Finnish Civil War

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October Revolution – Southern Front – Eastern Front – Northern Front – Ukraine – Finland – Finnic peoples – Estonia – Latvia – Lithuania – Poland – Georgia – Armenia and Azerbaijan – Left-wing uprisings against the Bolsheviks – Basmachi – Yakutia

The Finnish Civil War (Finnish: Suomen sisällissota; Swedish: Finska inbördeskriget) was a part of the national and social turmoil caused by World War I (1914–1918) in Europe. The civil war was fought in Finland from 27 January to 15 May 1918 between the forces of the Social Democrats led by the People's Deputation of Finland, commonly called the "Reds" (punaiset), and the forces of the nonsocialist, conservative-led Senate, commonly called the "Whites" (valkoiset). The Reds were supported by the Russian Soviet Republic, while the Whites received military assistance from the German Empire.

In 1917, Finland was a possession of the Russian Empire. The February and October Revolutions in 1917 in Russia led to the empire's defeat in World War I and its collapse. The chaos of Russia induced the breakdown of the Finnish state and disintegration of Finnish society, which was already experiencing economic, social, and political divisions and whose political system was in an unstable phase of democratization and modernization. As Finland was culturally and nationally uniform, its subsequent civil war did not involve ethnic or religious divisions.

The disintegration of Russia led to Finland's declaration of independence on 6 December 1917. Although the majority of the Finns supported sovereignty, the declaration occurred in the context of a power vacuum that followed the collapse of Russia. These events deepened the rivalry for the leadership of the state between the left-leaning labour movement (the Social Democrats) and the more right-wing conservatives. Both sides were reluctant to make political compromises and aimed to gain supremacy for their own faction. In the end, the crisis of power and authority penetrated all levels of society, from local administration to the workplaces.[4]

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