The Continuation War as a Metanoic Moment
Author Message
Tulkoon sota ja veriset vaatteet


Posts: 3.954
Joined: Mar 2012
Reputation: 817
Post: #1
The Continuation War as a Metanoic Moment

1.1 The Continuation War, priests and rhetoric

The nature of Finland’s Continuation War was dramatically defined at the beginning of July 1941 by Marshall C. G. E. Mannerheim in his famous Order of the Day:

I summon You to join me in a holy war against our nation’s enemy. Deceased war heroes will rise from beneath summery mounds to join us today, when we firmly set out on a crusade alongside and as comrades-in-arms with the mighty German army to create a secure future for Finland. Brothers-in-arms! Follow me for this final time – now, when the people of Karelia will rise again and Finland’s new morning is dawning. (Mannerheim 1970, 116.)

The war that had begun on 25th June was a holy war, a crusade. More than that, the war was seen in an eschatological light, particularly by Lutheran priests. It was the final battle for Finland’s new morning. In this research I will examine the rhetoric used by the Finnish Lutheran clergy in the Continuation War.

The Lutheran clergy were in an important position when the war was legitimated to different audiences, for the priest had formal power deriving from the fact that, due to the peculiar relationship between the Finnish state and the Lutheran Church, he was de jure an official of the state as well as of the church. In addition, Christian and biblical imagery was recognized by virtually all of the population, thus offering a nomenclature of effective topoi. As for example organizational changes which I shall discuss later and state support for the work of the clergy testify, the clergy were conceived as playing a central role in interpreting the Continuation War in terms favorable to Finland.

The language of the Bible was familiar to all Finns, something in which they were schooled from childhood, and thus it was not only an indispensable repository of powerful symbolic meanings but also a cache that needed to be carefully guarded. As Harold Lasswell pointed out as early as the 1920s, in Christian countries precautions need to be taken to calm the doubts of those who may give the Bible an “inconvenient”, i.e. deviating, interpretation. Thus it is expedient to circulate as widely as possible the arguments of those preachers and priests who are willing to explain how one can both follow Jesus and kill one’s enemies – and there will always be enough theological leaders ready to undertake this (Lasswell 1971, 97).

In 1941 the church and the clergy embarked on the task conscientiously. A chaplain ruminated in his diary on the eve of war on June 25th 1941:

It may be difficult to convince the soldiers about the justification of this war – if the war comes. Why so? Because we [priests] should be convinced first. We know that the present turn of events seems to be of advantage to our country. But is it right – that is not easy to say. (Viro 1975, 34. Emphasis in original.)

The Continuation War as a Metanoic Moment - A Burkean Reading of Lutheran Hierocratic Rhetoric - PFD

Complimentary viewing:

"Devil, I am devil." ― Pekka Siitoin
2016 Jun 06 09:35
The following 1 user Likes Mustapaita's post:
Artturi (17-06-2016)
Factionist of the forlorn


Posts: 5.281
Joined: Jun 2012
Reputation: 641
Post: #2
RE: The Continuation War as a Metanoic Moment
Harold Dwight Lasswell and Walter Lippmann were probably the most devious manipulators of public opinion in the world - and all their successors are still at it, using the same old techniques.

Not in haunts of marble chill,
Temples drear where ancients trod,—
Nay, in oaks on woody hill
Lives and moves the German God.

2016 Jun 06 11:47
The following 1 user Likes Phlegethon's post:
Artturi (17-06-2016)

Forum Jump:

User(s) browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)