Jukka Tarkka: Karhun kainalossa. Suomen kylmä sota 1947–1990 [Under the arm of the Bear. Finland’s Cold War 1947–1990]

18 October 2012 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Karhun kainalossa. Suomen kylmä sota 1947–1990
[Under the arm of the Bear. Finland’s Cold War 1947-1990]
Helsinki: Otava, 2012. 495 p, ill.
ISBN 978-951-1-25796-7
€ 36.70, hardback

Historian and author Jukka Tarkka’s book describes relations between Finland and the ‘Bear’ (i.e. the Soviet Union) during the Cold War, from the Paris Peace Treaty which ended Finland’s part in the Second World War to the new interpretation of some of the Treaty’s key points in 1990. Many people consider that Finland fell too much under the Soviet Union’s influence and became ‘Finlandised’. Tarkka shows that although in some cases Finland did give in, it also resisted Soviet pressure, built cultural and economic relations with the Western democracies and established an independent defence. In the light of its declared neutrality during the Cold War, Finland’s rapid integration into the EU is not at all surprising. The central figure in the thematically structured book is Urho Kekkonen, the country’s president for a quarter of a century. Kekkonen led the political struggle, but at the same time used the threat of the eastern neighbour as a weapon of domestic policy, as did many less influential figures in his shadow. Without sacrificing scholarly rigour Tarkka has written a popularly accessible outline of an important subject, relying on sources and references.
Translated by David McDuff

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