Carl Gustav Emil Mannerheim
Copyright Michael D. Robbins 2005

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For a strong adversary (corps) the opposition of twenty-four squadrons and twelve guns ought not to have appeared very serious, but in war the psychological factors are often decisive. An adversary who feels inferior is in reality so.
(Moon in Cancer conjunct Uranus. Saturn in Scorpio conjunct Ascendant.)

By closing ranks at the moment of peril the people of Finland earned for themselves the right to continue to live their own independent lives within the family of free peoples. They did not waver in their efforts: they were made of sound and sturdy stuff. If we remain faithful to ourselves and if, at all moments of destiny, we cling unanimously and unfalteringly to the values which to this day have been the foundation of Finland's freedom - the faith inherited from our fathers, the love of our homeland and the determination and intrepid readiness to defend it - then the people of Finland can look to the future with the firmest of confidence."

The final passage from the memoirs of Marshal C.G.E. Mannerheim, published in 1950.



Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim

The famous Mannerheim's equestrian statue by the Mannerheim road in downtown Helsinki, the capital of FinlandBaron Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim (June 4, 1867 – January 28, 1951) was Finland's reputed Commander-in-Chief and later President of Finland (1944–1946).

Mannerheim was born in Louhisaari Castle in Askainen to a Finland-Swedish family of Dutch ancestry that had been ennobled in 1768. He was related to Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld. He was the third child in a noble family in which the younger sons inherited the title of Baron. Mannerheim was christened Carl Gustaf Emil, but was called by his middle name Gustaf and throughout his whole life he signed his private letters Gustaf or G. Besides his mother tongue, Swedish, he also spoke Finnish, Russian, French, German and English.

On December 5, 2004, Mannerheim won the Suuret Suomalaiset programme and was voted as the greatest Finnish person of all time.

The Mannerheim family descended from a Dutch businessman and mill owner, Henrik Marhein, who emigrated to Gävle in Sweden. His son, Augustin Marhein, was raised to the nobility in 1693, with his surname later becoming Mannerheim. His son, an artillery colonel and a mill supervisor, Johan Augustin Mannerheim, was raised to the status of baron at the same time as his brother in 1768. The Mannerheim family came to Finland in the latter part of 18th century.

Mannerheim's great-grandfather, Count Carl Erik Mannerheim, had held a number of offices in Finland's civil service during the early years of the semi-autonomous Russian Grand Duchy of Finland, including membership of the Senate. Mannerheim's father, Count Carl Robert, was a poet, writer and businessman. His businesses were not successful though, and he eventually became bankrupt. He later moved to Paris and lived the life of an artist.

A Cavalry Officer in the Imperial Russian Army
Due to the worsened economic situation of the family, Mannerheim was sent to the Military College in Hamina in 1882, at the age of 15. He was later expelled for breaches of discipline in 1886. He then attended private grammar school in Helsinki, passing his university entrance examinations in 1887. Immediately after that he left for Saint Petersburg, where he was accepted into the Nikolai Cavalry School. At that time Finland was a Grand Duchy in personal union with Russia. He graduated in 1889, was promoted to the rank of Cornet, and although he was initially stationed at a cavalry garrison in Poland, he was eventually accepted into the chevalier guard cavalry regiment that was part of the Russian Empress' bodyguard. His family arranged him to be married to Anastasie Arapova, daughter of a Russian general, for economic reasons. They had two daughters, Sophie and Anastasie. The marriage ended in an unofficial separation in 1902 and in a formal divorce in 1919.

Mannerheim was not admitted to the staff-officer academy - mainly because of his inadequate Russian. Instead, he specialised as an expert on horses, buying stud stallions and special duty horses for the army. In 1903 he was put in charge of a display squadron and became a member of the equestrian training board of the cavalry regiments.

Mannerheim volunteered for the Russo-Japanese War in 1904 and was stationed at the 52nd Njzhin hussar regiment in Manchuria with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was promoted to colonel for his bravery in the battle of Mukden.

