The Red Guards
() formed the army of Red Finland during the Finnish Civil War
in 1918. The combined strength of the Red Guard was about 30,000 at the beginning of the Civil War, and peaked at 90,000-120,000 during the course of the conflict.
The leadership of the Red Guards altered during the war: Ali Aaltonen
, Eero Haapalainen
, Eino Rahja
and in the end Kullervo Manner
. The government of Red Finland was called "The People's Deputation". The Red Guards were in power from 28 January to the end of April 1918 in southern Finland
The Red Guards' general staff were located in Helsinki
; the other major cities controlled by the Red forces were Tampere
. Red Tampere came to its end on 6 April 1918 after bloody battles when Mannerheim
's White Guards conquered the city
Thousands of Red Guards were imprisoned, hundreds of them were executed and the rest were transported to POW
camps. Helsinki was in White control by April 12, 1918.
During the general strike of 1905
"National Guards" were formed in Finland. These Guards included both socialists and non-socialists, but eventually they were divided into opposing militias. In that year, however, bloodshed was still avoided.
The last surviving Red Guard, Aarne Arvonen
, became Finland's oldest man ever before his death in January 2009.