The Finnish words ring beautifully in expressing the anguish of war and its causes. The lyrics were first written by poet Elsa Rautee in 1936 for the chorus of the Social Democratic Youth League in Nokia, Finland, which is near Tampere. The song was inspired by crucial world events of the 1920s and 1930s, especially the Spanish Civil War which started in 1936, the Italian invasion of Ethiopia (1936) the Chinese Civil War (1927) and the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931. The theme resonated with the Finnish left and labor movements, with the alarming growth of fascism leading the world toward war.
With the advent of the brief Winter War when Soviet Union troops assaulted Finland on Nov. 30, 1939, almost the whole country united in its defense. It was a time when Arvo (Poika) Tuominen, secretary of the Finnish Communist Party-in exile, then stationed in Stockholm, broke with the Kremlin and urged all members of the outlawed Finnish Communist Party who lived in Finland, to join and defend the country, a call to which they mostly responded. So the Finnish anti-war movement fell into an eclipse for a time and “Veli, Sisko” was virtually forgotten as Finland became engulfed in the larger World War II. The Finnish antiwar movement was revived after WWII, when new conflicts, many Cold War- engendered, raised concerns.
The Vietnam War in particular sparked a large, active, politically diverse peace movement in Finland during the 1960s and 70s. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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