Finnish Diplomats as Interpreters of Finland’s Foreign Policy 1955–1971: Question of Neutrality and Divided Germany
Published inJYU dissertations
© The Author & University of Jyväskylä
During the Cold War, between the years 1949–1973, Finland did not recognize either one of the states of the divided Germany, the socialist German Democratic Republic (East Germany) or the democratic Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany. This policy was initiated by the cautious stance of President J.K. Paasikivi, and it continued during President Urho Kekkonen’s multiple terms in office. By using previously not holistically scrutinized source material, the political reporting of Finnish diplomats that were posted in the divided Germany, this study brings forth a transnational and multifaceted view of the functionality of the policy. This research utilizes as a theoretical and methodological framework the constructivist theory of international relations, in conjunction with the ideas concerning symbolic interaction and new political history that views politics as discursively constructed processes. Through this theoretical and methodological framework we can conceptualize how the Finnish German policy ultimately began to function as a part of the symbolic order of Finland’s neutrality policy. In this regard, the policy’s symbolic value was also increased by the phenomenon of Finlandization, which has been used to denote the subservient political culture that developed in Finland in relation to the Soviet Union during the Cold War (through self-inflicted obsequiousness by Finnish politicians, journalists, intellectuals, and other members of the cultural elite towards the Soviet Union). In the political reporting of the Finnish diplomats the official policy was, however, viewed critically and also in a more international and transnational context. The reporting showed to Finnish foreign policy makers back home that, in many cases, the policy’s appearance was not really holding up. In this regard, the policy’s basic premise, the façade of Finland’s neutrality, often stood on shaky ground. Finnish diplomats also noted the paradox of West Germans worrying about the possibility that Finland might move increasingly towards a recognition of East Germany as a state, while at the same time the West Germans acknowledged that Finland was represented in divided Germany with more than mere commercial or consular relations. According to the Finnish diplomats’ reports and West German Foreign Office documents, the neutrality of Finnish policy was also challenged by President Kekkonen’s rhetoric against West Germany, especially in the latter half of the 1960s, which catered to the interests and slogans of the Eastern bloc. In this respect, the diplomats also functioned as a counterbalance who by their actions formed a testimony of a capitalist and Western-oriented Finland. The documents of the West German Foreign Office show not only its officials' trust and positive evaluation of the Finnish diplomats but also that the relationship reached a level where Finnish diplomats could openly express their anti-communist stance. Such an action would have been an aberration and a target of abhorrence in the domestic political culture of Cold War Finland. ...
Finland West Germany East Germany cold war neutrality diplomats Finnish foreign ministry foreign policy Finnish foreign service Kekkonen, Urho Ulkoasiainministeriö 1950-luku 1960-luku 1970-luku ulkopolitiikka poliittinen historia kansainväliset suhteet kylmä sota puolueettomuus diplomaatit Suomi Saksan demokraattinen tasavalta Saksan liittotasavalta
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