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INTERREX – GUSTAF MANNERHEIM AND FINLAND 1919

General Gustaf Mannerheim was appointed regent of sovereign Finland on December 12th, 1918, and immediately found himself in the centre of media attention. Realizing that his time in office would be short, the new leader took vigorously up his task. Among his most important goals were to change the course of the foreign policy from a Germanophile towards a Nordic and Entente-minded direction, as well as the stabilization of the domestic political situation. Finland was to move from war to peace, enact a form of government and create a whole governmental system. In the insecure international state of affairs Mannerheim was still attentive to the situation in Russia and maintained his relations with the proponents of the former empire.

The creation of a young governmental power consisted of many practicalities, but also symbols. The regent lent an ear both to the populace and the members of the high society. Although the system of government was republican, Finland’s new head of state was a general whose background, manners and wishes were monarchist. Mannerheim was even seen as an uncrowned king, an Interrex, who brought worldly glamour to Finland as well as credibility for the new state.