University of Oulu

Petteri Pietikainen (2022) ‘A psychological riddle demanding a solution’. Crowd psychology and the Finnish Civil War of 1918, History of European Ideas, 48:5, 555-573, DOI: 10.1080/01916599.2021.2009358

‘A psychological riddle demanding a solution’ : crowd psychology and the Finnish Civil War of 1918

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Author: Pietikäinen, Petteri1
Organizations: 1History of Sciences and Ideas, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
Persistent link: http://urn.fi/urn:nbn:fi-fe202301276184
Language: English
Published: Informa, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-06-01
Description:

Abstract

Right after the Finnish Civil War of 1918, the first treatises discussing the insurgents (the Reds) in crowd psychological terms were published. Between 1918 and the early 1920s, several Finnish authors used Gustave Le Bon’s and other crowd psychologists’ ideas of suggestion, mental epidemics, and the dangers of socialism in their interpretations of the aborted revolution. The article argues that the use of crowd psychology in the years following the Finnish Civil War was an attempt to articulate in objective, scientific language an emotional and moral reaction to the shock of seeing a nation violently divided and tearing itself apart. Intrinsic to Finnish interpretations of crowd psychology were the increasing antagonism between socialists and anti-socialists, the influence of Bolshevism on the worker’s movement, the importance attributed to the ’racial’ qualities of the people, and the impact of the Civil War on the educated classes — all issues that are easy to relate to wider European and global contexts. This article lends support to the thesis that crowd psychology was an influential intellectual construction that had great heuristic value among contemporaries from the late nineteenth century to World War II.

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Series: History of European ideas
ISSN: 0191-6599
ISSN-E: 1873-541X
ISSN-L: 0191-6599
Volume: 48
Issue: 5
Pages: 555 - 573
DOI: 10.1080/01916599.2021.2009358
OADOI: https://oadoi.org/10.1080/01916599.2021.2009358
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 615 History and archaeology
Subjects:
Copyright information: © 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Accepted Manuscript version of the following article, accepted for publication in History of European Ideas: Petteri Pietikainen (2022) ‘A psychological riddle demanding a solution’. Crowd psychology and the Finnish Civil War of 1918, History of European Ideas, 48:5, 555-573, DOI: 10.1080/01916599.2021.2009358. It is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
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