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Finland: Nationalism, Development, And Values Essay

3517 words - 14 pages

While Finland is a rather young country in terms of independence, seeing that it was only in 1917 that it became independent, it is a country that has had a constant development of nationalism, values, and national identity. Finnish nationalism is highly shaped by its past before it was an independent country and by its neighbor, Russia. It also is affected by the three Wars which would involve its neighbor Russia. The three wars fought in WWII, events leading up to them, and their end results are all key points in developing Finnish Nationalism. These wars are the Winter War (1939-40) and the Continuation War (1941-44) in which Finland fought the Russians during WWII. Lastly, is the Lapland War (1944-45) in which the Finnish retreated from the Germans. These wars had lasting effects up until 1991 and dissolution of the USSR, making them huge factors on Finnish nationalism (Historical Highlights) . The effects of WWII would be gruesome for Finland and help shape its nationalism for Finland today.
Finland was originally an independent country when it was settled by Laps in about the year 700. This independence was short lived after it was incorporated into the Kingdom of Sweden in the twelfth century for nearly 700 years. Swedish would become the dominant language. Under Swedish rule, Finland would be introduced to Roman Catholicism. This would help to include Finland with the western culture. Also, Finland would come to experience similar economic and social experiences that Sweden would. Finland would nearly have no sense of national identity for a period of time. Finland would essentially be considered a part of Sweden. Then, in 1807, Finland would be conquered by Russia and remain a part of Russia up until its independence in 1917 (Saari John) . During the end of Swedish rule, it became clear that Finland was changing. It was yearning for a sense of independence. Essentially, Finland under Sweden was a democracy under a limited monarchy. Its subjects were included in all important matters of voting. In Russia, it was similar. Finland would have all of its own laws armies, and tariffs. The only real things that Russia would control were Finnish foreign relationships and appointing of their Governor General. Such freedom allowed the Finnish to continue with their search for national identity that they had forgotten. H.G. Portan would greatly contribute to this search by collecting Finnish folklore and poetry. Research would be conducted into which cities were purely part of Finland before being part of a Swedish kingdom. Finland, as a whole, was gaining momentum to gain a sense of national identity which would lead to their wanting of independence. A. I. Arwidssion was an earlier leader of this movement. He was a poet and journalist who spoke out against the union with Russia. He was scared that Finland would have to eventually adopt the culture and language of Russia, much like it had to when under Swedish rule. He...

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