Finland in World War II Research

Seuraa 
Viestejä45973
Liittynyt3.9.2015

Hei, nimeni on Alex and I am working on a National History Day project on Finland in World War II and have recently advanced to the national level of the competition to be held near Washington D.C. representing my school in Iowa. I am looking for reliable sources/people (for bibliographical purposes) who could answer these questions I have about Finland in World War two in relation to this year's theme, "Debate and Diplomacy: Successes, Failures and Consequences in History".

*Note*: Please don't recommend i try Wikipedia, we aren't allowed to use it in our final bibliography.

1. Why did Germany begin attacking Finland on Suursaari Island marking the beginning of the Lapland War? Weren't evacuations of German troops going peacefully?
3. Did the Wars Finland fought in World War Two solve any disputes that they had internally or externally with the Soviet Union besides the territorial disputes?
3. What were major debates that resulted from the war that may still be argued today in Finland or not?
4. How did former Reds and Whites from the Civil War react to having to unite in World War Two to fight the Soviets?

Thank you for your time!
Kiitos!!
-Alex

Sivut

Kommentit (69)

Vierailija

DO NOT BELIEVE MATTI E SIMONAHO: HE IS A LOCAL WINGNUT!

1. The war of Lappland started 15th on Sebtember when the Germans tried to invade Suursaari. It was called the operation Tanne ost. Suursaari was higly important because of its strategy position. If the Germans would have succeed they would had a possibility to maintain and continue the seablock in the Gulf of Finland.

Suursaari was governed by Finland during those days. However the disembarkation failed and it was an important political victory for Finns as well.

2. Difficult question. Soviet union was a kind of closed state before WW II and the Finns did not had a lot of cooperation with the Soviets before the war. There was a shadow government in Soviet Union called Terijoen hallitus that was established a week before the war started. Their mission was to transform Finland in to a socialistic state. The members of the government were Finnish communists who escaped from Finland after the losted civil war 1918.

3. Did the Finns really survived all by themselves or why did the Winter War ended? Others say it ended because of the threat of the embargo made by USA. Some others believe that it was a miragle and the braveness of the Finns, called "Sisu", made it possible.

The true fact is that near the end of the Continuation War 1944 ammos in Finlands defence were almoust finnish.

A semantic question regards to the name of the Continuation War 1941-1944. Was it an independed war against Soviet Union or was Finland a part of the Germanys attack line. An official explonation by Finnish government says that it was an independent war.

Others say that Finland was Germanys northest attack line and an ally to the Germany.

4. Some dangerous communist people were jailed when the war started by the Finnish Government. But according to the nationalist explonation the Winter War was the key element that united the people - white and reds after civil war.

The shadow government called Terijoen hallitus (hallitus=government) was never popular in Finland. In fact Stalin had a plan to arrange a triumph in Helsinki two weeks after Winter War strated. As we know now the invasion failed and the triumph was hold in Leningrad.

After the WW II Stalin believed that Finland will transform in to a socialist/comminist state because the reds had so many MPs in the parliament (see the Years of Danger). Because most of the leftist people were however so patriotic type the transformation failed.

Vierailija
Nagarjuna
DO NOT BELIEVE MATTI E SIMONAHO: HE IS A LOCAL WINGNUT!

3. Did the Finns really survived all by themselves or why did the Winter War ended? Others say it ended because of the threat of the embargo made by USA. Some others believe that it was a miragle and the braveness of the Finns, called "Sisu", made it possible.

The true fact is that near the end of the Continuation War 1944 ammos in Finlands defence were almoust finnish.

A semantic question regards to the name of the Continuation War 1941-1944. Was it an independed war against Soviet Union or was Finland a part of the Germanys attack line. An official explonation by Finnish government says that it was an independent war.

Others say that Finland was Germanys northest attack line and an ally to the Germany.




Just a small correction; by fall 1944 the defences were not running low on ammo, you must mean the end of Winter War in spring 1940 when some units were basically out of ammo? In fall -44 militarily the Finns were doing quite well along the defence line when the Russians got tired and were pulling their troops to join the Berlin 500.

Vierailija
Nagarjuna
DO NOT BELIEVE MATTI E SIMONAHO: HE IS A LOCAL WINGNUT!

1. The war of Lappland started 15th on Sebtember when the Germans tried to invade Suursaari. It was called the operation Tanne ost. Suursaari was higly important because of its strategy position. If the Germans would have succeed they would had a possibility to maintain and continue the seablock in the Gulf of Finland.

Suursaari was governed by Finland during those days. However the disembarkation failed and it was an important political victory for Finns as well.

2. Difficult question. Soviet union was a kind of closed state before WW II and the Finns did not had a lot of cooperation with the Soviets before the war. There was a shadow government in Soviet Union called Terijoen hallitus that was established a week before the war started. Their mission was to transform Finland in to a socialistic state. The members of the government were Finnish communists who escaped from Finland after the losted civil war 1918.

