The Finnish term heimosodat is in English literally "Kindred Nations Wars", "Wars for kindred peoples" or "Kinship Wars" for Finnic kinship. It is often erroneously translated as "Tribal Wars". It refers to conflicts in territories inhabited by other Finnic peoples, often in Russia or in borders of Russia, in which some 9000 Finnish volunteers took part between 1918 and 1922, to assert Finnish control over areas with predominantly Finnic populations. Many of the volunteer soldiers were inspired by the idea of Greater Finland. Some of the conflicts were incursions from Finland and some were local uprisings, where volunteers wanted either to help the people in their fight for independence or to annex the areas to Finland.

* Estonian War of Independence (1918—1920)
** Pohjan pojat ("Sons of the North") and I Suomalainen Vapaajoukko (I Finnish volunteer corps) helped Estonian troops.
* Viena expedition (1918)
** Murmansk legion
* Aunus expedition (1919)
* Petsamo expeditions (1918 and 1920)
* East Karelian Uprising (1921 - 1922)
* National revolt of Ingrian Finns (1918-1920)

The phenomenon is closely linked to nationalism and irredentism as Finland had just won its national independence, and a part of the population felt that they had obligations to help other Finnic peoples to attain the same. Estonia, the closest and numerically biggest "kindred nation", had gained its independence at the same time, but had less resources, less institutions ready to support its attained position, and more Russian troops inside its borders. Other Finnic peoples were at a much lower cultural, economic and political capability level. The Finnish Civil War had awakened a strong nationalistic feeling that sought tangible ways to make itself have impact. Finland had, for the two next decades, a relatively high citizen participation in nationalistic activities (e.g Karelianism and Finnicization of the country and its institutions). Only the strenuous five-year period 1939-45 of total war drained excess enthusiasm.


*"sota" means a war and in this context, mostly a small one, such as border skirmishes, expeditions made by volunteer troops, expulsion of some remnant forces of occupation, and attempts to form a rebellion.

*"heimo" (which often means a tribe or a clan) also means the ethnic and language kinship between Finnic peoples - "they are clan to each others", so "heimo" in this context means "kindred peoples"

*"sukukansa" means another people who are linguistically/ethnically kin to the people from whose viewpoint they are "suku" (= related by blood)

ee also

*List of Finnish wars
*Treaty of Tartu
*Winter war
*Continuation War

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