17 January 1918

Finnish Civil War: The first serious battles take place between the Red Guards and the White Guard.

The Finnish Civil War took place between January and May 1918 in Finland, a country located in Northern Europe. The conflict emerged in the aftermath of World War I and the Russian Revolution of 1917. Finland had been a part of the Russian Empire, but as the empire collapsed and the Bolsheviks came to power in Russia, Finland sought to assert its independence.

The war was primarily fought between the “Reds” (socialists and communists) and the “Whites” (conservatives, nationalists, and non-socialists). The Red Guards, representing the working-class and socialist factions, sought to establish a socialist state, while the White Guards, backed by the conservative Senate and led by General Carl Gustaf Mannerheim, aimed to maintain Finland as an independent, capitalist nation.

Declaration of Independence (December 1917): On December 6, 1917, Finland declared its independence from Russia.

Political Tensions: The political atmosphere in Finland was tense, with ideological divisions deepening between the Red and White factions.

Outbreak of War (January 1918): The conflict started on January 27, 1918, when the Red Guards rebelled against the Finnish Senate, leading to the outbreak of the civil war.

Foreign Intervention: Both sides sought support from external powers. The Whites received assistance from Germany, while the Reds had some backing from Bolshevik Russia.

Battle of Tampere: One of the decisive battles of the war was the Battle of Tampere in March 1918, where the White Guards captured the city, a stronghold of the Reds.

End of the War (May 1918): The Whites eventually emerged victorious, and the war officially ended on May 15, 1918. The defeat of the Reds resulted in mass imprisonments, executions, and reprisals against perceived supporters of the socialist cause.

Aftermath: The aftermath of the Finnish Civil War had profound and long-lasting effects on Finnish society. The nation experienced political repression, economic challenges, and societal divisions. The wounds of the civil war continued to influence Finnish politics and society for decades.