Finland Travel Guide

FINLAND Early history

Finland as an independent republic 1917 Declaration of independence (6 December). P. E. Svinhufvud becomes head of the government. 1918 War of Liberation. In January Finnish Communists and Russian Bolsheviks occupy Helsinki and advance into the rest of the country.

A Finnish volunteer army under General C. G. von Mannerheim (1867-1951), supported by German troops, defeats these forces in southern Finland in April and May. – General Mannerheim becomes Regent of Finland. 1919 Republican constitution. K. J. Stihlberg becomes first President of Finland. 1920 Treaty of Tartu (Dorpat). Finland is recognised as an independent state and receives the area round Petsamo on the Arctic Ocean. 1919-21 The Aland Islands seek reunion with Sweden, but are assigned to Finland by the League of Nations. The islands are granted their own constitution and are demilitarised. 1922 Land reform.

1930-8 Finland’s foreign policy is directed towards avoiding involvement in German or Soviet policies. 1939”40 The Winter War with the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union demands bases in southern Finland and gives notice of termination of the nonaggression pact of 1932. War begins at the end of November 1939. Under the treaty of Moscow Finland is obliged to cede important territories to the Soviet Union (including Viipuri and part of Karelia) and to lease Hanko to the Soviet Union. 1941”4 Renewal of war with the Soviet Union. Under the armistice agreement Finland loses the Petsamo area and leases Porkkala to the Soviet Union in place of Hanko. 480,000 Finns have to be resettled. 1944”6 Marshal Mannerheim President.

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