Svinhufvud, Pehr Evind

Svinhufvud, Pehr Evind

(pār ā`vĭnd svēn`ho͝o'vəd, svĭn`ho͝ovo͝od), 1861–1944, president of Finland (1931–37). A judge under the Russian czarist regime in Finland, he played a major part in the movement for Finnish independence and was banished (1914–17) to Siberia. On his return he headed the provisional government and proclaimed (Dec., 1917) the independence of Finland. In alliance with Germany, he directed the war (1918) against the Finnish Bolsheviks, who were aided by the Soviet Union. Svinhufvud became premier in 1930 and in 1931 succeeded K. J. Stahlberg as president of Finland. He took strong measures against the Communists and also suppressed the Fascist movement known as the Lapua, which had helped him to office. In 1937 he was succeeded as president by Kyosti Kallio, of the Agrarian party. Svinhufvud went into retirement, emerging briefly in 1940 to aid in negotiating the Finnish-German treaty.

Svinhufvud, Pehr Evind

 

Born Dec. 15, 1861, in Sääk-smäki; died Feb. 29, 1944, in Luumäki. Finnish state and political figure.

A lawyer by education, Svinhufvud was a member of the Finnish Parliament and its first chairman from 1907 to 1914. He belonged to the right wing of the Young Finns. In 1914 he was exiled to Siberia for his opposition to the policies of tsarism.

From November 1917 to May 1918, Svinhufvud was Finland’s first prime minister. With the outbreak of the Finnish Revolution of 1918, he fled to the city of Vaasa, where he took part in the organization of the counterrevolutionary forces. He served as regent from May to December 1918 and was a leader of the white terror of 1918–19. While prime minister in 1930 and 1931, Svinhufvud implemented a number of anticommunist laws. He served as president from 1931 to 1937 and subsequently retired from politics.

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