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1 The Expected and Non-Expected Roots of Chaos: Preconditions of the Finnish Civil War

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the structural determinants of Finnish society and the resultant internal and external preconditions for the political crises of 1917 and 1918. The factors behind Finland's economic success were the growing European and Russian economies. But the flexibility of the Finnish society in adapting itself to the world economy played an important part as well. Though agrarian for the most part, Finnish society was open, connections to Europe and Russia were dynamic, the level of education was rising, and there were low barriers for technology transfer and investments. In 1917 the Finnish currency was rapidly inflated, and after the Civil War collapsed to one-eighth of its prewar value. Despite hardening conditions and growing insecurity and anxiety among the population, Finnish society was not in a serious crisis before summer 1917. Instead, it was expected that things would settle somehow after the war ended.

Keywords: Civil War; Finland's economic success; Finnish currency; Finnish society; Russia; world economy



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