Independency

History of Finland between 1918 - 2017

Independence

The February and the October Revolution in 1917, had also ignited hopes in the Grand Duchy of Finland. After the abdication of Grand Duke Nicholas II on 15 March 1917, the personal union between Russia and Finland lost its legal base – at least according to the view in Helsinki. There was negotiations between the Russian Interim Government and Finnish authorities. The resulting proposal, approved by the interim government, was heavily rewritten in the Parliament and transformed into the so called Power Act, in which it declared itself now having all powers of legislation, except in respect of foreign policy and military issues, and also that it could be dissolved only by itself. At the time of voting it was believed that the Interim Government would be defeated. The Interim Government sustained, did not approve the act and dissolved the Parliament.

After new elections and the defeat of the interim government, on 5 November, the Parliament declared itself to be "the possessor of supreme State power" in Finland, based on Finland's Constitution The October Revolution of 1917 turned Finnish politics upside down. Now, the new non-Socialist majority of the Parliament desired total independence, and the Socialists came gradually to view Soviet Russia as an example to follow. On November 15, 1917, the Bolsheviks declared a general right of self-determination, including the right of complete secession, "for the Peoples of Russia". On the same day the Finnish Parliament issued a declaration by which it temporarily took power in Finland.

Civil War

Punakaartin sotilaita
Red Guards in the Civil War

Finland after 1917 was bitterly divided along social lines. The Whites consisted of the Swedish-speaking middle and upper classes and the farmers and peasantry who dominated the northern two-thirds of the land. They had a conservative outlook and rejected socialism. The socialist-Communist Reds comprised the Finnish-speaking urban workers and the landless rural cottagers. They had a radical outlook and rejected capitalism. From January to May 1918, Finland experienced the brief but bitter Finnish Civil War. On one side there were the "white" civil guards, who fought for the anti-Socialists. On the other side were the Red Guards, which consisted of workers and tenant farmers. The latter proclaimed a Finnish Socialist Workers' Republic. World War I was still underway and the defeat of the Red Guards was achieved with support from Imperial Germany, while Sweden remained neutral and Russia withdrew its forces. The Reds lost the war and the White peasantry rose to political leadership in the 1920s-1930s. About 37,000 men died, most of them in prisoner camps ravaged by influenza and other diseases.

Finland in the inter-war era

After the civil war the parliament, controlled by the Whites, voted to establish a constitutional monarchy to be called the Kingdom of Finland, with a German prince as king. However, Germany's defeat in November 1918 made the plan impossible and Finland instead became a republic, with Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg elected as its first President in 1919. Despite the bitter civil war, and repeated threats from fascist movements, Finland became and remained a capitalist democracy under the rule of law. By contrast, nearby Estonia, in similar circumstances but without a civil war, started as a democracy and was turned into a dictatorship in 1934.

Nationalist sentiment remaining from the Civil War developed into the proto-Fascist Lapua Movement in 1929. Initially the movement gained widespread support among anti-Communist Finns, but following a failed coup attempt in 1932 it was banned and its leaders imprisoned. In the wake of the Civil War there were many incidents along the border between Finland and Soviet Russia, such as the Aunus expedition and the Pork mutiny. Relations with the Soviets were improved after the Treaty of Tartu in 1920, in which Finland gained Petsamo, but gave up its claims on East Karelia. Tens of thousands of radical Finns—from Finland, the United States and Canada—took up Stalin's 1923 appeal to create a new Soviet society in the Karelian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (KASSR), a part of Russia. Most were executed in the purges of the 1930s. The Soviet Union started to tighten its policy against Finland in the 1930s, limiting the navigation of Finnish merchant ships between Lake Ladoga and the Gulf of Finland and blocking it totally in 1937.

Finland in World War II

Raattentie T-26
Finnish soldiers at Raate Road

During World War II, Finland fought two wars against the Soviet Union: the Winter War of 1939–1940, resulting in the loss of Finnish Karelia, and the Continuation War of 1941–1944 (with considerable support from Nazi Germany resulting in a swift invasion of neighboring areas of the Soviet Union), eventually leading to the loss of Finland's only ice-free winter harbour Petsamo. The Continuation War was, in accordance with the armistice conditions, immediately followed by the Lapland War of 1944–1945, when Finland fought the Germans to force them to withdraw from northern Finland back into Norway (then under German occupation).

