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The Mannerheim Memorial in Lahti
Mannerheimin ratsastajapatsas Lahdessa

Text by A. Elmgren
Photos by J. Viitasalo

 

 

Emblems featured on the memorial stones surrounding the plaza.
Kunniamerkkejä muistokivissä torin ympärillä.

Artist and war veteran Veikko Leppänen's memorial.
Taiteilija ja sotaveteraani Veikko Leppäsen muistokivi. Huom. vieressä Airon "oikea käsi".

Strange sign at the plaza. Translation: "Act as if nothing has happened".

More or less Mannerheim-related links:
mannerheim.fi Not very objective, but lots of information and interesting images.
Mannerheim Museum
The Mannerheim League for Child Welfare Mannerheimin lastensuojeluliitto.
Linia Mannergeima A defence line that the Russians cracked after long and hard fights.
The Mannerheim Suite at Hotel Kämp in Helsinki
C�l�brites en Suisse: Mannerheim
Mannerheim jokes Safe, patriotic and endearing. Foul language.
Mannerheim speaks (with heavy Swedish accent) Real Audio.
An American Science Fiction novel featuring Mannerheim?? Reviewed (and entertainingly trashed) by Johanna Sinisalo.

 

...

Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim - Biography Notes

Birth: 4th of June, 1867 in Louhisaari Manor, Askainen, Finland. This day is now the official day of the Finnish Defence Forces.
1887-1917 - served for the Imperial Russian army
1887-1889 - Nicholas' Cavalry School, St Petersburg
1892-1919 - Marriage to Anastasia Arapova. Two daughters, Anastasie and Sophie.
1904-1905 - Russo-Japanese War as Lt. Col.
1906-1908 - Expedition to China - Asian travels
1914-1917 - Cavalry commander for Russia in WW1
1918-1951 - served for the Finnish army
1918-1919 - Regent of Finland, Commander-in-Chief
1939-1946 - Commander-in-Chief
1944-1946 - President of the Republic
Death: 27 January, 1951, in Lausanne, Switzerland. Buried in Hietaniemi, Helsinki.

Lahti is a city in southern Finland, famous as a host town for various winter sport events. It has a short history, although it was mentioned as a village as early as 1445. In 1905, Lahti received city rights. The development of the railroad provided a boost for Lahti's industry and economy. During and after the civil war following Finland's independence in 1917, Lahti became the location for infamous prison camps where many Red soldiers lost their lives. After the wars of the 1940's,Lahti received 10 000 evacuated Karelians and the population exploded.

Making up for a lack of historical evidence, the Lahtians have been busy decorating their city with sculptures and memorials. The Marshall's Plaza (Marskin aukio) is one interesting example. The Marshall was none other than Finland's Commander-in-Chief, President, and even one-time Regent C. G. E. Mannerheim.

The Mannerheim memorial stands at Asematori in central Lahti. The bronzen rider was sculpted by the local artist Veikko Leppänen. (Info from lahtitravel.fi) The plaza is surrounded my granite memorial stones with the names of prominent officers and generals, as well as the data of important battles of the two wars that Finland fought during WW2.

There is another, more famous statue of a riding Mannerheim in Helsinki. Mannerheim himself was strictly against such memorials during his lifetime. However, as soon as he had passed away in 1951, a "Suomen Marsalkan Ratsastajapatsasvaltuuskunta" was founded with several prominent academics in the lead. More about the memorial project can be found at mannerheim.fi, even a movie - unfortunately only in Finnish.

Mannerheim was (and is) revered for his dutiful military performance during WW2, but he is also remembered as the leader of the White army during the bloody civil war - a hero for many, a villain for some.

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Welcome! This is a part of Ainur Elmgren's History and Nationalism website. Do visit her homepage, too!

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