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|Leader||Vihtori Kosola, Iivari Koivisto, Vihtori Herttua|
|Dates of operation||1929-1932|
|Motives||Outlawing communism in Finland (initially)|
Setting up right-wing dictatorship (later)
|Ideology||Finnish nationalism, Anticommunism, Fascism|
|Major actions||Assault, murder, kidnapping, riot|
|Status||Outlawed in 1932|
|Size||30,000 in 1931|
The Lapua Movement (Finnish : Lapuan liike, Swedish : Lapporörelsen) was a radical Finnish 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 putsch in 1932. The movement's anti-communist activities continued in the parliamentarian Patriotic People's Movement.
The Lapua Movement started in 1929 and was initially dominated by anti-communist nationalists, emphasizing the legacy of the nationalist activism, the White Guards and the Civil War in Finland. The movement saw itself as the defender of what was won in the Civil War, supporting Lutheranism, Finnish nationalism, and anti-communism.
Many politicians and high-ranking military officers were initially sympathetic to the Lapua Movement, as anti-communism was the norm in the educated classes after the Civil War. However, excessive use of violence made the movement less popular within a few months.
During the Civil War, Ostrobothnia had been one of the most important strongholds of the White army, and anti-communist sentiments remained extremely strong. Late in November 1929, the Young Communist League of Finland arranged meetings and protests in Ostrobothnian Lapua. As the nationalists saw it, the communists had "mocked God, the Lutheran Church, the 'bourgeois' fatherland, the Finnish army and General Mannerheim".This infuriated many of the townspeople, who put a violent end to the meetings. Anti-communist violence was hailed as justified and praiseworthy. On December 1, an anti-communist meeting was held, attracting more than 1,000 people demanding an end to all communist activities. The movement quickly spread around the country, and in some provinces people other than communists were targeted as well, for example the group "Patriotic Citizens of Viitasaari" wanted to purge Jews and Freemasons from the country.
Marches and meetings were arranged throughout the country. On June 16, 1930, more than 3,000 men arrived in Oulu in order to destroy the printing press and office of the communist newspaper Pohjan Voima. The last issue of Pohjan Voima had appeared on June 14. The same day, a communist printing press in Vaasa was destroyed. A so-called "Peasant March" to Helsinki was a major show of power. More than 12,000 men arrived in Helsinki on July 7. The government yielded under the pressure, and communist newspapers were outlawed in a "Protection of the Republic Act."
Meetings held by leftist and labour groups were also interrupted, often violently. A common tactic was "muilutus", which started with kidnapping and beating. After that the subject was thrown into a car and driven to the border with the Soviet Union. Many of the Finns deported by the Lapua Movement were later caught up in Stalin's Great Purge and executed; while persecuted in Finland as communists, Stalin accused them of being "Nationalists".
The Social Democratic politician Onni Happonen was kidnapped and murdered in September 1930. On October 14, 1930, the popular ex-president Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg and his wife were kidnapped and taken to Joensuu. After this, general support for the movement collapsed. More moderate people left the movement, and extremists became more influential.
In February 1932 a Social Democrat meeting in Mäntsälä was violently interrupted by armed Lapua activists. The event escalated to an attempted coup d'état known as the Mäntsälä rebellion (Mäntsälän kapina), led by the former Chief of Staff of Finland's army, General Wallenius. Despite the appeals of Wallenius, the army and the White Guards were largely loyal to the government. Many historians believe the main reason for the failure was poor planning: the event just escalated from actions of the local chapter and the national organization came aboard later.The rebellion ended after President Svinhufvud gave a radio speech to the rebels. After a trial, the Lapua Movement was banned on November 21, 1932, under the Protection of the Republic Act, which Lapua itself had worked to get passed. Wallenius and about 50 other leaders were sentenced to prison.
After the Lapua Movement was banned, the Patriotic People's Movement was formed shortly thereafter. Like its predecessor, it also was nationalist and anti-communist. It had limited political success and was banned in 1944 on the orders of the Soviet Union in the aftermath of the Continuation War.
Patriotic People's Movement was a Finnish nationalist and anti-communist political party. IKL was the successor of the previously banned Lapua Movement. It existed from 1932 to 1944 and had an ideology similar to its predecessor, except that IKL participated in elections, although with limited success.
The Mäntsälä rebellion was a failed coup attempt by the Lapua Movement to overthrow the Finnish government.
Kurt Martti Wallenius was a Finnish Major General.
Iisakki Vihtori Kosola was the leader of the Finnish right-wing radical Lapua Movement.
Parliamentary elections were held in Finland on 17 and 18 March 1945. The broad-based centre-left government of Prime Minister Juho Kusti Paasikivi remained in office after the elections.
Parliamentary elections were held in Finland on 1 and 2 October 1930. The Social Democratic Party emerged as the largest in Parliament with 66 of the 200 seats. Voter turnout was 65.9%.
