Lotta Svärd was a Finnish voluntary auxiliary paramilitary organisation for women. Formed originally in 1918, it had a large membership undertaking volunteer social work in the 1920s and 1930s. During the Second World War, it mobilized to replace men conscripted into the army. It served in hospitals, at air raid warning positions, and other auxiliary tasks in close cooperation with the army. The women were officially unarmed.
When the war ended, the Soviet Union demanded that all organisations it considered paramilitary, fascist or semi-fascist be banned. Lotta Svärd was one of the groups which was disbanded.
However, a new organisation called Suomen Naisten Huoltosäätiö (Support Foundation of Finnish Women) was started which took over much of the old property. Foundation provide maintenance and assistance for women and children who had suffered from the war. This organisation still exists by the name of Lotta Svärd Säätiö (Lotta Svärd Foundation).
Women involved in untiring national defence work and the Lotta Svärd Organization have had an important role in the processes through which Finland gained and maintained its independence.