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Speech of the President of the Republic on 14th March 1940

  • President Kyösti Kallio
    President Kyösti Kallio

After the Winter War between the Soviet Union and Finland (30th November 1939 -- 13th March 1940), the following radio speech was given by Kyösti Kallio, the President of the Republic on 14 March 1940:


Citizens!

You have already heard in the radio yesterday and read in the newspapers today those terms of peace that we must base the building of our future on. 

With amazement we have experienced how the hobbies of Peter the Great have been revived in the Soviet Union. Again, there was the renewal of the phenomenon, repeated so many times before in our history, of wanting to separate from the connection with our country the largest part of the Viipuri Province, with its freedom-loving people, the connection into which they belong by national, historical, and geographic rights. These national bonds, however, are so strong that we must endure together and make even the hard fate that they as well as all of our country have faced. And we must be fit for it, as the people of Finland and the independent Finland with all its national rights has been managed to preserve, except for the mentioned territories. Their loss is our regrettable defeat, but on the side of victories history will enter our persevering battle for rights, the moral victory, the value of which we can hardly estimate sufficiently at the present moment. 

The damage of war is in many respects a heavy burden to carry, but we trust that those civilised nations who acknowledge the basic foundations of our defensive battle, see as their duty to support us in the work of reconstruction. 

But as great value as the help of foreign nations has had by now already, it is still most important to trust in our own strength. A living feeling of national unity has been our power in the noise of the battles on the fronts and behind the fronts. And that will remain our most reliable source of power also in the future.

Our nation can trust in that the purpose of the Government by making peace has been taking all efforts to prevent continuing destruction of the vital force of the Finnish people in this battle with uneven proportions of strength, into which we had to go alone against a great power. 

When we think of the heroic defense of our nation and the peace terms, we are overwhelmed by deep sorrow of the mutilation of our country, but our rational sense tells us to collect all our strength for unanimous work of construction as we proceed forward towards the future. And we do have opportunities to build a future, as the people of Finland have been preserved, our machine of state is intact, and the Finnish national consciousness and honour remain brightened and more determined facing their future tasks. 

And our Army with its weapons also keeps on protecting our existence. In addition, the joint fighting has made us feel closer and share the fate with those who have been worst hurt by the terrors of war. 

We salute those thousands who have fallen while defending what we hold most sacred. 

Regarding the Army, as the highest symbol of its heroic deeds I thank the First Man of the Army, Field Marshal Mannerheim, who has successfully led our defence with such surprising skill and energy as the Supreme Commander. I know I am interpreting the feelings of our whole nation as I state that during this war, Field Marshal Mannerheim has stepped even closer to the heart of the people. 

I wholeheartedly join in the appreciation that the Field Marshal has in his Order of the Day given to the Officer Corps of our country, the rank and file soldiers, and the Lottas, of the sacrificing and tireless action of all of them. 

Equally, the population behind the fronts deserves acknowledgement of their sacrificing efforts. 

But we must remember that great and permanent duties shall remain for our nation to carry out, as we must take continuous care of the relatives of the fallen, the invalids, and other victims of war, as well as the evacuated populations of the ceded territories and their sustenance. In this respect, the action of President Hoover has been of great value even during the wartime. 

I express my gratitude to the people of Sweden for the great spirit of sacrifice that they have shown towards our nation. I also thank for those weapons and equipment that especially Sweden and the Western powers have generously donated to us. 

For the Finnish Army, it was an overwhelming task to repel the enemy alone. We could not receive foreign help to a more significant extent, as the Governments of Sweden and Norway denied the military forces of Western powers right of transit through their territories. 

However, I dare to hope that the necessity of a Nordic alliance for defence has become clear also to our neighbours during this war. 

During the short but severe war the Finnish nation has accrued a wealth of experiences, which will serve as a road sign for it towards the future. 

I wholeheartedly hope that the feeling of togetherness that has kept us standing up in our ordeals would still become stronger, because that is what the success and future of our nation will depend on. 

Let us remember that we have our fate in our own hands. Let us prove in deeds that Finland and the Finnish people can fulfil their historical mission even in the present circumstances, as the front guard of Western civilisation. 

 

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Hannu Mononen

The original Finnish text can be found at http://www.histdoc.net/historia/kallio1940-03-14.html
I am responsible for any mistakes in the translation.

Käyttäjän hannumononen kuva
Hannu Mononen

There may be an IT bug on this website? Here's a link to my previous blog "The Supreme Commander’s Order of the Day on 14th March 1940", which may not always appear at all in the list of blogs under "Puheenvuoro":

http://hannumononen.puheenvuoro.uusisuomi.fi/21360...

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