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- Dinoglyfs - Esihistorialliset eläimet historiankirjoissa - Prehistoric Creatures Documented by the Ancient Man

Drawn faces of "anthropods" (from the 1898 ed. of the Natürliche Schöpfungs-Geschicte).

Already in the Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte (1868), Haeckel classified Finns as Mongolians or peoples who resembled them. Finland was a country located at the bloody northern borders of the east and west. Were the Mongolian (Finno-Ugrian) people capable of establishing a state?

Finnenfrage had to do with the claim, that the Prussian population was related to the "Mongolian" Finns. What was in doubt, was the ethnic nobility of the Bavarians. The primitiviness of the Finns was taken as a matter of fact, in the Gobinean shadow.

The meticulous pathologist Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902) was an adversary of the Haeckelian evolution and appears as one of the main opponents in Ernst Haeckel's books. (In a personal level, Haeckel wonders in his correspondences whether his old mentor Virchow had emotional life at all due to his discipline and pedantry.) Franz Boas, another German Jew, was also a student of Virchow. I consider Boas, the maligned anthropologist, as one the greatest dissidents of the time, due to his unbelievable (but genuine) results on the complexity of the Inuiti language etc. (Boas was forced to leave not only Germany but also United States.)

Professor´, Grand Old Lady, Aira Kemiläinen is the grand old lady studying Finns in the shadow of the Aryans. She described how

“Virchow... travelled to Finland in the 1870’s in order to study the Finnish people and its roots. He was astonished when he saw that Finns were blond. His voyage was caused by the famous ‘Finnenfrage’ (‘question of the Finns’)”  (1998 p. 69).

In Wonders of Life (1904), Haeckel categorized Finns as a "middle civilised race", which had seven races below them, and four races above them. Of the twelve categorical races, these latter four were "higher civilised races", "lower cultured races", "middle cultured races" and "higher cultured races". The first higher stage above the Finns included the culture of the fifteenth century Italians, French, English, and Germans. In Haeckel's booklet on the evolutionary history of man, published in Finnish in 1911, there were only two divisions: the natives and the cultural people. The Mongolic and the Caucasian races were distinguished in the latter one, but the detail did not seem to bother the publishing labour movement much.  Haeckel's evolutionary tree of the Indo-European languages, naturally, did not include the peculiar Finno-Ugric language.

 "The views on the subject of European nations which have large colonies in the tropics, and have been in touch with the natives for centuries, are very realistic, and quite different from the ideas that prevail in Germany. Our idealistic notions, strictly regulated by our academic wisdom and forced by our metaphysicians into the system of their abstract ideal-man, do not at all tally with the facts. Hence we can explain many of the errors of the idealistic philosophy and many of the practical mistakes that have been made in the recently acquired German colonies; these would have been avoided if we had had a better knowledge of the low psychic life of the natives (cf. the writings of Gobineau and Lubbock)." (Haeckel, The wonders of life, 1905, p. 390-1).

Let us quote the Gobineau, recommended by Haeckel the scientist, on Finns, then:

"creatures so incontrovertibly ugly and repulsive as the ordinary specimens of the Mongolian race… These are all people of low stature, with wide faces and prominent cheek-bones, yellowish or dirty brown in colour---The Finns have always been weak, unintelligent, and oppressed---in the south through miscegenation with the Negroes and in the north with the Finns." (Gobineau, Inequality of Races (1853-55, 1967). 

To cut the short of a less romantic drama, Joseph Arthur "Comte" de Gobineau (1816-1882) proclaimed that a Finn does not have a stronger desire than to have a man of noble blood to spend a night on his tent with his wife or daughter. Gobineau divided mankind in three races: the White, the Black, and the Yellow (the Good, the Bad - and the Ugly, in essence). The Yellow were extremely ugly, and the group included not only Finns, but also Mongols and Tartars. Finnish historian Aira Kemiläinen writes (1998 p. 85):

"Finns were a primitive aboriginal people in Europe and in Asia. They were short of stature and deformed. Their limbs were feeble and they had protruding cheekbones and slanting eyes. They were more yellow than the Chinese, who had the blood of the White race. How else could the Chinese have created a high culture? Even the Hungarians were 'white Huns'; they had White ancestors… In an Aryan society at the top were Aryans, in the second class were the Celtic and Slavic peoples and men and women of mixed blood. The deformed Finns were lowest."

The earlier race theories with the symptomatic Nordic admiration had been formulated by men like de Gobineau and Houston Stewart Chamberlain (1855-1927) – a Germanophile Frenchman, and Englishman and son-in-law of Wagner living in Wien, respectively.

Given the prejudices at the international level, it is no wonder, that the Finnish speaking population was reluctant to adopt early eugenic ideas. Every literate Finn knew what kind of rubbish was the widely held "scientific" view of Finns as short and dark Mongolian or East Baltic race.

Pangermanic regime was no exclusive and isolated case, but followed the norm in the countries ranking high in the Haeckelian legacy. In Finland, National Socialism was never established. There were societies in that direction, but they did not enjoy large memberships. As a party, the extreme Right Patriotic People's Movement (IKL) had fascist characteristics - but merely 8 representatives in the parliament in 1939.

Scandinavian countries pioneered in the sterilization laws and race-biological institutes, but the ideal of race hygiene was not put to a final action in Finland. There was anthropologist "mismeasure" of Finnish Romanies, Lapps, and Finns themselves, but the plan to file all of the population was terminated soon.

The eugenic measure of man inspired especially the Swedish-speaking expertize in Finland, where Swedish-speaking population constituted a minority. First the Finns were classified as brachycephalous and Mongols. Afterwards, the concept of an East Baltic race arose as a compromise.

It is a stunning fact that the notion of Finns as Mongols remained in Swedish encyclopaedias as late as to the 1950's (Hämäläinen 1985). This took place regardless the trend that the confusion with Laplanders began to be refuted from the books even in Germany soon after Finland gained her independence in 1917. Beauty contests and Olympic medals seem to have been more efficient in correcting the prevailing stereotype of Mongol-like Finns than were the craniometrical surveys etc. The irritant of the nine gold medals at the Stockholm Olympics in 1912 also complicated the issue. Hannes Kolehmainen won the 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter events and the marathon and is said to have "run Finland on to the world map". Paavo Nurmi had time to set 31 outdoor track world records and won nine gold- and three silver medals between 1920 and 1928 (Paasivirta 1981) – before he was disqualified as a "professional" by the Swedish chairman of the time.

To cut to the short of the drama, Finns had been misconceived to the Lapps in the Northern Finland in the popular uttering of the Mid-European light-weight anthropologist. The Mongolian category was received with malicious pleasure among some of the descendants of the ancient oppressors and landlords, despite the evident misunderstanding.

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