Cold War

Finland retained a democratic constitution and free economy during the Cold War era. Treaties signed in 1947 and 1948 with the Soviet Union included obligations and restraints on Finland, as well as territorial concessions. Both treaties have been abrogated by Finland since the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, while leaving the borders untouched. Even though being a neighbour to the mighty Soviet Union sometimes resulted in overly cautious concern in foreign policy ("Finlandization"), Finland developed closer co-operation with the other Nordic countries and declared itself neutral in superpower politics.

Recent history

The process of accession was completed on January 1, 1995, when Finland joined the European Union along with Austria and Sweden. Leading Finland into the EU is held as the main achievement of the Centrist-Conservative government of Esko Aho then in power. In the economic policy, the EU membership forced large changes. While politicians were previously involved in setting interest rates, the central bank was given an inflation-targeting mandate until Finland joined the eurozone.[54] During Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen's two successive governments 1995–2003, several large state companies were privatized fully or partially. Matti Vanhanen's two cabinets followed suit until autumn 2008, when the state became a major shareholder in the Finnish telecom company Elisa with the intention to secure the Finnish ownership of a strategically important industry.

References: Wikipedia

Popular sites founded between 1918 and 2017 in Finland

Parliament House

Since 1907 the Parliament of Finland was convened in House of the Estates and Finnish House of Nobility. Both buildings became however too small for the 200 members of the independent Finland Parliament. In 1923 a competition was held to choose a site for a new Parliament House. Arkadianmäki, a hill beside what is now Mannerheimintie, was chosen as the best site.The architectural competition which was held in 1924 wa ...
Founded: 1926-1931 | Location: Helsinki, Finland

Olympic Stadium

The story of Olympic Stadium began in 1927, when City of Helsinki and several sport associations created the Stadium Foundation. The purpose of foundation was to build an adequate venue for the summer olympics. Construction of the Olympic Stadium began in 1934 and it was completed in 1938. It was designed in functionalistic style by the architects Yrjö Lindegren and Toivo Jäntti.The stadium was built to host the ...
Founded: 1934-1938 | Location: Helsinki, Finland

Sibelius Monument

The Sibelius monument was designed by Eila Hiltunen and completed in 1967. It consists of series of more than 600 hollow steel pipes welded together in a wave-like pattern. The purpose of the artist was to capture the essence of the music of Sibelius. The monument weighs 24 tonnes. It’s probably the most well-known abstract sculpture in Finland and popular tourist attraction.
Founded: 1967 | Location: Helsinki , Finland

Arktikum

Arktikum is the Provincial Museum of Lapland and Arctic Center. The exhibitions examine culture, history, and modern life in the Arctic. Concepts such as human life in tune with nature are explored in depth. In the Provincial Museum’s permanent exhibition “The Northern Ways” you will find out about the life and mothology e.g. of the moose and bear and you will also hear the sounds of the Lappish animals. ...
Founded: 1992 | Location: Rovaniemi, Finland

Lenin Museum

The Lenin museum is located at the old Worker's Hall of Tampere, where V. I. Lenin and Josef Stalin met for the first time in 1905. It was opened in 1946 to present the life and ideas of Lenin. Today the museum focuses more widely to material related to Lenin's life and activities and the history of the Soviet Union.
Founded: 1946 | Location: Tampere, Finland

Temppeliaukio Church

Quarried out of the natural bedrock, The Temppeliaukio church is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city; half a million people visit it annually. The interior walls are created naturally by the rock. The church was designed by architects Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen and opened in 1969. The interior was excavated and built into the rock but is bathed in natural light entering through the glazed dome. Due to ...
Founded: 1969 | Location: Helsinki, Finland

Forum Marinum

The Forum Marinum Maritime Centre exhibits seafaring history and traditions of the nautical culture in the southwest of Finland, history of the naval forces and the maritime history collections of Åbo Akademi University and Provincial Museum.In addition to permanent and temporary exhibitions there are several museum ships located to the museum or near Aurajoki river. Most well-known ships are full-rigger Suomen Jousten ( ...
Founded: 1999 | Location: Turku, Finland

