Humanitaarisuuden varjossa : Poliittiset tekijät lastensiirroissa Ruotsiin sotiemme aikana ja niiden jälkeen

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Title: Humanitaarisuuden varjossa : Poliittiset tekijät lastensiirroissa Ruotsiin sotiemme aikana ja niiden jälkeen
Author: Kavén, Pertti
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2010-12-18
Thesis level: Doctoral dissertation (monograph)
Abstract: The evacuation of Finnish children to Sweden during WW II has often been called a small migration . Historical research on this subject is scarce, considering the great number of children involved. The present research has applied, apart from the traditional archive research, the framework of history-culture developed by Rüsen in order to have an all-inclusive approach to the impact of this historical event. The framework has three dimensions: political, aesthetic and cognitive. The collective memory of war children has also been discussed. The research looks for political factors involved in the evacuations during the Winter War and the Continuation War and the post-war period. The approach is wider than a purely humanitarian one. Political factors have had an impact in both Finland and Sweden, beginning from the decision-making process and ending with the discussion of the unexpected consequences of the evacuations in the Finnish Parliament in 1950. The Winter War (30.11.1939 13.3.1940) witnessed the first child transports. These were also the model for future decision making. The transports were begun on the initiative of Swedes Maja Sandler, the wife of the resigned minister of foreign affairs Rickard Sandler, and Hanna Rydh-Munck af Rosenschöld , but this activity was soon accepted by the Swedish government because the humanitarian help in the form of child transports lightened the political burden of Prime Minister Hansson, who was not willing to help Finland militarily. It was help that Finland never asked for and it was rejected at the beginning. The negative response of Minister Juho Koivisto was not taken very seriously. The political forces in Finland supporting child transports were stronger than those rejecting them. The major politicians in support belonged to Finland´s Swedish minority. In addition, close to 1 000 Finnish children remained in Sweden after the Winter War. No analysis was made of the reasons why these children did not return home. A committee set up to help Finland and Norway was established in Sweden in 1941. Its chairman was Torsten Nothin, an influential Swedish politician. In December 1941 he appealed to the Swedish government to provide help to Finnish children under the authority of The International Red Cross. This plea had no results. The delivery of great amounts of food to Finland, which was now at war with Great Britain, had automatically caused reactions among the allies against the Swedish imports through Gothenburg. This included the import of oil, which was essential for the Swedish navy and air force. Oil was later used successfully to force a reduction in commerce between Sweden and Finland. The contradiction between Sweden´s essential political interests and humanitarian help was solved in a way that did not harm the country´s vital political interests. Instead of delivering help to Finland, Finnish children were transported to Sweden through the organisations that had already been created. At the beginning of the Continuation War (25.6.1941 27.4.1945) negative opinion regarding child transports re-emerged in Finland. Karl-August Fagerholm implemented the transports in September 1941. In 1942, members of the conservative parties in the Finnish Parliament expressed their fear of losing the children to the Swedes. They suggested that Finland should withdraw from the inter-Nordic agreement, according to which the adoptions were approved by the court of the country where the child resided. This initiative failed. Paavo Virkkunen, an influential member of the conservative party Kokoomus in Finland, favoured the so-called good-father system, where help was delivered to Finland in the form of money and goods. Virkkunen was concerned about the consequences of a long stay in a Swedish family. The risk of losing the children was clear. The extreme conservative party (IKL, the Patriotic Movement of the Finnish People) wanted to alienate Finland from Sweden and bring Finland closer to Germany. Von Blücher, the German ambassador to Finland, had in his report to Berlin, mentioned the political consequences of the child transports. Among other things, they would bring Finland and Sweden closer to each other. He had also paid attention to the Nordic political orientation in Finland. He did not question or criticize the child transports. His main interest was to increase German political influence in Finland, and the Nordic political orientation was an obstacle. Fagerholm was politically ill-favoured by the Germans, because he had a strong Nordic political disposition and had criticised Germany´s activities in Norway. The criticism of child transports was at the same time criticism of Fagerholm. The official censorship organ of the Finnish government (VTL) denied the criticism of child transports in January 1942. The reasons were political. Statements made by members of the Finnish Parliament were