A tall granite statue stands on a street in the Finnish capital Helsinki. A mighty soldier in a uniform was riding on a tall horse and staring forward. He is a well-known legend in Finnish history and the country's sixth president, Karl Gustav Mannerheim.
In January 1918, he served as Chairman of the Finnish Military Council and Commander-in-Chief of the Self-Defense Forces, and in December he served as Chief of the Finnish Regency. From 1931 to 1939, he served as Chairman of the Finnish Defense Council and built the "Mannerheim Line of Defense" during his tenure. In 1933, he was awarded the title of Field Marshal. Promoted to Marshal of Finland in 1942. Elected President of the Republic in August 1944. He died of illness in Lausanne, Switzerland on January 28, 1951, at the age of 84, and was buried at the Cemetery of the Martyr in Sietaniemi, Helsinki, Finland. His greatest achievement was to break the head of the powerful Soviet Red Army with a 1: 5 disadvantage in the 1939 Winter War, thereby ensuring the independence of Finland. If it was not for him, Otto William Movi of the Soviet Union The Kikusinen regime will rule and turn Finland into a part of Russia. Historians have spoken highly of him: whenever Finland is at an important turning point, he can be put in danger and lead the country on the road to peaceful independence.
On June 4, 1867, Mannerheim was born in a deceased aristocratic family in Finland (then also a Russian), ranking third among seven children in the family. Mannerheim's father was a poet, writer, and businessman. Later, due to business bankruptcy, he abandoned his family and went to France to work in art. His mother died shortly after. Fortunately, he took over the custody of Mannerheim, so he would not be on the street. In 1887, Mannerheim enrolled in the St. Nicholas Cavalry School in St. Petersburg, a two-year school dedicated to training elite cavalry troops for the Tsar. Mannaheim was tall and handsome, and soon stood out in school. After graduating, he entered the Knights Guards in St. Petersburg as he wished to take charge of the defense of Queen Feodorovna. Promoted from Lieutenant to Lieutenant Colonel.
In 1897, Mannerheim was transferred to the "Royal Stable Management Office". He has a good set of training horses, and also has the task of purchasing stallions and special horses for the cavalry. During this time he was responsible for training the guard of cavalry. In 1904, he was assigned to the lieutenant colonel of the 52nd Dragon Cavalry Regiment in Manzhouli, China. After that, he participated in the Russo-Japanese War and was promoted to colonel in advance because of his bravery in the battle of Fengtian (now Shenyang).
In March 1906, the General Staff of the Russian Army gave Mannerheim a secret mission, asking him to join a research team led by French scientist Paul Perriet and sneak into China for espionage. During the two-year expedition, Mannerheim crossed eight provinces including Xinjiang, Gansu, Shaanxi, Henan, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, and Hebei, covering a distance of 14,000 kilometers, and collected a large amount of important information. According to the purpose of the General Staff of the Russian Army, he will conduct a comprehensive military and social inspection. He will find out the best military route from Kashgar to Beijing through Lanzhou. Find out China's military strength, political status, and the extent to which the Qing government's new policy was influenced by Japan. In short, it is preparing for Russia's further aggression against China.
Since then Mannerheim's career has been smooth. After returning to China, he was transferred to the rank of cavalry regiment. In 1910, he was promoted to major general. In World War I, he fought fiercely with the Germans on the Polish battlefield. He served as a cavalry division commander and commander. Lieutenant General. In February 1917, the February Revolution in Russia broke out, and Manaheim, who was hostile to the revolution, resigned in September of that year to return to Finland.
Independence of Finland
In January 1918, the newly independent Finnish Parliament appointed Mannerheim as chairman of the country's military council and commander-in-chief of the White Guards, responsible for suppressing armed uprisings by the working class. At that time, Germany and Russia were enemies, so Germany supported Finnish independence. German General Golts Jr. also assisted him in suppressing the Finnish revolution. Many Finns also think that the Germans are good, and they intend to mix with Germany, but Mannarin feels that the first victory or defeat is not certain. If Germany loses in the first world war, Finland will not be good, but the Finnish leaders insist on being German and German. Nalin was angry, and in the civil war he opposed the White Guard's indiscriminate killing of innocents, and also opposed the large-scale detention of the Red Guards. He resigned as commander-in-chief. Soon Germany was defeated in World War I. The Finns felt that Mannerin was right, and in December of the same year he was elected as the Finnish Regent. After Mannerin came to power, he cleared German influence in the army, restored relations with the Allies, and allowed Finland's independence to be recognized by France. However, in the first presidential election in Finland in 1919, Mannerheim was defeated by a slight disadvantage. He retreated to the rivers and lakes, returned to the countryside, and was happy to hunt and plant flowers.
