The White Devil: The Story of the Finnish White Army and its Leader

1920 . Mannerheim, Carl Gustav Emil (4.6.1867-28.1.1951)

The train roared down the tracks, yet despite the noise, General Gustav Mannerheim was sound asleep. The train had stopped at every station along its route to allow Russian inspectors, and Mannerheim was tired of answering questions using his faked documents. General Gustav Mannerheim, which was what his forged business papers stated his name to be, was the ordinary businessman named Gustaf Malmberg. He was leaving the city of Helsinki in order to avoid death or capture by the Russian Red Army, which was soon to be in power. The evacuation was his idea, after all. He was the one who said to the Military Committee—a group of activists that was largely made up of officers from the Finnish army that had disbanded in 1901—that he wanted all the loyal and important Finns out of Helsinki as soon as possible, more specifically for them to go to Vassa, a city which nested itself at the center of a region opposed to the Communists. “Any day,” he had said, “we might be surprised and arrested, and what would become of our movement if its organizing center no longer existed?” His sense of entitlement at the meeting had caught several of the officers by surprise, and when one suggested that they should reconvene at a later date, after some written reports and a study of course, Mannerheim rose to his feet, lit a cigar and retorted with, “It was high time for action and not writing.” This display of bravado caused Mannerheim to become the chairman of the committee two days later, and when that happened, he called on the head of state, Pehr Evnid Svinhufvund, to tell him of the plans. As a result of the situation in Helsinki, no written record was made. For now though, Mannerheim was focused on getting some rest on the train to Vassa. Suddenly the train stopped at Tampere, which was along the route to Vassa, and a group of inspectors got on board. When the group came to wake Mannerheim for questioning, he responded in Russian, as that was the language he had grown accustomed to speaking during his time in the Russian Army, which served to arouse suspicion in the inspectors. As such, they ordered the general to come with them for further questioning. Mannerheim swallowed. This was the last thing he wanted, for if he was to be inspected further, in a state such as this, he would surely be discovered. Thinking fast, he tried to buy himself some more time. He claimed to the inspectors that he wasn’t dressed, and drew the curtains to his berk closed. He frantically began passing the case of incriminating documents to his aid. Suddenly a voice came from down the corridor, a disgruntled Finnish railway man, who berated the group, demanding them to stop bothering his passengers when their papers were in clear order. As the group left the train, Mannerheim sighed and climbed back into bed. Unbeknownst to him, this wouldn’t be the last time he would have trouble in Tampere.1

To understand the full scope of the chaos that had engulfed Finland at this time, we first need to understand the history of Finland up to this point. Russia at this time was a giant, full of multiple ethnic groups including Russians, Poles, Kazakhs, and Ukrainians to name a few.  However, at this time one of the territories of this Russian empire was in a unique state that enabled its people to have independence, namely Finland. Ever since 1809, Finland had been an autonomous grand duchy in the Russian Empire, yet it still adhered to applicable regulations set by its previous owner, Sweden. These regulations included those set upon by the Swedish Constitutions of 1772 and 1789, as well as the Diet Act of 1617, or at least, the terms in those that applied.2 However, ever since 1899, the Russian government began to water this down through a process of Russification. The first phase of this attempt, from 1898 to 1904 under General Nikolai A. Borbikov, suppressed Finnish newspapers and introduced the Russian Language into the Finnish senate. In 1901, he attempted to draft the Finns into the army, but was unsuccessful, and after his assassination and the Russian Revolution of 1905, Tsar Nicholas II agreed to exempt the Finns from Russian army service, and permitted the modernization of the Representative Diet. However, the Diet of 200 members wasn’t allowed any important role in the government of the country from 1907 to 1917, and russification programs were reintroduced. To make matters worse, in 1910, general state matters were placed in the hands of the Russian regime. Following that, in 1912, Russian citizens were given the same rights in Finland as Finnish citizens, effectively dissolving any illusion that Finland was more than a semi-autonomous glorified province of the Russian Empire. When World War I began in 1914, things only got worse. Nationalist leaders in Finland were arrested and sent to Siberia. Also, to make matters even worse, Finnish citizenship was abolished, new restrictions on the freedom of press and assembly were introduced, attempts were made to Russify higher schools and many other hardships and restrictions imposed on Finland.3 Given this information, the Finnish people jumped at the opportunity presented in 1917, with the fall of the Russian Tsarist government in favor of a provisional government, to reverse the restrictions imposed upon them. On March 20, 1917, the Russian Provisional Government granted Finland some of its autonomy back. However, at this time, ten years of heated parliamentary debate led to a spiraling of tensions, as many in the parliament had different views on what the future for Finland should look like. To make matters worse, when the Bolsheviks rose up in Russia to oppose the Provisional Government, the Social Democratic Party in Finland began to make calls for a completely independent Finland headed by a socialist government. The mood was so tense, in fact, that following the October Elections in 1917, all the socialist representatives withdrew from the government. On November 26, for the first and only time in Finnish history, Pehr Evnid Svinhufvund, one of the nationalist leaders that was sent to Siberia, was appointed to lead the government by the Eduskunta, the Finnish parliamentary group, forcing the socialist elements into political isolation. The government had to rely on former officers of the Imperial Russian Army. One of these officers, a man named Carl Gustav Emil Mannerheim, proved to be the capable leader the Government needed.4