On returning from the war, Mannerheim spent time in Finland and Sweden 1905-1906. As a representative of the baronial branch of his family, he was present as a members of the Estate of Nobility in the last session of the Diet of Finland.

He also led an expedition to China, travelling from Tashkent to Kashgar from July to October 1906, with the French scientist Paul Pelliot. Shortly thereafter, he led a separate expedition into China until the autumn of 1908. The expedition had strategic purposes, in addition to anthropological, because these areas in northern China were a potential point of crisis between Russia, China and even the United Kingdom (see: The Great Game). After the trip, he was in 1909 given a position as a regimental commander in Novominski, Poland. Mannerheim was promoted to major general in April 1911 and in 1912 he became a part of Imperial entourage.

In World War I, Mannerheim served as a cavalry commander at the Austro-Hungarian and Romanian fronts. At the beginning of the war in August 1914 he commanded a Guards Cavalry Brigade in Warsaw. After distinguishing himself in combat against the Austro-Hungarian forces, Mannerheim was in December 1914 awarded one of the highest honours of Imperial Russia, St. George's Cross, 4th class. In 1915 Mannerheim rose to command the 12th Cavalry Division and, after the February Revolution of 1917, he took the command of the 6th Cavalry Corps in the summer of 1917. Already in April 1917 Mannerheim had been promoted to lieutenant general (the promotion was backdated to February 1915 ). However, Mannerheim fell out of favor with the new government, and in September was relieved of his duties, when in sick leave after falling from his horse. He was now in the reserve and trying to recover his health in Odessa. He began planning retirement to civilian life and a return to Finland.

From Civil-War Victor to Head of State
In January 1918 the Senate of the newly independent Finland, under its chairman Pehr Evind Svinhufvud, appointed Mannerheim as Commander-in-Chief of Finland's almost nonexistent army, which was then not much more than a number of locally set up White Guards. His mission was the defence of the Government during the Civil War in Finland. He accepted the position despite of his misgivings about the German influences in the government. He founded his headquarters in Seinäjoki and began to disarm the remaining Russian garrisons and their 42,500 troops. During the ensuing Civil War (or War of Liberty, as it was known among the 'Whites') in March 1918, Mannerheim was promoted to general of cavalry (ratsuväenkenraali).

Dismayed at the increasing German influence, Mannerheim left the country temporarily in June 1918. Mannerheim was thus out of the country during the last, fateful period of the civil war, a time of mass deaths as a result of disease and starvation in prison camps and of lengthy trials. During the war he had already tried to stop the "White terror" and had opposed the mass imprisonment of Reds.

In autumn 1918, Mannerheim held discussions in London and Paris. In September he was summoned back from Paris to become Regent. There were even monarchists who wanted to make him Finland's king. After the elected Väinö I of Finland had aroused the victorious Allies' suspicions, and renounced the throne, Mannerheim secured recognition of the independent Finland from the United Kingdom and USA. He also requested and received food aid from overseas to avoid famine. Although he was an ardent anti-Bolshevik, he eventually refused an alliance with Russian White generals because they would not have recognized Finnish independence. In 1919 he lost the presidential election in the Parliament to Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg and retreated from public life.

Between the Wars
In the interwar years, his pursuits were mainly humanitarian. He supported the Finnish Red Cross and founded the Mannerheim's Children's Foundation. In 1929 he refused the right-wing radicals' plea to become a de facto military dictator, although he did express some support for the right-wing semi-fascist Lapua Movement. After President Pehr Evind Svinhufvud was elected 1931, he appointed Mannerheim as chairman of Finland's Defence Council. At the same time Mannerheim received the written promise that in the event of a war, he would become the Commander-in-Chief (Svinhufvud's successor Kyösti Kallio renewed this promise in 1937). In 1933 he received the honorary title of Field Marshal . Mannerheim supported Finland's military industry and sought (in vain) to establish a military defence union with Sweden. However, rearming the Finnish army did not occur as swiftly or as well as he hoped and he was not enthusiastic about a war. He had many disagreements with various Cabinets, and signed numerous letters of resignation.