After Finland's independence, a Lapua movement with anti-communism as its main demand has emerged in the country. The elements participating in this movement are active in major cities, destroying Communist rallies, assaulting Communists, and even kidnap the President. The Lapua movement also entwined upper-level figures from all walks of life in Finland to try to launch a coup. The forces were very powerful. Of course, Mannaheim, the supreme commander of the Finnish Armed Forces, is naturally the object of their envy. The conditions they offered for Mannerheim were: after the coup d'état, you became the military dictator of Finland. Although Mannerheim has always been prejudiced against communism, he is sympathetic towards the Lapua movement. However, General Mannerheim rejected the deal.
This decision was enough to make him famous, and to avoid a possible bloody storm in Finnish history. It doesn't matter whether his actions come from hatred for dictatorship, faith in democracy, or realistic political calculations. At a critical juncture, Mannerheim restrained his desire for power and avoided the retrogression of Finnish democratic processes. This realm is really worth learning from Cromwell and Yuan Shikai .
In 1931 Mannerheim returned to the mountain to serve as chairman of the Finnish Defence Commission and to command the army. During his tenure, he reorganized the army, strengthened defense, and built a 105-kilometer defense line in Karelia on the Finnish-Soviet border, known historically as the "Mannerheim Line of Defense." In 1933, he was awarded the title of Field Marshal. Mannerheim undoubtedly possesses outstanding military talent, which was manifested while he was still in the Tsarist army. His superior political strategy is equally unquestionable. When the Soviet Union proposed to exchange territories with Finland, Mannerheim immediately proposed to the government to accept the Soviet Union's proposal. He believed that it was much milder than the proposals received by the three Baltic states . A perfect opportunity to avoid a bad relationship with the Soviet Union, but the proud Finnish Parliament did not agree with his proposal. In November 1939, the Soviet Union and Finland broke out the famous "Winter War" in history due to territorial issues. As the commander-in-chief of the Finnish Army, Mannerheim has visited the front line many times to direct the battle. He is 72 years old. He has less than 200,000 Finnish troops in his hand and his equipment is very poor. There are no tanks, only 100 aircraft, and the invading Soviet The Red Army has 500,000, 1,500 tanks and 1,500 aircraft.
This war is a bit like a big gray wolf bullying a little white rabbit. What is the suspense between the big Soviet Union and the small Finland? What can surprise the world is that the seemingly powerful Soviet Red Army was beaten by the Finnish army it always looked down on. Suffering heavy casualties, Stalin lost his face, and Mannerheim made full use of the "time and place" to fight the Soviet army. The Soviets went to Finland and found that there were lakes and forests everywhere, and the easy way was blocked by the "Mannerin Line", and the Finns in Mannerin's hands were even better. They dressed similarly to snow In white clothes, with sleighs, sniper rifles and incendiary bombs, he played guerrilla warfare with the Soviets, turning the Soviet soldiers into a dizzy and distressing mood . During the defensive battle in December, the brilliant victory of the Finnish army under Marshal Mannerheim led to the annihilation of the two entire divisions of the Soviet 9th Army Vasily Ivanovich Trikov, and the Soviet army died. 27,500 people and 1,300 captured. The Finnish army lost only 900 people and injured 1,700. The Finnish army has achieved the example of winning more by less in the history of war and weaker than strong. However, Finland is a small country after all and cannot stand up against the Soviet Union.
At the beginning of February 1940, under the command of Xie Miao Constantinovich Timoshenko, the Soviet army concentrated a million troops and launched a carefully prepared total offensive in the Karelia Isthmus, breaking the Finnish defense line. On March 8th, the Finnish delegation signed an unequal treaty in Moscow. Although Finland was defeated and forced to transfer 10% of its territory, the Soviet army also paid a heavy price for morality and strength. Defense Commissioner Voroshilov lost his job and was expelled from the National League. The Soviet Union suffered from peace-loving, pretending justice in the world.
By the end of December 1940, the outline of the "Barbarossa Plan" had been prepared. Hitler was determined to attack the Soviet Union. Germany wants to pull Finland into the Axis Powers. On June 3, the German delegation approached Marshal Mannerheim, commander-in-chief of the Finnish Defence Forces, and made a straightforward statement as to whether Finland was willing to participate in the war against the Soviet Union and what Finland would like if they were willing to participate. Mannerheim stated that it would defend itself, and that if it would be involved in a Soviet-German war, Finland would not ask for anything, but Finland would be grateful if it was able to recover the occupied territory. In the early hours of June 22, 1941, Germany launched a large-scale attack on the Soviet Union. Hitler declared in a radio speech that German soldiers "aligned with comrades in Finland" and "fought together on the Arctic Ocean coast", but in fact Finland had not yet aligned with Germany at this time. Although the Finnish government issued a statement that morning that denied Hitler's claims and declared neutrality, Stalin had taken it as a fait accompli. On June 25, Finland declared war on the Soviet Union only after the Soviet Air Force bombed Finnish military bases. After the Finnish army regained the territory of the Karelia isthmus, it ceased active military operations. It must be pointed out repeatedly that Finland was strictly neutral in 1939. Finland's determination to remain neutral is no less than Sweden. It was the Soviet aggression that swept Finland away from its neutral berth.
