Vilho Helanen during the Continuation War
|Born||Vilho Veikko Päiviö Helanen
November 24, 1899
|Died||June 8, 1952
Frankfurt am Main
|Alma mater||University of Helsinki|
|Known for||Political activist, author|
|Title||Chairman of the Academic Karelia Society|
|Term||1927-1928; 1934-1935; 1935-1944|
|Political party||National Progressive Party|
A student as the University of Helsinki he gained an MA in 1923 and completed his doctorate in 1940. From 1924 to 1926 he edited the student paper Ylioppilaslehti and around this time joined the Academic Karelia Society. He served as chairman of the group from 1927-8, from 1934-5 and again from 1935–44, helping to turn the Society against democracy. Helanen visited Estonia in 1933 and was amazed at the high levels of popular support for the far right that he witnessed there, in contrast to Finland where it was a more marginal force. As a result, he was involved in the coup attempt of the Vaps Movement in Estonia in 1935.
Helanen was a major inspiration for the Patriotic People's Movement and a close friend of Elias Simojoki, although he did not join the group and instead became a vocal supporter of Adolf Hitler. He formed his own group, Nouseva Suomi, in 1940 which, despite his earlier radicalism, became associated with the mainstream National Progressive Party.
Rising to be head of the civil service during the Second World War he was imprisoned after the war for treasonable offences. Following his release he worked for Suomi-Filmi and also wrote a series of detective novels. He died of a heart attack in the railway station of Frankfurt am Main, West Germany.
- Philip Rees, Biographical Dictionary of the Extreme Right Since 1890, 1990, p. 176
- Andres Kasekamp, The Radical Right in Interwar Estonia, Palgrave Macmillan, 2000, p. 93
- Rees, Biographical Dictionary of the Extreme Right, p. 177