Telephone Switchboard 1918

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Teoksen tiedot

Arthur Laurent, Atelier Laurent
Tiedoston jakaja:
Kimmo Antila
Tammerford (English name of the city in late 19th and early 20th century)
Civil War, Inventing Europe, Revolution, Switchboard, Telephone, War
Käyttäjän Kimmo Antila kuva
Lisääjä: Kimmo Antila
Lisätty: 25.05.2011


Communications in the Finnish Civil War

Control of communications has always been important in wars and revolutions. Therefore, it was no surprise that the first thing the Reds did during the Finnish Civil War in Tampere in 1918, was to occupy the telephone exchange, a move that was completed already on 28th of January. This photograph of the switchboard at the local exchange was taken on 24th of February 1918 by Atelier Laurent. The exchange was guarded throughout the war in order to ensure smooth telephone communications.

The central exchange of telephone company Tampereen Telefooni-Osakeyhtiö was located in the Tuotanto building on the main road at Hämeenkatu Street 26, right in the heart of the city. It was one of  most modern buildings in Tampere, designed by architect Birger Federley, when it was completed in 1914. It had central heating and lifts, as well as bathroom in every flat.

The Finnish Civil War and Tampere

The Finnish Civil War was an internal crisis but also part of the national and social turmoil caused by the Russian revolution and World War I (1914-1918) in Europe. The war was fought in Finland from 27th of January to 15th of May 1918, between the forces of the Social Democrats (led by the People's Deputation of Finland), commonly called the Reds, and the forces of the non-socialist, conservative-led Senate, commonly called the Whites. The Reds were supported by the Russians, while the Whites received military assistance from the German empire.

Tampere was the most important city of the Finnish Civil War. The main body of the Red force in Tampere was formed from factory workers who felt that they did not have sufficient rights in society. The Reds strove to defend their city, which they controlled from the beginning of the war until the end, while the Whites were mainly landowners and anti-socialists who were defending their newly established homeland from socialist rule. The Whites wanted to conquer Tampere and thereby achieve the decisive victory of the war. This 30,000-man struggle remains the biggest urban battle to have been fought in the Nordic region to date.

The battle of Tampere claimed 2,200 lives, while the entire civil war and its aftermath resulted in almost 38,000 deaths.

Tampere 1918 exhibition in Vapriikki, which won an EMYA award this year, provides more information on this topic.

Tampere 1918 in Vapriikki

EMYA 2011EMYA 2011 Special Commendation


New multimedia guide for the exhibition:

Download it for your touchscreen device (smartphone or tablet):

Inventing Europe




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