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Finland / What do we teach about our neighbours?


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  • 1. What do we teach about our neighbours ?
  • 2. What do we teach about the Baltic States ?
  • 3. What do we teach about our neighbours – The Baltic States
    • Before the 20th century
      • The history of Baltic countries are studied only if it touches on Finnish history. For example:
        • Gustav Vasa founded the city of Helsinki as a rival to Tallinn in 1550
        • The Baltic countries were part of Sweden during the 16th and 17th century
        • In the 18th century Sweden lost its territories in the Baltic countries to Russian regime
  • 4. What do we teach about our neighbours – The Baltic States
    • In the 20th Century (before 1939)
      • The textbooks start to deal with the history of Baltic states more extensively
      • The independence of the Baltic states
        • 3700 Finnish volunteers took part in the Estonian war of independence 1918-1919
      • The Baltic states practise common foreign policy against Soviet Union in 1920’s together with Poland
  • 5. What do we teach about our neighbours – The Baltic States
    • In the 20th Century (1939 - 1991)
      • The Nazi-Soviet pact 1939 and the secret supplementary protocol in which Germany and Soviet Union divided eastern Europe among themselves
        • Soviet Union demands military bases from Finland and the Baltic states
        • The Estonian volunteers in Finnish Winter War
        • Soviet Union occupies Baltic states 1940
      • The Operation Barbarossa 1941: Baltic countries suffer the consequences of the war
      • The Potsdam Conference 1945: Baltic countries remain under Soviet occupation
      • The Baltic countries as the Soviet Socialist Republics
  • 6. What do we teach about our neighbours – The Baltic States
    • In the 20th Century (1991-)
      • The restoration of independence after the collapse of Soviet Union
      • The role Baltic states in Europe and international politics
        • The NATO membership
        • The EU membership
    • How history textbooks present the history of Baltic states
      • Due to the limited amount of lessons and broad curriculum not enough emphasis is given to history Baltic states
      • Textbooks stress close connection between Finland and Baltic states especially Estonia
      • The Baltic states are often presented as an example of difficult geopolitical position
      • The content is oriented towards political history and less to cultural or social history
  • 7. What do we teach about Denmark, Norway and Iceland?
  • 8. What do we teach about Denmark, Norway and Iceland?
    • Unfortunately very little time is used to cover the history of these countries in our teaching.
    • In the curriculum the history of Denmark, Norway and Iceland is usually studied in broader historical context.
      • The Vikings: both plundering expeditions and trade expeditions in Europe; settlers of Iceland, Greenland and North America
      • The Danish rule in Estonia
      • The role of Denmark in the Union of Kalmar
      • In 1905 Norway got its independence from Sweden
      • In 1940 Germany conquered Denmark and Norway; resistance movement and nazi- followers
      • Denmark, Norway and Iceland in the international politics after the WWII (NATO members, relationship to European Union)
      • Norway’s oil riches
  • 9. What do we teach about Sweden?
  • 10. Finland as a part of Sweden
    • In general Sweden is described as superior and forward-looking and progressive compared to Finland
    • Many good things are said to come to Finland from Sweden
    • When Sweden conquered Finland (12th century), Finland became westernized and converted to Christianity, e.g laws were got through Sweden from Western Europe (originally Roman laws)
    • Finland was a part of catholic church, but in the 16th century in the era of Gustaf Vasa Finland became Lutheran
    • Finland and Finns had to participate many wars whether they wanted or not because of its geopolitical position between Sweden and Russia, between west and east
    • It is usually said that Finland’s proportion to army was always larger than Sweden’s proportion in comparison with populations
    • Sweden in the 18th century is told to become weaker and weaker to defend Finland against the growing threat of Russia
  • 11. Sweden in the 19th and 20th centuries
    • For a long time Finns had close relations to Sweden especially in cultural sense
    • At the beginning of the independence of Finland there were a quarrel between Finland and Sweden concerning the possession of Åland Islands and then there were some language quarrels between Finnish- and Swedish-speaking people
    • When Finland became independent it had to create diplomatic relations to different countries; Sweden was the country where presidents visited to
    • Before the WWII there were some secret plans to join the armies of Finland and Sweden
    • Some 10 000 Swedish men came as volunteers to take part in Finland’s Winter War
    • At wartime many Finnish children were sent to Sweden so that they could avoid the difficult time in Finland
  • 12. Sweden in the 19th and 20th centuries
    • After the war Finland’s relationship with Sweden and other Scandinavian countries became closer; for example Finland was accepted as a member of the Nordic Council in 1955
    • In many things Sweden was an example to Finland; e.g. comprehensive school, welfare state
    • Immigration to Sweden in 1950’s and 1960’s
    • Nowadays Finland is a member of European union and Sweden has lost its position as a role model
  • 13. Approaches to Swedish history in history teaching
    • Swedish history is taught parallel with Finnish history when Finland is part of the Sweden (until 1809)
      • The approach is quite balanced between political history and social, economic and cultural history. > This emphasis Finland’s links to Western Europe
    • Swedish history during the 19th and 20th century is taught when it touches on Finnish history
      • The stress is now on political history and international relations
      • Sweden is presented in positive way: political neutrality and welfare state
      • These are seen as an aim for Finland too > This emphasis Finland’s links to Scandinavian countries
      • The political problems (e.g. The Aland Islands) are toned down as part of Finnish nation building
      • The social issues, like the problems of Finnish immigrants in Sweden in the1960’s and 70’s, are passed over with a few words
  • 14. What do we teach about Poland?
