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What Were The Motives Of The Participants To Take Part In The Child Transfers From Finland To Sweden During The Second World War 1939 1940?

2274 words - 9 pages

A. Plan of investigationThis investigation is to find out the reasons why the Finnish Government and Swedish voluntary organizations agreed to organise the broadest child evacuation operation in war-time history. I will look at the motives for the Finnish mothers who sent their mostly under school-aged children to a foreign country for evacuation, and also discuss the motives of the Swedish people to help the Finnish children.First I will take a quick look at how it all started and then discuss what the situation was like back at that time to understand the background for events. My main sources, the research paper by Aura Korppi-Tommola and "70 000 pientä kohtaloa" (70 000 small destinies) by Pertti Kaven, will be discussed in detail later on. Besides these I also used other texts, memoirs, newspaper articles, video documents, interviews, annual reports and essays in the Internet to get a good foundation for the actual essay.B. Summary of evidenceChild transfers away from war-going areas was not a totally new phenomenon. Already during the First World War some children had been evacuated from Central Europe to Sweden and during the Spanish Civil War and Second World War to Great Britain. In these cases, though, the children were older - under 5-year-olds were separated from their mothers only in special cases.The initiative to transfer Finnish Children came from Centrala Finlandshjlpen in Sweden. The initial reaction of the Finnish government was negative, but after rethinking they decided to accept the offer. Already before the Winter War broke out, many children had been sent privately to stay at relatives in Sweden, which remained neutral in the war.During the Second World War Finland engaged in three wars. The Winter War (1939-40), the Continuation War (1941-45) and the War of Lapland (1945). Separate decisions were made concerning the child transfers for the Winter War and Continuation War. During the War of Lapland anyone wanting to go to Sweden could go freely. Finland also had to evacuate large areas: Karelia twice and then Lapland when German troops retrieved burning everything behind them.During the years 1939-1945, 70 000 Finnish children were sent to stay in families, hospitals and orphanages in Sweden. The children were taken there mostly by train and they were 3-7-year-olds. 7,2% of all Finnish 1-14-year-olds were in Sweden between 1941 and 1945. During the time they spent there most children learned to speak Swedish, and many forgot their Finnish language and family. Return back to Finland was in many cases very difficult, and 15 000, which is 22%, remained in Sweden and grew up there.The Finnish government justified it's decision to agree to the transfers based on the food supply shortage and poor economic situation of the country. The counter argument was that Finland could not afford to lose any more citizens with hundreds of men dying at war every day. There was also an argument that a Soviet invasion of the country was...

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