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history - MIKKELI

Mikkeli, the Winter War, Mannerheim

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  • Since Haukivuori is part of Mikkeli (2007) the history of Mikkeli as a commando center during the 2nd World War is also part of the history of Haukivuori.

    The pages in this part of the website will introduce the important period of the history of Finland in the perspective of Mikkeli.

    It is interesting to describe the places, the memories and the influence on the contemporary society.

    The Winter War and Continuation War in Finland were important periods in the history of this young republic. During this period the headquarters of the Finnish Army was located in Mikkeli. The Army staff made their base in a local secondary school. Now a part of that school is the small Headquarters Museum (Päämajamuseo) containing photographs and memorabilia of the era.

    Quit near there was the important communication center in the rocks. Today it is renovated and during summer open for the public.

    Mikkeli was bombed heavily because the headquarters of the army was based in the center. Just as in different other European cities, like Rotterdam, the bomb damage made it possible to redevelop the center of the town. Most of the buildings are not related to the rural history of the area. They look if they were transported from other cities. There are still a few old wooden buildings left, which can be part of a revival of the historical respect of the center.

    A valuable witness of the war is Mannerheim's carriage Wartime Mikkeli. It  is identified with Marshal Mannerheim, the commander of the Finnish army and later President of Finland. It was his personal railway carriage, which he used as a command post during the war. Today it is parked under a siding steel covering at Mikkeli station.

    It is possible to look inside the carriage through its windows at any time. Only on Mannerheim's birthday (June 4) the public has the permission to enter the carriage.

    The carriage was the venue of Mannerheim's famous 1942 meeting (near Immola) with Hitler, on which occasion a private conversation between the two men was secretly recorded. Photographs of this meeting are on display in the carriage.

    On the market place in front of the building in use by Laaninhallitus is the statue of Marshal Mannerheim. The annual parade on December 6th goes there.

    One of the main museums in the town is the Infantry Museum (Jalkaväkimuseo) located in one of the former army barracks, close to the University of Applied Sciences. It contains exhibits from the four wars in Finland's history after the indepency in 1917 – the Civil War, the Winter War, the Continuation War and the Lapland War.

    To inform people about the meaning of Mikkeli as a commando center during the Wars the history of this period should be opened for the public to explain and visualize the important relation for contemporary developments.

    Mikkeli has the change to be the center of memorable times for Finland, but also for the freedom of Europe. Many Fins in Finland and abroad, but also foreigners will notice this part of history and visit Mikkeli.

    image/kuva: Ilpo Aalto

    This image shows places in Mikkeli which were Mannerheim has been and which were important during the different Wars.

    The image shows also the typical military structure of the center and it shows the lost of interesting buildings by bombings and by destroying to replace these buildings for modern ones.

    The last years these modern buildings all have to be renovated, while the old buildings still are comfortable and good looking.

    information |Marja de Jong | mobile 00358 (0)50 4625 675 | info@arefs.org |

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