The musical legacy of the 1918 Finnish Civil War on YouTube

Reconciliation and agitation

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.3384/cu.3974

Keywords:

1918 Finnish Civil War, musical legacy, YouTube, music videos, participatory culture, digital heritage

Abstract

Conflicts such as wars, rebellions and revolutions often give rise to songs that pass on from one generation to another. This applies also to the bloody 1918 Finnish Civil War, which led to the death of nearly 37 000 people (about 1% of the population), of whom the majority 27 000 belonged to the defeated, the Reds, and affected Finnish society on every level and in long-lasting ways, some of which can still be acknowledged today. For decades after the war official and public commemoration of the war dead applied only to the winners, the Whites, whereas the Reds were forced to mourn and honour their dead in the private sphere. On both sides, songs were first a popular way of keeping up spirits and then after the war to commemorate the war. These songs were sung at funerals, parades as well as to mock the enemy. Today some of these songs as well as new ones on the topic are still popular and circulate in various versions on YouTube and other social media sites. These music videos are often remixes of original footage and photos used together with images from other sources. The most popular videos have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times. In this article, we explore the digital heritage of the 1918 Finnish Civil War by giving first an overview of the musical legacy of the war and then analyse how and why this musical legacy continues to flourish on YouTube.

Author Biographies

Aila Mustamo, University of Turku

School of History, Culture and Art Studies, postdoctoral researcher and researcher in the research project Fascinating Fascism and its Affective Heritage in Finnish Culture funded by Kone foundation (2021-2023; P.I. Kimi Kärki).

Saijaleena Rantanen, The University of the Arts Helsinki

Sibelius Academy, PhD and university lecturer.

References

Alapuro, Risto (2015): “The Legacy of the Civil War of 1918 in Finland,” Bill Kissane ed. After Civil War, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 17–42: https://doi.org/10.9783/9780812290301.17 DOI: https://doi.org/10.9783/9780812290301.17

Aronsson, Peter (2005): Historiebruk: att använda det förflutna. Lund: Studentlitteratur.

Garde-Hansen. Joanna (2011): Memory and Media. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Gibbs, Martin, Meese, James, Arnold, Michael, Nansen, Bjorn & Carter, Marcus (2015): “#Funeral and Instagram: Death, social media, and platform vernacular,” Information, Communication & Society, 18:3, 255–268: doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2014.987152 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2014.987152

Hanebrink, Paul (2018): A Specter Haunting Europe. The Myth of Judeo-Bolshevism, Cambridge & London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Hautamäki, Ranja & Laine, Silja (2020): “Heritage of the Finnish Civil War monuments in Tampere,” Landscape Research, 45:6, 742–757: doi:10.1080/01426397.2020.1749580 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/01426397.2020.1749580

Heimo, Anne (2010): Kapina Sammatissa: Vuoden 1918 paikalliset tulkinnat osana historian yhteiskunnallisen rakentamisen prosessia, Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura. DOI: https://doi.org/10.30666/elore.78881

Heimo, Anne (2014): “The 1918 Finnish Civil War Revisited: The Digital Aftermath,” Folklore 57, 141–168: doi:10.7592/FEJF2014.57.heimo. DOI: https://doi.org/10.7592/FEJF2014.57.heimo

Heimo, Anne & Hänninen, Kirsi (2019): “Constructing Our Own Heritage: Participatory, Community and Spontaneous Archives and Digitally Born Heritage,” Pekka Hakamies & Anne Heimo (eds): Folklore in the Digital Age, FFC 316, Helsinki: Academia Scientiarum Fennica, 110–131.

Heimo, Anne & Peltonen, Ulla-Maija (2003): “Memories and histories, public and private: the Finnish Civil War in 1918,” Kate Hodgkin & Susannah Radstone (eds.): Frontiers of Memory: Contested Memories. New York & London: Routledge, 42–56. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203391471_chapter_2

Hentilä, Seppo (2018): Pitkät varjot. Muistamisen historia ja politiikka, Helsinki: Siltala.

Jenkins, Henry, Ford, Sam & Green, Joshua (2013): Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture, New York & London: New York University Press.

Jussila, Osmo, Hentilä, Seppo & Nevakivi, Jukka (2009): Suomen poliittinen historia 1809–2009, Helsinki: WSOY.

Jääskeläinen, Pasi & Kauppi, Emil (1915): Laivan kannella: Kaksinäytöksinen laulunäytelmä. Helsinki: Kirja.

Kalela, Jorma (2011): Making History: The Historian and Uses of the Past, London: Palgrave MacMillan.

