Eljas Erkko

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Eljas Erkko
Foreign Minister of Finland
In office
12 December 1938 – 1 December 1939
Preceded by Rudolf Holsti
Succeeded by Väinö Tanner
Deputy Minister of the Interior
In office
25 November 1932 – 14 December 1932
Minister without portfolio
In office
20 October 1932 – 25 November 1932
Personal details
Born 1 June 1895
Died 20 February 1965(1965-02-20) (aged 69)
Political party National Progressive Party
Spouse(s) Eugenia Violet Sutcliffe (1922–)
Children Patricia Erkko Seppälä b. 1924 Aatos Erkko
Occupation Politician, Journalist, CEO
Profession Master of Laws

Juho Eljas Erkko (1 June 1895 in Helsinki – 20 February 1965 in Helsinki) was a Finnish politician and journalist.[1] He was a foreign minister and negotiated with the Soviet Union before the Winter War started.[2] Erkko's father was politician and journalist Eero Erkko and son journalist Aatos Erkko.[1]

Eljas Erkko graduated as Abitur in 1914, Vimpeli School of War in 1918 and Master of Laws in 1922. In 1918, he fought for the White Guards in the Finnish Civil War Battle of Ruovesi.[3] He was elected as a Member of Parliament on 1 September 1933 from Uusimaa constituency. Erkko was a President's elector chosen by voters in the presidential election 1931, 1937, 1940 and 1943.[1]

Erkko was the Minister of Foreign Affairs between 1938 and 1939[4], as the Finns negotiated with the Soviet Union. The Soviets demanded exchange of areas with Finland. Erkko did not want to make any concessions. As the Winter War started, Väinö Tanner assigned a new government and decided to appoint himself as foreign minister.[2] Between 1939 and 1940 he was a chargé d'affaires in Stockholm.[citation needed]

At the beginning of the Continuation War, Erkko was a head of POW office in Finland till 1942. After the war, Erkko was charged in court-martial in 1946, the charges were dropped.[citation needed]

Later years Erkko worked as CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sanoma. He was also the Chairman of the Board of Directors in many Finnish companies, such as Rautakirja and Suomen Tietotoimisto, and a head of supervisory board in Kansallis-Osake-Pankki. Erkko was also a head of government in the Finnish American Association.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Eljas Erkko: Kansanedustajana 01.09.1933 - 31.08.1936" (in Finnish). Eduskunta - edustajamartikkeli. 
  2. ^ a b Turtola, Martti (1999). "Kansainvälinen kehitys Euroopassa ja Suomessa 1930-luvulla". In Leskinen, Jari; Juutilainen, Antti. Talvisodan pikkujättiläinen (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Werner Söderström Osakeyhtiö. pp. 13–46. ISBN 951-0-23536-9. 
  3. ^ "Ruovesi" (in Finnish). Suomen vapaussota 1918. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  4. ^ "Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland - Ministers of Foreign Affairs". Valtioneuvosto.fi. Retrieved 30 January 2018. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Eljas Erkko at Wikimedia Commons

Political offices
Preceded by
Väinö Voionmaa
Foreign Minister of Finland
Succeeded by
Väinö Tanner