Finnish Flag

The flag of the Workers Republic of Finland, 1920-1978

The Finnish civil war was one of the first of "Scandinavian" wars for about 80 years (Finland is technically a Nordic country). It was also one of the first wars against socialism and communism. Europe watched as the future was about to get decided. The reds fought against the more powerful, better trained and better led white army. They could have easily won the battle of Tampere, but were led by the incapable general Hugo Samela. But what if the battle was fought with a far greater general?

Battle of Tampere

Early morning, March 5 1918, Enio Ambramovich Rahja is picked up from the front to behind their lines to discuss a defense of the city of Tampere, which was thought to be attacked by a large white force. He accepted the trade of leadership with the incapable leader Hugo Samela, who would be transferred to the smaller front that Enio Rahja fought at. Three days later a full scaled attack was launched to capture the city and it's large industrial zones. The battle was fierce and the change of tactics happened often. The leader of the white army Carl Mannerheim (June 4 1867-April 2 1918) who would later be captured and shot by the red army. On April the 4th, the Red army managed to hold off the Whites and pushed further into their territory. April was the time for major breakthroughs for the red army and at the battle of Vaasa the reds won a strategic and mental win and it was a blow to the whites who were continuing to loose power and their men were dying around them. The final blow was struck at the Lapland mines (the battle of Lapland) in September 21 1918. The generals gave in and the war was declared over on the 3 October 1918. The army then set out in capturing any white general that got away and executed them.
Red Soldiers

A red army soldier during the battle of Tampere.

The First Premier of the new Finland.

After the war the peoples delegation had to stop all revolts and centralise the new socialist-communist nation they were leading. The man at the head of the planing was the powerful general Ali Aaltonen. He was declared leader of the "revolution" against the capitalists whites and he took ultimate power over the government at the end of 1919. The beginning of 1920 saw Ali Aaltonen declared the people's delegation the new and reformed Socialist Party of Finland. Doing this separated the communists from the government and he had to fix the problem. In late June he declared there would be a voting system put in place, (much to the displeasure of the Soviet Government in Russia) and in late August he officially declared the Socialist Workers Republic of Finland. He then put the voting system in place. The first ever elections were a three way race between the Socialist party, the Communist party and the Soviet Party. The Soviet party was created just before the elections (1921) and their main goal was to have Finland become a member of the Soviet Republic. The results were made public in mid December 1921 with the Socialist, led by Ali Aaltonen, getting 53% of popular votes.
Aleksi aaltonen

The first premier. He would be extremely popular with the people until his death.

He was declared in for a 5 year term and he became the first premier of the S.W.R.F. He then turned to the low production and went on to boost it up in the Tusoen plan. It was for production to be put up to meet with other nations like the UK and France. The downside was the increased working times and the decreased wages. This led to strikes by workers that were put down by force. He was quickly loosing popularity among the people and by the time of the second election he won only by 3,300 votes.
Eero Haapalainen

Eero Haapalainen, the leader of the opposition movement and communist party, 1921-1936.

By this time he was troubled by the amount of trade going to the rest of the world, with 85-95% going all to the Soviet Union. On the 6th March, 1927 he issued the Helsinki Summit, as proposed by communist party leader Eero Haapalainen, for minor nations of Europe to come to the Helsinki Socialist (government building) every year to discuss major trade. After several months of collaboration the first summit was declared to be held on June 6th-7th 1928 with the following nations coming
  • Albania
  • Bulgaria
  • Czechoslovakia
  • Danzig
  • Hungary
  • Monaco

Many other nations declined due to the pressure from the great powers to not trade with what they saw as an enemy. When the first summit was over Finland had gained major trading area throughout the continent and in others, with the most prominent being South American countries. The year 1929 would be a large one for the more minor party, the Soviet party, which after 8 years of trying to get Finland to become a Soviet Republic, changed in leadership and values. The red leader that had won the battle of Tampere for the reds was voted to become leader of the the new Revolutionary party, which wanted a style like the U.S.S.R, but not become part of it.

The winter war

The age of prosperity they called it, the time of great leap forwards and scientific advancements. Ali lived up to the nickname "the grandest" as it was deemed the best era of the S.W.R.F. This era was from 1936 (after Ali won his last election) and 1941 (when the Germans invaded). Ali was also boosting up the tiny military into a powerhouse. By 1938 he was voted in as TIME magazine's man of the year and the next year he was awarded the Nobel peace prize (for helping put a stop to hostilities in Spain). Then a day of great mourning, January 12th 1940, World War II had just begun and Ali was on his way to visit French troops at the border. He was told by his advisers not to visit due to German troops bombing the area. He fell sic

kh in the early morning and had to stop at a nearby hospital. The hospital was bombed at 11:23 and Ali was declared dead on the spot.

