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2 Being absorbed into an Unintended War

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Chapter Summary

Finland had no army of its own and had participated in the Great War only by making profits as a supplier of war goods to Imperial Russia. The socialist leaders betrayed themselves by pretending to go on with their general strike policy in arms and holding onto power only to offer it back to reformist bourgeoisie. They let the radical guardsmen act in the name of the party. Red Guards had no other strategy than occupy the towns in southern Finland and wait. The Whites, for their part, had expected only a militarized police action in the biggest towns, not a full-scale frontal war. The unwanted and unplanned war can be seen as a showcase of unintended consequences, day-to-day balancing of minds amidst of contradictory pressures, and the prevalence of short-term identity maintenance in comparison with long-term utility calculations. Thus, the war was inevitable and unintended at the same time.

Keywords: Bourgeois Fantasies; bourgeoisie; Finland; Russia; unintended war

10.1163/9789004280717_004
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