When negotiations with the Soviet Union failed in 1939, Mannerheim on October 17 again withdrew his resignation, thereby again accepting the position as Commander-in-Chief of Finland's army in case of war. He reorganized his headquarters in Mikkeli. Officially he became the Commander-in-Chief after the Soviet attack on November 30. His strategic aide was Lieutenant General Aksel Airo.

Mannerheim spent most of the Winter War and Continuation War in his Mikkeli headquarters but made many visits to the front. Between the wars, he held on to the authority as Commander-in-Chief, which according to the letter of law should have gone back to the presidents (Kyösti Kallio and Risto Ryti) after the Moscow Peace, March 12, 1940.

In the Continuation War, Mannerheim kept relations with Nazi Germany's government as formal as possible and successfully opposed their proposals for a treaty of alliance. Mannerheim also firmly refused to let his troops contribute to the siege of Leningrad.

Mannerheim's 75th birthday on June 4, 1942, was a major occasion. The government granted him the unique title of Marshal of Finland. He was the first and only person to receive the title. A surprise visit by Adolf Hitler in honour of Mannerheim's birthday caused some embarrassment.

Mannerheim's record as the Finnish Commander-in-Chief is not easy to assess. At the time, and even to this day, Mannerheim's immense prestige made criticism of his conduct of war almost tantamount to treason (especially as the criticism often came from Soviet sources and Finnish communists). It is perhaps easiest to divide Mannerheim's role in two: Mannerheim the warlord and Mannerheim the politician.

As a warlord Mannerheim was a mixed success. Under his leadership the Finnish Defense Forces fought a generally successful war that in the end saved Finland from Soviet occupation. Mannerheim took great care not to waste the lives of his soldiers, and avoided unnecessary risks. Perhaps his greatest shortcoming was his unwillingness to delegate. While he had a number of very able subordinates, foremost among them Lieutenant General Aksel Airo, Mannerheim insisted that all the department heads in the Finnish General Headquarters report directly to him, leaving Chief of General Staff General of Infantry Erik Heinrichs little to do. Indeed, Mannerheim said that he did not want to be 'one man's prisoner'. Mannerheim overwhelmed himself with work, and as a result coordination between the different departments in the General Headquarters suffered. It has been suggested that one reason why the Soviet offensive in Karelian Isthmus in June 1944 took Finns by surprise, was that Mannerheim was unable to see the forest for the trees. There was no other authority save Mannerheim who could collect all the intelligence and turn it into operational directives.

On the other hand it can be argued that Mannerheim excelled in politics. Even though a soldier, and as such not supposed to take part in politics, Mannerheim could not but be a highly political figure. As soon as it around 1942 became increasingly clear that Germany would not necessarily vanquish the Soviet Union, Mannerheim was kept, as it were, in reserve, in order to potentially take the leadership of the nation and lead it to peace. Mannerheim played this role very skilfully, he had a clear vision how Finland should conduct its war in the sensitive situation when the war's ultimate end was unclear. He knew how to treat the Germans to secure as much military support as possible without involving Finland in any binding treaties. This policy reached its logical conclusion when End of the war and a brief presidency

In the moment when Germany was deemed sufficiently weakened, and USSR's summer offensive was fought to standstill (thanks to President Risto Ryti's agreement with the Germans in June 1944), Finland's leaders saw a chance to reach a peace with the Soviet Union. Risto Ryti resigned, and Mannerheim was elected as president on August 4, 1944, mainly because he was the only one with sufficient prestige both internationally and domestically. After a month the Continuation War was concluded on harsh terms, but ultimately far less harsh than those imposed on the other states in the power of USSR. Finland retained its sovereignty; the territorial losses were limited, but the war reparations were heavy. Finland also had to fight the Lapland War against the withdrawing German troops in the north, and at the same time demobilize her army.

