Kyösti Kallio

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President[1]
Kyösti Kallio
Kyösti Kallio.jpg
4th President of Finland
In office
March 1, 1937 – December 19, 1940
Prime Minister Aimo Kaarlo Cajander
Risto Ryti
Preceded by Pehr Evind Svinhufvud
Succeeded by Risto Ryti
Prime Minister of Finland
In office
October 7, 1936 – February 15, 1937
Preceded by Toivo Mikael Kivimäki
Succeeded by Aimo Cajander
In office
August 16, 1929 – July 4, 1930
Preceded by Oskari Mantere
Succeeded by Pehr Evind Svinhufvud
In office
December 31, 1925 – December 13, 1926
Preceded by Antti Tulenheimo
Succeeded by Väinö Tanner
In office
November 14, 1922 – January 18, 1924
Preceded by Aimo Cajander
Succeeded by Aimo Cajander
Personal details
Born (1873-04-10)April 10, 1873
Ylivieska, Finland
Died December 19, 1940(1940-12-19) (aged 67)
Helsinki, Finland
Nationality Finnish
Political party Agrarian League
Spouse(s) Kaisa Nivala
Children Vieno, Veikko, Kerttu, Kalervo, Kaino and Katri
Occupation Farmer, bank clerk
Religion Lutheranism
Signature

Kyösti Kallio (Finnish pronunciation: [kyøsti kɑllio], April 10, 1873 – December 19, 1940) was the fourth President of Finland (1937–1940). He was a prominent leader of the Agrarian League, and served as Prime Minister four times and Speaker of the Parliament six times.[2][3]

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Kyösti Kallio (originally Gustaf Kalliokangas) was born in Ylivieska, Finland. His father was a farmer and a prominent local politician.

Start of career[edit]

Kallio served in the Diet of Finland 1904–1906 as a member of the Estate of the Peasantry. He joined the newly founded Agrarian Union (a farmers' party) in 1906 and became one of its prominent leaders. He became an Agrarian minister in the Senates of Oskari Tokoi, Pehr Evind Svinhufvud and Juho Kusti Paasikivi.

Civil war[edit]

During the Civil War in Finland, Kallio hid in Red-dominated Helsinki, because he was at least nominally on the White side and therefore a "class enemy"; he formed a new senate (government) in Helsinki after German troops had defeated the Reds in the city. Afterwards he became a moderate peace-maker and disapproved of retaliation against the Reds.

Formation of the republic[edit]

During the debates over the form of the new state in 1918, Kallio resigned from the Senate because he supported a republic instead of constitutional monarchy. Eventually, the monarchist stand lost and he returned to the Cabinet to become Prime Minister. He was a reformist who emphasized education, settlement, and land reform. His greatest achievement was "Lex Kallio" in 1922, legislation allowing the state to buy land to encourage new settlements, and to let the former tenant farmers and other landless rural people buy small farms (see, for example, Seppo Zetterberg et al., ed., "Suomen historian pikkujättiläinen").

Supported prohibition[edit]

He supported Prohibition in Finland, and was dismayed when it was repealed in 1932.

Non-violent anti-communist[edit]

Kallio was an anti-communist, suppressing the Finnish Communist Party (SKP) in 1923, but he resorted to legislative methods. When the violent right-wing Lapua Movement asked him to become their leader, he refused and was then instead subjected to their death threats.

President[edit]

Kallio was elected president with the votes of a centrist (Agrarian and Progressive) and social democratic coalition, which wanted to ensure that President Svinhufvud would not be re-elected. Kallio took the role of a parliamentarian president and avoided use of his personal power.

Kallio together with Mannerheim at the Helsinki railway station on December 19, 1940. Kallio had a fatal heart attack a few seconds after this photograph was taken by Hugo Sundström.

On the eve of the Winter War, when Marshal Mannerheim once again threatened to resign from his post as chairman of Finland's Defence Council due to a schism with the cabinet, Kallio convinced him to stay. During the war Kallio resisted the idea of giving up any territory to the Soviet Union, but was forced to agree to sign the Moscow Peace Treaty in 1940. His health begun to fail – his right arm was paralyzed – and he was not active in the dealings with Germany leading to the Continuation War. On August 27 Kallio suffered a serious stroke.[4] Prime Minister Risto Ryti took over his duties. Kallio's heart became weak while he knowingly took risks by agreeing to the formal farewell ceremonies.[5][6]

Resignation and Dramatic Death[edit]

Kallio left a notice of resignation on November 27, 1940. He was planning to leave the capital and retire to his farm at Nivala after the farewell ceremonies on the evening of December 19, 1940; but he collapsed and died that night at the Helsinki Central Railway Station in the arms of his adjutant before a guard of honor while a band played the patriotic Finnish march Porilaisten marssi.[7] [8]

