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Showing posts from November, 2019

Winter War - A Nation Forged Into One

Every nation has defining moments in its history, but few have such a powerful single event that embodies the people and spirit of the nation as Winter War is for Finland. The war forged a nation divided by a bloody war of independence into one entity that stood with grim determination against the hopeless odds and survived to tell the tale.

Before the Russian invasion that begun on the 30th of November in 1939, most Finns were blissfully unaware of the forces Stalin had assigned for what he expected to be an easy victory. The Red Army had devised a plan to attack Finland along the whole 1300 km long border with 21 divisions that had 450 000 men.

Soviets highlighted the totalitarian nature of their invasion already on the first day of the war as bomber formations unleashed hell upon Finnish cities. It’s still somewhat debated whether the attacks on civilian population were intentional or a result of utter incompetence and failed targeting of the bombing runs. The Soviet air-power ha…

#WinterWar80: Road to War

On October 5th 1939 the USSR invited Finnish representatives to negotiations in Moscow. The Finnish government draw the correct conclusion that USSR was going to demand territory and bases from Finland. But the Finnish government wasn’t ready to roll over in the negotiations.

The signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact between the USSR and Nazi Germany and the following invasion of Poland by the two, had made the Finnish leadership somewhat alarmed. During the October 1939 the USSR had demanded bases from the Baltic states. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania saw that they had no choice but to comply with the demands as they were trapped between the co-operating dictatorships.

Some leverage had to be created for the Finnish government. So it was decided that the best way to counter the Soviet pressure was to mobilize the Finnish army. But instead of announcing a general mobilization, Finland begun an “extra refresher training for the reservists”. 

The Independent Finnish army emerged from t…