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The Warsaw Voice » National Voice » December 30, 2016
Finland - Special National Section
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Carl Gustaf Mannerheim: Finland’s Józef Piłsudski
December 30, 2016   
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Carl Gustaf Mannerheim, a Finnish aristocrat born in 1867, is regarded by Finns as the father of the modern, independent state of Finland, similarly to how Marshal Józef Piłsudski is seen in Poland.

Mannerheim made a career in the Russian Army, rising to the rank of lieutenant general. Finland was part of the Russian Empire at the time. He spent several years in Warsaw before World War I as an officer of the Imperial Russian Army. He returned to his native Finland when the country regained independence in 1917, and firmly opposed communism.

Soon after independence was declared, Finland was embroiled in a civil war between the pro-Bolshevik “Reds” and pro-independence “Whites”. Mannerheim was appointed military chief of the Whites, and won. Twenty years later, when Finland was at war with the Soviet Union, Marshal Mannerheim successfully led the defense of Finland as commander-in-chief of the country’s armed forces. The Finnish army commanded by Mannerheim pushed the Soviet army out of Finland.

In 1944-1946, Mannerheim was president of Finland. He died in 1951. In a Finnish survey in 2004 (53 years after his death) Marshal Carl Gustaf Mannerheim was voted the greatest Finn of all time.

Ewa Hancock
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