History revisionist Henrik Arnstad-Embarrassingly late and wrong

Swedish “historian” Henrik Arnstad have published a book  “Skyldig till skuld”, with focus on European Axis powers and the way they have dealt with their alliance with Nazi Germany. During the release of his last book about the Swedish world war II foreign minister Christian Günther, Arnstad violently attacked Finland in an article (can you imagine, just in time for the release of his book in Finland) and placed the responsibility for the Continuation war on Finland. He used gross simplifications, cited Soviet propaganda, neglected historical facts and accused the average Finn for not having knowledge about this when infact, he was the one with severe gaps of Finnish history.

The silliest of all claims was that Arnstad also meant that he, a previously unknown journalist, had the role of being an eye opener for official Finland and Finnish historians while turning a blind eye on the fact that all this had been discussed in Finland 25 -30 years earlier and that already in the 60’s questions like the one’s Arnstad asked had been asked. Arnstad also used Johan Bäckman‘s work as source on his website www.christiangunther.se. Bäckmans work was a straight repetition of the early 1970’s critisicm of Finlands role in the Continuation war by the Finnish pro Soviet movement.

One of Finlands most known historians Henrik Meinander wrote: “Arnstads bok inte kan betecknas som ett seriöst historieverk. Snarast handlar den om en hurtig blandning av odokumenterade fakta, uppgifter och lösa funderingar som gränsar till fiktion.”Or in english “Arnstads book cannot be regarded as a serious work. It is more a hasty mixture of undocumented facts and loose thoughts that borders to fiction”

Realizing he was making a fool out of himself, he quickly did some research and found the topic of Finnish internment camps in eastern Karelia which he then wrote an article about trying to shift attention. Of course, with the same simplifications and ignorance of historical facts. Arnstad claimed that the Finnish army deliberately starved Russian civilians to death. This starvation happened during the spring and summer of 1942 when Finlands own population was starving to death because of accute food shortage and in addition the Finnish Army had to feed an unexpectedly large number of surrendered Soviet soldiers. Arnstad ignored the fact that when food was imported from Germany, the infrastructure and supply channels was improved, the death toll virtually went close to zero.

Now Arnstad wants to promote sales for his new book by accusing C.G.E. Mannerheim of being a despot in the same class with Mussolini and Hitler (He does not refer to the biggest despot of them all, Stalin. A sign of political affinity?) saying Finland is unique in Europe where there is a statue of a “war criminal”. Sigh… Mannerheim, although controversial, was during WW II nothing less than a military commander who did what he could do to save his nation and people from total annihilation. Arnstad wishes to discuss in his book how countries that have sided with evil (Nazi Germany) is dealing with its history today. I agree that there are some myths nurtured in Finland today but the myths are quite harmless when considering the cold facts: Finland was not Nazi minded but faced with three options, join either the Sovietunion (not bloody likely after the Winter War) or Nazi Germany, ready to provide arms and more crucial food, or stay neutral and inevitably be invaded only to be used as a battle ground for the the world’s without doubt worst murderstates. 

A more intresting target for myth studies and a much more worrying subject would be how the Sovietunions de facto succesor state Russia is dealing with its dictatorial and criminal past.

But, how serious is Arnstad as a historian and of what magnitude is his work in the eyes of other historians? Here is a list of all leading Finnish and Swedish historians who has been critical about Arnstad and the low quality of his books and articles: 

History prof. Henrik Meinander, Docent in political history Erkki Tuomioja, Docent and head of research at the Finnish national archive Lars Westerlund, Docent Stefan Forss, Ph. Dr. at Turku university Markku Jokisipilä, Prof. in civilright Ove Bring, Prof. of modern history at Swedish school of defense Kent Zetterberg, Prof. in political security Bo Huldt, historian and chairman of the Swedish academy Peter Englund.

Damned! I’d be terribly ashamed if I had published a book that was so totally debunked by serious scholars. We’ll see what criticism he will get for his new book.

Arnstad is a funny character in other ways too. He have been active on the Wikipedia page about him (that’s really low!) where he edited or removed the often reported heavy criticism against his work.

Wikipedia discussion page in Swedish http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diskussion:Henrik_Arnstad where Arnstad weeps that Wikipedia infact is a plattform for evil rightwing extremist slandering… Hmm, “rightwing extremist”,  isn’t that a favourite stalinist accusation? Another intresting side of Arnstad is his unashamed use of Soviet communist propaganda material for marketing his vision. The picture that Arnstad uses in his blogg http://skyldig.wordpress.com/ is supposed to be a picture of Soviet children in a Finnish concentration camp. The picture is a well known propaganda picture staged by a Soviet photographer after the war. The arrangement is with randomly chosen children put to stand behind a barbed wire fence. The children are a well fed bunch and far from being starved… Arnstad knows this is a staged propaganda picture, still he happily uses this picture. 

Using communist propaganda material is equal to the use of Nazi propaganda, Henrik!!


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