Mannerheim was a man well versed in commanding armies. Born on June 4, 1867, in south-west Finland, more specifically at Louhisaari Manor, he rolled quite the lucky family to be born into. It was a large family with connections to wealthy individuals in Sweden. Thus Mannerheim had a large support network to indulge in even when times got hard. One such individual, Albert von Julin, would bankroll a large portion of Mannerheim’s early career and not require anything in return, in fact refusing the older, wealthier Mannerheim when he tried to do so. As such, it is no surprise that Mannerheim grew to gain the skills to enter into Nikolayesvoskyoe Calvary School in St Petersburg in 1887, even with his old reputation for mischief seeing as how he got suspended from a School in Helsinki for smashing the windows when he was younger. This move was not without concern, as the unique, semi-autonomous nature of the Finnish people to continue the practice of their customs and language was one done at the whim of the Tsar and there was no telling that the next in line wouldn’t subject the Finnish people to the same fate as the Russians had done to the Poles, Moldovans, Ukrainians, and the Lithuanians. However, Mannerheim would assure his former classmates as the twenty-year-old Carl Gustav Mannerheim boarded that faithful train on September 14, 1887, that he would never forget Finland. St Petersburg at the time was a cosmopolitan city, attracting people from all across the Eurasian steppe. As such, Mannerheim’s Swedish-accented Russian would not cause him much trouble. He started out strong, with high first-term grades; however, his rebellious side came back later on as a drunken argument with a Russian superior officer on a train, which almost got him expelled. However, he did manage to get his grades back up again and graduated at the rank of cornet. He even got married during the last decade of the nineteenth century, during his time in the Chevalier Guards, a prestigious group in the Russian army. However, that marriage would fall through.5 Mannerheim’s first experience in war would come in October 1904 during the Russo-Japanese war. During that time, he became a popular officer in the Russian army despite his strictness. He demanded the upmost effort from everyone, including himself. During this war, he was also promoted for bravery and, in World War I, he was further awarded for his displays of valor.6 The awards didn’t just come from Imperial Russia, but from other countries as well. Such was the case in Odessa, Romania where Mannerheim and his division scored a number of victories despite low supplies. However, despite his service in the Russian army, he never forgot his promise to remember Finland. As such, when The Grand Duchy of Finland declared itself independent on December 6, 1917, Mannerheim traveled up from where he was recuperating in Odessa, toward Finland.7

A map of Finland at the beginning of the Finnish Civil War. Based on the original map of the war by Ville Virrankoski | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