Mannerheim resigned for reasons of declining health on March 4, 1946. Even Finnish communists, his enemies in 1918, recognized his peacemaking efforts.

Mannerheim retired to the Valmont sanatorium in Montreux, Switzerland to write his memoirs. He died on January 28 (Finnish time, January 27 local time), 1951 in Lausanne, Switzerland. He was buried on February 4, 1951 in the Hietaniemi cemetery in Helsinki, Finland in a state funeral with full military honors, and today retains respect as one of Finland's greatest statesmen.


Gustaf Mannerheim was born at Louhisaari Manor in Askainen 4 June 1867 as the third child of Count Carl Robert Mannerheim and his wife, Helena von Julin. At the age of fourteen he was sent to the Military Cadet School in Hamina. Gustaf was expelled from his school for disciplinary reasons. After passing the matriculation examination in 1887 he decided to enter the military profession in the Russian army and enroled at the Nikolaevsky Cavalry School in St. Petersburg. He first served in the Alexandrijski Dragoons, a regiment quartered in Poland, but was transferred after a couple of years to the Chevalier Guards of the Empress in St. Petersburg.

Mannerheim took part in the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05 as a staff officer in the Nezhinski Dargoon Regiment and was promoted to colonel in the battlefield. The following year the General Staff offered him a special commission which meant travelling on horseback over 14.000 km (8.700 miles) from Russian Turkestan to Beijing, China. The journey took two years. In addition to his military mission, Mannerheim obtained scientific material and information for the Finnish National Museum as well as for the Finno-Ugrian Society.

In 1911 Mannerheim was promoted to the rank of Major General and given command of the Emperor's Uhlans of the Guard stationed in Warsaw. He enjoyed this position, although he was a Russian general, the Polish aristocracy was hospitable to him. During the First World War Mannerheim first led operations against the Austrians as commander of a brigade and later the 12. Cavalry division. In 1914 Mannerheim was awarded the Cross of St George, the highest military award in Russia. He became Lieutenant-General and during the last phase of the war was given command of the 6. Cavalry Corps on the southern front.

The Russian revolution ended his career in the Emperor's army and in December 1917 he returned to Finland. Mannerheim returned to a country which had recently declared its independence, but was torn by revolutionary disturbances and with 40 000 Russian troops still in the country. The Finnish Senate gave Mannerheim the task of forming an army and restoring law and order in the country. At the same time as Mannerheim's troops were disarming the Russian garrisons in the north the revolutionary Red Guards seized power in the south. The three-month long Civil War ended with the victory of Mannerheim's White Army in May 1918.

After and partly during the war, relations between Mannerheim and the Senate gradually became tense as the Commander-in-Chief did not approve of the Senate's pro-German policy. Mannerheim could foresee the trouble Finland, whose independence was not yet generally acknowledged, would face by being too friendly with Germany, which was losing the war. Owing to the Senate's mistrust, Mannerheim resigned and went abroad where, despite his unofficial position, he was able to influence the politics of the winning countries especially France and England, towards Finland. When Germany finally collapsed, the situation in Finland changed and Mannerheim was called back in December 1918 to act as Regent. In Finland's first presidential election the following summer, he lost, however to K.J. Ståhlberg. Mannerheim signed the constitution of the Republic of Finland in July 1919.

Mannerheim tried to make Finland participate in the Russian counter-revolutionary military intervention operations, but retired to private life after the attempts failed. During the following years Mannerheim worked for the Red Cross in Finland and for the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare, which he had founded in 1920. In 1931 he was appointed Chairman for the Defence Council. In 1933 Mannerheim was awarded the title of Field Marshal, and in 1942 he was named Marshal of Finland.

