Courtesy Reuters

Scandinavian Sympathies and Destinies

EVEN in Europe the sympathies and actions of the Scandinavian countries carry little weight and for America they are of almost negligible interest. This is due to the small number of their inhabitants, their geographical remoteness and the differences in their habits of thought.

In 1523 Sweden became independent of Denmark-Norway, whose kings had ruled over it for a single century, marked by a constant animosity. In 1809 Finland was cut off from Sweden; in 1814 Norway was lost to Denmark, and in 1905 separated itself from Sweden; in 1918 Iceland was lost to Denmark. Thus the small Scandinavian states may now be said to be five in number. Moreover, there is no union among them, not even an alliance. Now and then their ministers, their economists or their scientists meet and perhaps agree on some common action concerning hygienics or weights and measures. But the only really common thing to all five countries is that, at the time of the Reformation, following the example of northern Germany, they adopted Lutheran Protestantism, which was not able to attract proselytes elsewhere.

In political matters, the histories and the sympathies of these countries have in later years differed widely.

Finland has had the most turbulent fate. For about threequarters of a century it was mildly ruled by Czarism, under its own constitution, but in the nineties its privileges were swept away by the Russian reaction. Discontent became widespread. In 1903 Finland was subjected to Russian dictatorship, with the result that the exasperation of the Swedish minority as well as that of the Finnish majority reached the boiling-point. The population was as one man against the tools of the Czar. In the face of the Russian encroachment, national and social differences for a time were forgotten. Czarism succeeded in putting down the first Russian revolution, but when the second revolution was successful in 1917 Finland declared itself an independent republic despite the protest of Russia. A Bolshevik revolt, supported by Russian Bolsheviks in Finland, broke out in 1918. It led to a

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