After arriving in Vassa, Mannerheim immediately began organizing his staff operating out of local buildings. Much to his dismay, the available manpower to him weren’t of the highest quality. Older semi-retired officers mixed with eager but inexperienced youngsters. Some fifty of the German-trained Jägers had arrived in Finland as well, bringing with them a large number of rifles and a smaller number of pistols and machine guns. The tensions in Finland were beginning to mount up more and more. The Finnish Red Guard began to operate more and more like an independent force. It had begun in early December 1917 to increase its treasury and its stockpile of weaponry. During the period of the general strike, full pay was demanded and received from industrialists. Wages were extracted from the southern municipalities of Finland as well in exchange for “preserving order.” The Soviet authorities, pleased with these developments, sent a new consignment of arms to Red Guard headquarters at Kuopio and Lahti on December 1. Three days after this, the city council of Tampere was jailed until it agreed to increase wages within its jurisdiction. The same procedure was followed in other cities as well. On December 5, the Red Guard incited a mob that seized control of Turku and looted shops. This action would alienate the parliamentary socialists who distanced themselves from being associated with this event. Between the 16th and 18th, the Red Guard held a congress of its own in Tampere, dividing the country into twelve military districts. During this time as well, the Whites also began to increase their own influence. On January 25, Mannerheim was appointed as Commander in Chief of the Finnish Army. A group of four Senators in Helsinki, led by Renvall, left secretly for Vassa in order to keep the government alive in case of a revolution being carried out by the Red Guard. This proved to be a good move, as on January 27-28, tensions fully escalated into near war. The Red Guard seized control of Helsinki, capturing many of those who were loyal to the old parliamentary system of government in charge of Finland. In that same time period, Mannerheim began a campaign of disarming groups of Russians in the areas around Vassa, which gained them a large stock of equipment. He then began operations seizing the important east-west railway, connecting his base with that of Karlien Whites on the shores of Lake Ladoga. Five-sixths of Finnish territory and half of the population was therefore under White control. However, the Reds held half of the other population and most of the important industrial areas. On January 30, Renvall and the three other senators established in Vassa a White government and on February 1, issued a proclamation calling upon all Finns to join Mannerheim in his war against the Communist insurrection. The Finnish Civil War had begun.8

The intervention of the German empire in Finland, rather than focusing on the western front of the Great War, poses an interesting question, why? Why would Germany, a nation already fighting a two-front war, want to help the Finns in their struggle? The answer lies in politics and strategy. Even before the Finns ever declared independence, Germany had a strategic interest in the Baltic sea. The Aland Islands, situated between Finland and Sweden, was officially supposed to remain a demilitarized zone between Russia and Sweden, in accordance with one of the many treaties signed in Paris, more specifically the one signed in 1856. However, Russia would soon violate this agreement, beginning in January of 1915, to fortify and station troops in the area. This presented a major problem for Germany, as this fortification could supplement naval operations in the waters just north of Germany presenting the possibility of, if Russia ever got the capabilities to do so, an invasion of Germany from the north. Of course, such a situation was very unlikely, given that Russia could not even afford to give every one of its soldiers a rifle, but it was just one of the opportunities Russia could have if their naval operations in Aland went unchecked. The more likely, and more feared, result of this militarization would be the severing of the German iron lifeline. As a result of the war to end all wars, Germany invested a large portion of its iron supply to the war effort, importing more iron from neutral Sweden.  As such, the German High Seas fleet would begin operations to eliminate Russian presence. There was a debate to land troops on the islands; however, doing so would mean bringing Sweden into the war, which at a first glance seems like a good thing. Bringing in a decently powerful ally directly on the border of Russia would mean that the Russian Empire would have to divert more troops to Finland, limiting the pressure on Germany and its ally, Austria-Hungary, on the Eastern front. However, dragging neutralist Sweden into the war presented a new issue. The allies, would see to it that the German-Swedish iron trade would be interrupted. As such, Germany would discontinue major operations in the North. They would begin supplying nationalists however, to create problems for their enemies, especially the Finns, who were becoming more and more unhappy with Russia. Beginning in 1915, Finnish nationalists would receive arms and training from Germany. Volunteers hoping to liberate their country from Russia would travel to Germany through Stockholm in the “underground railroad” where they would receive training from a camp to the north of Hamburg. By 1916, 2000 “scouts” were trained and ready for combat. They also received official recognition from the Kaiser and his government, being named the Königlich Jäger battalion, which would see service on the eastern front. The beginning of the Russian Revolution, along side increasing requests for support, would encourage the German Empire to fully support the Finnish Whites, with the idea that one of their own, Friedrich Karl of Hesse, would become king and provide Germany with an ally in the war.9

