Saturday, December 19, 2015

75 years ago: The death of Kyösti Kallio

On December 19, 1940, Kyösti Kallio died at the age of 67. Mr. Kallio, a devout Christian and leader of the Agrarian League, served as Prime Minister of Finland four times: 1922-1924, 1925-1926, 1929-1930, 1936-1937. In 1937 he took office as President of Finland, the country's head of state.

Mr. Kallio was in office during the Winter War against the U.S.S.R. in 1939-1940. When the invading Soviets won the war in March 1940 and imposed peace terms on Finland, President Kallio was obliged to sign a document authorizing four Finnish government officials to travel to Moscow and sign the Moscow Peace Treaty--as unjust a peace that has ever been forced upon a defeated people--on behalf of Finland. As he signed the odious document, Mr. Kallio said (presumably in Finnish), "Let my hand wither, that has been forced to sign this piece of paper."

The Lord granted Mr. Kallio's request; on August 28, 1940, he suffered a stroke that paralyzed his right arm. Mr. Kallio's health continued to decline, and on November 27, he left his notice of resignation, intending to retire to his farm at Nivala. A few hours after Risto Ryti officially succeeded Mr. Kallio as President, a band was playing the patriotic Finnish march Porilaisten marssi (March of the Men of Pori) while an honour guard saluted Mr. Kallio at Helsinki Central Railway Station as he prepared to depart for his retirement, but he collapsed and died in the arms of his adjutant, Marshal Carl Mannerheim, and went to be with his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

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