Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim

Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim

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Baron
Baron
Baron is a title of nobility. The word baron comes from Old French baron, itself from Old High German and Latin baro meaning " man, warrior"; it merged with cognate Old English beorn meaning "nobleman"...

 Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim (ˈkɑːrl ˈɡɵsˌtɑf ˈeːmil ˈmanːərˌheim) (4 June 1867 – 27 January 1951) was the military leader of the Whites
White Finland
White Finland is an often-used term referring to one of the two parties in the Finnish Civil War , the other one being 'the Reds', or the Finnish Socialist Workers' Republic. The Whites were supported by the White Guards, Jäger troops and the political right...

 in the Finnish Civil War
Finnish Civil War
The Finnish Civil War was a part of the national, political and social turmoil caused by World War I in Europe. The Civil War concerned control and leadership of The Grand Duchy of Finland as it achieved independence from Russia after the October Revolution in Petrograd...

, Commander-in-Chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

 of Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

's Defence Forces
Finnish Defence Forces
The Finnish Defence Forces are responsible for the defence of Finland. It is a cadre army of 15,000, of which 8,900 are professional soldiers , extended with conscripts and reservists such that the standard readiness strength is 34,700 people in uniform...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Marshal of Finland
Marshal of Finland
Marshal of Finland was the title awarded to the Finnish Commander-in-Chief Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim on his 75th birthday on June 4, 1942. The fully honorary rank was specially created for Mannerheim...

, and a Finnish statesman. He was Regent of Finland (1918–1919) and the sixth President of Finland
President of Finland
The President of the Republic of Finland is the nation's head of state. Under the Finnish constitution, executive power is vested in the President and the government, with the President possessing extensive powers. The President is elected directly by the people of Finland for a term of six years....

 (1944–1946). Mannerheim is widely regarded, by many Finns and non-Finns alike, as one of the most important statesmen of Finland.

Mannerheim was born in the Grand Principality of Finland, a western province of Imperial Russia, into a family of Swedish-speaking nobles who had settled in Finland in the late 18th century. His paternal German ancestor Marhein had emigrated to Sweden during the 17th century. His maternal ancestry has its roots in Södermanland
Södermanland
', sometimes referred to under its Latin form Sudermannia or Sudermania, is a historical province or landskap on the south eastern coast of Sweden. It borders Östergötland, Närke, Västmanland and Uppland. It is also bounded by lake Mälaren and the Baltic sea.In Swedish, the province name is...

, Sweden.

He made a career in the Imperial Russian Army
Imperial Russian Army
The Imperial Russian Army was the land armed force of the Russian Empire, active from around 1721 to the Russian Revolution of 1917. In the early 1850s, the Russian army consisted of around 938,731 regular soldiers and 245,850 irregulars . Until the time of military reform of Dmitry Milyutin in...

, rising to the rank of lieutenant general. He also had a prominent place in the ceremonies for Tsar Nicholas II's
Nicholas II of Russia
Nicholas II was the last Emperor of Russia, Grand Prince of Finland, and titular King of Poland. His official short title was Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias and he is known as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church.Nicholas II ruled from 1894 until...

 coronation and later had several private meetings with the Russian Tsar. After the Bolshevik revolution, Finland declared its independence but was soon embroiled in a civil war
Finnish Civil War
The Finnish Civil War was a part of the national, political and social turmoil caused by World War I in Europe. The Civil War concerned control and leadership of The Grand Duchy of Finland as it achieved independence from Russia after the October Revolution in Petrograd...

 along class lines. The workers overwhelmingly held a socialist ("Red") creed; whereas the bourgeois, farmers, and businessmen held a capitalist ("White") creed. Mannerheim was appointed the military chief of the Whites. Twenty years later, when Finland was at war with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 during 1939–1944, Mannerheim was appointed commander-in-chief of the country's armed forces.

Ancestry and early life


The Mannerheim family
Mannerheim (family)
Mannerheim is the surname of well-known noble family registered in Finland, Sweden and Germany.-Baronial lineage:...

 descends from a German businessman and mill owner from Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

, Hinrich Marhein (1618–1667), who emigrated to Gävle
Gävle
Gävle is a city in Sweden, the seat of Gävle Municipality and the capital of Gävleborg County. It had 71,033 inhabitants in 12/31 2010. It is the oldest city in the historical Norrland , having received its charter in 1446 from Christopher of Bavaria.-History:It is believed that the name Gävle...

 in Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 and adopted the Swedish spelling of his first name, Henrik. His son Augustin Marhein changed his surname to Mannerheim and was raised to the nobility
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

 by King Charles XI
Charles XI of Sweden
Charles XI also Carl, was King of Sweden from 1660 until his death, in a period in Swedish history known as the Swedish empire ....

 in 1693. His son, an artillery
Artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

 colonel and mill manager, Johan Augustin Mannerheim, was raised to the status of Baron at the same time as his brother in 1768. The Mannerheim family came to Finland, then an integral part of Sweden, in the latter part of 18th century. (It was long believed that Hinrich Marhein had emigrated to Sweden from the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, but recent studies have shown this belief to be erroneous). Mannerheim was also of Scottish
Scottish people
The Scottish people , or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically they emerged from an amalgamation of the Picts and Gaels, incorporating neighbouring Britons to the south as well as invading Germanic peoples such as the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse.In modern use,...

 ancestry on his paternal side, his ancestor George Wright (the founder of the Von Wright
Von Wright
Of the five von Wright brothers, three were artists:*Magnus von Wright *Wilhelm von Wright *Ferdinand von Wright...

 line of Finnish nobility) having emigrated from Dundee
Dundee
Dundee is the fourth-largest city in Scotland and the 39th most populous settlement in the United Kingdom. It lies within the eastern central Lowlands on the north bank of the Firth of Tay, which feeds into the North Sea...

 to Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 in the 17th century.

Mannerheim's great-grandfather, Count Carl Erik Mannerheim (1759–1837), had held a number of offices in Finland's civil service
Civil service
The term civil service has two distinct meanings:* A branch of governmental service in which individuals are employed on the basis of professional merit as proven by competitive examinations....

 during the early years of the autonomous Russian Grand Principality of Finland, including membership in the Senate
Senate of Finland
The Senate of Finland combined the functions of cabinet and supreme court in the Grand Duchy of Finland from 1816 to 1917 and in the independent Republic of Finland from 1917 to 1918....

. In 1825, he was promoted to the rank of Count
Count
A count or countess is an aristocratic nobleman in European countries. The word count came into English from the French comte, itself from Latin comes—in its accusative comitem—meaning "companion", and later "companion of the emperor, delegate of the emperor". The adjective form of the word is...

 (in Finnish
Finnish language
Finnish is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland Primarily for use by restaurant menus and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. It is one of the two official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a...

 Kreivi, in Swedish
Swedish language
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish...

 Greve). Mannerheim's grandfather, Count Carl Gustaf Mannerheim
Carl Gustaf Mannerheim (naturalist)
Count Carl Gustaf Mannerheim was a Swedish entomologist of German ancestry and governor of Viipuri province....

 (1797–1854), was a renowned entomologist
Entomology
Entomology is the scientific study of insects, a branch of arthropodology...

 and served as President of the Viipuri Court of Appeals. Mannerheim's grandmother Countess Eva Wilhelmina Mannerheim, née Schantz, was one of the leading figures in Finnish high society.

Mannerheim's father, Carl Robert, Count Mannerheim (1835–1914), was a playwright
Playwright
A playwright, also called a dramatist, is a person who writes plays.The term is not a variant spelling of "playwrite", but something quite distinct: the word wright is an archaic English term for a craftsman or builder...

 who held liberal and radical political ideas but was an unsuccessful businessman. Mannerheim's mother, Hedvig Charlotta Helena (Hélène) von Julin (1842–1881), was the daughter of the wealthy industrialist Johan Jacob von Julin, who owned the Fiskars
Fiskars
The Fiskars Corporation is a metal and consumer brands company founded in 1649 at Fiskars Bruk , a locality now in the town of Raseborg, Finland, about 100 km west of Helsinki on the old main road from Turku to Vyborg...

 ironworks
Ironworks
An ironworks or iron works is a building or site where iron is smelted and where heavy iron and/or steel products are made. The term is both singular and plural, i.e...

 and village
Fiskars, Finland
Fiskars is a village in the town of Raseborg in western Uusimaa, Finland. The village is the site of the former Fiskars Bruk, which was founded in 1646 and gave rise to the company Fiskars....

.

Carl Gustaf Mannerheim was born in the family home, Louhisaari Manor in Askainen
Askainen
Askainen is a former municipality of Finland. Together with Lemu, it was consolidated with Masku on January 1, 2009.It is located in the province of Western Finland and is part of the Finland Proper region. The municipality had a population of 938 and covered an area of 61.52 km² of which...

. As the third child of the family he inherited the title of Baron
Baron
Baron is a title of nobility. The word baron comes from Old French baron, itself from Old High German and Latin baro meaning " man, warrior"; it merged with cognate Old English beorn meaning "nobleman"...

 (in Finnish
Finnish language
Finnish is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland Primarily for use by restaurant menus and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. It is one of the two official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a...

 Vapaaherra, in Swedish
Swedish language
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish...

