Mannerheim, Baron Carl Gustav Emil

Mannerheim, Baron Carl Gustav Emil kärl gŭˈstäv āˈmĭl mäˈnərhām [key], 1867–1951, Finnish field marshal and president of Finland (1944–46). Of a distinguished Swedish-Finnish family in Russian-controlled Finland, Mannerheim rose to the rank of general in the czarist army. In 1918 he led victorious Finnish antisocialist forces against the Finnish Bolsheviks and their Soviet supporters, and in the following year he headed the new regime in Finland as regent. Defeated in the presidential elections of 1919, he went into retirement and engaged in philanthropic activity. He was appointed head of the Finnish defense council in 1931 and commanded the Finnish forces against the Soviet Union in the Finnish-Russian War of 1939–40 and again in 1941–44. In Aug., 1944, he succeeded Risto Ryti as president of Finland, and in September he terminated hostilities with the Soviet Union. He resigned the presidency in 1946 because of ill health and was succeeded by Juho Paasikivi. The Mannerheim Line, a fortified line of defense across the Karelian Isthmus, was planned by him. The Soviet army broke through the line in 1940, and it was subsequently dismantled.

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