More Than 200 Finns Fought in Spanish Civil War

Yle Uutisten artikkeliarkisto

A new study reveals that more than 200 Finns saw combat in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). The majority of Finns fought in the ranks of Republican Spain.

The study by Jyrki Kuusela is the first comprehensive look at Finns involved in the Spanish Civil War. Only 14 Finns saw combat in General Fransisco Franco's Nationalist army, while 239 opposed them on the Republican side.

Finns from as far afield as the United States and the Soviet Union travelled to Spain to take part in the war. The main motive for the majority was ideological.

Nearly one third of the Finns (71) were killed in combat. At least 1.2 million people died in the bloody Spanish Civil War.

The war broke out in 1936, when military units in Spanish-administered Morocco rose in revolt against the Republican government. The revolt soon spread to the mainland and led to civil war.

One of the most infamous incidents of the war took place in 1937, when bombers sent by Nazi Germany to assist Franco destroyed the town of Guernica. Some 1,600 people - mainly civilians - lost their lives.

The war ended in April 1939. The Finnish Republican volunteers fled across the Pyrenees to be interned in France.

Finnish News Agency