Under these specific conditions of Hitler's attack on the Soviet Union, it was difficult to imagine that Finland would not be involved in the war of 1941-44. In such a situation, Finland is fighting to regain lost ground, and its justice is beyond reproach, but it was an unfortunate time to meet Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union. Finland's own choice was not conspired with Germany in advance. For these situations, the Soviet Union must bear the main responsibility.
At the end of 1941, Hitler also offered to let him command all the Germans in Finland, but Mannerheim knew that if he accepted this proposal, he would definitely have to bow to Hitler in the future, and then again rejected. In World War II, Mannerheim also repeatedly refused to assist Germany in attacking the Soviet Union and limited the war to defending sovereignty and independence and regaining Soviet-occupied land. This move did not lead to the deep hatred of the Soviet Union, but also avoided direct conflicts with Germany (objectively, Finland ’s war against the Soviet Union helped Germany and left Hitler speechless). This policy left room for manoeuvre for the Soviet-Finnish peace talks that began in 1944. Imagine that if Finland was a strong supporter of Nazi Germany, it would certainly not win the opportunity for peace negotiations after the war; but without accepting German assistance, Finland would have difficulty resisting Soviet aggression at the time.
On June 4, 1942, Mannerheim celebrated its 75th birthday. On this day, he received two great gifts: first, the rank of Finnish Marshal awarded by the Finnish government, which is unprecedented in Finnish history; second, Hitler himself came to pay his life. Hitler's sudden visit was offensive to Mannerheim, so he deliberately chose to meet Hitler on a remote railway line.
When Hitler saw Mannerheim, he hurried over to him with excitement. Mannerheim told the officer next to Hitler: "The officer should not run. This is a loss of status. Only soldiers do it!" After Hitler gave a warm birthday speech, Mannerheim invited him to eat. The meal, I do n’t know if it was deliberately arranged, the quality of this meal is rather poor. After dinner, Mannerheim lit a strangely large cigar, and everyone knew Hitler couldn't bear the smell of cigarettes. As a result Hitler stayed in Finland for only 5 hours before returning home. He had intended to ask Finland to step up military operations against the Soviet Union, but this unpleasant meeting apparently discouraged him, and he hurriedly returned home without asking for anything. After the battle of Stalingrad, Mannerheim privately asserted that Germany would be defeated. Although he hated communism and had always been close to Germany in diplomacy, Finnish interests were paramount to him. So he began to try to repair with the Soviet Union. At the same time, he also knew the serious consequences of peace with the Soviet Union alone, because there were still a large number of German troops in northern Finland, but he understood that Finland could no longer continue to work with the Axis powers.
It is said that there were only three foreign leaders that Hitler trusted and respected, and Mannerheim was one of them. Whether this is true or not can not be verified, but since Hitler personally went to Finland in July 1942 to attend Mannerheim's 75th birthday party. The above statement is not groundless. When Hitler's insight into Finland began to shake in 1944, he did not take the same action as Holti, but instead awarded the Silver Oak Knight Iron Cross to Mannerheim, hoping that it would firmly make Finland stand by his side. He even awarded Mannerheim ’s Love Cross with the Knights of Heinrichs, but these were superfluous. As a patriot, Mannerheim was more concerned about the fate of Finland than maintaining it with Hitler. Friendship.
In 1944, Finnish President Ritti resigned due to illness, and 77-year-old Mannerheim took over as president. After taking office, he quickly reached an armistice agreement with Stalin. After Finland and the Soviet Union signed a peace treaty, the German army was still reluctant to leave. Then Mannerheim commanded the troops to turn the muzzle again, and expelled the German forces entangled in northern Finland.
In March 1946, due to the pressure of the Soviet Union, for the benefit of the motherland Finland, the senior Marshal Mannerheim resolutely left his lifelong love of the motherland and went into exile in Switzerland. On January 28, 1951, the legendary Mannerheim died in Lausanne, Switzerland. 84 years old. When he returned to his native Finland, the grieving Finnish people spontaneously embraced the streets and greeted the defender of the Finnish nation, the most loyal son of the motherland, with the solemn courtesy. To this day, the Finnish people are still proud of having such a great patriot as Marshal Mannerheim in World War II! Historians have spoken highly of him: whenever Finland is at an important turning point, he can be killed in danger To guide the country on the road to peaceful independence. Buryed at the Martyr Cemetery of Hietani Ami in Helsinki, Finland. Author of Memoirs of Marshal Mannerheim.
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