1920’s, economic prosperity ceased. At the same time, a strike movement arose, which many bourgeois believed was organized by communists on the orders of the Soviet Union, which allegedly sought to facilitate its own timber industry’s access to the world market. It provoked the semi-fascist Lapp movement, which criticized the parliamentary system and demanded a ban on the Socialists. A preliminary culmination came in 1930 with a military-organized peasant train to Helsinki. Kallio’s government resigned,communist laws demanded by the Lappo people. A right-wing government was formed under the leadership of the Lapp movement’s favorite man, Svinhufvud. When he was elected president the following year, Lappo considered it time to step in against the Social Democrats. In February 1932, armed Lapps tried a coup, but when Svinhufvud distanced himself from the coup attempt, the rebels gave up and the movement languished. The remnants of the movement organized themselves in the fascist party Fædrelandske Folkebevægelse, IKL. While the Lapp movementhad been neutral in the language dispute and had had many Swedish speakers among its supporters, IKL adopted the authentic Finnish slogans and turned especially against the dominance of the Swedish speakers at the University of Helsinki. The slogans also found widespread support among Finnish bourgeois politicians, and the language dispute reached a final climax. This made the Swedish-speakers dependent on the SDP’s support in order to preserve their minority rights. On the other hand, the vast majority of Swedish-speakers in the 1930’s became a stable supporter of democracy. By creating divisions across political currents, the language dispute thus certainly contributed to Finnish democracy surviving with few restrictions during the interwar period, while the Baltic fringe states and Poland in the 1930’s were transformed into semi-fascist dictatorships.

In the latter half of the 1930’s, the economy revived, and a period of reform was initiated, which was to transform the country into a welfare society similar to the rest of the Nordic region. The political basis for this was created in 1937, when the SDP first entered into a coalition with a bourgeois party, the Agrarförbundet; the alliance between the two parties came to form the basis of many later governments.


Following Hitler’s and Chamberlain’s agreement in Munich in September 1938, the Soviet Union suddenly saw itself in isolation and therefore sought, through negotiations with Finland, to secure Leningrad through border adjustments, but met no understanding on the part of Finland. However, as part of the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact in 1939, Finland joined the Baltic States in the sphere of interest of the Soviet Union, and a new round of negotiations began. Mannerheim, the military chief, and JK Paasikivi, who was leading the negotiations, warned the Finnish government against underestimating Stalin’sdetermination but was overheard. The government rejected demands for border adjustments, after which the Soviet Union responded again on November 30, 1939 with a military attack that triggered the Winter War. However, the Finns’ will to defend was greater than expected, and Stalin’s puppet government under Kuusinen had no influence. Despite several notable victories, however, it was clear that Finland would suffer defeat without outside help. The Western powers had plans to intervene via Narvik and Kiruna, but before it was implemented, Finland concluded peace in Moscow with the Soviet Union on March 12, 1940 and ceded the Salla area in the north and the Karelian Peninsula to a line near the border from 1721. Hanko Uddwas leased to a Soviet naval base for a period of 30 years, but as early as December 2, 1941, Soviet forces during the Continuation War were forced to withdraw from the area. Finland lost more than 1/3 of its hydropower- based electricity supply as a result of the cession of land to the Soviet Union.

The pressure from the Soviet Union did not lessen; the Finnish government therefore saw it as a life insurance policy when the Germans in the summer of 1940 requested the right of transit to Norway and soon made it clear that it drew up to break with Stalin. When the rift came, the government chose to side with the Germans in the Continuation War 1941-44. Finnish forces quickly recaptured the lost territory and in the autumn of 1941 reached a line that ran from the Karelian Peninsula to Onega; However, the Soviet Union was able to keep a corridor open to both Leningrad and the Murmansk railway. Until the spring of 1944, the front was largely fixed, but then the Red Armyembarked on a major offensive, the Finns withdrew; it was clear that the country had to seek out the war. It happened with the ceasefire in September 1944, after President Risto Ryti, who had pledged to Germany not to conclude a separate peace, was replaced by Mannerheim. As part of the ceasefire, Finland undertook to expel the German troops who, during the withdrawal from Norway, systematically laid Lapland in ruins. A Russian-dominated Allied control commission set up at the Hotel Torni in inner Helsinki to monitor Finland’s compliance with the ceasefire. In the subsequent court settlement, Ryti and Tanner sentenced to severe penalties, and at the final peace Finland, in addition to the surrenders in 1940, had to give up the Petsamo area and also rent outThe Porkala Peninsula as a military base area for 50 years to the Soviet Union. That same year, however, Finland was allowed to allow long-distance trains to pass through the Soviet rental area with shuttered windows. As early as January 26, 1956, an agreement was signed at the Soviet embassy to return the area, after which the first train passed through the area without shuttered windows on December 21, 1955, and the evacuated local residents were able to return to their properties on February 4, 1956. Finland also had to agree to pay war damages in the form of goods; something that lasted until 1952.