Paimio Sanatorium

Paimio Sanatorium is a former tuberculosis sanatorium in designed by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. The building was completed in 1932, and soon after received critical acclaim both in Finland and abroad. The building served exclusively as a tuberculosis sanatorium until the early 1960s, when it was converted into a general hospital. Today the building is part of the Turku University Hospital. The sanatorium was nominated ...
Founded: 1932 | Location: Paimio, Finland

New Valamo

Tradition has it that the original Monastery of Valamo was founded in the 12th century or no later than the 14th century. New Valamo or New Valaam is an Orthodox monastery in Heinävesi. The monastery was established in 1940, when some 190 monks from Valamo Monastery in Karelia were evacuated from their old abode on a group of islands in Lake Laatokka (Ladoga) to Eastern Finland. The old Valamo Monastery was quite soo ...
Founded: 1940 | Location: Heinävesi, Finland

German Soldier Cemetery

The cemetery was founded in 1963 for the German Wehrmacht soldiers died in Lapland front during the World War II. It was built by the German organization Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge and consists over 2350 graves. There’s also a small and bare mausoleum made of rock.
Founded: 1963 | Location: Rovaniemi, Finland

Åland Museum

The history of Åland from the Stone Ages to present times is exhibited at the permanent exhibition in the Åland museum. It’s concentrating on such themes as hunting and fishing, The Earth, The sea, The People and Autonomy. A comprehensive picture of Åland´s archaeology, folklore and natural sciences. In 1982 the museum received the European Museum of the Year Award.
Founded: 1981 | Location: Maarianhamina, Finland

Villa Mairea

Villa Mairea is a villa and guest house built in 1938-1939 as the residence of patronages Harry and Maire Gullichsen. It was designed by their friend, the most famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. The house is one of the most successful examples of the modernist style in architecture and one of Aalto's most widely known designs. The interior of the Villa mainly consists of modern art and Artek furniture, which form a ...
Founded: 1938-1939 | Location: Pori, Finland

Vanajanlinna

The history of the original estate of Vanajanlinna, Äikäälä, goes back to the Middle Ages. Historical records mention Olle af Aeykaelum (Olli of Äikäälä) as the owner of the Äikäälä estate in 1374. After him the farm has had many owners and a colourful history as a freehold and holding farm used for agriculture.The actual history of Vanajalinna begins from the year 1918, when the industrialist Carl Wilhelm Ros ...
Founded: 1924 | Location: Hämeenlinna, Finland

Mannerheim Statue

The statue of Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim (1867-1951), Marshal of Finland, was made by the sculptor Evert Porila in 1939. The statue is located at the hill, where Mannerheim watched the occupation of Tampere in the Finnish Civil War (1918). He was commander of the white army, which occupied Tampere from red guards after the bloody battle .The statue was originally planned to be situated in the centre of Tampere, but the S ...
Founded: 1939-1956 | Location: Tampere, Finland

Kaleva Church

Kaleva Church in Tampere is very exceptional church building in Finland. The modern church was designed by Reima and Raili Pietilä and it was completed in 1966.Vertical windows reaching from floor to ceiling give lot of light inside highlight the cathedral-style height of the building. Kaleva Church is characterized by space, light and and long shapes inside. There are also lot of wooden surfaces inside the church. The l ...
Founded: 1964-1966 | Location: Tampere, Finland

Turkansaari

The Turkansaari Open-Air Museum consists over 40 museum buildings. The buildings include for example a church built in 1694 and the old country manor house of Ylikärppä, completed in 1894. In Turkansaari, you can see the old trades that the region’s economy used to revolve around, including tar-making, salmon fishing, lumbering and log floating.Turkansaari church was built as the chapel in 1694. At that ti ...
Founded: 1922 | Location: Oulu, Finland

Border Museum

Opened in 1989, the Border Museum is located in the Immola Barracks. The museum houses a permanent exhibition which traces the history of Finland’s frontiers and that of the Border Guard itself. The exhibition also gives an insight into the life and work of border guards during the period following Finland’s independence (in 1917), in times of both war and peace.The museum is open in summer, and at other times ...
Founded: 1989 | Location: Imatra, Finland

Pielinen Museum

Pielinen Museum is the second largest open-air museum in Finland. There are over 70 buildings or structures from different centuries, the oldest hut date back to the 17th century. The permanent exhibition focuses on the living and building conditions. The open-air museum area comprises three farmyards from the 18th to 20th centuries, forestry department with lumber cabins, a mill, farming and fire sections.Reference: Muse ...
Founded: 1963 | Location: Lieksa, Finland