also censored, because it was thought that they would offend the Swedes. In addition, the censorship organ used child transports as a means of active propaganda aimed at improving the relations between the two countries. The Finnish Parliament was informed in 1948 that about 15 000 Finnish children still remained in Sweden. These children would stay there permanently. In 1950 the members of the Agrarian Party in Finland stated that Finland should actively strive to get the children back. The party on the left (SKDL, the Democratic Movement of Finnish People) also focused on the unexpected consequences of the child transports. The Social Democrats, and largely Fagerholm, had been the main force in Finland behind the child transports. Members of the SKDL, controlled by Finland´s Communist Party, stated that the war time authorities were responsible for this war loss. Many of the Finnish parents could not get their children back despite repeated requests. The discussion of the problem became political, for example von Born, a member of the Swedish minority party RKP, related this problem to foreign policy by stating that the request to repatriate the Finnish children would have negative political consequences for the relations between Finland and Sweden. He emphasized expressing feelings of gratitude to the Swedes. After the war a new foreign policy was established by Prime Minister (1944 1946) and later President (1946 1956) Juho Kusti Paasikivi. The main cornerstone of this policy was to establish good relations with the Soviet Union. The other, often forgotten, cornerstone was to simultaneously establish good relations with other Nordic countries, especially Sweden, as a counterbalance. The unexpected results of the child evacuation, a Swedish initiative, had violated the good relations with Sweden. The motives of the Democratic Movement of Finnish People were much the same as those of the Patriotic Movement of Finnish People. Only the ideology was different. The Nordic political orientation was an obstacle to both parties. The position of the Democratic Movement of Finnish People was much better than that of the Patriotic Movement of Finnish People, because now one could clearly see the unexpected results, which included human tragedy for the many families who could not be re-united with their children despite their repeated requests. The Swedes questioned the figure given to the Finnish Parliament regarding the number of children permanently remaining in Sweden. This research agrees with the Swedes. In a calculation based on Swedish population registers, the number of these children is about 7 100. The reliability of this figure is increased by the fact that the child allowance programme began in Sweden in 1948. The prerequisite to have this allowance was that the child be in the Swedish population register. It was not necessary for the child to have Swedish nationality. The Finnish Parliament had false information about the number of Finnish children who remained in Sweden in 1942 and in 1950. There was no parliamentary control in Finland regarding child transports, because the decision was made by one cabinet member and speeches by MPs in the Finnish Parliament were censored, like all criticism regarding child transports to Sweden. In Great Britain parliamentary control worked better throughout the whole war, because the speeches regarding evacuation were not censored. At the beginning of the war certain members of the British Labour Party and the Welsh Nationalists were particularly outspoken about the scheme. Fagerholm does not discuss to any great extent the child transports in his memoirs. He does not evaluate the process and results as a whole. This research provides some possibilities for an evaluation of this sort. The Swedish medical reports give a clear picture of the physical condition of the Finnish children when arriving in Sweden. The transports actually revealed how bad the situation of the poorest children was. According to Titmuss, similar observations were made in Great Britain during the British evacuations. The child transports saved the lives of approximately 2 900 children. Most of these children were removed to Sweden to receive treatment for illnesses, but many among the healthy children were undernourished and some suffered from the effects of tuberculosis. The medical inspection in Finland was not thorough. If you compare the figure of 2 900 children saved and returned with the figure of about 7 100 children who remained permanently in Sweden, you may draw the conclusion that Finland as a country failed to benefit from the child transports, and that the whole operation was a political mistake with far-reaching consequenses. The basic goal of the operation was to save lives and have all the children return to Finland after the war. The difficulties with the repatriation of the children were mainly psychological. The level of child psychology in Finland at that time was low. One may question the report by Professor Martti Kaila regarding the adaptation of children to their families back in Finland. Anna Freud´s warnings concerning the difficulties that arise when child evacuees return are also valid in Finland. Freud viewed the emotional life of children in a way different from Kaila: the physical survival of a