 Friherre; only the eldest son would inherit the title of Count
Count
A count or countess is an aristocratic nobleman in European countries. The word count came into English from the French comte, itself from Latin comes—in its accusative comitem—meaning "companion", and later "companion of the emperor, delegate of the emperor". The adjective form of the word is...

). Despite his businesses, his father ran into difficulties in the late 1870s. He suffered from a hypomania personality disorder
Personality disorder
Personality disorders, formerly referred to as character disorders, are a class of personality types and behaviors. Personality disorders are noted on Axis II of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM-IV-TR of the American Psychiatric Association.Personality disorders are...

, which manifested itself in his being overly optimistic in financial dealings. His addiction to gambling worsened the situation and he went bankrupt in 1880. To cover his debts he was forced to sell Louhisaari and his other landed estates, as well as his large art collection. He left his wife and moved to Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 with his mistress, becoming a bohemian
Bohemianism
Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people, with few permanent ties, involving musical, artistic or literary pursuits...

.

Countess Hélène, shaken by the bankruptcy and her husband's desertion, took their seven children to live with her aunt Louise at this aunt's estate in Sällvik. Hélène died the following year from a heart attack, caused by her shame and depression. Her death left the children to be brought up by relatives, making Gustaf Mannerheim's maternal uncle Albert von Julin his legal guardian.

Because of the worsened family finances and Gustaf Mannerheim's serious discipline problems in school, Albert von Julin decided to send him to the school of the Finnish Cadet Corps
Hamina Cadet School
Finland Cadet school was the common name for the Fredrikshamn cadet school during the period 1819–1901. The Cadet School was originally founded in 1780 by Georg Magnus Sprengtporten at Kuopio and transferred in 1781 to Rantasalmi where it was called Haapaniemi Cadet School...

 in Hamina
Hamina
Hamina is a town and a municipality of Finland. It is located in the province of Southern Finland and is part of the Kymenlaakso region. The town has a population of and covers an area of ofwhich is water. The population density is...

 in 1882 to learn self-discipline (something he excelled in as an adult) and a profession.

Beside his mother tongue, Swedish
Swedish language
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish...

, Mannerheim would learn to speak Finnish
Finnish language
Finnish is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland Primarily for use by restaurant menus and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. It is one of the two official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a...

, Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

, French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

, German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 and English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

. However, due to his service in the Russian armed forces from 1887 to 1917, Mannerheim forgot most of the Finnish he had learned in his childhood, and would have to learn the language again in later life. In fact, he would speak Finnish with a strong accent and, in the Civil War, depended on a translator. He also spoke Polish and Portuguese and understood some Mandarin Chinese.

In his youth, Gustaf Mannerheim also had to learn how to budget and economize, due to his family's worsened financial status. He was humiliated by having to ask his uncle Albert for money for every small purchase. He was also forced to read his uncle's and other relatives' numerous exhortations to frugality and good conduct. The disciplinary problems continued. Mannerheim heartily disliked the school and the narrow social circles in Hamina. In the end, he rebelled by going on leave without permission in 1886, - for which he was expelled from the Finnish Cadet Corps.

As a military career in the Finnish army was closed to Gustaf, the only choice left was a career in the Russian armed forces. Young Gustaf was not averse to this idea. His first choice had been, while still in the Finnish Cadet Corps, to enter the Imperial Page School in St Petersburg. But his report from the Finnish Cadet Corps, with his bad conduct at school, made this impossible.

After spending some time with Albert von Julin's brother-in-law, Edvard Bergenheim, at Kharkov, in modern Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 - where he received lessons in Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 - Mannerheim attended the Helsinki Private Lyceum, passing his university entrance examinations in June 1887. Now he had a better school report to show than the one from the Finnish Cadet Corps. He wrote to his godmother, Baroness Alfhild Scalon de Coligny, who had connections at the Russian court, to help him enter the Nicholas Cavalry School. His real wish was to join the Chevalier Guard
Chevalier Guard
The Chevalier Guard regiment was a Russian heavy cavalry guard regiment, created in 1800 by the reformation of the Chevalier Guard corps, itself created in 1764 by Catherine the Great...

, but his relatives balked at the costs, so he dropped it. His godmother invited him to her husband's country house, Lukianovka, in the summer of 1887. There Gustaf worked to improve his Russian. While in Russia, he spent some time at a military camp at Chuguyev, which strengthened his decision to choose a career in the military.

At the end of July 1887, Gustaf was informed that he could take the entrance examination of the Nicolas Cavalry School in St. Petersburg. He passed it and swore his soldier's oath to the Tsar of Russia on 16 September 1887. He graduated in 1889 tenth in his class after having fallen from second after a drunken argument about Finnish autonomy with a superior officer. He swore to never drink to excess again. Mannerheim was commissioned as a Cornet
Cornet (military rank)
Cornet was originally the third and lowest grade of commissioned officer in a British cavalry troop, after captain and lieutenant. A cornet is a new and junior officer.- Traditional duties :The cornet carried the troop standard, also known as a "cornet"....

. He was posted to the 15th Alexandriyski Dragoons at Kalisz
Kalisz
Kalisz is a city in central Poland with 106,857 inhabitants , the capital city of the Kalisz Region. Situated on the Prosna river in the southeastern part of the Greater Poland Voivodeship, the city forms a conurbation with the nearby towns of Ostrów Wielkopolski and Nowe Skalmierzyce...

 on the German border.

An officer in the Imperial Russian Army


In January 1891, Mannerheim was transferred to Her Majesty's Maria Feodorovna's Chevalier Guard in St Petersburg - a position in which his height (he stood at 187 cm (6' 1½")) was an advantage, and one which also led to his being given a prominent place in the ceremonies for Tsar Nicholas II's
Nicholas II of Russia
Nicholas II was the last Emperor of Russia, Grand Prince of Finland, and titular King of Poland. His official short title was Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias and he is known as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church.Nicholas II ruled from 1894 until...

 coronation in 1896. In 1892, Mannerheim's godmother, Countess Alfhild Scalon de Coligny, arranged
Arranged marriage
An arranged marriage is a practice in which someone other than the couple getting married makes the selection of the persons to be wed, meanwhile curtailing or avoiding the process of courtship. Such marriages had deep roots in royal and aristocratic families around the world...

 for him to be married to wealthy and beautiful noble lady of Russian-Serbian
Serbs
The Serbs are a South Slavic ethnic group of the Balkans and southern Central Europe. Serbs are located mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and form a sizable minority in Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia and Slovenia. Likewise, Serbs are an officially recognized minority in...

 heritage Anastasia Arapova
Anastasia Mannerheim
Baroness Anastasia Nikolajevna Mannerheim was a Serbian-Russian aristocrat married to the Marshal of Finland, Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim from 1892 to 1919. Anastasia Arapova was the daughter of a wealthy Russian general and former Chevalier Guards officer, Nikolai Arapov, and his wife, Vera...

 (1872–1936), the orphaned daughter of Major-General Nikolai Arapov. They had two daughters, Anastasie (1893–1978) and Sophie (1895–1963); a third child, a son, was stillborn
Stillbirth
A stillbirth occurs when a fetus has died in the uterus. The Australian definition specifies that fetal death is termed a stillbirth after 20 weeks gestation or the fetus weighs more than . Once the fetus has died the mother still has contractions and remains undelivered. The term is often used in...

. Anastasie would later convert to Catholicism
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 and become a Carmelite nun in England. Mannerheim separated from Anastasia Arapova in 1902 and they were divorced in 1919.

Mannerheim served in the Imperial Chevalier Guard until 1904, though he was posted to the Imperial Court Stables Administration from 1897 to 1903. Mannerheim specialised as an expert on horses, buying stud
Stud (animal)
A stud animal is a registered animal retained for breeding. The terms for the male of a given animal species usually imply that the animal is entire—that is, not castrated—and therefore capable of siring offspring...

 stallion
Stallion (horse)
A stallion is a male horse that has not been gelded .Stallions will follow the conformation and phenotype of their breed, but within that standard, the presence of hormones such as testosterone may give stallions a thicker, "cresty" neck, as well as a somewhat more muscular physique as compared to...

s and special duty horses for the army. In 1903, he was put in charge of a display squadron and became a member of the equestrian
Equestrianism
Equestrianism more often known as riding, horseback riding or horse riding refers to the skill of riding, driving, or vaulting with horses...

 training board of the cavalry regiments.

After the separation from his wife, Gustaf Mannerheim's financial situation became bleak. This was exacerbated by gambling losses. He became depressed and tried to overcome his depression through a change of environment. Mannerheim volunteered for duty in the Russo-Japanese war
Russo-Japanese War
The Russo-Japanese War was "the first great war of the 20th century." It grew out of rival imperial ambitions of the Russian Empire and Japanese Empire over Manchuria and Korea...

 in 1904. In October 1904, he was transferred to the 52nd Nezhin Dragoon Regiment in Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

, with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He was promoted to Colonel
Colonel
Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

 for his bravery in the Battle of Mukden
Battle of Mukden
One of the largest land battles to be fought before World War I, the , the last major land battle of the Russo-Japanese War, was fought from 20 February to 10 March 1905 between Japan and Russia near Mukden in Manchuria...

 in 1905.

