Yrjö Keinonen

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Yrjö Keinonen shakes hands with Gustaf Mannerheim in 1942.

Yrjö Ilmari Keinonen (August 31, 1912 in Ruskeala – October 29, 1977 in Nurmijärvi) was a Finnish General of the Infantry and Knight of the Mannerheim Cross. He was the Chief of Defence of the Finnish Defence Forces between 1965 and 1969.[1]

General Keinonen was the only Chief of Defence to be forced to resign in-term. When he was selected for the position, his formal qualifications were excellent, and he was unambiguously supported by President Kekkonen. A contemporary, Lieutenant Colonel Tiilikainen, devotes an entire chapter to the reasons why he resigned in his book about the Cold War in Finland. Officially, the explanation was neglect of duties, working only an estimated 90 days annually. However, there was widespread resentment against him, both in the forces and later revealed in other memoirs from other generals. This hints towards a more serious accusation, defeatism. Namely, Tiilikainen speculates that due to the YYA Treaty, Keinonen believed that a Soviet occupation was eventually inevitable. Thus, the remaining task of the Chief of Defence was to be some sort of a Finnish General Philippe Pétain, doing only damage control, and thus active defence planning was unnecessary.[2]


  1. ^ Suomen itsenäisyyden ajan puolustusvoimain komentajat. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 17, 2013. Retrieved October 16, 2013. (in Finnish)
  2. ^ Tiilikainen, Heikki. Kylmän sodan kujanjuoksu. Ajatus Kirjat, 2003. ISBN 951-20-6452-9. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 17, 2013. Retrieved October 16, 2013.