The German soldiers take over of red occupied Huophalahati gun storage on April 12 1918. Courtesy of Finnish Heritage Agency

The Germans would begin to interfere by sending eighty of the Jaegers from Germany to the Aland islands, establishing Finnish control after much debate between Mannerheim and Sweden. While Mannerheim was happy to receive these well-trained, well-armed forces into the Finnish army, and happy to see the capture of Reval in Estonia by the Germans, he was less happy with the implications. When Germany began to interfere, it sent a message that Finland would need foreign help in surviving as a nation. Mannerheim was especially upset when some members of the government suggested inviting the entire German army as Mannerheim wanted the White army to be Finnish only, so that Finland could claim to be able to fight their own fights; and he presented this claim before the Rump parliament and was opposed by Wilhelm Thesleff, who would become his arch rival. Even threatening to resign couldn’t sway the parliament’s opinion, and thus Mannerheim was forced to accept German soldiers. One of the other reasons that Mannerheim came forward in opposition to German intervention, however, would be to unite the deep divisions in Finnish society, which had contributed to make the war more and more brutal.10 Like its brother, the Russian civil war, the Finnish civil war would see both sides commit atrocities against not just combatants, but civilians seen as enemies to their respective cause. Red violence seemed to be more prevalent in areas with more of a clear class divide. Finnish society as a whole had developed unevenly between 1865 and 1913. When World War I began, Finland lost access to markets in the west as it was dragged into the war by Russia. This loss of markets resulted in an economic crisis in Finland that hit its absolute lowest point in 1915. This factor was worsened by a lack of social security in Finland compared to its neighbors in Scandinavia. This industrialization process in Finland also impacted agrarian sectors as well, with the commercialization of land ownership leading to a social decline due to large companies taking advantage of the position of Finnish Farmers. As a result, when war broke out, the Finnish Reds  began to target those who were suspected of being enemies to the cause.11 While the Finnish Red Terror was bad in and of itself, the Finnish White Terror was objectively worse. Despite Mannerheim specifying that Red soldiers captured be treated according to international rules of warfare, he also had no patience for espionage in his territory. In February 1918, he ordered that any Red sabotage or armed resistance in White areas would be met with executions. However, Mannerheim’s troops had differing definitions of what constituted as sabotage, as such a very large number of people, not all of them guilty, would be executed.  The religious community in Finland wouldn’t be of help either. While some of the priests would offer sermons asking for consideration of the fact that no matter who wins the war, both sides of the civil war would have to live together as one nation, other priests would not have such Christian views on how the Red Finns should be treated. In fact, one priest in Kajanni suggested that all Red leaders be shot regardless of whether they shed any blood or not. These actions, and the actions of his soldiers, would lead to Mannerheim being known as the “White Devil” in Red propaganda, the name which would haunt him for several decades and make him an enemy of the working class.12

