Finland in the Twentieth Century

A short editorial by Michael Trend.

Along with articles on a wide variety of historical periods, History Today aims to bring its readers articles about recent history in areas of the world often overlooked. In this month’s issue are two articles on the recent history of Finland, for that country has just changed its head of state for the first time in twenty-six years. On January 27th, Mr Mauno Koivisto took the oath as Finland’s new President after the long tenure of office by Urho Kekkonen. During Kekkonen’s presidency Finland succeeded in looking both east and west at the same time, and much ink has been spent trying to analyse the phenomenon of ‘Finlandization’,

Our first article considers ‘Finlandization’ in the light of the history of Finnish-Russian history in this century. It is fortunate that during this period the arrangement that has existed between these two countries has not often been put to the test; but during the early months of the Second World War there was the real possibility that Russia and the Western powers would clash in Finland, as our second article shows. Such a confrontation would have had far reaching consequences for all involved.

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