small child forces her to create strong emotional ties to the person who is looking after her. This, a characteristic of all small children, occurred with the Finnish children too, and it was something the political decision makers in Finland could not see during and after the war. It is a characteristic of all little children. Yet, such experiences were already evident during the Winter War. The best possible solution had been to limit the child transports only to children in need of medical treatment. Children from large and poor families had been helped by organising meals and by buying food from Denmark with Swedish money. Assisting Finland by all possible means should have been the basic goal of Fagerholm in September 1941, when the offer of child transports came from Sweden. Fagerholm felt gratitude towards the Swedes. The risks became clear to him only in 1943. The war children are today a rather scattered and diffuse group of people. Emotionally, part of these children remained in Sweden after the war. There is no clear collective memory, only individual memories; the collective memory of the war children has partly been shaped later through the activities of the war child associations. The main difference between the children evacuated in Finland (for example from Karelia to safer areas with their families) and the war children, who were sent abroad, is that the war children lack a shared story and experience with their families. They were outsiders . The whole matter is sensitive to many of such mothers and discussing the subject has often been avoided in families. The war-time censorship has continued in families through silence and avoidance and Finnish politicians and Finnish families had to face each other on this issue after the war. The lack of all-inclusive historical research has also prevented the formation of a collective awareness among war children returned to Finland or those remaining permanently abroad.. Knowledge of historical facts will help war-children by providing an opportunity to create an all-inclusive approach to the past. Personal experiences should be regarded as part of a large historical entity shadowed by war and where many political factors were at work in both Finland and Sweden. This means strengthening of the cognitive dimension discussed in Rüsen´s all-inclusive historical approach.Lastensiirrot on perinteisesti mielletty puhtaasti humanitaariseksi avustustyöksi. Tämä näkökulma ei riittävästi huomioi asiassa vaikuttaneita taustatekijöitä. Lastensiirtoihin liittyvien erityyppisten poliittisten taustatekijöiden selvittäminen humanitaaristen tekijöiden rinnalla on tämän tutkimuksen tavoite. Keskeinen peruskysymys on, miten poliittiset tekijät vaikuttivat lastensiirtoja koskeneissa päätöksissä sekä Suomessa että Ruotsissa sodan aikana ja sen jälkeen. Tutkimuksessa arvioidaan myös lastensiirroille avustusmuotona asetettujen tavoitteiden tosiasiallista toteutumista sekä lastensiirtojen heijastusvaikutuksia nykyhetkeen. Tutkimuksen pääasiallinen työmenetelmä on perinteinen arkistotutkimus. Molempien maiden valtiopäiväasiakirjoissa tulevat poliittiset taustatekijät esiin. Valtion tiedotuslaitoksen (VTL) arkistokokoelma sisältää lastensiirtojen arvostelun kieltämiseen ja propagoimiseen liittyviä asiakirjoja. Tärkeitä arkistokokoelmia ovat Ruotsin ja Suomen ulkoasiainministeriöiden Suomen avustamiseen liittyvät erilaiset raportit vuosilta 1939 1950. Myös molempien maiden lehdistössä sodan aikana ja sen jälkeen lastensiirroista käyty keskustelu on auttanut muodostamaan kokonaiskuvaa lastensiirtojen herättämistä tunteista ja ajatuksista molemmissa maissa. Tämän tutkimuksen tulosten perusteella voidaan todeta, että poliittiset tekijät vaikuttivat yllättävän paljon lastensiirtoja koskevissa päätöksissä sekä Suomessa että Ruotsissa. Talvisota muodosti lastensiirtojen alkusoiton, jonka vaikutus heijastui voimakkaasti jatkosodan päätöksiin. Eduskunnassa v.1942 esitetyt pelot lasten jäämisestä Ruotsiin toteutuivat. Seuraamuksista vaiettiin sodan jälkeen poliittisista syistä, sillä niiden esiin tuominen olisi vahingoittanut suhteita Ruotsiin, joilla oli merkittävä asema Paasikiven linjan toisena peruspilarina. Lastensiirrot olivat avustusmuoto, joka toteutui Suomen valtion ohjauksessa. Niillä pyrittiin lähinnä väestöpoliittisiin tavoitteisiin. Systemaattista arviota lastensiirroista avustusmuotona ei Suomessa jatkosodan jälkeen tehty. Tässä tutkimuksessa arvioidaan ensimmäisen kerran väestöpoliittista lopputulosta. Ruotsiin jäi pysyvästi n. 7 100 lasta. Lasten saama hoito pelasti n. 2 900 lapsen hengen. Lopputulos merkitsee sitä, että Suomi menetti n. 4 200 lasta siirtojen seuraamuksena. Väestöpoliittinen hyöty jäi saavuttamatta. Kyseessä oli avustusmuotoon liittyvä riskitekijä. Lopputulos oli riippuvainen avustuskohteen eli lapsen syvästä kiintymisen tarpeesta häntä hoitavaan aikuiseen kansallisuudesta riippumatta. Lastensiirtoja voidaan tämän tutkimuksen perusteella pitää laajakantoisena poliittisena erehdyksenä. Väestöpoliittisten lukumäärätietojen rinnalla on huomioitava myös se, että osalle lapsista toimenpiteestä koitui monenlaisia henkisiä haittavaikutuksia ja jälkiseuraamuksia. Avainsanat: sotalapset, lastensiirrot, lapset ja sota, adoptio
Subject: historia
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