Interpretations and Perspectives of the Great Conflict
Edited By Jarosław Suchoples and Stephanie James
Jarosław Suchoples - In the Peripheries of Europe, on the Outskirts of Petrograd. World War I and Finland, 1914–1919
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Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS) Universiti Kebangsaan of Malaysia
In the Peripheries of Europe, on the Outskirts of Petrograd. World War I and Finland, 1914–1919
Abstract: Between 1914 and 1917 the Grand Duchy of Finland, an autonomous province of the Russian Empire situated in the northern peripheries of Europe, although close to the Imperial capital of Sankt Petersburg/Petrograd, did not become a battlefield. For a long time, the Finns were aware of the war mainly from headlines, and because of the more visible presence of Russian military units stationed in the country. (Russian military commanders anticipated a German attack on Petrograd through Finland’s territory). In 1917 the collapse of the Tsar’s regime triggered a sequence of events which changed the situation dramatically. Despite the December 1917 declaration of independence by the parliament of the Grand Duchy, the consequences of the subsequent civil war and the intervention of German troops resulted in Finland becoming a German protectorate, and virtually an Entente enemy. The collapse of the German Empire in November of 1918 left Finland isolated internationally, both politically and economically. Only a radical reorientation of domestic and foreign policy to a pro-western position, and fulfilling the military and political conditions put forward by the victorious great powers allowed for the gradual improvement and stabilisation of Finland’s situation in international relations. The Russian civil war provided another factor which helped Finland to gain international recognition; leaders of...
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