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Radio speech by Speaker of the Parliament on 14th March 1940

  • Mr Väinö Hakkila, the Speaker of Eduskunta
    Mr Väinö Hakkila, the Speaker of Eduskunta

After peace was made between the Soviet Union and Finland in the Winter War (30th November 1939 -- 13th March 1940), Mr Väinö Hakkila,  the Speaker of the Finnish Parliament (Eduskunta) gave the following radio speech on 14 March 1940:


Dear listeners,

It has been over three months since that November day when the enemy from the East made a surprise attack against our country. Our liberty, our existence, our everything became endangered by final destruction. All the layers of our nation were aware of our young state now having to fight for the values that form everything meaning life as a free nation. In the uneven battle we appealed, and we had the full right to do so, to other civilised nations to get them to help our just cause. The sympathy of the world was indeed on our side, and it was expressed in many touchingly beautiful ways. But the main thing, assistance by living force, did not arrive despite weeks and months elapsing in our heroic battle. To our sorrow, we came to see even the bitter fact of our Western neighbours declaring that they would prevent by armed force the sending of aid from the Western powers to our country, thus protecting their neutrality and avoiding getting themselves into dangers and trouble. We had to fight our battle alone to the very end. 

The feats of our battle of liberty have joined our history and they will tell the future generations about the fearlessness of a numerically small, but in its burning love of liberty and fatherland, great nation in fulfilling its duty. Our greatest achievement, our most magnificent victory during the passed heavy months is, however, the complete unanimosity that has joined together our nation during the severe ordeal. We have really felt such mutual closeness that we could never have experienced that in regular circumstances. Only because of the strong united front thus formed, have we endured everything. Our nation has had the opportunity to observe vividly the meaning of complete and intact consensus of all of the nation. Only that has been able to make a solid foundation in the heavy fighting for our existence. We have made during these times many sacred promises to maintain this unity in future times as well. Because we have learned to know what infinite power is hidden in it, and that with it miracles can be made even in peacetime. The destruction of war must be repaired and many difficult problems requiring material resources must be sorted out. In that effort, all hands are needed in strong co-operation. Everyone must fulfil his duty in the construction work about to come, with equal gallantry as in the weeks gone by the men and women of Finland have fulfilled it in the battlefields and the home front. 

In this time of violence, wrongdoing, and great selfishness we have given the world a brilliant example of our willingness to preserve our independence and sacrifice everything for it. Now it is our duty to carry out construction work, which also will demand great effort, many sacrifices, and unending love for fatherland. Our forefathers have been able to build again a completely destroyed land after heavy wars. The sacred duty of present-day Finns is to prove that they are also meeting the challenges of this great mission. Not until we prove that we are capable of united constructive work even in peacetime, not until then shall we feel being true Finns, who can completely trust in ourselves at all times and make even other peoples believe in the future of the Finnish nation. We shall now create an Army of work, capable of great peacetime achievements with its strength and unity. Our non-boasting, stable soldier, who has performed feats of heroism, will now turn into a hero of work. Of him, everyone else must take the example of how with little talking, with small gesturing, but with great working the real service for fatherland must be carried out. 

We live in such a time that places great demands to nations and individuals. The private interests of an individual citizen must give way to the common interest. We are lucky to live in a demoratic country, where the right and freedom of an individual is respected. Our own democracy has brilliantly passed its test of fire and proven to be healthy, and only that has been able to join and strengthen this nation as whole and strong. Now, if ever, we know that this country and this nation can have success on that basis only. But we have also learned to see that it closely includes discipline and order. It is and it must be power and rights for the people, but not the right of abusing these rights against freedom and democracy. If we wish to stay free, we must make this clear to all enemies of people and democracy. That wholeness and unity which has been created must now be preserved unconditionally. We all must be aware of that, because who ever would now start breaking it, he would take himself such responsibility which he could not be able to carry for sure. The prerequisites of this common front have been created over the course of many years, and accomplishing it has taken a lot of unselfish work. If it should now dissolve, that would only mean a victory for the enemies of our country, while at the same time it would mean irreparable damage to our own nation. 

The peace achieved is heavy to our country. The post-war situation creates great difficulty and demands ever more continuing sacrifices from our nation. We know that there are many heavy years ahead of us and many ordeals to endure. The passed wartime has nevertheless proven what this country and this nation can achieve when it is a question of a common cause. It has made us confident of being able to overcome all difficulties for sure, when we are together and united. With that in mind we shall now get on with our construction work, and we are fully convinced of the happy future of Finland. For that, our heroes have sacrificed their lives with joy. For that, it is our duty to live and work with a firm confidence that must never waver. 

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NäytäPiilota kommentit (6 kommenttia)

Käyttäjän hannumononen kuva
Hannu Mononen

This speech was published in the printed newspaper Uusi Suomi, which was scanned in the Internet for the public to see in 2010 when I translated it for another forum. Unfortunately, the scanned Uusi Suomi is no more accessible in the website. I take responsibility for all mistakes of translation in Mr Hakkila's speech.

Please see also

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

http://hannumononen.puheenvuoro.uusisuomi.fi/21361...

Käyttäjän jpvuorela kuva
Jari-Pekka Vuorela

Väinö Hakkilahan oli monessakin mielessä Linnan henkilöhahmon Janne Kivivuoren esikuva.

https://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/V%C3%A4in%C3%B6_Hakkila

Käyttäjän hannumononen kuva
Hannu Mononen

Jari-Pekka Vuorela states that Väinö Hakkila was in many respects the person represented by the novel character Janne Kivivuori in the famous and beloved novel trilogy by Väinö Linna, Täällä Pohjantähden alla ("Here under the North Star") covering the history of one Finnish family from the 1880's to the 1950's. In the novel Janne Kivivuori ends up as a Social Democrat politician, just like Väinö Hakkila did.

Jari-Pekka, would you like to add something?

Käyttäjän jpvuorela kuva
Jari-Pekka Vuorela

The English translation of the "Under the North Star" -trilogy leaves much to be desired, but even as such it can be used as an introduction to Finnish history and the Finnish mentality.

The real Väinö Hakkila, of course, was a figure of national and international importance, whereas Janne Kivivuori is presented more as a regional and municipal leader.

Käyttäjän hannumononen kuva
Hannu Mononen Vastaus kommenttiin #4

When translating his speech, I have been quite impressed about the clarity of Väinö Hakkila's thinking and his ability to present the relevant to his audience, with a style that appeals to a Finnish listener.

These speeches and the Order of the Day have been issued at a time when the Finnish nation had suffered enormous losses and was genuinely at the brink of destruction. Compared to those horrific circumstances, our present-day economic problems are nothing more than just children's play.

Käyttäjän gustavadolphus kuva
Vesa Leinonen

Interesting article post by Hannu Mononen. Thank you.

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