SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CIVIL GUARD

The volunteers of the Civil Guard played a significant role in achieving independence for the country and shaping its course. Without them, the Red Guards might have succeeded in their revolution.

Over the course of its history, the organization had a total of 150,000 members. The average yearly count was 90,000, and membership peaked in 1941 with almost 127,000 volunteers.

The Civil Guards cultivated the military skills and mental strength needed to survive the Second World War. In addition to training soldiers, the organization worked on refining battle tactics and equipment. Their cartridge production and weapon supply provided substantial help for the poorly equipped army of the Winter War.

The effects of dedicated training were clear on the battlefield. Members of the Guard handled weapons with confidence, shot targets with ease, and navigated with precision. Prolonged battles highlighted the physical and mental strength gained from constant practice. Reserve leaders had been trained in effective management and execution of tasks. The gap between Guard members and other soldiers narrowed during the long Continuation War, as participants gradually became accustomed to the battlefield.

Another indication of the organization’s impact on military and leadership skills is the background of many Mannerheim Cross of Liberty recipients. Over 60 per cent of those awarded the honour had been trained in the Civil Guards.