Merja Ellefson: Whose Nation?

Memories of the 1918 Finnish Civil War in Military Magazines

This article explores the ways military magazines remembered and made sense of the Finnish civil war both directly after the 1918-1919 war and during the centennial anniversaries of the declaration of independence and the war in 2017-2018. Military organizations and their magazines were journalistic and organizational memory-makers. Due to their size and popularity among the winning side, they shaped public opinion and perceptions of the war. The winners’ perspective was disseminated through organizational activities, commemorative rituals, and ideological upbringing. Magazines were an important tool in strengthening the feeling of togetherness and common destiny. Although the military interest groups no longer have the same societal impact, it is interesting to see the changes that occur as the winners tell the tale a hundred years apart. In brief, the aim is to examine which issues are highlighted or suppressed, and on which grounds people are seen as friends or foes, i.e., whose Finland appears on the pages of the magazines a hundred years later.