The peace agreement, signed on 10 February 1947 in Paris, was drawn up in Russian, Finnish, French and English and signed by Finland, on the one hand, and the USSR, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, as well as Australia, Canada, the South African Union, Belarus’s SSR, India, New Zealand, Czechoslovakia and Ukraine’s SSR on the other hand as allied powers. The peace agreement can be read online (in Finnish) here.

The post-war period

Finland had received a total of approximately 425,000 Karelian refugees for whom land was to be found; at the same time, the front fighters of the war had been promised small plots of land as a reward for war participation. It cemented Finland as a smallholder country, a problem that has haunted the country ever since. On the other hand, the war damage compensation, which was reduced due to an improved relationship with the Soviet Union, had a favorable effect on the country’s industrialization, and at the same time Finland acquired a stable market in the eastern countries, from which it obtained cheap energy and raw materials. This meant that Finland was not hit by the oil crisis, whereas the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 immediately triggered an economic crisis with high unemployment and major devaluations as a result.

The defeat necessitated a political reorientation, and the time after 1944 has often been referred to as the Second Republic. Parties and organizations on the far right were banned, while the Communists could once again operate freely. At the same time, leading politicians, led by Paasikivi, realized that the Finns’ attitude towards their neighbor to the east had to be changed. In the early years, however, suspicion was high, and in 1948 a communist takeover was feared. In 1948, the Soviet Union proposed the conclusion of a bilateral agreement, the Finnish-Soviet Pact of Friendship, Cooperation and Aid., similar to the agreements that the Soviet Union entered into with the Eastern European countries at that time. By swiftly proposing amendments to the Soviet proposal, Paasikivi succeeded in giving the treaty such a form that Finland’s independence was not seriously threatened despite military assistance clauses and consultations that the Soviet Union could invoke in crisis situations. Stalin’s acceptance of the changes and the lack of response to the maneuvers of the Finnish Communists created confidence that the Soviet Union did not intend to Sovietize Finland.

By the outbreak of the Cold War, the framework within which Finland could develop its model of neutrality had been created. During the so-called thaw after Stalin’s death, Nikita Khrushchev returned the Porkkala Peninsula and failed to protest Finland’s membership of the Nordic Council in 1955. In the same year, Finland became a member of the UN.. In 1958, however, the Soviet suspicion of an increased Western orientation in Finnish foreign policy led to the so-called Night Frost Crisis, which led to the SDP, which had opposed the Communists, being kept out of government co-operation in 1958-66. Later, in 1961, Khrushchev triggered the note crisis in support of President Kekkonen’s re-election, with the Soviet Union, among others. referring to the tense situation in Berlin, required military consultations. Kekkonen averted the crisis through meetings with Khrushchev, and the coalition against him in the 1962 presidential election collapsed. His role in Finnish-Soviet relations undoubtedly helped him to remain president for 25 years. Kekkonen’s foreign policy stabilized Finland’s external position; in 1961 the country became an associate member of EFTA, and in 1973 a trade agreement was concluded with the EC.GDR and the Federal Republic of Germany on 21.12.1972. This was a step towards the European Security and Cooperation Conference in Helsinki, CSCE (since 1994 OSCE, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe), which ended with the Helsinki Final Act.

These initiatives placed Finland stronger in international politics. In turn, the Kekkonen’s exercise of power provoked deep domestic political contradictions, which led to demands for a weakening of the presidential power; his successor, the Social Democrat Mauno Koivisto, himself chose to curtail his interventions in daily politics.

While Finland in the first decades after the war was marked by many government crises, since the late 1970’s, a tradition has been created for broad coalition governments that endure the election period. Until 1987, governments were most often formed on the basis of alliances between the SDP and the Center Party (until 1965 Agrarförbundet), but new patterns of cooperation now seem to have been created. It may be related to the foreign policy freedom that the country has enjoyed since the collapse of the Soviet Union, where an equal treaty of cooperation with the Russian Federationreplaced the VSB Pact. In 1995, following an indicative referendum, Finland joined the EU. In addition to the economic benefits that one hopes to achieve, EU membership must of course also be seen as a guarantee of Finland’s continued independence from Russia. In 2008, Finland held the presidency of the OSCE, while the Georgia crisis developed into a short-lived war with Russia.

After 1995

In the period since 1995, Finland has been characterized by political stability. After the election in 1995, the Social Democrat Paavo Lipponen formed a government, the so-called rainbow coalition, consisting of the Social Democrats, the National Coalition Party, the Swedish People’s Party, the Left Alliance and the Green Alliance. Despite its political scope and internal contradictions, the government continued after the 1999 election. However, the Green Alliance chose to leave the government when it decided in May 2002 to expand its nuclear power. With the accession of the government, Finland continued to suffer from the aftermath of the economic crisis, the country had emerged in the early 1990’s, when unemployment exceeded 20% and the deficit in the state budget increased explosively. Both for this reason and to qualify Finland for participation in Economic and Monetary Union, EMU, the government pursued a restrictive economic policy and, with tax cuts, caused the unions to show restraint in the collective bargaining negotiations. The result was a sharp increase in competitiveness, which in the late 1990’s led to annual growth rates of up to 6%.

