Karl-August Fagerholm

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Karl-August Fagerholm, Speaker of the Finnish Parliament, on a visit to the Weizmann Institute for Science in Rehovot, Israel. September, 1955

Karl-August Fagerholm , Valtioneuvos (born December 31, 1901 in Siuntio , † May 22, 1984 in Helsinki ) was a Finnish politician and three-time Prime Minister.

Union official and MP

Fagerholm trained as a hairdresser and as such was chairman of the hairdressers' union from 1920 to 1923 .

His political career began as early as 1930 when he was elected member of the Reichstag . There he represented the interests of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) . The strengthening of the right-wing extremist Lapua movement between 1929 and 1932 forced the SDP not to participate in the government. Between 1934 and 1942 he was also editor-in-chief of the Swedish-language "workers newspaper", Arbetarbladet .

Minister and time of the Second World War

After this ban was lifted, Prime Minister Aimo Cajander appointed him Minister of Social Affairs in March 1937 . In the following years he pushed forward the cooperation with the other Scandinavian countries and especially with Sweden . These new links, and in particular a military alliance treaty with Sweden, should serve Finland in Fagerholm's view. Relations with neighboring Sweden, however, remained cool, and the desired military alliance agreement did not materialize.

The Winter War between Finland and the Soviet Union from November 1939 to March 1940 was for many Finns proof that aligned to Scandinavia foreign policy had failed. After the beginning of the Continuation War against the Soviet Union in June 1941, in which Finland was supported by the German Wehrmacht , Fagerholm had temporarily lost his influence on Finnish foreign policy. Nevertheless, he retained his post as Minister of Social Affairs in the cabinets until March 1943.

Parliament and Prime Minister after the Second World War

After the armistice with the Soviet Union and the formation of a government by Prime Minister Juho Kusti Paasikivi in November 1944, he was President of the Reichstag for the first time between 1945 and 1948 . Due to his critical stance towards the Soviet Union, he was not appointed to the government formed by the communist Prime Minister Mauno Pekkala in March 1946 .

First government 1948–1950

After the Reichstag elections, he was elected Prime Minister for the first time on July 29, 1948. On the other hand, he did not appoint any Communist Party ministers to this minority government. His resumed political orientation towards the states of Scandinavia and Western Europe were viewed very disapprovingly by the Soviet Union. After Finland joined the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1949, the Soviet Union accused him of also promoting Finland's accession to NATO . On March 17, 1950 Fagerholm resigned and was replaced by Urho Kekkonen as Prime Minister.

Between 1950 and 1956 he was again President of the Reichstag. On February 17, 1956 in the presidential election he lost as a presidential candidate of the SDP against Kekkonen, the presidential candidate of the Landbund (ML) . Kekkonen achieved 151 electoral votes in the third ballot, only two votes more than Fagerholm.

Second government 1956–1957

However, Fagerholm replaced Kekkonen after he took office as President on March 3, 1956 in the office of Prime Minister. During this second term in office he visited the Soviet Union, so that a detente between the USSR and himself occurred. In the spring of 1957 a serious internal party conflict broke out, which led to Väinö Tanner becoming chairman of the SDP. Previously there were two camps within the SDP around Tanner on the one hand and the previous party chairman and Minister of Defense Emil Skog on the other. Fagerholm then offered to resign in March, but was asked by President Kekkonen to continue in government. However, shortly afterwards there was a difference of opinion with the Landbund as the largest coalition partner. After his resignation on May 27, 1957, Vieno Sukselainen became Prime Minister. Fagerholm was then again President of the Reichstag to succeed Sukselainen.

Third government 1958–1959

After the Reichstag elections of July 1958, which on the one hand brought losses for the SDP and on the other hand profits for the Democratic Union of the Finnish People (SKDL), he formed a broad coalition government of SDP, ML, Nationaler as Prime Minister on August 29, 1958 Collection Party (KOK), Finnish People's Party (KP) and Swedish People's Party (SFP). He then began new relationships with the Nordic Council states and the United States of America . The SKDL, which was not represented in the government, criticized this step and the five ministers of the Landbund also left the government in November 1958 because they saw relations with the Soviet Union in danger after sanctions were imposed, especially in the economic field. On December 14, 1958, Fagerholm resigned as prime minister and in January 1959 President Kekkonen went on a state visit to Moscow to appease the government of the USSR. On January 13, 1959, Sukselainen was again successor as Prime Minister, which shortly afterwards led to the suspension of the Soviet economic sanctions.

Fagerholm then took over the office of President of the Reichstag again from Sukselainen and held this office initially until 1961 and then again for a short time from 1965 to 1966. He was also President of the Nordic Council in 1962.

See also

Web links

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