Member of the Board Olli Rehn: On whose Mannerheim Line? Mikkeli Headquarters Symposium, 1 July 2017, suomenpankki.fi

…Sweden’s former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has written a great deal, and even admiringly, of Mannerheim’s significance for Sweden, the North and Europe…

Bildt’s assessment culminates with the view: Had this happened, Mannerheim ‘would be a great hero not only in the history of the Nordic countries, but also of the world as a whole’. He crystallises his reflections in a manner that sounds somewhat strange to Finnish ears: ‘Although his agenda was Russian, it was self-evident that had to do with Finland as well.’ – In other words, also Finland; not primarily Finland.

Mannerheim certainly cannot be accused of a lack of effort in pursuing the objective implied by Bildt. During the year 1919, he tried to assemble forces and acquire weapons from Finland and Western Europe and to obtain the support of the Finnish government for an endeavour to take over St. Petersburg. What, then, put a stop to his project?

To put it simply: the Republic of Finland…

In the last years of his life, until his death, Einari kept on the wall on each side of his bed a framed picture. On the left, there was an official photograph of Mannerheim, with marshal’s batons. On the right, there was a 20-year-old newspaper clipping, with an official picture of late President Urho Kekkonen who managed the tricky Finnish-Soviet relations for much of the post-war period. The veteran of the Ranger Battalion 4 and Kollaa was, until the end, one of the men of both the Mannerheim and the Kekkonen Line.

I agree with war veteran Einari. Peace must be strengthened proactively, through cooperation. If possible, matters are agreed with the neighbour. If this fails, then one must resist, even with arms, alone or together. One’s own country and its freedom are defended with the means that happen to be available. As far as I can see, this is the core of the Mannerheim Line. It is also Finland’s long-standing line, on which our national security will be based also in the future. Läs artikel

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