Born Jan. 17, 1890, in Sysmä; died July 1, 1952, in Helsinki. Finnish politician and state figure.
Pekkala, a lawyer by profession, was a member of the executive committee of the Social Democratic Party of Finland from 1936 to 1945. He was minister of agriculture in 1926 and 1927 and minister of finance from 1939 to 1942. During World War II (1939–45) he supported the peaceful opposition, which advocated Finland’s withdrawal from the war. He was expelled from the Social Democratic Party in 1945 and joined the Finnish People’s Democratic League. In 1944–45 and 1945–46 he worked in the governments led by J. K. Paasikivi.
From 1946 to 1948, Pekkala headed the coalition government of democratic cooperation, comprising the Social Democratic Party, the Finnish People’s Democratic League, and the Agrarian Union. Under his leadership, the coalition implemented several democratic reforms and laid the foundations for friendly relations with the USSR. In 1948, Pekkala signed the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance Between the USSR and Finland.