On returning from the war, Mannerheim went on an informal vacation among his relatives in Finland and Sweden 1905–1906. As one of the baronial branch of his family, he was a member of the Estate
Estates of the realm
The Estates of the realm were the broad social orders of the hierarchically conceived society, recognized in the Middle Ages and Early Modern period in Christian Europe; they are sometimes distinguished as the three estates: the clergy, the nobility, and commoners, and are often referred to by...

 of Nobility
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

 in the last session of the Diet of Finland
Diet of Finland
The Diet of Finland , was the legislative assembly of the Grand Duchy of Finland from 1809 to 1906 and the recipient of the powers of the Swedish Riksdag of the Estates....

.

When Mannerheim returned to St. Petersburg, he was asked if he would like to make a journey through Turkestan
Turkestan
Turkestan, spelled also as Turkistan, literally means "Land of the Turks".The term Turkestan is of Persian origin and has never been in use to denote a single nation. It was first used by Persian geographers to describe the place of Turkish peoples...

 to Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

 as a secret intelligence-officer. General Palitsyn, Chief of the Russian General Staff, wanted accurate, on-the-ground intelligence about the reform and modernization of the Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

. The Russians wanted to know the military feasibility of invading Western China, including the provinces of Xinjiang
Xinjiang
Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and spans over 1.6 million km2...

 and Gansu
Gansu
' is a province located in the northwest of the People's Republic of China.It lies between the Tibetan and Huangtu plateaus, and borders Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, and Ningxia to the north, Xinjiang and Qinghai to the west, Sichuan to the south, and Shaanxi to the east...

, in its struggles with Britain for control of Inner Asia known as "The Great Game
The Great Game
The Great Game or Tournament of Shadows in Russia, were terms for the strategic rivalry and conflict between the British Empire and the Russian Empire for supremacy in Central Asia. The classic Great Game period is generally regarded as running approximately from the Russo-Persian Treaty of 1813...

." After much deliberation, Mannerheim, disguised as an ethnographic collector, joined the French archeologist Paul Pelliot
Paul Pelliot
Paul Pelliot was a French sinologist and explorer of Central Asia. Initially intending to enter the foreign service, Pelliot took up the study of Chinese and became a pupil of Sylvain Lévi and Édouard Chavannes....

's expedition in Samarkand
Samarkand
Although a Persian-speaking region, it was not united politically with Iran most of the times between the disintegration of the Seleucid Empire and the Arab conquest . In the 6th century it was within the domain of the Turkic kingdom of the Göktürks.At the start of the 8th century Samarkand came...

 in Russian Turkestan (now Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

). From the terminus of the Trans-Caspian Railway in Andijan, the expedition started in July 1906, but Mannerheim spent the greater part of it alone, after having a falling out with Pelliot on their way to Kashgar in China's Xinjiang province.
With a small caravan, including a Cossack guide, Chinese interpreter and Uyghur cook, Mannerheim first trekked to Khotan
Khotan
Hotan , or Hetian , also spelled Khotan, is the seat of the Hotan Prefecture in Xinjiang, China. It was previously known in Chinese as 于窴/於窴 and to 19th-century European explorers as Ilchi....

 in search of British and Japanese spies. Upon returning to Kashgar
Kashgar
Kashgar or Kashi is an oasis city with approximately 350,000 residents in the western part of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. Kashgar is the administrative centre of Kashgar Prefecture which has an area of 162,000 km² and a population of approximately...

, he headed north into the Tian Shan
Tian Shan
The Tian Shan , also spelled Tien Shan, is a large mountain system located in Central Asia. The highest peak in the Tian Shan is Victory Peak , ....

 range, surveying passes and gauging the attitudes of Kalmyk, Kazakh and Kyrgyz tribes towards the Han Chinese. He arrived in the provincial capital of Urumqi
Ürümqi
Ürümqi , formerly Tihwa , is the capital of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China, in the northwest of the country....

, and then headed east to Turpan, Hami and Dunhuang
Dunhuang
Dunhuang is a city in northwestern Gansu province, Western China. It was a major stop on the ancient Silk Road. It was also known at times as Shāzhōu , or 'City of Sands', a name still used today...

 in Gansu province. He followed the Great Wall of China through the Hexi Corridor, and investigated a mysterious tribe known as Yugurs. From Lanzhou, the provincial capital, he headed south into Tibetan territory and the lamasery of Labrang, where he was stoned by xenophobic monks. He eventually made it to Xi'an
Xi'an
Xi'an is the capital of the Shaanxi province, and a sub-provincial city in the People's Republic of China. One of the oldest cities in China, with more than 3,100 years of history, the city was known as Chang'an before the Ming Dynasty...

, Zhengzhou
Zhengzhou
Zhengzhou , is the capital and largest city of Henan province in north-central China. A prefecture-level city, it also serves as the political, economic, technological, and educational centre of the province, as well as a major transportation hub for Central China...

 and Kaifeng
Kaifeng
Kaifeng , known previously by several names , is a prefecture-level city in east-central Henan province, Central China. Nearly 5 million people live in the metropolitan area...

 in Central China. At Zhengzhou
Zhengzhou
Zhengzhou , is the capital and largest city of Henan province in north-central China. A prefecture-level city, it also serves as the political, economic, technological, and educational centre of the province, as well as a major transportation hub for Central China...

, he took a train to Taiyuan
Taiyuan
Taiyuan is the capital and largest city of Shanxi province in North China. At the 2010 census, it had a total population of 4,201,591 inhabitants on 6959 km² whom 3,212,500 are urban on 1,460 km². The name of the city literally means "Great Plains", referring to the location where the Fen River...

, the capital of Shanxi province, and then trekked to the sacred Buddhist mountain of Wutai Shan, where he met the Dalai Lama
Thubten Gyatso, 13th Dalai Lama
Thubten Gyatso was the 13th Dalai Lama of Tibet.During 1878 he was recognized as the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. He was escorted to Lhasa and given his pre-novice vows by the Panchen Lama, Tenpai Wangchuk, and named "Ngawang Lobsang Thupten Gyatso Jigdral Chokley Namgyal"...

, who was launching a nascent campaign to free Tibet from Chinese Imperial rule. Mannerheim gave the Tibetan pontiff his own pistol as a gift and for protection against the Chinese. Mannerheim then headed north beyond the Great Wall into steppe traditionally occupied by Mongol herders. He arrived in Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia, and found the Mongols in a rebellious mood because of a corrupt military Governor who was colonizing Mongol pasture lands with Han Chinese farmers. Mannerheim eventually arrived in Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

 in July 1908, where he worked on his military intelligence report. He returned to St. Petersburg via Japan and the Trans-Siberian Express. His military report was a detailed account of modernization in the late Qing Dynasty, covering education, military reforms, Han colonization of ethnic borderlands, mining and industry, railway construction, the influence of Japan, and opium smoking.

After his return in 1909, he was appointed to command the 13th Vladimir Uhlan
Uhlan
Uhlans were Polish light cavalry armed with lances, sabres and pistols. The title was later used by lancer regiments in the Russian, Prussian, and Austrian armies....

 Regiment at Mińsk Mazowiecki
Minsk Mazowiecki
Mińsk Mazowiecki is a town in central Poland with 38 181 inhabitants . It is situated in the Masovian Voivodeship , previously in Siedlce Voivodeship...

 in Poland. The following year, Mannerheim was promoted to Major General
Major General
Major general or major-general is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. A major general is a high-ranking officer, normally subordinate to the rank of lieutenant general and senior to the ranks of brigadier and brigadier general...

 and was posted as the commander of the Life Guard Uhlan Regiment of His Majesty in Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

. In 1912, he became a part of the Imperial entourage, and the following year he was appointed as a cavalry brigade commander.

At the beginning of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, Mannerheim served as commander of the Guards Cavalry Brigade, and fought on the Austro-Hungarian
Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

 and Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

n fronts. After distinguishing himself in combat against the Austro-Hungarian forces, Mannerheim was in December 1914 awarded the Order of St. George
Order of St. George
The Military Order of the Holy Great-Martyr and the Triumphant George The Military Order of the Holy Great-Martyr and the Triumphant George The Military Order of the Holy Great-Martyr and the Triumphant George (also known as Order of St. George the Triumphant, Russian: Военный орден Св...

, 4th class. He said after receiving this award, "now I can die in peace." In March 1915, Mannerheim was appointed to command the 12th Cavalry Division.

He received leave to visit Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 and St. Petersburg in early 1917, and witnessed the outbreak of the February Revolution
February Revolution
The February Revolution of 1917 was the first of two revolutions in Russia in 1917. Centered around the then capital Petrograd in March . Its immediate result was the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, the end of the Romanov dynasty, and the end of the Russian Empire...

. After returning to the front, he was promoted to Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General is a military rank used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages where the title of Lieutenant General was held by the second in command on the battlefield, who was normally subordinate to a Captain General....

 in April 1917 (the promotion was backdated to February 1915), and took command of the 6th Cavalry Corps in the summer of 1917. However, Mannerheim fell out of favour with the new government, who regarded him as not supporting the revolution. Indeed, Mannerheim became a determined opponent of communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

. In September he was relieved of his duties, while on sick-leave after having fallen from his horse. He was now in the reserve and trying to recover his health in Odessa
Odessa
Odessa or Odesa is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the northwest shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 .The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement,...