  • 15. Before the 20th century
    • In the 16th century a court life in the castle of Turku got renaissance influences from Poland
    • King Sigismund and the battle of power in Sweden and also in Finland (called as a rebel of peasants)
    • In the 17th century Sweden took part in religious wars in Europe; Finnish soldiers (hakkapeliittas) were also in Poland and mistreated Polish people
    • In the beginning of the 18th century Charles XII, King of Sweden, battled many years in Poland with his army including Finnish troops, too
    • Revolts in Poland in 1830 and 1863
  • 16. The 20th century
    • After the WWI Poland was one of the Eastern European countries which got their independence
    • The Baltic sea countries - with leadership of Poland - practised common foreign policy against Soviet Union in 1920’s
    • Poland and the beginning of the World War Two; the pact of Molotov-Ribbentrop and the secret supplementary protocol in which Germany and Soviet Union divided eastern Europe among themselves
    • Persecution of Jews in Poland
    • Poland and the last battles in the World War Two, e.g. in Warsaw
  • 17. The 20th century
    • People's democracy of Poland
    • Solidarity movement and Lech Walesa in Poland in 1980’s
    • The collapse of people's democracies in Eastern Europe
    • The role of Poland in European Union
  • 18. What do we teach about Russia ?
  • 19. What do we teach about Russia / Soviet Union? 19th and 20th century
    • Russia: Society and political development
    • Russia in 19th century
    • Society: peasants and their situation
    • The role of the emperor
    • Expansion in the east
    • Industrialism
    • Nationalism in Russian empire
    • Russian revolutions 1917
    • Revolutions in February and October
  • 20. Lenin and communism Soviet Union in the 20´s and 30´s - Civil war - The NEP - Stalin era: 5-years plans, collectivization, industrialization, Stalin’s terror, Stalin cult, dictatorship Soviet Union after war - The Brezhnev era - Gorbatšov: perestroika, glasnost - The collapse of Soviet Union 1991 Russia after 1991
  • 21. 2) Russia / Soviet Union and Finland Finland becomes part of Russia 1809 - The Treaty of Tilsit 1807 - The War between Russia and Sweden 1808-1809 - Aleksandr I in Finland 1809 Finland as a part of Russia 1809-1917 - Nikolai I and censorship - Reforms of Aleksandr II in Finland The period of russification 1899-1917 - The position of Finland in Russian empire - The administration of Finland: Finnish or Russian?
  • 22. The civil war of Finland - Russian soldiers in Finland - Finnish emigrants to Soviet Russia Finnish – Soviet relationships in the 20’s and 30’s - The Peace treaty in Tartu 1920 - Distant relations Second World War - The Winter War - The Continuation War - The Peace Treaty: loss of territory, reparations… Finland and Soviet Union after war - Finland’s new policy: The Paasikivi Line - The Finno-Soviet Pact of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance 1948 - YYA treaty - Kekkonen’s policy: good relationship with Soviet union or “finlandization”? - The collapse of Soviet Union and Finland’s new policy
  • 23. 3) Russia and the rest of the world USA in the 19th century - Russia sells Alaska to USA - Russian emigrants to USA Imperialism - Japan’s victory over Russia 1905 The First World War - Russia against Germany The Second World War - The Nazi-Soviet pact 1939 - The division of Poland - The operation Barbarossa - Stalingrad - The end of the war
  • 24. The Cold War - The role of Soviet Union after 1945 - Eastern Europe after war - Arms race, competition of getting to the space - Warsaw Pact - Crisis in Cuba - Improvement in the climate of international relations in the 70’s - The war in Afghanistan Russia and the rest of the world after Soviet Union - The eras of Jeltsin and Putin - The challenges of Russia nowadays: economy, democracy, environment, social development
  • 25. How do the textbooks see Russia / Soviet Union? - The textbooks are only a part of teaching. Teachers are very free to teach differently and use other material as well. - In the textbooks often the emphasis is on the relationships between Finland and Soviet Union. - There are two sides in those relationships: 1) Russia / Soviet Union as a threat and Finland’s struggle against Russia (especially during the wars) 2) Russia / Soviet Union as a good neighbor or a good ruler (especially during the era of the Grand Duchy of Finland (1809-1917) - There is much more political than cultural history. - The emperors and leaders are important in both Russian and Soviet era. - There are a lot of negative things: dictatorship, wars, oppression, economical and social problems. There are positive things, as well, in the new books.