Playing The Blame Game: Finland & the Soviets

Ed Dutton looks at how the experience of Finland during the period 1945 to 1989 has led to a historical identity crisis for the nation that remains unresolved.

Dealing with its post-war past has been especially fraught for Finland. Unlike almost every other country in Europe, in the ‘us and them’ world of the Cold War it was never exactly clear where Finland stood. Though this small, peripheral nation protested ‘neutrality,’ during the 1960s and 1970s it appeared to be so compliant with the Soviet Union as to be independent only on paper.

Upon the collapse of the Soviet Union, Finnish historians found themselves liberated. After the censorship of the Cold War era – when criticising the Soviet Union or Finland’s stance towards it could get you ostracised or even prosecuted – they could finally start to explore the period with a critical eye. This led to an impassioned debate over Finland’s Cold War.

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