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5 The Mystified War: Regeneration and Sacrifice

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Chapter Summary

This chapter demonstrates the significance of sacrificial thought and images for both of the adversaries in the Civil War. For the Whites, sacrifice for the nation became such a focal notion that it often neared a means in itself. The Reds celebrated selflessness and sacrifice for the workers' cause, which they in fact equated with "the people" or the real nation without idealist middle-class images. The socialist idea of sacrifice, however, relied more heavily on compensation and vengeance, the victimization of the Whites. Christian sacrificial symbolism held an important position in the White rhetoric and in the funerals, and the socialists utilized it as well in a secularized form. Religion formed a traditional script for interpretations, but the collective, national, and psychological aspects are perhaps more important for understanding the sacrificial ethos. Both sides emphasized collectivity, the fatherland, or the revolution.

Keywords: Christian sacrificial symbolism; Civil War; Finland; Finnish revolution; socialist idea of sacrifice



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