Photo: Atelier Rembrandt

Simbri Johannes Ahola

Director General 1943–1962

Ahola (1894–1967) was politically neutral, though leaned more to the right. The government unanimously agreed on his appointment. Ahola had good relations with many politicians, including President Kekkonen, and he was very interested in social issues. Ahola was supposed to dismantle bureaucracy in the Postal Services and fill the posts with Finnish-speaking employees. Despite Ahola being reformist and it being an era of intense development, not many reforms took place. He also held other posts, such as Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Finnish Broadcasting Company. Ahola was a democratic, convivial, flexible and informal leader. He was happy to delegate tasks, especially to the trustworthy Oiva Saloila, and when he retired, Saloila became the new Director general.

Ahola was born in Alavus and started his career in the civil service at the Vyborg railway station. While working, Ahola studied at the secondary school and passed the matriculation exam in 1923. He became a lawyer in 1932. Ahola worked as a clerk for the State Railways and a department secretary at the Railway Administration. He joined the Ministry for Transport and Public Works in 1935.

Postal History in Finland

  • The Postal Services had more Finnish-speaking employees after the old generation retired.
  • The new simplified logo in the shape of a coat of arms launched in 1956.
  • Mail volumes continued to grow, and deliveries became quicker. By the mid-1960s, 95% of mail was delivered in the morning.
  • Aerograms, or air letters, introduced in 1951 (an extra fee for airmail was no longer charged).
  • The railway system was the backbone of mail transport until the mid-1950s.
  • Mail lorries started operating between Helsinki and Turku in 1958.
  • The post office bus in 1960. A bus was converted into a seven-tonne post office with two to five staff.
  • Stamp vending machines launched in Helsinki in 1959.
  • The Post and Telegraph Institute opened in the late 1950s. Systematic training of personnel started.
  • 596.1 million items delivered in 1945 (36.2 million official items, 413.4 million newspapers).
  • The number of international deliveries grew rapidly after World War II: 10.8 million in 1945, 24.4 million in 1950, 36.4 million in 1955 and 59 million in 1960.
  • 3,398 postal outlets in 1945, 654 of which were post offices. There were 168 mobile post offices (carriages).
  • 4,486 postal outlets in 1960, 818 of which were post offices. There were 104 mobile post offices (carriages).
  • Staff: 18,590 in 1945, 22,424 in 1950, 22,774 in 1955 and 31,956 in 1960.




  • More people read and subscribed to newspapers after the war.
  • The author Mika Waltari's magnum opus, "The Egyptian", published in 1945.
  • The first Mitä Missä Milloin yearbook published by Otava in 1950.
  • The first issue of the Donald Duck comic book (a sample) in Finnish published in 1951.
  • Theatre Director Mia Backman awarded the first Pro Finlandia Prize in 1945.
  • The Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to A.I. Virtanen in 1945.
  • The Agreement of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance with the Soviet Union in 1948.
  • Marimekko founded in 1951.
  • The Olympic Games in Helsinki in 1952.
  • Coca-Cola launched in Finland in 1952.
  • Armi Kuusela crowned Miss Universe in 1952.
  • Väinö Linna's novel "The Unknown Soldier" published in 1954, the film adaptation directed by Edvin Laine premiered in 1955.
  • Finland developed from a rural society into an industrial society after the war.
  • The first computer, an IBM 650, acquired to Postisäästöpankki in 1958.
  • Regular television broadcasts began in 1958. Yleisradio started regular colour test broadcasts in 1969.
  • Presidents of Finland: Risto Ryti (National Progressive Party) 1940-44, C.G.E. Mannerheim (independent) 1944–46, J.K. Paasikivi (National Coalition Party) 1946–56, U.K. Kekkonen (Agrarian Party) 1956–82.
  • Population: 3.8 million in 1945 and 4.4 million in 1960.

Global Events

  • NATO created in 1949.
  • The first Formula 1 World Championship race was held at the Silverstone Circuit in England in 1950.
  • The first colour television broadcast in the United States in 1951.
  • The first James Bond book, "Casino Royale", published in 1953.
  • The Vietnam War 1955–75.
  • The first Eurovision Song Contest held in Lugano, Switzerland, in 1956.
  • The European Economic Community created in 1957.
  • The space race between the United States and the Soviet Union began in 1957 when the first Soviet Sputnik satellite was launched.
  • Laika the dog was the first animal to orbit the Earth in Sputnik 2 in 1957.
  •  Jet airliners introduced in 1959–60. Distances shortened.
  • Yuri Gagarin was the first human to journey into outer space in 1961, when he completed an orbit of the Earth.
  • Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon in 1969.
  • Computers became more commonly used in research purposes in laboratories and universities in the 1960s.
  • Construction of the Berlin Wall began in 1961.