Redirecting violence: the Finnish flag as a sacrificial symbol, 1917-1945

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Premised on the interplay between national fags, violence and sacrifice, this article sheds new light on the significance of fag culture in nation-building. It specifically highlights the role of the Finnish fag in directing violence outwards from Finnish society after the Civil War of 1918. The new national flag introduced after the war came to symbolise an ideal of oneness which found its expression in a propagated willingness to make sacrifices for the collective. The memory of fratricidal violence was externalised from the national space and transferred onto the red fags associated with Soviet Russia. During the Second World War the symbolically unifying ‘sacrifice’ was transformed into real sacrifice, giving birth to a new symbolism of the Finnish fag. The article concludes that national fags have an important role in societies' boundary formation, connecting civil society to the state, as well as the individual to the public realm.
Original languageEnglish
JournalStudies in Ethnicity and Nationalism
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)153-170
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2007
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 615 History and Archaeology
  • kansallisliput
  • kansallisvaltio
  • symboliikka
  • väkivalta
  • uhrit

Cite this