Finland has supported continued integration in the EU and is also in favor of strengthening the EU Commission. The country was among the first to join EMU, and like Denmark and Sweden, has eagerly supported the enlargement of the EU to the east. The prospect of several of the new EU countries also joining NATO has led to a debate in Finland on whether to join the defense organization as well. The Samlingspartiet and Svenska Folkpartiet in particular have been in favor of this, while the Social Democrats, who in 1995-2004 held all the foreign policy key positions in the state apparatus, have wanted to postpone the issue and rather see the EU develop into a security and foreign policy superpower by cooperating with the Western European Unionin peacekeeping engagements. This line has been conditioned by Finland’s desire not to see Russia in isolation; therefore, Finland has warmly supported the Partnership for Peace initiative. However, in the light of the rapprochement that has taken place between NATO and Russia since 9/11/2001, it is to be expected that Finland will reassess its relationship with NATO. Something that, however, has only been actualized in 2016 after the Ukraine crisis.

At the end of the presidency, Martti Ahtisaari did not seek re-election, and in the February 2000 election, his party colleague Tarja Halonen, who had been Foreign Minister since 1995, was elected president; she thus became Finland’s first female head of state.

Tarja Halonen became the first president to take office under a new constitution that deprived the office of many of its powers in government formation and in foreign policy. On the other hand, she has – often in conflict with the government – made the most of the powers she has left. Also in other ways, she has managed to put a personal touch on the office, and in 2006 she was re-elected for a new six-year term. In the 2003 election, the Center Party became the country’s largest party by a narrow margin and gained the post of prime minister in a new majority coalition with the Social Democrats and the Swedish People’s Party. The first months of the new government were marked by the scandal surrounding the new Prime Minister Anneli Jäätteenmäkismaneuvers during the election campaign. After two months, she had to resign. However, the governing coalition could continue under the Center Party’s deputy chairman, Matti Vanhanen. Since then, the new government has continued the predecessor’s social liberal stabilization policy, which has created constant economic growth. Nevertheless, the still high level of unemployment has not been completely eliminated, as many unemployed people have not been able to meet the demands of the high-tech growth industries. The concentration of these industries in the southern and partly western parts of Finland has created an increased emigration from the sparsely populated areas in the north and east. With the prospect of EU agricultural support for Finnish agriculture declining, this trend will increase in the future, although the government is trying to compensate for this. In order to meet future demands for labor, a pension reform was adopted in 2003,

In the 2007 election, both the major governing parties, the Center Party and the Social Democrats declined. However, the Center Party retained its position as the largest party. It therefore became the party’s leader, Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, which was given the task of forming a new government. Vanhanen chose to replace the Social Democrats as a government partner due to their great decline. Although the Center Party and the Coalition Party together have an absolute majority, Vanhanen chose to keep the Swedish People’s Party in the government and also involve the Green Alliance, so that the new government in the Riksdag has 126 out of 200 seats behind it. It is the first time since 1995 that the Social Democrats have not been in government, while the Swedish People’s Party, as the only one, has been in all governments since 1979. According to the government basis, the new government will take initiatives to maintain the country’s competitiveness by a general tax cut on income; it will pursue an ecological climate and energy policy with increased environmental taxes and a possible expansion of nuclear and hydropower; initiatives are also important,

In the 2011 election, the Center Party and the Social Democrats regressed, while the nationalist and populist party Sannfinländerna (The True Finns) made significant progress. The party went from 5 to 39 seats and thus became Finland’s third largest party. Jyrki Katainen from the Samlingspartiet formed a government together with six smaller parties; True Finns had no influence in government formation.

The following year, in 2012, presidential elections were held; here Sauli Niinistö from the National Coalition Party won. Finland thus became the first conservative president since 1956.

In foreign policy, Finland continues to attach great importance to the development of the EU, and the government chose in the autumn of 2006, when the country held the EU presidency, to let Parliament adopt the EU Treaty, although President Halonen opposes it and population dissatisfaction with the EU is growing. Finland’s desire to participate in broader international and security policy co-operation has also contributed to the constant discussion of a possible accession to NATO, with which the country must work ever closer. Another theme that has aroused debate in the country and criticism from outside is the fact that the country, due to the long border with Russia, has still not signed the Ottawa Treatyfrom 1997 to refrain from using landmines. However, the treaty was ratified in 2011 with effect from 2012, and the mines must be removed in 2016.