Kataja, Tuuli (2003): ”Ruusun veri punaisen haudalle istuta” – punaisten laulujen ja runojen ideologinen identiteetti ja kuolemankäsitykset. Masters’ thesis in Ethnology. Jyväskylä: University of Jyväskylä: https://jyx.jyu.fi/bitstream/handle/123456789/8105/G0000244.pdf?sequence=1

Kauhanen, Riku (2021): “Katsaus valkoisten ja vapaussodan perintöön, ”Ennen ja nyt: Historian tietosanomat 21:4, 3–29: https://doi.org/10.37449/ennenjanyt.109720 DOI: https://doi.org/10.37449/ennenjanyt.109720

Kinnunen, Tiina & Jokisipilä Markku (2012): “Shifting images of our wars: Finnish memory culture of World War II,” Ville Kivimäki & Tiina Kinnunen (eds): Finland in World War II: History, Memory, Interpretations, History of Warfare 69, Leiden/Boston Brill, 435–482. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004214330

Kivimäki, Ville (2012): “Between Defeat and Victory: Finnish memory

culture of the Second World War”, Scandinavian Journal of History, 37:4, 482-504: doi.org/10.1080/03468755.2012.680178

Koppinen, Mari (2017): ”Tutkijat ovat yksimielisiä siitä, että juhlarahan teloituskuva on lavastettu – mutta keitä kuvassa ammutaan?” Helsingin Sanomat 27 April 2017.

Kurkela, Vesa (2009a): “Sisällissodan laulut”, Pertti Haapala & Tuomas Hoppu (eds): Suomen sisällissodan pikkujättiläinen, Helsinki: WSOY, 425–440.

Kurkela, Vesa (2009b): Sävelten markkinat. Musiikin kustantamisen historia Suomessa. Helsinki: Sulasol.

Lintunen, Tiina & Heimo, Anne eds. (2018): Sisällissodan jäljet, Väki Voimakas 31, Helsinki: Työväen historian ja perinteen tutkimuksen seura.

Lintunen, Tiina & Heimo, Anne (2021): ”Monisärmäinen punainen historia – 100 vuotta punaisten historiakulttuuria,” Ennen ja nyt: Historian tietosanomat 21:4, 30–55: https://journal.fi/ennenjanyt/article/view/108036 DOI: https://doi.org/10.37449/ennenjanyt.108036

Makhortykh, Mykola (2020): “Remediating the past: YouTube and Second World War memory in Ukraine and Russia,” Memory Studies 13:2, 146 –161. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1750698017730867

Markham, Annette & Buchanan, Elizabeth (2012): Ethical Decision-Making and Internet Research: Recommendations from the AoIR Ethics Working Committee (Version 2.0): https://aoir.org/reports/ethics2.pdf.

Matila, Tuuli (2021): “White death: Finnish World War Two narrative and alternative heritage work on social media,” International Journal of Heritage Studies 27:6, 617–634. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13527258.2020.1843520

Miller-Idriss, Cynthia (2020): Hate in the Homeland. The New Global Far Right, Princeton & Oxford: Princeton University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9780691205892

Minkkinen, Merja. Emil Kauppi (1875–1930). Unpublished manuscript.

Mustamo, Aila: “Ylös veljet valkoiset! Sisällissodan valkoisten laulujen historiapolitiikka Youtube-videoiden kommenteissa. Unpublished manuscript.

Mähkä, Rami (2018): “Suomen sisällissodan vaikutushistoriat”, Historiallinen Aikakauskirja 116:2, 189–196.

Paasonen, Susanna (2021): Dependent, Distracted, Bored: Affective Formations in Networked Media. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press DOI: https://doi.org/10.7551/mitpress/11903.001.0001

Peltonen, Ulla-Maija (2002): “Civil War Victims and the Ways of Mourning in Finland in 1918,” Kenneth Christie & Robert Cribb (eds): Historical Injustice and Democratic Transition in Eastern Asia and Northern Europe: Ghosts at the Table of Democracy, London: Routledge Curzon, 184–197.

Pieslak, Jonathan (2015): Radicalism & Music. An Introduction to Music Cultures of Al Qa’ida, Racist Skinheads, Christian-Affiliated Radicals, and Eco-Animal Rights Militants, Middletown: Wesleayan University Press.

Pietrobruno, Sheenagh (2013): “YouTube and the social archiving of intangible heritage,” New Media and Society, 15:8, 1259–1276. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444812469598

Pietrobruno, Sheenagh (2018): “YouTube flow and the transmission of heritage: The interplay of users, content, and algorithm,” Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 24:6, 523–537. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1354856516680339

Rantanen, Saijaleena (2013): Laulun mahti ja sivistynyt kansalainen: Musiikki ja kansanvalistus Etelä-Pohjanmaalla 1860-luvulta suurlakkoon, Studia Musica 52, Helsinki: Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki.

Rantanen, Saijaleena (2016): “Laulu- ja soittojuhlat työväen aatteellisessa sivistystoiminnassa 1910-luvun vaihteessa,” Sakari Saaritsa & Sinikka Selin (eds): Työväki ja sivistys, Väki Voimakas 29, Helsinki: Työväen historian ja perinteen tutkimuksen seura, 267–297,

Rantanen, Saijaleena (2019): “Sisällissodan 1918 punaiset laulut Viipurissa,” Anu Koskivirta & Aleksi Mainio (eds): Politiikan ja jännitteiden Viipuri 1880–1939, Viipurin Suomalaisen Kirjallisuusseuran toimitteita 21, Helsinki: Viipurin Suomalainen Kirjallisuusseura, 237–238. DOI: https://doi.org/10.47564/vskst.94669

Rantanen, Saijaleena (2020a): “Workers of the World Awaken! The songs of Finnish North Americans as social and ideological mediators at the turn of the 20th century,” Toni-Matti DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429277429-8

Rantanen, Saijaleena (2020b): “Irti porvarien taiteestakin,” Saijaleena Rantanen, Susanna Välimäki & Sini Mononen (eds.): Työväen taide ja kulttuuri muutosvoimana. Kirjoituksia työväen musiikista, kirjallisuudesta, teatterista ja muusta kulttuuritoiminnasta, Helsinki: Tutkimusyhdistys Suoni ry & Työväen historian ja perinteen tutkimuksen seura, 285–324.

