As soldier and statesman, Carl Gustaf Mannerheim (1867-1951) occupies a unique place in the history of Finland. He served as Commander-in-Chief of the Finnish Army in 1918 and again from 1939-1944. He was Regent of Finland in 1919 and President of the Republic from 1944-1946. In 1918 he suppressed an attempted revolution against the democratically elected Finnish Government which followed the Bolshevik revolution in Russia.
The passage of time turned him from a hero of the Right into a trusted national figure, while his leadership of Finnish resistance to Soviet aggression in the Winter War of 1939-40 won him international fame. He led the Finnish Army in the Continuation War of 1941-44, in which Finland fought as a co-belligerent with Germany, and took over as President in 1944, after which he ensured Finland negotiated an armistice with the Soviet Union, albeit with harsh terms for Finland. Under his leadership, Helsinki was one of only three wartime European capital cities that was not occupied. And only Mannerheim’s authority held the nation together as it adjusted to a new relationship with the Soviet Union. This revised paperback edition describes his transformation from a Tsarist Russian General into a Finnish statesman and patriot. It sets his career in its historical context, examines his character and sums up his legacy.
Table of contents
PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION
I. THE WHITE GENERAL
Finland in 1917 – Mannerheim’s career in Russia – From ‘exile’ to command – From planning to action – War begins – Organizing an army – Mannerheim’s strategy and German intervention – Towards victory – Triumph – Resignation
In Sweden – From unofficial diplomat to regent – Military and foreign policy problems – Elections and a new government – The constitution – Intervention in Russia? – Stylish regent but rejected presidential candidate – Departure abroad
Advocate of intervention – Private life – Travel – Humanitarian work – Passed over for public service
IV. CHAIRMAN OF THE DEFENCE COUNCIL
Lapua and Mäntsälä – Work in the Defence Council – Seventieth birthday celebrations – The language problem – Foreign relations – Resignation? – Negotiations with the Soviet Union continued – From resignation to commander-in-chief
V. THE WINTER WAR
At war – War or peace? – The exercise of supreme command
VI. THE ‘ARMISTICE’
Peacetime commander-in-chief – In the ‘War Cabinet’ – Finland and German plans – Towards war
VII. THE CONTINUATION WAR
Successful Finnish offensives but no German victory – Wartime GHQ – Health – Attempts to leave the war – Near disaster
President for peace – Under the Control Commission – Power slips away – Health deteriorates – The war responsibility case – Resignation
Retirement – The Memoirs – Death – The man – The legacy
‘[This] is in every way the equal of the first instalment, and completes the best study of Mannerheim available in English, or any other language. Screen writes clearly and persuasively, while his mastery of evidence, skilful handling of sources and deep insight, make this a profound text.’ — The Slavonic And East European Review
PRAISE FOR MANNERHEIM: THE YEARS OF PREPARATION:
‘By far the finest book about Mannerheim ever published in any language. No scholar interested in Mannerheim, Finnish history, Russian history in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, or military history should miss the pleasure of reading Screen’s book. It is the definitive treatment of its subject, and it is written in prose that is always clear and often beautiful. It is a model of fairness, detail, documentation in many languages, and brevity-in short, of scholarship as it should be. Mannerheim, in spite of all his weaknesses, was an authentically great and memorable man, and he has at long last found a biographer worthy of the subject.’ — Slavic Review
‘Screen’s book is clear, concise, well documented and provided with a good bibliography. It is a most promising first work by a historian who should have much to contribute to the field of Finnish studies.’ — English Historical Review
J. E. O. Screen was Librarian of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at the University of London from 1972 to 1998. He was the author of several books and articles on Finnish military history, including Mannerheim: The Years of Preparation.