Nowhere were these scenes of bloodshed more apparent than in the Battle of Tampere, one of the most devastating battles to occur during the Finnish civil war. The city of Tampere served as an important Red stronghold due to its connection to railway lines and large working class populations. Capturing this city would be a major victory for the Whites, which of course would be very prestigious especially if done before the German intervention began in earnest. These conditions are what made Tampere a seductive prize for Mannerheim. As such, in early March, the White government began preparations for an assault on the city. The operation itself began on March 15, with a White breakthrough in the north, crumbling the front. However, the Reds still held control of the city. By the end of March, the situation was becoming more and more grim for the Reds. Refugees, artillery bombardments, and general unrest mixed together to create desperation. The commander in chief of the Red Forces, Hugo Salmena, reorganized the city’s defenses numbering in the thousands. At least 300 of those 15,000 soldiers mustered were women. As the Whites began to approach the city from the northeast, the two forces clashed in Vehnmain on March 23. White artillery fire forced an evacuation of the eastern city district of Tammela. The Reds, however, sent in armored trains in attempts to stop the White army’s advance into the region. However, the steel behemoths would not succeed, and on March 26, the Whites captured the Siuro Railroad station, located to the east of Tampere, completing the siege. However, the fight for the city itself was far from over. This was especially seen when the White attacks on the 27th of March were beaten back. This forced Mannerheim to reluctantly call in the German Jägers and the Swedish Volunteer brigade to assist in taking the city. March 28, 1918 should have been a day of reflection and worship, at least for Christians, as it fell on the Thursday before Easter of that year. However, in Kalvankagans Cemetery this would not be the case. The roar of machine guns permeated throughout this hallowed ground as the Red emplacement fought to push back the White advance on this position. This machine gun fire itself was interrupted by the loud booms of artillery. The attack as a whole cost the Whites dearly. More then two hundred of the White army’s best men fell, and many more were wounded. The day came to be known as Bloody Maundy Thursday, and would halt the fighting for a week as the Whites began to re-plan their offensive strategy. During the Whites’ planning of another offensive, the Reds tried to relieve their besieged comrades by sending in an expedition led by Eino Rahja. His forces attacked the Whites in Lempaala on March 30 and April 1, but neither attack succeeded. The night before April 3, the sky fell over Tampere as thirty-four guns unleashed their payload, devastating the city. Following this was an attack made by four White Battalions in the eastern city quarters. The first breakthrough would be made by the company of Jäger Lieutenant Gunnar Melin. They crossed the dam bridge over the rushing waters of the Tammerkoski Rapids. The men captured the heart of the city, Nasilina Palace, and defended it from Red counterattacks before retreating over the frozen lake of Nasijarvi. On the evening of the same day, the Whites advanced into the eastern half of the city, further damaging it in street fighting and artillery fire. The next morning, the heart of the city, Nasilina Palace, was taken again by White forces crossing over the railroad bridge over those same Tammerkoski Rapids. Another column crossed over the rapids by way of a bridge in the south, capturing several industrial buildings. A Red armored train was sent in as a futile attempt to secure the city once again, but this Metal Dragon was destroyed by a White artillery grenade. The last of the Red troops in Tampere surrendered on April 6, after having initially retreated to Pyyniki, concluding one of the largest battles of the civil war.

The counting of Red Army POWs after the Battle of Tampere. Picture taken on April 6th, 1918. Courtesy of the Finnish Heritage Agency. Retrieved from europeana.com

The battle for Tampere was one of the largest battles in the history of the Scandinavian Countries, with over 30,000 combatants. The Whites lost around 800 during the battle whereas the Reds lost around 1,100 soldiers. However, a third of the losses suffered by the Reds came from after the battle was over in reprisals and shootings. Furthermore, over 200 captured Russians were murdered by Finnish Whites. The suffering for the Red army, however, wasn’t over, as the White Army captured 11,000 prisoners, of which 290 were executed after court marshal and 1,400 died in the prison camp.13

The Battle of Tampere helped strengthen the White army’s claim that they were liberating the country from Red influence, even as German troops began to arrive and secure control of Helsinki and formally wipe out the remaining pockets of Red resistance by May 5.14 The total casualties of war, including missing soldiers and those who died in prison camps, numbered around 36,000. Of those 36,000, approximately 27,000 were of the Red army, 5000 in the White army, and 4000 others or unspecified.15 As the fires died down and the dead were tallied, a realization came upon the Finnish people. For the first time in over 300 years, Finland was truly a free country, no longer a puppet of Swedes, the Russians, or even the Germans. How the Finnish civil war should be remembered was, for a few decades after the events of Tampere, a complex affair itself. Depending on who you asked, the Civil War took on a different meaning and tone. For the Whites, it was a war that solidified Finnish independence from foreign influence. They would erect several monuments detailing the sacrifices made so that the Finnish people could be free. On the Reds side, however, the war was a class struggle, a war to prevent a capitalist system from reigning over the Finnish people once again. While the Whites were allowed to erect their monuments, monuments from the Reds side were prohibited, even though they were the ones who lost the most number of lives. In the 2000s, however, this began to change, as the war started to be looked at from a less polarized way. As new generations grew up and enter politics, the way the war was looked at changed. This culminated in 2008 Tampere, ninety years after the war, where several events designed not to celebrate the White victory, but to honor those who lost their homes or lives due to the conflict.16