Reagle, Joseph M. (2015): Reading the Comments: Likers, Haters, and Manipulators at the Bottom of the Web, Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press: doi.org/10.7551/mitpress/10116.001.0001 DOI: https://doi.org/10.21428/cb6ab371.90f823cb

Roselius, Aapo (2014): “The War of Liberation, the Civil Guards and the Veterans’ Union: Public Memory in the Interwar Period,” Tuomas Tepora & Aapo Roselius, Aapo (eds): The Finnish Civil War 1918: history, memory, legacy, Leiden & Boston: Brill, 297–330. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004280717_011

de Smale, Stephanie (2020): “Memory in the margins: The connecting and colliding of vernacular war memories,” Media, War & Conflict 13: 2,188–212: doi 10.1177/1750635219828772 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1750635219828772

Saulo, Sandra (2018): “Vankileirilaulut - kansanlaulun viimeinen aalto”, YLE Uutiset 29 May 2018: https://yle.fi/aihe/artikkeli/2018/05/29/vankileirilaulut-kansanmusiikin-viimeinen-aalto, accessed 23.6.2021.

Saunio, Ilpo (1974): Veli sisko kuulet kummat soitot: työväenlaulut eilen ja tänään, Helsinki: Kansankulttuuri.

Savolainen, Ulla, Lukin, Karina & Heimo, Anne (2020): ”Omaehtoisen muistamisen materiaalisuus ja monimediaisuus: Muistitietotutkimus ja uusmaterialismi,” Elore, 27:1, 60–84: https://doi.org/10.30666/elore.89039 DOI: https://doi.org/10.30666/elore.89039

Seitsonen, Oula, Mullins, Paul R. & Ylimaunu, Timo (2019): “Public memory, national heritage, and memorialization of the 1918 Finnish Civil War,” World Archaeology 51:5, 741–758. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00438243.2020.1724821

Simonsen, Kjetil Braus (2020): “Antisemitism on the Norwegian Far-Right, 1967–2018,” Scandinavian Journal of History 45:5, 640–662. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03468755.2020.1726809

Smeds, Kerstin & Mäkinen Timo (1986): Kaiu, kaiu lauluni. Laulu- ja soittojuhlien historia, Helsinki: Otava.

Suodenjoki, Sami (2019): “Popular Songs as Vehicles for Political Imagination: The Russian Revolutions and the Finnish Civil War in Finnish Song Pamphlets, 1917-1918,” AB IMPERIO 2, 228–250: doi.org/10.1353/imp.2019.0039. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/imp.2019.0039

Tankovska, H. (2021): “YouTube - Statistics & Facts,” Statista 29 April 2021: https://www.statista.com/topics/2019/youtube/, accessed 23.6.2021.

Teitelbaum, B.R. (2020) War for eternity. Inside Bannon’s Far-Right circle of global power brokers. New York: HarperCollins.

Tepora, Tuomas & Roselius, Aapo (2014): “Introduction: The Finnish Civil War, Revolution and Scholarship,” Tuomas Tepora & Aapo Roselius (eds.), The Finnish Civil War 1918: history, memory, legacy, Leiden & Boston: Brill, 1–18.

Tepora, Tuomas & Roselius, Aapo eds (2014): The Finnish Civil War 1918: history, memory, legacy, Leiden & Boston: Brill. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004280717

Tepora, Tuomas (2018): “Satavuotinen sota? Sisällissodan muistamisesta ja historiakulttuurista,” Historiallinen aikakauskirja 116:2, 181–188.

Tikka, Marko & Suodenjoki, Sami (2021): “Divided Nation on Records: The Transnational Formation of Finnish Popular Music During the Gramophone Fever,” Ville Kivimäki, Sami Suodenjoki & Tanja Vahtikari (eds): Lived Nation as the History of Experiences and Emotions in Finland, 1800–2000, Palgrave Studies in the History of Experience, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 137–161. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-69882-9_6

Torsti, Pilvi (2012): Suomalaiset ja historia, Helsinki: Gaudeamus.

Työ 25.3.1918.

Östman, Sari & Turtiainen Riikka (2016): “From Research Ethics to Researching Ethics in an Online Specific Context,” Media and Communication 4:4, 66-74: doi:10.17645/mac.v4i4.571. DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v4i4.571

Downloads

Published

2022-07-07

Issue

Section

Digital Heritage In Cultural Conflicts