Religious views[edit]

A significant part of Kallio's personality and a motive for the social reforms which he supported and promoted was his deep Christian faith, which he had adopted already at home, and which was deepened during his marriage to Kaisa Kallio, who was also a devout Christian. Although Kallio was often too busy to go to church, he prayed often when encountering difficulties in making political decisions, and some of these prayers he recorded in his diary. He also read Christian books with his wife and often discussed them by exchanging letters. He often referred to God in his speeches, and during the Winter War he asked the Finns who were serving their country to read the Bible. When he was forced to sign the harsh Moscow Peace Treaty in March 1940, Kallio quoted freely from the Book of Zechariah, saying: "May my hand, which is forced to sign such a paper, wither." His right arm was paralysed the following summer, and he was forced to switch his writing hand. In the Presidential Palace, shortly before leaving for Helsinki Central Railway Station for the last time, Kallio sang a hymn with his family.[9][10][11][citation needed]

Honours[edit]

Awards and decorations[edit]

Kyösti Kallio Coat of Arms
  • Finland Grand Cross of the Order of the White Rose (Finland)
  • Finland Grand Cross of the Order of the Cross of Liberty
  • Sweden Knight of the Order of the Seraphim (Sweden)
  • Sweden Order of the Polar Star (Sweden)
  • Iceland Order of Falcon (Iceland)
  • Estonia Collar of the Order of the White Star
  • Estonia Cross of Liberty Military Leadership (Estonia)
  • Estonia Cross of Liberty Civilian Service (Estonia)
  • Estonia Order of the Cross of the Eagle
  • Estonia Order of the Estonian Red Cross
  • Latvia Order of Three Stars (Latvia)
  • Hungary Order of Merit (Hungary)
  • Poland Order of Polonia Restituta

References[edit]

  1. ^ Courtesy title in Finland for former Presidents of the Republic
  2. ^ "Ministerikortisto". Valtioneuvosto. 
  3. ^ "Edustajamatrikkeli". Eduskunta. 
  4. ^ Sakari Virkkunen, Suomen presidentit II: Kallio - Ryti - Mannerheim ("Finnish Presidents II: Kallio - Ryti - Mannerheim"), Helsinki: Otava Publishing Ltd., 1994
  5. ^ Virkkunen, "The Finnish Presidents II"
  6. ^ Kari Hokkanen, "A Biography of Kyösti Kallio, II: 1930-1940" 1930-1940, Helsinki 1986
  7. ^ Aladár Paasonen (1974). Marsalkan tiedustelupäällikkönä ja hallituksen asiamiehenä (Marshall's chief of intelligence and Government's official. In Finnish). Weilin, Göös, Helsinki
  8. ^ Kari Hokkanen. "Kallio, Kyösti (1873 - 1940) President of Finland". Biografiakeskus, Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura. Retrieved 2013-01-10. 
  9. ^ Virkkunen, "The Finnish Presidents II"
  10. ^ Hokkanen, "A Biography of Kyösti Kallio, II"; "The Presidents of the Republic 1931-1940". Helsinki, 1994
  11. ^ Kyösti Kallion puheet (Speeches of Kyösti Kallio, in Finnish) Helsinki, 1941

External links[edit]

Media related to Kyösti Kallio at Wikimedia Commons

Political offices
Preceded by
Lauri Kristian Relander
Speaker of the Parliament of Finland
1920
Succeeded by
Wäinö Wuolijoki
Preceded by
Wäinö Wuolijoki
Speaker of the Parliament of Finland
1922
Succeeded by
Wäinö Wuolijoki
Preceded by
Aimo Cajander
Prime Minister of Finland
1922–1924
Succeeded by
Aimo Cajander
Preceded by
Paavo Virkkunen
Speaker of the Parliament of Finland
1924-1925
Succeeded by
Wäinö Wuolijoki
Preceded by
Antti Tulenheimo
Prime Minister of Finland
1925–1926
Succeeded by
Väinö Tanner
Preceded by
Paavo Virkkunen
Speaker of the Parliament of Finland
1927
Succeeded by
Paavo Virkkunen
Preceded by
Paavo Virkkunen
Speaker of the Parliament of Finland
1929
Succeeded by
Paavo Virkkunen
Preceded by
Oskari Mantere
Prime Minister of Finland
1929–1930
Succeeded by
Pehr Evind Svinhufvud
Preceded by
Juho Sunila
Speaker of the Parliament of Finland
1930-1936
Succeeded by
Väinö Hakkila
Preceded by
Toivo Mikael Kivimäki
Prime Minister of Finland
1936–1937
Succeeded by
Aimo Cajander
Preceded by
Pehr Evind Svinhufvud
President of Finland
1937–1940
Succeeded by
Risto Ryti