. He decided to retire and return to Finland, which he did that December.

From gaining victory in the Finnish Civil War to becoming Regent





In January 1918, the Senate
Senate
A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or chamber of a legislature or parliament. There have been many such bodies in history, since senate means the assembly of the eldest and wiser members of the society and ruling class...

 of the newly independent Finland, under Pehr Evind Svinhufvud
Pehr Evind Svinhufvud
Pehr Evind Svinhufvud af Qvalstad , December 15, 1861 – February 29, 1944) was the third President of Finland from 1931 to 1937. Serving as a lawyer, judge, and politician in the Russian Grand Duchy of Finland, he played a major role in the movement for Finnish independence...

, appointed Mannerheim as Commander-in-Chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

 of Finland's almost nonexistent army, which was then not much more than some locally set up White Guard
White Guard (Finland)
The White Guard was a voluntary militia that emerged victorious over the socialist Red Guard as part of the Whites in the Finnish Civil War of 1918...

s. His mission was to defend the Government and its forces during the Civil War
Finnish Civil War
The Finnish Civil War was a part of the national, political and social turmoil caused by World War I in Europe. The Civil War concerned control and leadership of The Grand Duchy of Finland as it achieved independence from Russia after the October Revolution in Petrograd...

 (or War of Liberty, as it was known among the "Whites") that broke out in Finland. The Civil War was inspired by the October Revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

 in Russia. He accepted the position despite misgivings about the pro-German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 stance of the government. He established his headquarters in Vaasa
Vaasa
Vaasa is a city on the west coast of Finland. It received its charter in 1606, during the reign of Charles IX of Sweden and is named after the Royal House of Vasa...

 and began to disarm the Russian garrisons and their 42,500 men. During the Civil War, Mannerheim was promoted to General of Cavalry (Ratsuväenkenraali) in March 1918.

After the victory of the Whites, Mannerheim resigned as commander-in-chief. He feared the reaction of the Allies
Allies
In everyday English usage, allies are people, groups, or nations that have joined together in an association for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose, whether or not explicit agreement has been worked out between them...

 to the pro-German policies of the Finnish government during the last months of World War I. Seeking to distance himself from the government, Mannerheim left Finland in June 1918 to visit relatives in Sweden.

In Sweden, Mannerheim conferred with Allied diplomats in Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

, stating his opposition to the Finnish government's pro-German policy, and his support for the Allies. In October 1918, he was sent to Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, on behalf of the Finnish government, to attempt to gain recognition of Finland's independence by Britain and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. In December, he was summoned back to Finland from Paris after he had been elected temporary Regent
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

 (Valtionhoitaja; Riksföreståndare) of Finland. There were even monarchists who wanted to make him King
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

 of Finland. As Regent, Mannerheim often signed official documents using Kustaa, the Finnish form of his Christian name, in an attempt to emphasise his Finnishness to some sections of the Finnish population who were suspicious of his background in the Russian armed forces. Mannerheim disliked his last Christian name - Emil - and wrote his signature as C.G. Mannerheim, or simply Mannerheim. Among his relatives and close friends he was called Gustaf.

After King Frederick Charles of Hesse renounced the throne, Mannerheim secured recognition of Finnish independence from Britain and the United States. He also requested and received food aid to avoid famine
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

. Although he was an ardent anti-Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

, he refused an alliance with the Russian White generals and their armies, because they probably would not have accepted the independence of Finland. In July 1919, after he had confirmed a new republican constitution, Mannerheim stood as a candidate in the first presidential election, supported by the National Coalition Party and the Swedish People's Party. He lost the election in the Parliament
Parliament of Finland
The Eduskunta , is the parliament of Finland. The unicameral parliament has 200 members and meets in the Parliament House in Helsinki. The latest election to the parliament took place on April 17, 2011.- Constitution :...

 to Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg
Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg
Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg was a Finnish jurist and academic, who played a central role in the drafting of the Constitution of Finland in 1919. He was the first President of Finland and a nationalist liberal.-Early life:...

 and left public life.

Interwar period


In the interwar years, Mannerheim held no public office. This was largely due to his being seen by many politicians of the centre and left as a controversial figure for his outspoken opposition to the Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

s, his supposed desire for Finnish intervention on the side of the Whites during the Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

, and the antipathy toward him of Finnish socialists, who saw him as the 'bourgeois' 'White General'. Mannerheim also doubted that the modern party-based politics would produce principled and high-quality leaders in Finland or elsewhere. In his gloomy opinion, the fatherland's interests were too often sacrificed by the democratic politicians for partisan benefit. During the interwar years, Mannerheim's pursuits were mainly humanitarian. He headed the Finnish Red Cross and founded the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare.
In the 1920s and 1930s, Mannerheim returned to Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, where he travelled and hunted extensively. On his first trip in 1927, to avoid going through the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, he went by ship
Ship
Since the end of the age of sail a ship has been any large buoyant marine vessel. Ships are generally distinguished from boats based on size and cargo or passenger capacity. Ships are used on lakes, seas, and rivers for a variety of activities, such as the transport of people or goods, fishing,...

 from London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 to Calcutta
Kolkata
Kolkata , formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it was the commercial capital of East India...

. From there he travelled overland to Burma, where he spent a month at Rangoon; then he went on to Gangtok
Gangtok
Gangtok is the capital and largest town of the Indian state of Sikkim. Gangtok is located in the Shivalik Hills of the eastern Himalayan range, at an altitude of . The town, with a population of thirty thousand belonging to different ethnicities such as Nepalis, Lepchas and Bhutia, is administered...

, in Sikkim
Sikkim
Sikkim is a landlocked Indian state nestled in the Himalayan mountains...

. He returned home by car
Čar
Čar is a village in the municipality of Bujanovac, Serbia. According to the 2002 census, the town has a population of 296 people.-References:...

 and aeroplane, through Basra
Basra
Basra is the capital of Basra Governorate, in southern Iraq near Kuwait and Iran. It had an estimated population of two million as of 2009...

, Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

, Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

, and Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

.

His second voyage, in 1936, was to India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, by ship via Aden
Aden
Aden is a seaport city in Yemen, located by the eastern approach to the Red Sea , some 170 kilometres east of Bab-el-Mandeb. Its population is approximately 800,000. Aden's ancient, natural harbour lies in the crater of an extinct volcano which now forms a peninsula, joined to the mainland by a...

 to Bombay. During his stay in India, Mannerheim met old friends and acquaintances from Europe. During his travels and hunting expeditions, he visited Madras, Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

 and Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

. While in Nepal, Mannerheim was invited to join a tiger
Tiger
The tiger is the largest cat species, reaching a total body length of up to and weighing up to . Their most recognizable feature is a pattern of dark vertical stripes on reddish-orange fur with lighter underparts...

 hunt by the King of Nepal
Tribhuvan of Nepal
King Tribhuhvan Bir Bikram Shah , King of Nepal was King of Nepal from 11 December 1911 until his death...

. He killed a 3.23 m long tiger which had reputedly killed two men. The pelt is on display at the Mannerheim Museum
Mannerheim Museum
The Mannerheim Museum is located in Helsinki, Finland. It is dedicated to preserving and displaying items related to the life and times of Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, a Finnish statesman and military officer. The Mannerheim Museum is located on top of a hill in a prestigious residential area next...

 in Kaivopuisto
Kaivopuisto
Kaivopuisto , or in spoken language, Kaivari, is one of the oldest and best known parks in central Helsinki, Finland, and also a neighbourhood of about 500 inhabitants where the park is located.-Geography:...

, Helsinki
Helsinki
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The population of the city of Helsinki is , making it by far the most populous municipality in Finland. Helsinki is...

.

In 1929, Mannerheim refused the right-wing radicals
Far right
Far-right, extreme right, hard right, radical right, and ultra-right are terms used to discuss the qualitative or quantitative position a group or person occupies within right-wing politics. Far-right politics may involve anti-immigration and anti-integration stances towards groups that are...

' plea to become a de facto military dictator
Dictator
A dictator is a ruler who assumes sole and absolute power but without hereditary ascension such as an absolute monarch. When other states call the head of state of a particular state a dictator, that state is called a dictatorship...

, although he did express some support for the right-wing Lapua Movement
Lapua Movement
The Lapua Movement , was a Finnish radical nationalist and anti-communist political movement founded in and named after the town of Lapua. After radicalisation it turned towards far-right politics and was banned after a failed coup-d'état in 1932...

 (Screen, 2000). After President Pehr Evind Svinhufvud
Pehr Evind Svinhufvud
Pehr Evind Svinhufvud af Qvalstad , December 15, 1861 – February 29, 1944) was the third President of Finland from 1931 to 1937. Serving as a lawyer, judge, and politician in the Russian Grand Duchy of Finland, he played a major role in the movement for Finnish independence...

 was elected in 1931, he appointed Mannerheim as chairman of Finland's Defence Council. At the same time, Mannerheim received a written promise that in the event of war, he would become the Commander-in-Chief of the Finnish Army. (Svinhufvud's successor Kyösti Kallio
Kyösti Kallio
Kyösti Kallio was the fourth President of Finland . He was a prominent leader of the Agrarian League, and served as Prime Minister four times and Speaker of the Parliament six times.-Early life:...

 renewed this promise in 1937). In 1933, Mannerheim received the rank of Field Marshal
Field Marshal (Finland)
In Finnish Defence Forces Field Marshal is officially not an active military rank but an honorary rank that can be bestowed upon 'especially distinguished generals'...

