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Istituto per i Beni Culturali Emilia-Romagna

Memoria e Ricerca

Remembering the Finnish Civil War in 1918

di Risto Alapuro
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 21 (2006), p. 21

In the Finnish Civil War of 1918 an internal and an external dimension were superposed in a way that has made the remembrance of the conflict extremely ambivalent. The two Russian revolutions in 1917 created conditions both for polarization and the gaining of independence from Russia. Consequently, the War has no commonly shared name, but it is called the Civil War or the Internal War, or, alternatively, the War for Freedom. It resulted in the exclusion of the defeated from the nation as being “those who had no fatherland.” In the dominant view the rebels had put themselves in the service of their mortal enemies, the Bolshevik Russians. A fierce opposition existed between the views of the White victors and the defeated Reds up to the post-World War II period. In the 1960s the nationalist interpretation was fragmented, first in literature and then in scholarly research and elsewhere in the dominant culture. A new phase following the collapse of the Soviet Union has multiplied the approaches, reviving views close to the victors’ perspectives, advancing the treatment of the terror and repression, and heightening the attention to the memory of the War.