Baron Carl Gustav Emil Mannerheim: Finland's closest counterpart to GeorgeWashington.
He was born in the autonomous Grand Principality of Finland (when Finland was a dependency of TsaristRussia) to an old family of Swedish ancestry. Entering MilitarySchool he narrowly avoided having his career ended by an adolescent prank but his [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections family saved him]] and he entered the service of the Czar. He served in the UsefulNotes/RussoJapaneseWar and in UsefulNotes/WorldWarI as well as going on an espionage mission, uh, [[ImplausibleDeniability "scientific expedition"]] in the wilder parts of Central Asia, where he engaged in many exploits, including personally meeting the Dalai Lama. During UsefulNotes/WorldWarI he was a general in the Czarist army, ironically on the opposite side from several who would later be his most trusted officers. After the Bolshevik Revolution he took a train back to Finland which was taking it's chance to declare independence. This brought about the short Finnish Civil War between the Red Finns and the White Finns (Bolsheviks and anti-Bolsheviks just as in Russia). Mannerheim was given command of the White army and was able to bring about a quick White victory. Unfortunately this achievement was clouded by atrocities against Red prisoners (a more common occurance in civil wars where each side often theoretically considers the other as criminals rather then being MyCountryRightOrWrong), an incident for which Mannerheim was blamed by many.
Between the wars Mannerheim devoted himself to philanthropy. He was personally conservative, in fact a monarchist, but took little part in internal factionalism, except to advocate greater preparedness for the coming war. When Germany invaded Poland beginning UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, the Soviet Union took the opportunity to pick up the tidbits in Eastern Europe. Unfortunately one of those tidbits happened to be Finland. Unfortunately [[LetsGetDangerous for the Soviet Union]] that is.
During the Winter War (WWII Finland vs Russia), Continuation War (WWII Finland+Germany vs Russia), and Lapland war (WWII Finland vs Germany) he took command of Finnish forces. He was an unspectacular but sound commander depending on the arctic bred hardihood of his men and the difficult terrain of Finland to make up for Finland's lack of equipment. He also showed considerable political savvy, an example of which was his decision during the Continuation War to halt Finnish advance at the borders of territory lost in the Winter War, despite the possible chance of capturing Leningrad. Decisions like this helped keep the German "allies" at arms length and allowed Finland to make a separate peace without fatal damage. Toward the end of the war and after he was elected president and helped guide Finland through the recovery. He retired to Switzerland and died in 1951.
* AdventurerArchaeologist: In Central Asia. [[ImplausibleDeniability Yeah, right.]]
* BlueBlood: Almost a archetype; he acted like a stand in for [[TheSoundOfMusic Captain Von Trapp]] or [[Literature/VorkosiganSaga Aral Vorkosigan]].
* CavalryOfficer: Just when cavalry was dying out.
* DeathGlare: Even AdolfHitler was afraid of his DeathGlare.
* [[FinnsWithFearsomeForests Finn With Fearsome Forests]]
* FourStarBadass: In ''both'' world wars.
* GreatWhiteHunter: Of Tigers, Chamois, Russians, and other dangerous creatures.
* KillEmAll: Even if it was not carried out under his direct orders, his army had more than 20 000 (up to 25% of the Finnish red guard) Red prisoners either executed on the spot or killed POW camps.
* StiffUpperLip: When the Russian revolution came, other officers disguised themselves. He put on a gorgeous uniform full of gold lace and BlingOfWar, and hired a relay of valets to come with him on the train back to Finland because no mere revolution is going to make him carry his own luggage.
* TrademarkFavoriteFood: He liked a cocktail made of Finnish vodka (Rajamäki Vodka, to be precise) with small amounts of French vermouth and gin added.
* YourApprovalFillsMeWithShame: When he was visited by AdolfHitler on his birthday.