 (sotamarsalkka, fältmarskalk). By this time, Mannerheim had come to be seen by the public, including some former socialists, as less of a 'White General', and more of a national figure. This feeling was enhanced by his public statements urging reconciliation between the opposing sides in the Civil War and the need to focus on national unity and defence.

Mannerheim supported Finland's military industry and sought (in vain) to establish a military defence union with Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

. However, rearming the Finnish army did not occur as swiftly or as well as he hoped, and he was not enthusiastic about a war. He had many disagreements with various Cabinets
Cabinet (government)
A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

, and signed many letters of resignation. (See, for example, Martti Turtola, "Risto Ryti: A Life for the Fatherland" / Risto Ryti: Elämä isänmaan puolesta).

Commander-in-Chief


When negotiations with the Soviet Union failed in 1939, Mannerheim withdrew his resignation on 17 October. At the age of 72, he became commander-in-chief of the Finnish armed forces after the Soviet attack on 30 November. In a letter to his daughter Sophie, he stated, "I had not wanted to undertake the responsibility of commander-in-chief, as my age and my health entitled me, but I had to yield to appeals from the President of the Republic and the government, and now for the fourth time I am at war."

He addressed the first of his often controversial orders of the day to the Defence Forces on the same day the war began:
Mannerheim quickly organised his headquarters in Mikkeli
Mikkeli
Mikkeli is a town and municipality in Finland. It is located in what used to be the province of Eastern Finland and is part of the Southern Savonia region. The municipality has a population of and covers an area of of which is water...

. His chief of staff was Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General is a military rank used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages where the title of Lieutenant General was held by the second in command on the battlefield, who was normally subordinate to a Captain General....

 Aksel Airo
Aksel Airo
Aksel Fredrik Airo was a Finnish lieutenant general and main strategic planner during the Winter War and the Continuation War. He was the virtual second-in-command of the Finnish army under Field Marshal C.G.E. Mannerheim....

, while his close friend, General
General
A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

 Rudolf Walden
Rudolf Walden
Karl Rudolf Walden was a Finnish industrialist and general.He received his military education in Hamina Cadet School 1892–1900....

, was sent as a representative of the headquarters to the cabinet from 3 December 1939 until 27 March 1940, after which he became defence minister.

Mannerheim spent most of the Winter War
Winter War
The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland. It began with a Soviet offensive on 30 November 1939 – three months after the start of World War II and the Soviet invasion of Poland – and ended on 13 March 1940 with the Moscow Peace Treaty...

 and Continuation War
Continuation War
The Continuation War was the second of two wars fought between Finland and the Soviet Union during World War II.At the time of the war, the Finnish side used the name to make clear its perceived relationship to the preceding Winter War...

 in his Mikkeli headquarters but made many visits to the front. Between the wars, he remained commander-in-chief, which strictly should have returned to the presidents (Kyösti Kallio
Kyösti Kallio
Kyösti Kallio was the fourth President of Finland . He was a prominent leader of the Agrarian League, and served as Prime Minister four times and Speaker of the Parliament six times.-Early life:...

 and Risto Ryti
Risto Ryti
Risto Heikki Ryti was the fifth President of Finland, from 1940 to 1944. Ryti started his career as a politician in the field of economics and as a political background figure during the interwar period. He made a wide range of international contacts in the world of banking and within the...

) after the Moscow Peace
Moscow Peace Treaty (1940)
The Moscow Peace Treaty was signed by Finland and the Soviet Union on 12 March 1940, and the ratifications were exchanged on 21 March. It marked the end of the 105-day Winter War. The treaty ceded parts of Finland to the Soviet Union. However, it preserved Finland's independence, ending the Soviet...

, on 12 March 1940.

Before the Continuation War, the Germans offered Mannerheim command over German troops in Finland, around 80,000 men. Mannerheim declined so as to not tie himself and Finland to Nazi war aims. Mannerheim kept relations with Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

's government as formal as possible and successfully opposed proposals for an alliance. If Mannerheim had not also firmly refused to let his troops participate in the Siege of Leningrad
Siege of Leningrad
The Siege of Leningrad, also known as the Leningrad Blockade was a prolonged military operation resulting from the failure of the German Army Group North to capture Leningrad, now known as Saint Petersburg, in the Eastern Front theatre of World War II. It started on 8 September 1941, when the last...

, they would have ended up becoming an integral part of the siege.

Mannerheim's 75th birthday, 4 June 1942, was a major occasion. The government granted him the unique title of Marshal of Finland
Marshal of Finland
Marshal of Finland was the title awarded to the Finnish Commander-in-Chief Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim on his 75th birthday on June 4, 1942. The fully honorary rank was specially created for Mannerheim...

 (Suomen Marsalkka in Finnish
Finnish language
Finnish is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland Primarily for use by restaurant menus and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. It is one of the two official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a...

, Marskalk av Finland in Swedish
Swedish language
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish...

). So far he has been the only person to receive the title. A surprise visit by Hitler in honour of Mannerheim's birthday was less pleasing to him and caused some embarrassment.

Visit by Adolf Hitler



Adolf Hitler decided to visit Finland on 4 June 1942, ostensibly to congratulate Mannerheim on his 75th birthday. But Mannerheim did not want to meet him in his headquarters in Mikkeli or in Helsinki, as it would have seemed like an official state visit. The meeting took place near Imatra
Imatra
Imatra is a town and municipality in eastern Finland, founded in 1948 around three industrial settlements near the Finnish–Russian border. In the course of the last 50 years, this amorphous group of settlements has grown into a modern industrial town dominated by Lake Saimaa, the Vuoksi River and...

, in south-eastern Finland, and was arranged in secrecy.

From Immola Airfield
Immola Airfield
Immola Airfield is an airfield in Imatra, Finland, about northeast of Imatrankoski, the centre of Imatra.-History:Planning of the airfield began in 1933, and the airfield was opened in 1936. Before and during the Second World War, the airfield served as a base of the Finnish Air Force. The German...

, Hitler, accompanied by President Ryti, was driven to the place where Mannerheim was waiting at a railway siding. After a speech from Hitler, and following a birthday meal and negotiations between him and Mannerheim, Hitler returned to Germany. President Ryti and other high-ranking Finns and Germans were also present. Hitler spent about five hours in Finland. Hitler reportedly intended to ask the Finns to step up military operations against the Soviets, but he apparently made no specific demands.

During the visit, an engineer of the Finnish broadcasting company YLE, Thor Damen, succeeded in recording the first 11 minutes of Hitler's and Mannerheim's private conversation. This had to be done secretly, as Hitler never allowed others to record him off-guard. Damen was given the assignment to record the official birthday speeches and Mannerheim's responses and following those orders added microphones to certain railway cars. Unfortunately, Mannerheim and his guests chose to go to a car that didn't have a microphone in it. Damen acted quickly, pushing a microphone through one of the car windows to a netshelf just above where Hitler and Mannerheim were sitting. After 11 minutes of Hitler's and Mannerheim's private conversation, Hitler's SS bodyguards spotted the cords coming out of the window and realized that the Finnish engineer was recording the conversation. They gestured to him to stop recording immediately, and he complied. The SS bodyguards demanded that the tape be immediately destroyed, but YLE was allowed to keep the reel, after promising to keep it in a sealed container. It was given to the head of the state censors' office Kustaa Vilkuna and in 1957 returned to YLE. It was made available to the public a few years later. It is the only known recording of Hitler speaking in an unofficial tone.

There is an unsubstantiated story that during his meeting with Hitler, Mannerheim lit a cigar. Mannerheim supposed that Hitler would ask Finland for help against the Soviet Union, which Mannerheim was unwilling to give. When Mannerheim lit up, all in attendance gasped, for Hitler's aversion to smoking
Anti-tobacco movement in Nazi Germany
After German doctors became the first to identify the link between smoking and lung cancer, Nazi Germany initiated a strong anti-tobacco movement and led the first public anti-smoking campaign in modern history...

 was well known. Yet Hitler continued the conversation calmly, with no comment. In this way, Mannerheim could judge if Hitler was speaking from a position of strength or weakness. He was able to refuse Hitler, knowing that Hitler was in a weak position, and could not dictate to him.

Assessment of Mannerheim's leadership


Mannerheim's wartime record as the Finnish commander-in-chief is not easy to assess. Even to this day, Mannerheim's immense prestige made criticism of his conduct of war almost tantamount to treason (especially as the criticism often came from Soviet sources and Finnish communists). It is perhaps easiest to divide Mannerheim's role in two: Mannerheim the military commander and Mannerheim the politician.

As a military commander Mannerheim was generally successful. Under his leadership the Finnish Defence Forces saved Finland from Soviet occupation. Mannerheim took care not to waste the lives of his soldiers, and avoided unnecessary risks. Perhaps his greatest shortcoming was his unwillingness to delegate. While he had a number of able subordinates, such as Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General is a military rank used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages where the title of Lieutenant General was held by the second in command on the battlefield, who was normally subordinate to a Captain General....

