(See also military service in Finland).

The Finnish Defence Forces (Suomen Puolustusvoimat) is the army of Finland.

In 1917, during the time Russian Empire controlled Finland, Finland had two armed forces: The Red Guard (Punakaarti) and the White Army (Suojeluskunta), the socialist and non-socialist armies, respectively. 6th December 1917 Finland became independent (after the Russian Revolution Lenin recognized the independence), and 1918 brought the Finnish Civil War, in which the Red Guard had to taste the defeat. The Civil War erupted when the government declared the Whites the offical army.

After this armed conflict, the army became what it was. Somehow, with this army Finland survived the World War II even when the conditions of the peace were bitter.

Today, as ever, army is based on conscription (read, "equally unfair for everyone") - every 17-60 year old male is required to defend the country somehow (civil alternative service or other forms of training do exist).

Finnish branches of defence include ground forces, navy and air forces. The country is divided to three defence districts. Finland is a neutral country (as of yet, and personally I hope it will stay that way).

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