As for the White Devil himself? After having withdrawn from the army after the Helsinki victory parade, he found himself once again swept up in politics after the defeat of Germany during WWI, which brought an end to plans to install Prince Fredrich Karl of Hesse as king of Finland, Mannerheim found himself in the position of regent.17 During his brief reign, he would secure recognition of Finland’s independence, secure control of the Aland islands, and secure a grain shipment, but he also made for himself many enemies due to his obsession to involve Finland in another war, more specifically, the Russian Civil War.18 This, among other controversies including his Russian now ex-wife, would lead to his campaign for president failing by 93 votes. At long last, after fighting the Germans, the Poles, the Russians, and even his fellow Finns, the White Devil could rest and find peace. He left the city of Helsinki, buying the Great Pine Island where he found comfort in the forests and beaches as white as the famous Finnish snow. He bought the nearby Café Afrika and remodeled it to a classier establishment, eliminating the problem of noise that had bothered him. He renamed it to De Fyra Vindarmas Hus, The House of the Four Winds, and furnished it to be more akin to a French seaside bistro. In the mornings, a bell was rung on the Great Pine Island, now named Stromh Ilen, or Stormy Rock (most likely due to the winds of the Baltic sea that gave the White Devil’s house an airy feeling), to signal to the staff of the café that the esteemed general was beginning his morning walk, and as such, the staff began preparing Mannerheim’s breakfast eggs as he was ferried across. Mannerheim enjoyed his little retreat from the world, where he couldn’t be pestered by reporters, freeze to death in one of Finland’s famous forests, or worry about the increasingly volatile situation that was brewing in other parts of the world. The latter of which, however, dragged the aging Mannerheim out of his retirement as the famously ineffective League of Nations did nothing substantial to stop the Nazi’s rise to power in Germany, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. Eventually, the White Devil found himself defending his home again, in the Winter War.19

  1. Jonathan Clements, Mannerheim: President, Soldier, Spy (Haus Publishing, 2012),151-154.
  2. Pasi Ihalainen, The Springs of Democracy: National and Transnational Debates on Constitutional Reform in the British, German, Swedish and Finnish Parliaments, 1917-1919 (Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society, 2017), 173-174.
  3. C. Jay Smith, “Russia and the Origins of the Finnish Civil War of 1918,” American Slavic and East European Review 14, no. 4 (1955): 481–485, https://doi.org/10.2307/3001208.
  4. David Kirby, A Concise History of Finland (Cambridge Univesrity Press, 2006), 157-161.
  5. Jonathan Clements, Mannerheim: President, Soldier, Spy (Haus Publishing, 2012),18-34.
  6. J. E. O. Screen, “Marshal Mannerheim: The Years of Preparation,” The Slavonic and East European Review 43, no. 101 (1965): 295–298.
  7. Jonathan Clements, Mannerheim: President, Soldier, Spy (Haus Publishing, 2012) 147-148.
  8. C. Jay Smith, “Russia and the Origins of the Finnish Civil War of 1918,” American Slavic and East European Review 14, no. 4 (1955): 500-501.
  9. A. Harding Ganz, “The German Expedition to Finland, 1918,” Military Affairs 44, no. 2 (1980): 84-85, https://doi.org/10.2307/1986604.
  10. Jonathan Clements, Mannerheim: President, Soldier, Spy (Haus Publishing, 2012), 162-165.
  11. Sirkka Arosalo, “Social Conditions for Political Violence: Red and White Terror in the Finnish Civil War of 1918,” Journal of Peace Research 35, no. 2 (1998): 149-153.
  12. Jonathan Clements, Mannerheim: President, Soldier, Spy (Haus Publishing, 2012), 161-162.
  13. Jussi Jalonen, “Tampere, Battle Of Tampere, Battle Of,” 1914-1918-Online International Encyclopedia of the First World War, 2014, https://doi.org/10.15463/IE1418.10017.
  14. David Kirby, A Concise History of Finland (Cambridge University Press, 2006), 162.
  15. “War Victims in Finland, 1914-22,” accessed April 3, 2021, http://vesta.narc.fi/cgi-bin/db2www/sotasurmaetusivu/stat2.
  16. Anu Kantola, “The Therapeutic Imaginary in Memory Work: Mediating the Finnish Civil War in Tampere,” Memory Studies 7, no. 1 (January 1, 2014): 92–107, https://doi.org/10.1177/1750698013501362.
  17. David Kirby, A Concise History of Finland (Cambridge Univesrity Press, 2006), 163.
  18. Jonathan Clements, Mannerheim: President, Soldier, Spy (Haus Publishing, 2012),178-184.
  19. Jonathan Clements, Mannerheim: President, Soldier, Spy (Haus Publishing, 2012).187-190.