 Aksel Airo
Aksel Airo
Aksel Fredrik Airo was a Finnish lieutenant general and main strategic planner during the Winter War and the Continuation War. He was the virtual second-in-command of the Finnish army under Field Marshal C.G.E. Mannerheim....

, Mannerheim insisted that all the department heads in the Finnish General Headquarters should report directly to him, leaving his Chief of General Staff General of Infantry Erik Heinrichs
Erik Heinrichs
Axel Erik Heinrichs was a Finnish military general. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross...

 little to do. Mannerheim overwhelmed himself with work, and as a result coordination between the different departments in the General Headquarters suffered. It has been suggested that one reason why the Soviet offensive in Karelian Isthmus in June 1944 took the Finns by surprise was that Mannerheim was unable to see the forest for the trees. There was no other authority save Mannerheim to collect the intelligence and turn it into operational orders.

There were some tensions between Mannerheim and the other prominent Finnish leaders during the Winter and Continuation Wars. President Ryti at least once criticized Mannerheim for acting so as to retain as good historical reputation as possible. Prime Minister Linkomies in his posthumous memoirs criticized him for mood swings and capricious behaviour, which at times resembled that of famous artists. Prime Minister Paasikivi, who succeeded Mannerheim as President, also claimed that Mannerheim was so old that he could not always control his mood swings.
On the other hand, it can be argued that Mannerheim excelled in politics. Even though he was a soldier, and was not supposed to take part in politics, Mannerheim could not help but be a highly political figure. A vital question during the war was when to make peace with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. Too early would mean that Germany would be in a position to retaliate. Too late risked Soviet occupation of Finland. From 1942, it became increasingly clear that Germany would not win the war against the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. Mannerheim was kept, as it were, in reserve, in order to potentially take the leadership of the nation and lead it to peace. Mannerheim played this role skilfully; he had a clear vision of how Finland should conduct its war in the sensitive situation when the war's ultimate end was unclear. He knew how to treat the Germans to secure as much military support as possible without involving Finland in any binding treaties. For instance, during the build-up for the Continuation War in 1941, Mannerheim was offered command of all German forces on Finnish soil. While such an arrangement could have made prosecuting the war easier, Mannerheim recognized that this would mean subordinating himself to Hitler. As Mannerheim wanted at all costs to avoid this, he refused the offer.

End of the war and a brief presidency



In June 1944, Gustaf Mannerheim, to ensure German support while a major Soviet offensive was threatening Finland, thought it necessary to agree to the pact the German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop
Joachim von Ribbentrop
Ulrich Friedrich Wilhelm Joachim von Ribbentrop was Foreign Minister of Germany from 1938 until 1945. He was later hanged for war crimes after the Nuremberg Trials.-Early life:...

 demanded. But even then Mannerheim managed to distance himself from the pact and it fell to President Risto Ryti
Risto Ryti
Risto Heikki Ryti was the fifth President of Finland, from 1940 to 1944. Ryti started his career as a politician in the field of economics and as a political background figure during the interwar period. He made a wide range of international contacts in the world of banking and within the...

 to sign it, so that came to be known as the Ryti-Ribbentrop Agreement
Ryti-Ribbentrop Agreement
The Ryti–Ribbentrop letter of agreement of June 26, 1944 was a personal letter from President Risto Ryti to Führer Adolf Hitler where Risto Ryti, then President of Finland, undertook not to reach a separate peace in the war with the Soviet Union without the approval from Nazi Germany to secure...

. This allowed Mannerheim to revoke the agreement with the resignation of President Ryti at the start of August 1944. Mannerheim succeeded him as president.

When Germany was deemed sufficiently weakened, and the USSR
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

's summer offensive was fought to a standstill (see Battle of Tali-Ihantala
Battle of Tali-Ihantala
The Battle of Tali-Ihantala was part of the Continuation War , which occurred during World War II. The battle was fought between Finnish forces—using war material provided by Germany—and Soviet forces...

) (thanks to the June agreement with the Germans), Finland's leaders saw a chance to reach a peace with the Soviet Union. It became clear that Mannerheim was the only person who had sufficient prestige
Prestige (sociology)
Prestige is a word commonly used to describe reputation or esteem, though it has three somewhat related meanings that, to some degree, may be contradictory. Which meaning applies depends on the historical context and the person using the word....

, both internationally and domestically, to extricate Finland from the war. He enjoyed the confidence of a majority of the Finnish people, and was effectively the only one with the authority necessary to guide Finland in the transition from war to peace.

At first, attempts were made to persuade Mannerheim to become prime minister, but he rejected this because of his age and lack of experience in the running of a civil government. The next suggestion was to elect him Head of State
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

. Risto Ryti would resign as President, and parliament would appoint Mannerheim as Regent. The use of the title "Regent" would have reflected the exceptional circumstances of his election. Mannerheim and Ryti both agreed, and Ryti resigned as president on 1 August, giving as reasons his health and the necessity of combining civil and military authority in one person at that moment. Mannerheim decided that he wished to be elected president to avoid any misconceptions about the nature of his office. Due to the difficult conditions, general elections could not be held. Instead, the Parliament
Parliament of Finland
The Eduskunta , is the parliament of Finland. The unicameral parliament has 200 members and meets in the Parliament House in Helsinki. The latest election to the parliament took place on April 17, 2011.- Constitution :...

 passed a special act conferring the presidency on Mannerheim on 4 August 1944. He took the oath of office the same day.

The dangerous state that Finland found itself in was reflected in Mannerheim's inauguration speech before the Finnish Parliament
Parliament of Finland
The Eduskunta , is the parliament of Finland. The unicameral parliament has 200 members and meets in the Parliament House in Helsinki. The latest election to the parliament took place on April 17, 2011.- Constitution :...

:
A month after he took office, the Continuation War
Continuation War
The Continuation War was the second of two wars fought between Finland and the Soviet Union during World War II.At the time of the war, the Finnish side used the name to make clear its perceived relationship to the preceding Winter War...

 was concluded on harsh terms, but ultimately far less harsh than those imposed on the other states bordering the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. Finland retained its sovereignty
Sovereignty
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

, its parliamentary democracy and its market economy
Market economy
A market economy is an economy in which the prices of goods and services are determined in a free price system. This is often contrasted with a state-directed or planned economy. Market economies can range from hypothetically pure laissez-faire variants to an assortment of real-world mixed...

. Territorial losses were considerable; all Karelia and Petsamo were lost. Numerous Karelia
Karelia
Karelia , the land of the Karelian peoples, is an area in Northern Europe of historical significance for Finland, Russia, and Sweden...

n refugees needed to be relocated. The war reparations
War reparations
War reparations are payments intended to cover damage or injury during a war. Generally, the term war reparations refers to money or goods changing hands, rather than such property transfers as the annexation of land.- History :...

 were very heavy. Finland also had to fight the Lapland War
Lapland War
The Lapland War were the hostilities between Finland and Nazi Germany between September 1944 and April 1945, fought in Finland's northernmost Lapland Province. While the Finns saw this as a separate conflict much like the Continuation War, German forces considered their actions to be part of the...

 against withdrawing German troops in the north, and at the same time demobilize its own army. It is widely agreed that only Mannerheim could have guided Finland through these difficult times, when the Finnish people had to come to terms with the severe conditions of the armistice, their implementation by a Soviet-dominated Allied Control Commission, and the task of post-war reconstruction.

Mannerheim's term as president was difficult for him. Although he was elected for a full six-year term, he was in his late seventies, and had accepted the office reluctantly after being urged to do so. The situation was exacerbated by frequent periods of ill-health, the demands of the Allied Control Commission, and the war responsibility trials
War-responsibility trials in Finland
The war-responsibility trials in Finland was a trial of the Finnish wartime leaders held responsible for "definitely influencing Finland in getting into a war with the Soviet Union and United Kingdom in 1941 or preventing peace" during the Continuation War, 1941-1944. Unlike other World War II...

. He was afraid throughout most of his presidency that the commission would request that he be prosecuted for crimes against peace. This never happened. One of the reasons for this was Stalin's respect for and admiration of the Marshal. Stalin told a Finnish delegation in Moscow in 1947 that the Finns owe much to their old Marshal. Due to him Finland was not occupied. Despite Mannerheim's criticisms of some of the demands of the Control Commission, he worked hard to carry out Finland's armistice obligations. He also emphasised the necessity of further work on reconstruction in Finland after the war.

Mannerheim had to learn more about parliamentarism, which he could not fully respect before, due to his aristocratic views. He even reluctantly appointed Finland's first Communist Cabinet ministers.

Mannerheim was troubled by recurring health problems during 1945, and was absent on medical leave from his duties as president from November until February 1946. He spent six weeks in Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 to restore his health. After the announcement of the verdicts in the war crimes trials were announced in February, Mannerheim decided to resign. He believed that he had accomplished the duties he had been elected to carry out: The war was ended, the armistice obligations carried out, and the war crimes trial finished.

