Important dates


2 February

General Mannerheim issues his first communiqué in which he announces that the Senate has appointed him Commander-in-Chief of the Finnish government troops on 28 January 1918.

The Reds break into the Bank of Finland’s vaults in Helsinki and gain access to the Bank’s banknote stock.

5 February

Senate Chairman P. E. Svinhufvud tries to flee Helsinki by air, but a fault with the aircraft forces him to return to the airport located on the shore of the Old Town of Helsinki.

6 February

The Vaasa Senate issues a declaration according to which “it is the duty of every able-bodied man to join the ranks of the civil guard, bringing with him the equipment that the circumstances permit.”

7 February

Izvestia, published in Helsinki in Russian, prints an appeal to the Russian troops to join the struggle to help the Finnish proletariat.

14 February

The 40-member Workers’ General Council set up by the SDP, the Finnish Trade Union Federation and the Red Guard holds its first meeting in Helsinki. The General Council led by Valfrid Perttilä is responsible for legislative issues in cooperation with the People’s Delegation.

15 February

The Swedish Navy cruiser Thor, the steamship Runeberg and an assisting icebreaker arrive at Eckerö Roads. Sweden’s goal is to take control of the Åland Islands. The official explanation is, however, humanitarian reasons: the population of the archipelago must be evacuated because of imminent battles.

18 February

The Vaasa Senate, acting as the government of the “White Finland”, orders conscription under the 1878 Military Service Act. The first 80 Jaegers arriving from Germany reach Vaasa.

21 February

To the north of the civil war frontline, the Whites take control of Varkaus and its surroundings, which until now have been controlled by the Reds. The poorly armed Reds are forced to surrender. During their three-week reign, the Reds commit nine murders. The Whites launch severe punitive measures, providing fuel for Red propaganda, which further brutalises the civil war.

25 February

The main force of the Jaeger Battalion, arriving from Danzig (now Gdansk), reaches Vaasa. Assisted by icebreaker Sampo, Arcturus brings 945 Jaegers to the capital of White Finland.

Mannerheim bans field court martials and prohibits the execution of death sentences already passed by them. On the other hand, he authorises the shooting of armed persons guilty of sabotage behind the lines.

26 February

Jaegar parade in Vaasa. The parade is received by General Mannerheim. Heikki Renvall, Chairman of the Vaasa Senate, gives a speech.

27 February

Uusimaa civil guard members, who fought in Kirkkonummi, surrender to the Reds. 467 men are taken prisoner and transported to Helsinki.  Folke Malmar, representative of the Swedish Embassy in Helsinki, participates in the negotiations for a surrender. The prisoners of war were under the supervision of the Swedish embassy.

On the initiative of O. W. Kuusinen, the People’s Delegation, the Workers’ General Council and the leaders of the Red Guard issue a declaration titled “Against cruelty”, urging members of the Red Guard to refrain from illegal acts of violence.

28 February

In an article published in Kuluttajan Lehti, Karl Kautsky, a highly esteemed leading German social democratic theorist, criticises the Finnish Workers’ Movement for adopting the “dictatorship of the proletariat” line of thought.