The Finnish Civil War
was a part of the national and social turmoil caused by World War I
in Europe. The war was fought from January 27, 1918 to May 15, 1918, between the forces called the "Reds" led by the People's Deputation of Finland
under the control of the Finnish Social Democrats
, and the forces called the "Whites", led by the Senate of Vaasa
representing the Senate of Finland
formed by the bourgeois parties. The defeat in World War I and the February
and October revolutions
in 1917 caused a total collapse of the Russian Empire
; and the destruction of the mother country resulted in a corresponding breakdown of Finnish society during 1917. As there were no generally accepted police and army forces to keep order in Finland after March 1917, the left and right began building security groups of their own, leading to the emergence of two independent armed military troops, the White
and Red Guards
. The Whites were the victors in the war that followed. The Civil War remains the most controversial and emotionally loaded event in the history of modern Finland. Approximately 37,000 people died during the conflict, including casualties at the war fronts, and deaths from political terror
campaigns and high prison camp mortality. The turmoil destroyed the economy, split the political apparatus, and divided the Finnish nation for many years.
Crown Prince Frederick William of Prussia, later Frederick III, in the August 20, 1870 issue of the Illustrated London News, during his time as commander of one of the three divisions of the German Army in the Franco-Prussian War. He was noted for his fondness for liberal democracy and pacifism, but died less than a year after he became king, before he could institute any real reforms. His death and replacement by his more militaristic son, without the reforms that might have impeded his son's urges, is often considered one of the factors that led to World War I. This engraving is based on a portrait photograph of him taken in St. Petersburg, Russia.