Mannerheim resigned as president on 4 March 1946, giving as his reason his declining health and his view that the tasks he had been selected to carry out had been accomplished. Even the Finnish communists
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

, his enemies in 1918, appreciated his efforts and his role in maintaining the unity of the country during a difficult period. He was succeeded by his conservative
Conservatism
Conservatism is a political and social philosophy that promotes the maintenance of traditional institutions and supports, at the most, minimal and gradual change in society. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others oppose modernism...

 Prime Minister Juho Kusti Paasikivi
Juho Kusti Paasikivi
Juho Kusti Paasikivi was the seventh President of Finland . Representing the Finnish Party and the National Coalition Party, he also served as Prime Minister of Finland , and was generally an influential figure in Finnish economics and politics for over fifty years...

.

Later life and legacy



After his resignation, Mannerheim bought Kirkniemi Manor in Lohja
Lohja
Lohja , is a town and municipality of Finland.It is located in the province of Southern Finland and is part of the Uusimaa region. The town has a population of and covers an area of ofwhich is water...

, intending to spend his retirement there. In June 1946, he was operated for a perforated peptic ulcer
Peptic ulcer
A peptic ulcer, also known as PUD or peptic ulcer disease, is the most common ulcer of an area of the gastrointestinal tract that is usually acidic and thus extremely painful. It is defined as mucosal erosions equal to or greater than 0.5 cm...

, and in October of that year he was diagnosed with a duodenal ulcer. In early 1947, it was recommended that he should travel to the Valmont Sanatorium in Montreux
Montreux
Montreux is a municipality in the district of Riviera-Pays-d'Enhaut in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland.It is located on Lake Geneva at the foot of the Alps and has a population, , of and nearly 90,000 in the agglomeration.- History :...

, Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, to recuperate and write his memoirs. Valmont was to be Mannerheim's main residence for the remainder of his life, although he regularly returned to Finland, and also visited Sweden, France and Italy.

Because Mannerheim was old and sickly, he personally wrote only certain passages of his memoirs; some other parts he dictated and described, and the remaining parts were written by his various assistants, such as Colonel Aladár Paasonen, General Erik Heinrichs, other Generals Grandell, Olenius and Martola, and Colonel Viljanen, who was also a war historian. As long as Mannerheim was able to read, he proofread the typewritten drafts of his memoirs. He was almost totally quiet about his private life, and focused instead on Finland's events - especially on those between 1917 and 1944. When Mannerheim had a fatal stomach attack in January 1951, his memoirs were not yet in their finished form. They were published after his death.
Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim died on 27 January 1951 (which was already 28 January in Finland) in the Cantonal Hospital in Lausanne
Lausanne
Lausanne is a city in Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland, and is the capital of the canton of Vaud. The seat of the district of Lausanne, the city is situated on the shores of Lake Geneva . It faces the French town of Évian-les-Bains, with the Jura mountains to its north-west...

, Switzerland. He was buried on 4 February 1951 in the Hietaniemi Cemetery
Hietaniemi cemetery
The Hietaniemi cemetery is located in the Töölö district of Helsinki, the capital of Finland...

 in Helsinki
Helsinki
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The population of the city of Helsinki is , making it by far the most populous municipality in Finland. Helsinki is...

 in a state funeral
State funeral
A state funeral is a public funeral ceremony, observing the strict rules of protocol, held to honor heads of state or other important people of national significance. State funerals usually include much pomp and ceremony as well as religious overtones and distinctive elements of military tradition...

 with full military honours, and today retains respect as Finland's greatest statesman
Statesman
A statesman is usually a politician or other notable public figure who has had a long and respected career in politics or government at the national and international level. As a term of respect, it is usually left to supporters or commentators to use the term...

. This may be partly due to his refusal to enter partisan politics (although his sympathies were more right-wing than left-wing), his claim to always serve the fatherland without selfish motives, his personal courage in visiting the frontlines, his ability to work diligently into his late seventies, and his foreign political farsightedness in preparing for the Soviet invasion of Finland years before it occurred.
(see, for example, Jägerskiöld, "Mannerheim 1867–1951";"The Republic's Presidents 1940–1956" / Tasavallan presidentit 1940–1956, published in Finland in 1993-94).

Mannerheim's birthday, 4 June, is celebrated as the Flag Day
Flag Day
A flag day is a flag-related holiday—either a day designated for flying a certain flag , or a day set aside to celebrate a historical event such as a nation's adoption of its flag....

 of the Finnish Defence Forces. This decision was made by the Finnish government on the occasion of his 75th birthday in 1942, when he was also granted the title of Marshal of Finland. Flag Day is celebrated with a national parade, and rewards and promotions for members of the defence forces. The life and times of Mannerheim are depicted in the Mannerheim Museum
Mannerheim Museum
The Mannerheim Museum is located in Helsinki, Finland. It is dedicated to preserving and displaying items related to the life and times of Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, a Finnish statesman and military officer. The Mannerheim Museum is located on top of a hill in a prestigious residential area next...

.


Marshal Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim was selected as the main motif in a recent Finnish commemorative coin, the €10 Mannerheim and Saint Petersburg commemorative coin, minted in 2003. The obverse of the coin features a portrait of the Marshal.

On 5 December 2004, Mannerheim was voted as the greatest Finnish person of all time in the Suuret suomalaiset
Suuret suomalaiset
Suuret suomalaiset was a 2004 television show broadcast in Finland by YLE , which determined the 100 greatest Finns of all time according to the opinions of its viewers. The viewers were able to vote during a programme which lasted from October to December 2004...

 (Great Finns) contest. A biographical film
Mannerheim (film)
Mannerheim is an upcoming biographical film about the life of Finnish politician and military commander Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim. Set to be directed by Finnish director Renny Harlin and produced by Markus Selin, the project has, as of February 2009, stalled shortly before shooting was to begin,...

 about Mannerheim's life is currently under way, directed by Renny Harlin
Renny Harlin
Renny Harlin is a Finnish-American film director and producer. He is best known for Die Hard 2 , Cliffhanger , The Long Kiss Goodnight and Deep Blue Sea...

.

In the Russian Army

  • Non-commissioned officer
    Non-commissioned officer
    A non-commissioned officer , called a sub-officer in some countries, is a military officer who has not been given a commission...

     (1888)
  • Cornet
    Cornet (military rank)
    Cornet was originally the third and lowest grade of commissioned officer in a British cavalry troop, after captain and lieutenant. A cornet is a new and junior officer.- Traditional duties :The cornet carried the troop standard, also known as a "cornet"....

     (1889)
  • Cornet of the Guard (1891)
  • Lieutenant
    Lieutenant
    A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

     of the Guard (1893)
  • Subaltern Cavalry Captain of the Guard (1899)
  • Cavalry Captain of the Guard (1902)
  • Lieutenant Colonel
    Lieutenant colonel
    Lieutenant colonel is a rank of commissioned officer in the armies and most marine forces and some air forces of the world, typically ranking above a major and below a colonel. The rank of lieutenant colonel is often shortened to simply "colonel" in conversation and in unofficial correspondence...

     (1904)
  • Colonel
    Colonel
    Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

     (1905)
  • Major General
    Major General
    Major general or major-general is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. A major general is a high-ranking officer, normally subordinate to the rank of lieutenant general and senior to the ranks of brigadier and brigadier general...

     (1911)
  • Lieutenant General
    Lieutenant General
    Lieutenant General is a military rank used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages where the title of Lieutenant General was held by the second in command on the battlefield, who was normally subordinate to a Captain General....

     (1917)

In the Finnish Army

  • General
    General
    A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

     of Cavalry (1918)
  • Field Marshal
    Field Marshal (Finland)
    In Finnish Defence Forces Field Marshal is officially not an active military rank but an honorary rank that can be bestowed upon 'especially distinguished generals'...

     (1933)
  • Marshal of Finland
    Marshal of Finland
    Marshal of Finland was the title awarded to the Finnish Commander-in-Chief Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim on his 75th birthday on June 4, 1942. The fully honorary rank was specially created for Mannerheim...

     (1942)

Postings

  • 15th Alexandrijski Dragoon Regiment (1889)
  • Her Majesty Maria Feodorovna's Chevalier Guards (1891–1904)
  • Imperial Court Stables Administration (1897–1903)
  • Chief of the Model Squadron of the Cavalry School (1903–1904)
  • 52nd Nezhin Dragoon Regiment (1904–1909)
  • Commander, 13th Vladimir Uhlan Regiment (1909)
  • Commander, Life Guard Uhlan Regiment of His Majesty (1911)
  • Commander, Separate Cavalry Brigade of the Guard (1913)
  • Commander, 12th Cavalry Division (1917)
  • Commander, 6th Cavalry Corps (1917)


Mannerheim was Commander-in-Chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

 of the White Guard
White Guard (Finland)
The White Guard was a voluntary militia that emerged victorious over the socialist Red Guard as part of the Whites in the Finnish Civil War of 1918...

 from January to May 1918. He was also Commander-in-Chief of the Finnish Defence Forces
Finnish Defence Forces
The Finnish Defence Forces are responsible for the defence of Finland. It is a cadre army of 15,000, of which 8,900 are professional soldiers , extended with conscripts and reservists such that the standard readiness strength is 34,700 people in uniform...

 from December 1918 to July 1919, and from 1939 to 1946. He was Chairman of the Defence Council from 1931 to 1939.

