Important dates


4 January

The Council of People’s Commissars of Soviet Russia, Sweden and France formally recognise the independence of Finland.

8 January

Helsinki Red Guard occupies the former Governor-General’s house and nicknames it “Smolna.”

12 January

With 97 votes for and 85 against, the parliament authorises the Svinhufvud Senate to establish a state organ for maintaining law and order in the country. The motion is supported by the non-socialist parties.

17 January

A military headquarters is set up in Vaasa under Gustaf Mannerheim.

Gustaf Mannerheim’s headquarters in Vaasa starts operations; the White Guards are instructed to report at regular intervals about the activities of the Russians and Red Guards.

23–24 January

The SDP Executive Committee is set up and power in the party is transferred to the revolutionaries.

25 January

The Senate proclaims the White Guards as government troops. The Senate meets with Russian representatives. Senate Chairman P. E. Svinhufvud demands the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ostrobothnia and the release of Finnish detainees in Vyborg.

The Red Guard occupies the State Provincial Office of Vyborg and starts controlling the telegraph and telephone traffic in the city.

26 January

In the name of the Social Democratic Party Committee, the Headquarters of the Workers’ Order Guards and the Headquarters of the Red Guard, a joint declaration is made announcing the establishment of the Supreme Revolutionary Organ by the Executive Committee. In the evening, the Red Guard Uusimaa District Headquarters and the General Staff have talks at Smolna. Late in the evening, Reds start to hand out weapons to their troops in Helsinki.

26–27 January

The Senate issues written orders appointing Gustaf Mannerheim “the chief captain for maintaining order in Northern Finland.”

26 January

The Senate issues a declaration to the Finnish people in which it condemns “the violent crimes carried out by Russian soldiers and criminals of our own country who have joined them.”

27 January

Posters announcing the imprisonment of the Senate are prematurely made public. The Senate is assembled at the House of the Estates, but escapes through a back door in the evening.

28 January

The Red Revolutionary Government, called the People’s Delegation, is formed in Helsinki, chaired by Kullervo Manner. Government troops seek to quell the rebellion and a civil war ensues.

31 January

Antti Mikkola, MP, is murdered by the Reds in Helsinki. Mikkola had repeatedly emphasised the importance of creating a strong law enforcement organ.