Finnish soldiers relaxing after the siege of Petsamo (1944)

When the news reached home many people began to speculate a was war with Germany was about to occur. Ali's co-premier, Andrew Hakkarainen, took his office. By the autumn of 1941 the Finns had not gone to war but tension was building. Finally a blitzkrieg across the Soviet German border left the military in disarray. The Finns saw their chance to attack and declared war on the Germans 16 October 1941. The expected fast victory was bogged down as the Germans invaded Finland from Norway and from the area they caught in the Soviet Union. The Finnish fought with extreme patriotism and attack large numbers of enemy troops.

Finnish and Soviet troops before an attack on German held trenches in southern Finland (1942)

The Finnish were accustomed to the winter snow and fought in it against insane odds. By 1944 their troops were exhausted and German breakthroughs were happening everywhere. They were helped by the Petsamo plan, in which the UK and Soviets would ship supplies to them from the port of Petsamo, which was being held throughout all 1942-1943. They managed to begin pushing back the Germans and the Germany 14 Armour division was the last to flee. Then the Finns began operation Mercury, the bombing and takeover of strategic German held land behind their lines. The plan worked and by May they were already at Berlins gates. The remaining soldiers there were cut down by Soviet and Finnish troops and the Hammer and Sickle were raised over Berlin. The war ended on August 25th almost 6 years after it began.

Post War Finland

After the war elections were called to happen in 1946 due to no elections being held in 1941 due to the war. By this time incumbent premier, Andrew Hakkarainen, was loosing ground in the Helsinki Socialist and popular votes. Eino Rahja began to gain more and more control over the government and the people. He finally won the elections becoming the second premier to be elected and the first premier to be in a non-socialist party. He then began to bring all members of the communist party over to his party which he achieved on the 4th of May 1947, changing the party name to the communist-revolutionary party. In July of the same year he visited Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin and accepted any proposition put forward by the leader. He began doing things that Stalin was doing and in December 1949 he enacted collectivization for all farms and on the 29th of December he put forward the first 5 year plan. On the 5th of January 1950 he declared himself premier for life which is met with revolt in Helsinki. He used his newly built military strength to quell the people and build himself into a dictator. Although he removed the voting rights of the people he kept the Helsinki Socialist voting intact. Then on June 25th North Korea invaded the south in an attempt to united the countries under communism. Eiro saw this as the perfect opportunity to show the world Finland's new military strength and sent soldiers to fight.
220px-Carl August Fagerho 1955

Karl-August Fagerholm, the first communist premier of Finland (1959-1973)

They arrived during the battle of Pusan, but didn't supply the Communist forces with enough manpower (Finland sent 10,000 men) and lost the battle. They began winning battles throughout 1952 and when the war ended with the status quo in 1953 the men returned home to a nation that was forced to believe that they won a total victory. In 1954 the Finnish industry was booming and the military was at a all time high. The second 5 year plan began the reign of terror as the people called it. The Lapland mines were the sight of forced labour and 800,000 Finnish deaths by Eino and by 1957 people were in open rebellion against the government. Eino then used the military which were not trained in the slightest were no match for the people. On the 3rd October 1958 Eino Rahja died and was not replaced due to no leaders in the Helsinki Socialist being strong enough to handle the rebellions. In November 26th the People's republic of Lapland was declared by miners to fight against the soldiers of the government. Then on the 16th of July 1959 the communist leader Karl-August Fagerholm took control of the government and sent his soldiers to put down the people. Finally after 2 years of fighting the people were quelled.

The Cold War

On the 15th of August 1959 Karl-August Fagerholm became the first Communist premier of Finland and ruler throughout most of Finland's role in the cold war. He was also the only other premier to be awarded with the Nobel peace prize (for his involvement in stopping hostilities in Vietnam). During the 60's during the height of the cold war he helped stabilise the Finnish economy and international relations. He also stopped the collectivization and forced labour, and like his counterpart Nikita Khrushchev, he helped in the ending of Eino Rahja's policies and Nikita did to Stalin's reign. Then in 1962 with the Cuban Missile almost ending with war, Finland wanted to end tensions with the USA, which they achieved with the Helsinki pact (1963) between communist and democratic nations, declaring that no wars were to be held between communist nations and US aligned nations. This pact was shaken when the US began sending troops into North Vietnam breaking the pact. Due to these actions, Finland began supplying weapons to the North Vietnam army.

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