Muurame Church

The village of Muurame lies a few miles south of Jyväskylä, the town where Aalto grew up and opened his first architectural practice in 1923, so it was only natural for the parish council to commission its new church from the closest qualified architect. Aalto had made his first trip to Italy in 1924, during which he had been greatly impressed by the architettura minore of small, simple churches in rural setting ...
Founded: 1926 | Location: Muurame, Finland

Infantry Museum

The Infantry Museum, founded in 1982, is housed in three wooden barracks built in the 19th century. The exhibition includes 70 different military uniforms, 120 hand guns, 20 machine and light machine guns, 20 mortars and guns, and plenty of other military equipment. The exhibition is supplemented by a large collection of photos, also in colour, and scale models depicting the battles of Tuulos and Ihantala.The task of the ...
Founded: 1982 | Location: Mikkeli, Finland

The Church of the Three Crosses

The Church of the Three Crosses (Vuoksenniska chruch), designed by academician Alvar Aalto, is architecturally an interesting building. Its slender, high belfry describes a down shot arrow. Instead of the altar painting there are three crosses. Among the 103 windows only two are identical. Aalto planned the church also for other activities in the parish besides services. Therefore the church can be divided into three part ...
Founded: 1957 | Location: Imatra, Finland

The Finnish Labour Museum Werstas

The Finnish Labour Museum Werstas is located in the historical Finlayson cotton mill area. At Werstas, you can visit the Textile Industry Museum, the Steam Engine Museum as well as the Labour Museum's changing and permanent exhibitions.The exhibitions at Werstas offer an overview of the history of the industrial era, worker population and civil society from different perspectives. The constantly refreshed exhibitions pres ...
Founded: Museum founded in 1993 | Location: Tampere, Finland

Orthodox Church Museum

The Orthodox Church Museum, established in Kuopio in 1957, derives from the Collection of Ancient Objects founded at the Monastery of Valamo in 1911. Most of the exhibits, which consist mainly of icons, sacred objects and liturgical textiles, are from the monasteries and congregations of Karelia: a region in southeast Finland that was partially ceded to the Soviet Union in connection with the Second World War. Objects in ...
Founded: 1957 | Location: Kuopio, Finland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Château de Chaumont

The Château de Chaumont was founded in the 10th century by Odo I, Count of Blois. The purpose was to protect his lands from attacks from his feudal rivals, Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou. On his behalf the Norman Gelduin received it, improved it and held it as his own. His great-niece Denise de Fougère, having married Sulpice d'Amboise, passed the château into the Amboise family for five centuries.

Pierre d'Amboise unsuccessfully rebelled against King Louis XI and his property was confiscated, and the castle was dismantled on royal order in 1465. It was later rebuilt by Charles I d'Amboise from 1465–1475 and then finished by his son, Charles II d'Amboise de Chaumont from 1498–1510, with help from his uncle, Cardinal Georges d'Amboise; some Renaissance features were to be seen in buildings that retained their overall medieval appearance. The château was acquired by Catherine de Medici in 1550. There she entertained numerous astrologers, among them Nostradamus. When her husband, Henry II, died in 1559 she forced his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, to exchange Château de Chaumont for Château de Chenonceau which Henry had given to de Poitiers. Diane de Poitiers only lived at Chaumont for a short while.

Later Chaumont has changed hands several times. Paul de Beauvilliers bought the château in 1699, modernized some of its interiors and decorated it with sufficient grandeur to house the duc d'Anjou on his way to become king of Spain in 1700. Monsieur Bertin demolished the north wing to open the house towards the river view in the modern fashion.

In 1750, Jacques-Donatien Le Ray purchased the castle as a country home where he established a glassmaking and pottery factory. He was considered the French "Father of the American Revolution" because he loved America. However, in 1789, the new French Revolutionary Government seized Le Ray's assets, including his beloved Château de Chaumont.

The castle has been classified as a Monument historique since 1840 by the French Ministry of Culture. The Château de Chaumont is currently a museum and every year hosts a Garden Festival from April to October where contemporary garden designers display their work in an English-style garden.