War broke out in November 1939 as the USSR started bombing Finnish cities. Mannerheim was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, a position which he held during the Winter War (1939-40) and the Continuation War (1941-44). Mannerheim did not lead only military operations. His activities were also political. His purpose was to prevent Finland from getting too involved in German politics and military aims which would have been against Finland's interests. At the same time, collaboration between the army and various parties at the home front during the extended war was greatly dependent on Mannerheim's personal prestige, and in the end it was left for him to detach Finland from the war.

Towards the end of the war the Parliament appointed Mannerheim President of the Republic. He was able to lead Finland out of the war as the sole country on the losing side that was not occupied by foreign troops. In 1946 Mannerheim resigned his presidency owing to ill health. His last years he spent quietly, mainly in Switzerland, where he died in 1951 at the age of 83.

In 1892 Mannerheim married Anastasia Arapova, daughter of Major General Nicholas Arapov. They had two daughters, Anastasia and Sofia (Sophy). The marriage was dissolved in 1903, but officially the divorce was not acknowledged until 1919.

"The one lesson above all that I wish to stamp on the consciousness of the next generation is this: fractiousness in one's own ranks is more deadly than the enemy's sword, and internal discord opens the door to the outside aggressor. The people of Finland have shown in two wars that a united nation, small though it may be, can develop unprecedented fighting power and thus withstand the most formidable ordeals that destiny brings.

At the beginning of the century the house was owned by a prominent businessman, Karl Fazer, and it served as living quarters at his confectionery factory until 1924, when it was offered for rent to Mannerheim. He had considerable alterations made to the building, where he lived as a tenant for the rest of his life although there was a general belief that the house had been a gift to him from parliament. Parliament had inteded to donate to him another house in Kaivopuisto, (the present Labour Court building), to mark his 75th birthday but the Marshal was tipped off about the plan and made it known that he would rather live in his existing home. Thereafter, parliament began negotiations with the Fazer family but the matter could not be resolved entirely during the war years. The newspapers did, in fact, publish a congratulatory address from parliament, whereupon the house was handed over to Mannerheim and he stopped paying rent. The true facts of the matter were not revealed until 1945 when parliament donated to Mannerheim the money set aside for purchasing the house. With this money, and other sums from the General Mannerheim Fund, Mannerheim, during the same year, acquired the Kirkniemi manor house in Lohja.

Mannerheim, Carl G.E., Marshal of Finland (1867-1951)

1909 - 1910Commanding Officer 13th Russian Ulan Regiiment
1910 - 1914Commanding Officer Russian Imperial Guards Ulan Regiment
1914 - 1915Commanding Officer Russian Guards Cavalry Brigade Warsaw
1915 - 1916General Officer Commanding 12th Russian Cavalry Division
1916 General Officer Commanding Russian-Romanian Group Vrancza
1917 - 1918General Officer Commanding VI Russian Cavalry Corps
1918 - 1919Commander in Chief Finnish Armed Forces
1918 - 1919Regent of Finland
1930 - 1939Chairman Defence Counsel
1940 - 1946Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces
1944 Retired
1944 - 1946President of Finland

Baron Carl Gustav (Emil) Mannerheim (1867-1951)

Finnish political and military leader, explorer, former general in the Russian Imperial Army, President of Finland from 1944 to 1946. As one of the most influential characters of Finnish history from the Civil War to the late 1940s, the personality of C.G. Mannerheim has attracted various artists and writers, among them Väinö Linna, Paavo Rintala, Veijo Meri and Ilmari Turja. Mannerheim supported close ties with Sweden and Western European culture and opposed socialism as well as national socialism in Germany. He was an excellent linguist and had wide international experience, which helped him to maintain wide international contacts at various levels.

