Maritta Pohls & Annika Latva-Äijö: Lotta Svärd. Käytännön isänmaallisuutta [Lotta Svärd: practical patriotism]

1 April 2010 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Lotta Svärd. Käytännön isänmaallisuutta
[Lotta Svärd: Practical patriotism]
Helsinki: Otava, 2009. 454 p., ill.
€ 46, hardback

Lotta Svärd was the name of the Finnish women’s voluntary military organisation, which performed auxiliary defence work between 1921 and 1944. It took its name from a character in a poem by the 19th-century Finnish writer J.L. Runeberg: Lotta Svärd accompanied her soldier husband to the front in the Finnish War of 1709. During the Winter and Continuation Wars (1939–1944), the ‘Lottas’ provided assistance to soldiers and took over men’s jobs, freeing them to go to the front. Around 40,000 Lottas assisted the Finnish army by performing maintenance and staff duties as well as air-raid monitoring. When the organisation was disbanded in 1944, it had some 300,000 members. As Lotta Svärd was ideologically an organisation for women emphasising home, nation and religion, it divided public opinion, and may still do so today. This book, which details the organisation’s history, work and people, is fourth and final volume in the history project on Lotta Svärd.

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