Field Marshal (Finland)

Field Marshal (Finland)

Field Marshal (Finland)

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In Finnish Defence Forces Field Marshal (Finnish: sotamarsalkka, Swedish: fältmarskalk) is officially not an active military rank but an honorary rank that can be bestowed upon 'especially distinguished generals'. So far the only holder of this title has been Baron Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, then Chairman of the Defence Council, who received it on 19 May 1933 by the decision of the State Council. Baron Gustaf Mannerheim (1867-1951) served as Regent 1918-1919 and President of the Republic 1944-1946.

Mannerheim had commanded the White Army in the Finnish Civil War in 1918, and his promotion to field marshal had already been suggested in 1928, the 10th anniversary of the end of the War. Back then the proposal was rejected as 'too warlike' -- and there was also fears that such promotion would prove politically controversial—but Mannerheim was nevertheless given an unofficial marshal's baton by the Civil War's White veterans. Five years later the political climate was more favourable, and the State Council decided to bestow Mannerheim the rank of field marshal. The decision was kept in secret, and came as a pleasant surprise to Mannerheim. He observed "In a little ultrademocratic country it could seem quite pretentious to indulge in the luxury of a field marshal", but also admitted that it was "not so frightful when the marshal costs the state nothing".

It is not known why field marshal never became a substantive rank rather than honorary one, but this...
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