THE CANADIAN IMAGE OF FINLAND, 1919–1948

Perceptions of Finland and Finns held by Canadian government decision-makers underscore the
relations between the two countries. The individuals involved had definite views of what Finland
and Finns were like and these images were at times openly expressed or inferred from the archived
government departmental files. Using an analysis of images, the evolving bilateral relations
between Canada and Finland from the recognition of Finnish independence in 1919 until the early
Cold War in 1948 can be understood from the Canadian perspective. The images are analyzed on
a scale in terms of their positive or negative connotations. Positive images regarded Finland as a
friendly, Northern, country, a borderland, cultured, Western, modern, progressive, liberal, and
democratic. When these images were applied to Finns they were seen as honest, hardworking,
reliable and the payers of debts. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Finland was an enemy and
a trade competitor. The Finnish people could also be seen with negative images as dangerous and
radical.
These images existed before the establishment of diplomatic relations and carried over to
interactions involving immigration, the League of Nations, trade, and scientific exchanges. They
are also evident in relations between the two countries during the Winter War, in the decision to
declare war against Finland during the Continuation War, during the armistice period, the peace
process, and the during the early Cold War when normalized relations were established. The
findings suggest that relations between Canada and Finland were most often impacted by events
in Europe. The images of Finland and Finns did not directly impact relations as such, since the
policies and actions taken were based on what decision-makers considered realistic assessments
of the situation, as well as Canada’s national interests and capabilities. However, the images
appear frequently as a means to narrow the range of acceptable options, rationalizations for
specific polices, and justification for particular actions.


ISBN-10:
9789526220321
Julkaisusarja:
ACTA UNIVERSITATIS OULUENSIS B Humaniora
Kustantaja:
Oulun yliopisto
Painovuosi:
2018
Tekijät:
RATZ DAVID
Viivakoodi 9789526220321
Tuotekoodi 024733
Tekijä RATZ DAVID
40,00 €