"What is the quality which in the end is essential in a officer? Courage, yes, moral and physical courage, a sense of responsibility towards his problem and, at the same time, a sense of responsibility towards to those he commands. Initiative? Yes. Judgment? Yes. Personal tenacity in the most difficult situations? This is where we come nearest to the mark, I should think. Tenacity is what we must demand - that is what counts; but not only physical toughness, but also spiritual tenacity - what we know as spiritual strength. There we have, I think, what is the most important, the most essential quality, at least for those in highest authority - spiritual strength." (C.G. Mannerheim according to General Heinrich, in Marshall Mannerheim & the Finns by Oliver Warner, 1967)

Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim was born of a wealthy and distinguished Finland-Swedish family at Louhisaari Manor in Askainen, north of Turku. His father was Count Carl Robert Mannerheim and mother Hedvig Charlotta Helena (Hélène) von Julin. As a younger son of a count he inherited the title of baron. Mannerheim's early life was shadowed by the death of her mother and problems in the family's financial situation. In 1886 he was expelled from the Hamina Military College for disciplinary reason, but he continued his studies at a private grammar school in Helsinki, passing his university entrance examinations the next year.

Mannerheim attended the Nikolayev Cavalry School in St. Petersburg. He was appointed to H.M. the Empress's Chevalier Guard, and in 1902 he became a captain in the imperial Russian Army. In 1892 Mannerheim married Anastasia Arapova; they had two daughters, Sophie and Anastasie. The marriage ended in practice in 1903 and in 1919 legally. Anastasia lived in France, but the real reason why Mannerheim divorced her was that he had fallen in love with Catharina Eugénie Marguerite (Kitty) Linder (1887-1969), twenty years his junior. However, they did not marry - it is possible that Kitty eventually rejected his proposal - and from 1921 they were only friends.

In 1904-1905 Mannerheim served in the Russo-Japanese war on the Manchurian front, where he won the respect of his superiors. Mannerheim was promoted to colonel and he received three decorations for his strategy in organizing the retreat from Manchuria. Inspired by the example of Nordenskiöld and other Russian explorers, Mannerheim went on an expedition in October 1906 to Central Asian and China to investigate mountain and desert regions. Taking with him only a few men, Mannerheim started his journey from Turkmenistan, heading for Peking. He studied the customs, languages, ethnic traits and regional archaeology of the tribes that he encountered, collected objects and took photographs. In Utaishan Mannerheim met the Dalai-Lama. He was handed a piece of white silk to give to the Tsar and he gave the Dalai-Lama his Browning pistol, explaining how it could be loaded with seven bullets simultaneously. Mannerheim returned to St. Petersburg in September 1908. The objects from the expedition were donated to the Finno-Ugrian Society (Suomalais-ugrilainen Seura). Later Mannerheim published the results of his two years long journey in A Visit to the Saro and Shera Yogurs (1911), and in Across Asia I-II (1940), which was based on his travel diaries. The photographic material was published in the 1990s.

Mannerheim continued his military career in Poland and by 1912 he had attained the rank of lieutenant-general. After the outbreak of World War I, he served on the front and received the valued St George Cross. When Finland declared her independence after the Bolshevik Revolution in October 1917, Mannerheim resigned from the Russian Army, and returned to Finland. As the commander-in-chief he organized the White Guards, which with Germany help defeated the Red Guards in the civil war of 1918. In his Order of the Day after the celebration of victory in Helsinki, Mannerheim stated: "The task of the army is accomplished. Our country is free. From the Tundras of Lapland, from the remotest skerries of Åland to Systerbäck, the Lion flag is flying. The people of Finland have flung away the chains of centuries and stand ready to take the place that properly belongs to them." Mannerheim hold the post of regent of Finland until his defeat in the presidential election of 1919.

