chapter  2
Finnish liberals and anti-fascism, 1922–1932
WithJenni Karimäki
Pages 16

The history of fascism is a history of a broad European consensus of a radical right dismayed by the political character of Europe that emerged from the First World War, or in the Finnish case from the Civil War. The Civil War itself, the conditions leading to its outbreak and the ultimate victory of the bourgeois Civil Guard – the Whites – had a profound impact on Finnish liberalism and on how Finnish fascism and anti-fascism developed and manifested during the interwar period. Finnish society and political culture were predominantly bourgeois, and the left had an extremely weak foothold in traditional social structures such as bureaucracy, the intelligentsia, academia, economic life, the church, the army or the middle class in general. Since anti-communism was a far more pressing issue than anti-fascism, previous warnings of a fascist threat were replaced by notions of ‘fascist delusions’, as Progressive Party chair Oskari Mantere maintained at the 1924 party conference.