Memories of War and Conflict in 20th-Century Europe
Edited By Conny Mithander, John Sundholm and Maria Holmgren Troy
This volume is a vital contribution to memory studies and trauma theory.
Collective Traumas is a result of the multidisciplinary research project on Memory Culture that was initiated in 2002 at Karlstad University, Sweden. A previous publication with Peter Lang is Memory Work: The Theory and Practice of Memory (2005).
“The Unknown Soldier.” Film as a Founding Trauma and National Monument (John Sundholm) 111
111 “The Unknown Soldier” Film as a Founding Trauma and National Monument John SUNDHOLM One of the most dramatic events in the history of the young nation of Finland is the defeat against the Soviet Union (and the Allies) in the Second World War. Finland had hardly recovered, mentally or econo- mically, from the bloody civil war that the longed-for independence of 1917 had given rise to, when the country was plunged into war again.1 What happened during the Second World War is treated, and conceptualised, as two different wars in Finland: the Winter War (1939- 40) and the Continuation War (1941-44). In August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, declaring Finland, Estonia, and Latvia as part of the Soviet sphere of interest. Germany laid claims to Lithuania, while Poland was divided between the two big powers. In September 1939, Germany entered Poland, and the Soviet Union did the same shortly thereafter. On 30 November 1939, the Soviet Union also attacked Finland, which was thus forced to defend itself. As a consequence, the Winter War has always been depicted as a heroic defensive struggle, but the Continuation War has been a more embarrassing affair for Finland and the national collective conscious- ness.2 It is really only recent historiography that has been able to convey to the public that the Continuation War also was a war of aggression, with Germany as an ally and functioning as a part of Operation Barbarossa, where Finland’s aim was to reconquer...
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