Mannerheim's reputation among the beaten left was shadowed by the 'White terror' during the war and mass death in prison camps, although he had opposed the mass imprisonment of Reds. From 1919 to 1931 he lived in semiretirement. He devoted much of his time to traveling abroad, and to humanitarian work in the Finnish Red Cross. In 1931 Mannerheim was appointed head of the national defence council and commander-in-chief in the event of war. Two years later he was made field marshal. In the following years he reorganized the army and constructed a system of defence, later known as the Mannerheim Line, which was built in Carelia across Finland's southeast frontier. He advocated 'Nordic orientation' but also cultivated relations with Great Britain and Germany. Although Mannerheim was very critical about National Socialism, he with others participated in Herman Göring's hunting trips.

In 1939 in late June Mannerheim threatened to resign from the Defence Council when the country wanted to go on with the preparations for the Olympic Games and defence expenditures were not increased enough. The fortifications in the Karelian Isthmus were not finished. His threat of resignation was forgotten when a Soviet bomber squadron attacked Helsinki on November 30, 1939. Marshall Mannerheim reported for duty. On the Karelian Isthmus six Finnish divisions fought against twelve or fourteen divisions, and to the north of Lake Ladoga, two divisions held a sixty-mile front against the Soviet Eight Army of seven divisions and a brigade of armor. During World War II Mannerheim commanded the Finnish forces in two wars against Soviet aggression: first in the Winter War in 1939-1940, and again in 1941-1944, when Finland joined the Germans. Before the war broke out in 1941, England's Prime Minister Winston Churchill sent a letter to Mannerheim, saying: "I wish I could convince Your Excellency that we are going to beat the Nazis. I feel far more confident than in 1917 or 1918. It would be most painful to the many friends of your country in England if Finland found herself in the dock with the guilty and defeated Nazis." Mannerheim answered on December 2, 1941: "I would regret if these operations, carried out in order to safeguard Finland, would bring my country into a conflict with England, and I will be deeply grieved if you will consider yourself forced to declare war upon Finland. It was kind of you to send me a personal message in these trying days, and I have fully appreciated it."

Mannerheim was made Marshal of Finland in 1942. On his 75th birthday in the same year Germany's leader Adolf Hitler visited Finland and brought his personal congratulations - however, Mannerheim did not cherish the memory of the visit. He was astonished - not only by the visit - at Hitler's diet: "While the rest of us enjoyed the good but simple dishes, Hitler ate his vegetarian meal washed down with tea and water." On his own visit to Germany Mannerheim again met Hitler and was entertained by Reichsmarshal Göring at his shooting box. When the Germans were defeated on the eastern front, Mannerheim was in August 1944 appointed the President of Finland to negotiate a separate peace with the Soviet Union. The Soviet offensive of June-July 1944 had forced the Finnish army to retreat, and Eastern Karelia and Viipuri were taken by the Red Army. Finland withdrew from the war on September 4, 1944. However, the Germans were still in force in the north. During the fighting between former allies, much of Lappland was laid waste by the German troops. In the autumn of 1945, Mannerheim traveled to Portugal, where he met Dr. Salazar, the Portuguese dictator.

After J.K. Paasikivi became president in 1946, Mannerheim moved to Switzerland, where he lived mainly at the Valmont sanatorium in Montreaux. He devoted the last years of his life to writing his memoirs. Mannerheim narrated periods of his life to his assistants, among them General Heinrichs and Colonel Paasonen, who wrote the text for the future book. Mannerheim also revised the manuscript and sometimes made considerable alterations.

Mannerheim died in Lausanne on January 27, 1951. His body was brought to Finland, and he was buried at the Hietaniemi Heroes' Cemetery with full military honours. However, because of political reasons, the government - except Prime Minister Kekkonen and Foreign Minister Gartz - did not participate in the mourning ceremonies. Mannerheim's home in Kaivopuisto Park in the middle of Helsinki was opened as the Mannerheim Museum. His equestrian statue, sculpted by Aimo Tukiainen, was unveiled in 1960. When the Museum of Modern Art, Kiasma, was built near the statue, critics in a wide public debate in the late 1990s argued that a curved aluminium wall was not a proper background for the statue.



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