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A Finnish man will not bear a foreign yoke and nothing but death breaks his perseverance. In these athletes, Sigell found the same national character that had manifested itself in the heroes of the Thirty Years War or the Liberation War.(…) You too, my boy, will grow up to be a man and then you should know what you are obliged to by the deeds of the fathers of your tribe. A story about the Finnish achievements in the Olympics in 1924 pointed to the “healthy life in the countryside” where most Finns still resided and referred to the Finns as a people that had “toiled in woodlands and skied through wildernesses”.Foreign feet must not trample the land that for centuries has drunk the blood of men defending their freedom.”One can also see references to the “fore-fathers” in a number of patriotic songs of the period. Isät, veljet verelläänvihki sinut viiriksi vapaan maan. Connecting the Finnish nature, landscape and climate with the national character, sports achievements and military virtues, these writings evidently aimed at infusing the readers with pride and confidence in the inherent strength of their people, implying the Finns could fend off a quantitatively superior enemy by virtue of their superior quality as soldiers.A good example is Lippulaulu (The Flag Song), where the words for one of the verses are: Siniristilippumme,sulle käsin vannomme, sydämin:sinun puolestas elää ja kuollaon halumme korkehin. Ilomiellä sun jäljessäs käymmeteit' isäin astumaan. Sun on kunnias kunniamme,sinun voimasi voimamme on. Siniristilippumme,sulle valan vannomme kallihin:sinun puolestas elää ja kuollaon halumme korkehin. Writer and historian Jalmari Finne even explained the extraordinary bravery of Finnish men in battle, throughout the centuries, as deriving from the tranquil life of a nation of farmers. Battle is the place where a Finn feels all his inner strength blossoming, a moment of rejoicing. Bravery, the highest and most beautiful expression of manliness, is in the Finn’s blood and only needs an opportunity [to emerge] and then it seems to astonish other [peoples].”When historian Einar Juvelius introduced a new series of articles on Finnish history in 1920, he expressed his hope that the commencing series would encourage young soldiers to acquaint themselves with their forefathers’ “unwavering readiness and irrepressible faith in the future – the same readiness and faith that the Fatherland now awaits from its every son.” And we have already seen the how the “spirit of the fathers”, “awakening” in 1918, was declared to be the same spirit that motivated the Finnish fore-fathers in ages long past.
The old man urges the boy to remember that their village has been burnt dozens of times by the Eastern enemies, “… “That work has asked for fitness and skill, manliness and grandness just as much as defending the country.” Again, we that the very same spirit that had made the forefathers such formidable warriors had allegedly also been their driving force as they cleared and built the land.
However, he balanced the glorification of Finnish soldierhood by pointing out that they illustrated both the strengths and the weaknesses of Finnish men as soldiers.
In the same spirit, Olavi Uoma wrote that the 17th century hakkapeliitta cavalrymen had understood that the Finns’ many defeats in the border clashes with neighbouring peoples had derived from a spirit of passivity and defensiveness.
Although the idea of a Great National Past lost some of the heated intellectual topicality it had had during the decades before independence, it reached new levels of popularisation during the interwar period. For he who conquers himself has won the greatest victory.” “The enemy lurking in the dark” wove together a religiously conservative view of what was moral behavior together with a number of different images: the courageous warrior, the son, the brother, the husband, the father and the patriotic citizen.
Historical novels were a vogue in the 1930’s, accompanied by a multitude of new publications for boys presenting adventures in prehistorical and medieval Finland. (note: Jäämi was an ancient Finnish tribe)We are marching to war leaving our dear home Our Jaeger blood obliges us. An analogy was made between the warrior overcoming his fear before battle and the young man struggling to overcome his carnal desires.
The debt to the men of the past could, however, also be used for other moral appeals, such as calling for national unity after the divisive events of 1918. Muscular Christianity associated Christian morality was with strength and other stereotypical characteristics.