Parliamentary elections were held in Finland between 1 and 3 July 1933. The Social Democratic Party remained the largest party in Parliament with 78 of the 200 seats. However, Prime Minister Toivo Mikael Kivimäki of the National Progressive Party continued in office after the elections, supported by Pehr Evind Svinhufvud and quietly by most Agrarians and Social Democrats. They considered Kivimäki's right-wing government a lesser evil than political instability or an attempt by the radical right to gain power. Voter turnout was 62.2%.
Heikki Aleksi "Ale" Riipinen was a Finnish gymnast who won bronze in the 1908 Summer Olympics.
Madame Minna Craucher was the false name of Maria Vilhelmiina Lindell, a Finnish socialite and spy. Her home was a noted salon for various writers and artists. She also did espionage, originally for the Cheka, the Soviet secret police, and was arrested three times for fraud. She also had connections to the right-wing Lapua Movement. She became the subject of several books and stories. In 1932 she was murdered with a shot to the head.
Jussi Niinistö is a Finnish politician and a former Minister of Defence. Since 2011, he has been a member of Finnish Parliament, representing the Finns Party 2011–2017 and Blue Reform since 2017. By occupation he is a military historian, a docent of Finnish history in the University of Helsinki and a docent of military history in the Finnish National Defence University. In 2013 he was elected as the first vice-chairman of the True Finns, but lost his seat in 2017.
Hilja Elisabet Riipinen was a Finnish politician involved with the nationalist and anti-communist Lapua Movement and Patriotic People's Movement (IKL). She was a member of parliament between 1930 and 1939, first elected from the electoral list of the National Coalition Party, but she defected to the Patriotic People's Movement after it was formed as a political party in 1933.
Antti Isotalo was a Finnish Jäger lieutenant, military recruiter, farmer and activist. He served in the German Empire's battalion of Finnish volunteers on the Eastern Front of World War I and briefly in the Finnish Civil War (1918) on the Whites' side. He repeatedly evaded capture by authorities while recruiting men for the battalion in 1915 and 1916. After recovering from wounds sustained in the civil war, he recruited volunteers for the Estonian War of Independence and then joined the Aunus expedition as one of its commanders during Finland's "tribal wars" in 1919.
Onni Happonen was a Finnish politician representing the Social Democratic Party of Finland. He was kidnapped and murdered by the fascist Lapua Movement.
In Finland, the far right was strongest in 1920–1940 when the Academic Karelia Society, Lapua Movement, Patriotic People's Movement (IKL) and Vientirauha operated in the country and had hundreds of thousands of members. In addition to these dominant far-right and fascist organizations, smaller Nazi parties operated as well.
The Peasant March was a demonstration in Helsinki on 7 July 1930 by the far-right Lapua movement, attended by more than 12,000 supporters from all over the country. It was the most significant show of strength in the short history of the Lapua movement, aimed primarily at the Communists, but it was also intended to put pressure on the Finnish government. President Lauri Relander, Prime Minister Pehr Evind Svinhufvud, among others, were invited guests at the main event held at the Senate Square. In addition present were right-wing MPs, the country's military leadership, and General Mannerheim, commander-in-chief of the Civil War White Army. The peasant march was intentionally reminiscent of the White Victory Parade of 16 May 1918, and also followed by its route.
Rising Finland was a Finnish political association founded on October 5, 1940. It aimed to "nurture the Spirit of the Winter War", promote the idea of a united people, to reorganize the bourgeois party field and to create a stronger leadership and increasing personal responsibility. According to the organization, its goal was to bring together citizens around national symbols whose value was "perceived by all our people in the great trials of the 1939-1940 War of Independence".
Martti Aleksander Pihkala was a National Coalition Party MP who became known as a Jäger activist, Ostrobothnia White Guard founder, in the 1920s and 1930s, leader of the strikebreaking organisation Vientirauha, also known as "Pihkala's Guard" and an influencer of the Lapua movement and the Patriotic People’s Movement.
The Vaasa riot took place on 4 June 1930 in Vaasa, Finland. The riot unfolded with a violent attack by radical members of the right wing Lapua Movement on Communist supporters and bystanders at a court house in Vaasa. No intervention was witnessed of the police, as the police stood watching the attack.
Niilo Vilho Rauvala was a Finnish engineer and the chairman of the far-right Lalli Alliance of Finland and the Nazi Party of Finnish Labor in the 1930s and 1940s.
The Lalli Alliance of Finland was a Finnish far-right organization founded in 1929. The main themes of the Lalli Alliance were Finnish language nationalism and opposition to communism, parliamentarism and democracy. The aim of the organization was a coup and the appointment of a dictator to lead Finland. The most significant achievement of the organization is considered to be that the Lalli Alliance has been considered to have acted as a precursor to the Lapua movement.