04 June 2015

June 4 - carl mannerheim flag day

happy birthday to military and political leader of finland carl gustaf emil mannerheim. the day is also celebrated as the day of finnish defence forces.

carl gustaf emil mannerheim was born on this day in 1867 to an aristocratic swedish-speaking finnish family of german descent. his military life is a little complicated (to me at least) but he ended up being involved in 4 of finlands wars during his life, and was a military leader in the finnish civil war, the commander-in-chief during WWII and the sixth finnish president. he is perhaps the greatest historical finnish figure.

he had a long and distinguished, and not without a bit of controversy, military and political career, however the most interesting thing of note (in my opinion) was that hitler visited finland for a few hours on mannerheims 75th birthday in 1942. it was presumed that hitler was going to ask for finland to support germany by stepping up to the soviets. the meeting took place in secrecy in the east of finland, and 11 minutes of the beginning of their discussion was secretly recorded by the national news agency YLE. it is the only know recording of hitler speaking in 'an unofficial tone.' mannerheim refused to help hitler.

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