In addition to oral tradition, the knowledge
and understanding of history is based on
written sources. Therefore it is highly significant
when research is able to introduce hitherto
unknown material that can shed new light on
inveterate truths. This was the case with the
study “Finland at the Epicentre of the Storm”
by Finnish historian Erkki Hautamäki. The
study dealt with the diplomatic prelude to
World War II, and was based on a secret dossier
by Marshal C. G. E. Mannerheim. The dossier
was transferred to President J. K. Paasikivi
after the war, and then disappeared from
public eye. Fortunately, its main items were
either copied or a synopsis was made on the
request of the Marshal by his long-time trustee,
Vilho Tahvanaine. On the basis of these copies,
Hautamäki was able to propose an entirely new
view of the diplomatic manoeuvring which led
to the outbreak of WW II.