Aapo Roselius: Isänmaallinen kevät. Vapaussotamyytin alkulähteillä [Springtime for the Fatherland. The origins of the freedom war myth]

14 November 2013 | Mini reviews, Reviews

roseliusIsänmaallinen kevät. Vapaussotamyytin alkulähteillä
[Springtime for the Fatherland. The origins of the freedom war myth]
Helsinki: Tammi, 2013. 285 pp., ill.
ISBN 978-951-31-5821-7
€42.40, paperback

Having gained its independence from Russia in 1917, Finland descended into civil war in 1918, with the ‘Whites’ on the side of the Finnish Senate fighting against the ‘Reds’, who were aligned with the labour movement. The Whites, who emerged as victors, also termed this conflict the ‘Freedom War’. This book is based partly on Aapo Roselius’ doctoral thesis. He investigates how people after the war sought to create the foundation for an idealised view which held that the war, as the result of lengthy historical developments, secured Finland’s freedom and independence. Roselius also employs some literary techniques to show how the Whites’ victory was commemorated in celebrations, collections of reminiscences and monuments. The key remembrance organisation was the paramilitary Civil Guard, whose members had fought in the war. The losing opposition side was regarded as a threat, and there was a widespread desire to forget the more numerous casualties among the Reds and those who died in prison camps. When the Winter War broke out against the Soviet Union in 1939, men from the Left also went to war; the image of a nation defending the fatherland suppressed the myth that love of one’s homeland was the sole prerogative of the winners of the Finnish Civil War.
Translated by Ruth Urbom

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