Honours and other positions


In the course of his lifetime, Mannerheim received 82 military and civilian decorations.

  • Knight (1902), Officer (1910), Grand Cross (1939), the Legion of Honour (France
    France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

    )
  • Order of St. Anna
    Order of St. Anna
    The Order of St. Anna ) is a Holstein and then Russian Imperial order of chivalry established by Karl Friedrich, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp on 14 February 1735, in honour of his wife Anna Petrovna, daughter of Peter the Great of Russia...

    , 2nd degree (Russian Empire
    Russian Empire
    The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

    ) (1906)
  • Order of St. Stanislaus, 2nd class (Russian Empire
    Russian Empire
    The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

    /Poland
    Poland
    Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

    ) (1906)
  • Order of St. Vladimir
    Order of St. Vladimir
    The Cross of Saint Vladimir was an Imperial Russian Order established in 1782 by Empress Catherine II in memory of the deeds of Saint Vladimir, the Grand Prince and the Baptizer of the Kievan Rus....

    , 4th degree (Russian Empire
    Russian Empire
    The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

    ) (1906)
  • Knight 4th class, the Order of St. George
    Order of St. George
    The Military Order of the Holy Great-Martyr and the Triumphant George The Military Order of the Holy Great-Martyr and the Triumphant George The Military Order of the Holy Great-Martyr and the Triumphant George (also known as Order of St. George the Triumphant, Russian: Военный орден Св...

     (Russian Empire
    Russian Empire
    The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

    ) (1914)
  • Commander Grand Cross, with Swords, the Order of the Cross of Liberty
    Order of the Cross of Liberty
    There are three official orders in Finland: the Order of the Cross of Liberty , the Order of the White Rose of Finland and the Order of the Lion of Finland. The President of Finland is the Grand Master of the two orders, and usually of the Order of the Cross of Liberty as well, Grand Mastership of...

     (Finland
    Finland
    Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

    ) (1918)
  • Commander Grand Cross, the Order of the Sword
    Order of the Sword
    The Order of the Sword is a Swedish order of chivalry created by King Frederick I of Sweden on February 23, 1748, together with the Order of the Seraphim and the Order of the Polar Star.Awarded to officers, and originally intended as an award for bravery and particularly long or useful service, it...

     (Sweden
    Sweden
    Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

    ) (1918)
  • Knight of the Order of the Seraphim
    Order of the Seraphim
    The Royal Order of the Seraphim is a Swedish Royal order of chivalry created by King Frederick I of Sweden on 23 February 1748, together with the Order of the Sword and the Order of the Polar Star...

     (Sweden
    Sweden
    Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

    ) (1919)
  • Knight of the Order of the Elephant
    Order of the Elephant
    The Order of the Elephant is the highest order of Denmark. It has origins in the 15th century, but has officially existed since 1693, and since the establishment of constitutional monarchy in 1849, is now almost exclusively bestowed on royalty and heads of state.- History :A Danish religious...

     (Denmark
    Denmark
    Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

    ) (1919)
  • Order of the Rising Sun with Paulownia Flowers, Grand Cordon
    Order of the Rising Sun
    The is a Japanese order, established in 1875 by Emperor Meiji of Japan. The Order was the first national decoration awarded by the Japanese Government, created on April 10, 1875 by decree of the Council of State. The badge features rays of sunlight from the rising sun...

     (Japan).
  • Iron Cross
    Iron Cross
    The Iron Cross is a cross symbol typically in black with a white or silver outline that originated after 1219 when the Kingdom of Jerusalem granted the Teutonic Order the right to combine the Teutonic Black Cross placed above a silver Cross of Jerusalem....

    , 2nd and 1st class (1918) with 1939 bars (1942) and the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (1942) with Oak Leaves (1944) (Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

    )
  • Military Order of the Cross of the Eagle, 1st Class with Swords (6.6.1930) (Estonia
    Estonia
    Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

    )
  • Grand Cross of Order of the Estonian Red Cross
    Order of the Estonian Red Cross
    The Order of the Estonian Red Cross was instituted in 1920 by the Estonian Red Cross Society. The Order of the Estonian Red Cross is bestowed in order to give recognition for humanitarian services rendered in the interests of the Estonian people and for the saving of life.-Classes:The Order of the...

     (1933) (Estonia
    Estonia
    Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

    )
  • Knight Grand Cross, the Order of the British Empire
    Order of the British Empire
    The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

     (GBE) United Kingdom
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

     (1938)
  • Commander Grand Cross with Swords and Diamonds, the Order of the Cross of Liberty
    Order of the Cross of Liberty
    There are three official orders in Finland: the Order of the Cross of Liberty , the Order of the White Rose of Finland and the Order of the Lion of Finland. The President of Finland is the Grand Master of the two orders, and usually of the Order of the Cross of Liberty as well, Grand Mastership of...

     (Finland
    Finland
    Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

    ) (1940)
  • Knight of the Mannerheim Cross
    Mannerheim Cross
    The Mannerheim Cross of Liberty is the highest Finnish military decoration. The medal was introduced after the Winter War and named after Field Marshal Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim...

    , 1st and 2nd class, the Order of the Cross of Liberty (Finland
    Finland
    Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

    ) (1941)
  • Order of Merit of Hungary, Grand Cross with the Holy Crown of St. Stephen
    Order of Saint Stephen of Hungary
    The Royal Hungarian Order of Saint StephenThe Order of Saint Stephen of Hungary, the royal Hungarian order, founded in 1764 by the empress Maria Theresa of Austria, consisted of the grand master , 20 knights grand cross, 30 knights commanders and 50 knights...

     (Kingdom of Hungary
    Kingdom of Hungary
    The Kingdom of Hungary comprised present-day Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia , Transylvania , Carpatho Ruthenia , Vojvodina , Burgenland , and other smaller territories surrounding present-day Hungary's borders...

    ) (1941)
  • Order of Michael the Brave
    Order of Michael the Brave
    The Order of Michael the Brave is Romania's highest military decoration, instituted by King Ferdinand I during the early stages of the Romanian Campaign of World War I, and was again awarded in World War II...

    , 1st class (Romania
    Romania
    Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

    ) (1941)
  • Commander Grand Cross, with Collar, Swords and Diamonds, of the Order of the White Rose
    Order of the White Rose
    The Order of the White Rose of Finland is one of three official orders in Finland, along with the Order of the Cross of Liberty, and the Order of the Lion of Finland. The President of Finland is the Grand Master of all three orders. The orders are administered by boards consisting of a chancellor,...

     (Finland
    Finland
    Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

    ) (1944)
  • Commander Grand Cross, with Swords and Diamonds, of the Order of the Lion of Finland
    Order of the Lion of Finland
    There are three official orders in Finland: the Order of the Cross of Liberty, the Order of the White Rose of Finland and the Order of the Lion of Finland . The President of Finland is the Grand Master of all three orders. The orders are administered by boards consisting of a chancellor, a...

     (Finland
    Finland
    Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

    ) (1944)
  • Honorary Doctor of Philosophy (University of Helsinki
    University of Helsinki
    The University of Helsinki is a university located in Helsinki, Finland since 1829, but was founded in the city of Turku in 1640 as The Royal Academy of Turku, at that time part of the Swedish Empire. It is the oldest and largest university in Finland with the widest range of disciplines available...

    ) (1919)
  • Honorary Commander-in-Chief, Suojeluskunta (1919–1944)
  • Honorary President, General Mannerheim's Child Welfare Association (1920–1951)
  • Chairman of the Union Bank of Finland (1920–1931)
  • Chairman of the Finnish Red Cross (1922–1951)
  • Honorary Colonel, Uusimaa Dragoon Regiment (1928)
  • Chairman of the Incorporated Bank of Helsinki (1931–1935)
  • Honorary Chairman, Finnish Boy Scouts (1936)

See also

  • List of Finnish Wars
  • Mannerheim Cross
    Mannerheim Cross
    The Mannerheim Cross of Liberty is the highest Finnish military decoration. The medal was introduced after the Winter War and named after Field Marshal Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim...

  • Mannerheim Line
    Mannerheim Line
    The Mannerheim Line was a defensive fortification line on the Karelian Isthmus built by Finland against the Soviet Union. During the Winter War it became known as the Mannerheim Line, after Field Marshal Baron Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim. The line was constructed in two phases: 1920–1924 and...

  • Mannerheim Museum
    Mannerheim Museum
    The Mannerheim Museum is located in Helsinki, Finland. It is dedicated to preserving and displaying items related to the life and times of Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, a Finnish statesman and military officer. The Mannerheim Museum is located on top of a hill in a prestigious residential area next...

  • Mannerheimintie
    Mannerheimintie
    Mannerheimintie , or Mannerheimvägen , named after the Finnish military leader and statesman Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, is one of the most famous streets in Helsinki, Finland. It was originally named Heikinkatu , after Robert Henrik Rehbinder, but was renamed after the Winter War...

  • Vorschmack
    Vorschmack
    Vorschmack is an originally East European salty meat dish prepared mainly out of minced meat, anchovies or herring and onions. The dish is usually garnished with pickles and sour cream...


External links