“War junk” and cultural heritage : viewpoints on World War II German material culture in the Finnish Lapland
Seitsonen, Oula; Herva, Vesa-Pekka (2017-11-02)
Seitsonen, Oula, and Vesa-Pekka Herva. 2017. “War Junk” and Cultural Heritage: Viewpoints on World War II German Material Culture in the Finnish Lapland. In War & Peace: Conflict and Resolution in Archaeology. Proceedings of the 45th Annual Chacmool Archaeology Conference, edited by Adam K. Benfer. pp. 170–185. Chacmool Archaeology Association, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, CA.
Copyright © 2017 by the Chacmool Archaeology Association, The University of Calgary. Published in this repository with the kind permission of the publisher.
This paper maps diverse attitudes towards the heritage of the World War II German military presence in Finnish Lapland of northernmost Europe. As part of Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union, German troops had the frontal responsibility in northern Finland in 1941–1944. After a cease-fire between Finland and the Soviet Union in 1944, increasing Soviet pressure forced Finland to turn against the Germans, resulting in the “Lapland War” between the former allies. During their retreat to Norway, German troops destroyed their military bases and Lapland’s towns, infrastructure, and private property. The Germans, from a Finnish perspective, were both friends and foes who provided important support in the war against the Soviet Union, but who also “burned down Lapland.” Not surprisingly, World War II Finnish-German relations have been a sensitive subject in Finland. Remains of German military sites are abundant in Lapland, but lack official heritage status and have been often regarded in public in negative terms. Archaeological research, among other forms of engaging with the difficult heritage of the German presence, could put this material heritage into positive uses while helping to reconcile with this troubled episode in recent Finnish past.
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