Studia Historica Septentrionalia 63


Erika Reinikka, As an important link in fatherlands great cause. Ouluís Lotta Svšrd organisation and the winter war

Ouluís Lotta Svšrd organisation was grounded in 1920 to support menís voluntary national defence organisation, Suojeluskunta. During summer 1939 atmosphere in Ouluís Lotta organisation was excited, because fatherland needed also its women. Lottas supplied with food thousands of men travelling thorough the city to fortify the Karelian Isthmus. Women prepared for the possible crisis by training members especially in first aid skills and by making equipments for the army. They also made food for the troops called to the additional military refresher course. Oulu was an important regional military assembly center and the garrison in the city of 30 000 people grew up to 18 000 men by the end of the year 1939. The transition to the state of war went well for lottasí part. Although they were short of trained members in every area of operation: food supply, medication, equipment, fundraising and office duties.

During the military refresher course and the winter war 90 % of the members of Ouluís Lotta Svšrd organisation fulfilled their lotta-duties. The majority of lotta-work was done at home region by making food for the troops. The war hospital number 32 in the city also required a lot of helping hands. Ouluís air surveillance was also conducted mainly by lottas. The winter war was experienced in the Ouluís Lotta Svšrd organisation as a time of national unification and self-sacrificing for the greater good. Independence was a value that everybody was willing to defend.

Even though the field of lotta-work widened because of the war, Ouluís Lotta-organisation was contented in its operation readiness. Return to era of peace was gradual. Great task was helping war refugees, invalids and orphans. Finally organisation had time to educate its members. The war had caused explosion in number of members (from 770 members in 1938 to 1381 members by the end of year 1940). The membership of Lottas and making an effort in the war became for many a civid duty. Because of the experiences of war the status of Lotta Svšrd organisation as primarily bourgeois changed. Everyone could participate and work side by side for joint cause.

Takaisin Studia Historica Septentrionalia 63