The oath of the sword: what the Soviet Union planned to conquer the Mannerheim

History 12/03/20 Oath of the sword: what the Soviet Union planned to conquer the Mannerheim

In June 2016 in St. Petersburg was installed a memorial plaque in memory of Baron Carl Gustaf Mannerheim. However, the plaque almost immediately suffered at the hands of the vandals: it repeatedly doused with paint, fired and even cut with an axe. Less than six months, as a commemorative sign was decided to dismantle. The person of Mannerheim, the first Russian General of cavalry, and then Marshal and President of Finland, still causes in society a lot of controversy. The fact that after the February revolution he moved to the side of Finland, abandoning belonging to Russia and it is seriously claimed to be a part of the former territories of the Fatherland.

the First oath of the sword (1918)

the Mannerheim about 30 years of his life devoted to service in the Russian army. He fought on the fields of the Russo-Japanese war, earning in Manchuria rheumatism, from which he suffered until the end of life. In 1906-1908 Mannerheim, Baron participated in a secret expedition to China, where he collected the most valuable information to staff. For participation in the First world war was marked by several awards.

the Mannerheim always sympathized with the monarchy and, in particular, to Tsar Nicholas, in the coronation which took part. Therefore, the February revolution, the Baron was accepted without any enthusiasm. Moreover, Kerensky began with a collapse in the army, losing all discipline and authority of the officers forced him to make a difficult decision to leave military service. After some time, Russia has learned that has come to power, the Bolshevik government of Lenin and Trotsky. The arrests of high-ranking officials, including former colleagues Mannerheim military career. According to the memoirs of the Baron, the idea of armed struggle against Bolshevism comes to him even in those turbulent days. He writes: “it is Better to die with sword in hand than to pulyu in the back or be shot.”

In 1917, with the rank of Lieutenant-General, he refused the oath and in December arrives in independent Finland. However, the country is on the verge of civil war between the local “white” and “red”. At the end of January 1918 the Finnish social Democrats capture Helsinki (then Helsingfors) and create a revolutionary government — the Council of people’s commissioners Finland. Soon, under the authority of the “red” gets the entire South of the country. The “white” government that controls the sparsely populated North of the country, was appointed commander-in-chief Mannerheim, which by spring was able to collect 70 thousand strong army and disarm the remaining Russian garrisons. In April the Finnish troops, with the support of Germans took Helsinki and then to Vyborg. “Red” the government fled the country, the Civil war ended, giving way to the “white” terror, during which they carried out mass executions of Communists and sympathizers.

However, in February, when the outcome of the war seemed vague, but Mannerheim only gathered an army, happened quite significant for the subsequent history of the Finnish event. At the station antrea (now Kamennogorsk Leningrad region) Finnish Marshal reads the order, known as the First oath of the sword. In it he refers to the Karelians with a call to expel the Bolsheviks not only from Finland but also from Eastern Karelia, which is “already on blood-ties belongs to us.” Mannerheim promises “not to put the sword back in the scabbard” until you reach the target. This a kind of Manifesto proclaiming the establishment of a greater Finland and in many ways become the basis for all further action Mannerheim the post of commander in chief.

After the victory of the Finns for some time breaks out the First Soviet-Finnish war, which ends Tartu peace Treaty of 1920. According to the results Finland had abandoned its claims to the occupied areas was Eastern Karelia, but had received a number of territories in the Arctic.

the Second oath of the sword (1941)

the Border of Finland, passingting only 32 km from the second largest city of Soviet Russia, did not suit Stalin, Lenin’s successor as head of state. And in 1920, the Finns proceeded to create a powerful defensive line on the Karelian isthmus, called the Mannerheim Line. Refusing to offer Tips to push the limits of 90 km from Leningrad in exchange for twice the territory of Karelia and the firing part of the red army, the Finns provoked the war. Although after three months, Finland was forced to capitulate, the huge losses of the red army (one killed Finn had killed five red army soldiers), and possible foreign policy implications has led to the fact that Stalin was limited to the pre-war requirements — to move the border from Leningrad. However, the revanchist continued to prevail in Finnish society.

entry into the war on Germany’s side in the summer of 1941 in Finland is considered as a “War continuation”. The command of Suomi has decided to use the German attack as an opportunity to return ceded to the Soviet Union under the Treaty of 1940 territory. In addition, in the case of the active assistance of the Finnish army, Hitler promised to give the country the territory up to the Leningrad and draw a line on the Neva. To this period belongs and the Second oath of the sword, uttered by Marshal Mannerheim.

the order of July 10, 1941, he remembered his previous promise not to put the sword back in the sheath and declares that it’s time to do it. “Freedom of Karelia and Finland’s greatness, Shine before us in a powerful stream of world-historical events” — calls Mannerheim to its current and future citizens. Over the summer, the Finnish army managed to occupy the whole of Karelia and close approaches to Leningrad. Although Finnish troops also participated in the siege of Leningrad, their actions differed significantly from tactics of the Germans. The city never fired from the North, on the Finnish side, what can be said about the South side. Some see in this the desire of the Finnish Marshal to save the city, which was significantsignificant part of his life. However, there are more down to earth version.

in late 1941, it became clear that Blitzkrieg failed, and Hitler is stuck in Russia for a long time. An experienced military Mannerheim knew that in case of defeat of Axis countries, nor Finland, nor he himself does not expect anything good. Therefore, near Leningrad, Finnish troops took the fence, not taking any active actions, thereby shifting all the responsibility on the Germans. In 1943, when the apparent turning point in the war, the Finns began negotiations on the withdrawal from the war. In 1944 Finland out of the war, and in March 1945 declared war on Germany. In may, Stalin and Mannerheim will exchange congratulations on the victory.

following the war, Finland ceded all the occupied territories and refused from further claims. In 1948 between the USSR and Finland signed a Treaty of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance. Relationship once bitter enemies have stabilized and even acquired the status of partner. The idea of a greater Finland, more than 20 years dominated society, was forgotten.

Igor konchakivs’ka

© Russian Seven

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