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47 Responses

  1. The Finnish army is constantly looked over or forgotten about in conversations about World War II. Reading this article was super informative about the Finnish Army and the amazing things they did in their fight against the USSR as they were trying to take their territory. It really makes you think about the different perspectives of war.

  2. Hi Trenton, I found this article very informative. I thought this article was a good insight into a lesser discussed aspect of the 19th century is just how chaotic Europe was at the time. What many would look at as a small or insignificant nation during the war has a history that’s tied deeply to the global conflict that engulfed the war.

  3. Hi Trenton! This article was very informative, and it is clear to see all of the research and time that was put into writing it. I did not know how involved Finland was in WWII and was very surprised to know the country played such a key role in ending the war all together. The lens in which you framed all of the information was extremely interesting too. The story of “the White Devil” is one that mimics the narratives we often read about Hitler during this time. Reading this article brought me a new, while it probably should have been obvious, perspective that the entire world was impacted by this war and not just the powers highlighted in history books. Every person, army, and country were affected and many played a much more crucial role than is given credit. Great job!

  4. Hello Trenton,
    I really like your style of writing, it made the information in the article easier to understand. I find that the more I read about World War II the more I know how stressful it was. Many battles took place and few people know about them. For example, I have never known about the Battle of Tampere before reading your article. I like the personality of Mannerheim, he was a true wae leader.

  5. I really enjoyed reading this article as I learned a great deal from it. When World War II comes to mind, everyone usually thinks of Hitler and all the horrible acts committed or D-Day and the real big events that stick out. I enjoyed reading about the Battle of Tampere as I had not known about that before. I can see why this article was nominated as it was definitely a good read.

  6. I really liked this article because it teaches people about the different things that happened in World War II. For example, I didn’t know much about the battle for Tampere before reading the article. I liked how the article had a good organization but I would work on the position of the pictures that could make it a little bit harder to read.

  7. Hey, Trenton!

    It’s always fascinating to learn about the “underrated” aspects of the World Wars. The Finns have notoriously been a fierce and proud people throughout their history, and while I have heard tell of the near-mythic feats of the White Army, it was interesting to read about not only the militia, but the White Devil himself. I can certainly understand where the nickname comes from now!

  8. I enjoyed this article it was very engaging! I often forget that it was a world war and that many countries were in a time of instability. I had not know of the plight of Finland prior to this article and it was refreshing to learn something new. Especially how they were under Russian control for a period of time.

  9. When some people think of WWII, they automatically think of Hitler, Jews, concentration camps, and so on, when there was much more to it: world powers battling, many dilemmas that many of us were unaware of, small battles in a massive war, and so forth. Even though it’s a medium-length article, it reveals and explains many of the things they all went through as a society from a very straightforward point of view, and that’s the good stuff: knowing from a perspective what many of us hadn’t seen or heard before. Knowing all of this from a simple perspective makes me wonder what other events occurred that I am unaware of, what other facts I may learn, and what other teachings I am learning from. WWII is about many world powers battling for influence and reform, not just Germany as a power country.

  10. It is intriguing how people think they know so much about World War II, instantly thinking about Hitler, the Nazis, racism, hating Jews, etc., when there was so much more of the war than just that. The victorious part, where everything thankfully comes to an end is not well known and I had never heard about it before reading this article. What I especially didn’t knew was Finland’s role in the extinction of this war and it was fascinating to read about what a country like Finland can do to a huge leader in Germany like Hitler and his troops. Amazing article!

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