Mauno Henrik Koivisto ( Finnish pronunciation: [ˈmɑuno ˈkoiʋisto] ; 25 November 1923 – 12 May 2017) was a Finnish politician who served as the ninth President of Finland from 1982 to 1994.
He also served twice as Prime Minister, from 1968 to 1970 and 1979 to 1982. He was the first Social Democrat to be elected President of Finland.
Koivisto was born in Turku, Finland , the second son of Juho Koivisto, a carpenter at Crichton-Vulcan shipyard, and Hymni Sofia Eskola, who died when he was 10. After attending primary school, Koivisto worked a number of jobs, and at the beginning of the Winter War in 1939 joined a field firefighting unit at the age of 16.
During the Continuation War, Koivisto served in the Infantry Detachment Törni led by Lauri Törni, which was a reconnaissance detachment operating behind enemy lines. This detachment was only open to selected volunteers.
During the war he received the Order of the Cross of Liberty (2nd class) and was promoted to the rank of corporal. While reflecting on his wartime experiences later in life, he said "When you have taken part in a game in which your own life is at stake, all other games are small after that".
After the war, he earned a living as a carpenter and became active in politics , joining the Social Democratic Party . During his early years, Koivisto was also influenced by anarchism and anarchosyndicalism. In 1948 he found work at Turku harbor- in December that same year he was appointed manager of the Harbour Labour Office of Turku, a post he held until 1951.
In 1949 communist-controlled trade unions attempted to topple Karl-August Fagerholm 's Social Democrat minority government, and the Social Democratic leadership of the Finnish Confederation of Trade Unions (SAK) declared the port of Hanko an "open site", urging port workers who supported legality to go there. Koivisto went to Hanko to take charge of the harbour-master's office and recruit workers to break the strike, the government having banned strike action.
The Communist newspapers branded Koivisto as their number one enemy due to his status as a major figure in the struggle for control of the trade unions.