3. Did the Finns really survived all by themselves or why did the Winter War ended? Others say it ended because of the threat of the embargo made by USA. Some others believe that it was a miragle and the braveness of the Finns, called "Sisu", made it possible.

The true fact is that near the end of the Continuation War 1944 ammos in Finlands defence were almoust finnish.

A semantic question regards to the name of the Continuation War 1941-1944. Was it an independed war against Soviet Union or was Finland a part of the Germanys attack line. An official explonation by Finnish government says that it was an independent war.

Others say that Finland was Germanys northest attack line and an ally to the Germany.

4. Some dangerous communist people were jailed when the war started by the Finnish Government. But according to the nationalist explonation the Winter War was the key element that united the people - white and reds after civil war.

The shadow government called Terijoen hallitus (hallitus=government) was never popular in Finland. In fact Stalin had a plan to arrange a triumph in Helsinki two weeks after Winter War strated. As we know now the invasion failed and the triumph was hold in Leningrad.

After the WW II Stalin believed that Finland will transform in to a socialist/comminist state because the reds had so many MPs in the parliament (see the Years of Danger). Because most of the leftist people were however so patriotic type the transformation failed.




Although this is really helpful information, I cannot write a bibliography on it unless the person who wrote it studied/taught it, or it was taken from another reliable source (not Wikipedia) in English or Finnish.

Vierailija
Pertinax
1. Why did Germany begin attacking Finland on Suursaari Island marking the beginning of the Lapland War? Weren't evacuations of German troops going peacefully?

http://books.google.com/books?id=1izr3C ... st&f=false




Thank you sooo much!! I have heard of this book, but it isn't avaliable through the midwest regional library sharing system, and I didnt realize it was online.

Some interesting information... How did Operation Tanne West end up? The book preview ended before it was explained.

Pertinax
Seuraa 
Viestejä1782
Liittynyt13.9.2006
In that situation the Germans had apt possibility of re-considering if operations Tanne Ost and Tanne West were still viable.They decided to forget Operation Tanne West since occupying demilitarized Ahvenanmaa/Åland Islands with their Swedish-speaking population and located so close to Stockholm would have created considerable political problems with Sweden.
[size=70:pxhrtcs9]On 3 September 1944, Hitler, however, cancelled “Tanne West” so as not to provoke Sweden into halting the supply of vital iron ore and ball bearings to Germany.[/size:pxhrtcs9]

As turned out Tanne West would have been completely unnecessary anyway, since Finnish military allowed the German ships to pass Ahvenanmaa/Åland Islands without firing a shot. But as far as Operation Tanne Ost was concerned, German General Headquarters decided to go forward with it, even if the development of military situation wasn’t exactly encouraging and the development of political situation was swiftly undermining the goals that the Germans had intended to achieve with it.

Already by that time Soviet aviation had taken over air superiority in eastern part of Gulf of Finland and due to this German Navy was unable to operate there daytime without suffering heavy losses. In such situation German Navy absolutely would have needed harbors in northern Estonia for supplying troops in Suursaari Island, but the German ability to keep these even few weeks already seemed quite uncertain. German Army Group Nord fighting in this area was in serious difficulties. The Soviets had succeeded breaching its lines around Narva in July of 1944, which had forced its troops to retreat into Tannenberg-line, against which the Soviets had launched unsuccessful attacks until 9th of August and we now preparing to launch net set of attacks.


http://www.jaegerplatoon.net/SUURSAARI1.htm

Between East and West: Finland in international politics, 1944-1947

Vierailija
Sleepysilver
Nagarjuna
DO NOT BELIEVE MATTI E SIMONAHO: HE IS A LOCAL WINGNUT!

3. Did the Finns really survived all by themselves or why did the Winter War ended? Others say it ended because of the threat of the embargo made by USA. Some others believe that it was a miragle and the braveness of the Finns, called "Sisu", made it possible.

The true fact is that near the end of the Continuation War 1944 ammos in Finlands defence were almoust finnish.

A semantic question regards to the name of the Continuation War 1941-1944. Was it an independed war against Soviet Union or was Finland a part of the Germanys attack line. An official explonation by Finnish government says that it was an independent war.

Others say that Finland was Germanys northest attack line and an ally to the Germany.




Just a small correction; by fall 1944 the defences were not running low on ammo, you must mean the end of Winter War in spring 1940 when some units were basically out of ammo? In fall -44 militarily the Finns were doing quite well along the defence line when the Russians got tired and were pulling their troops to join the Berlin 500.




Thats true. 13.3.1940 Finland was totally down. It was game over after hours, not days. Artillery units had only 2000 ammos left. According to professor Raukallio the most important reason for the peace was the threat of the embargo declared by USA. However Germany played their role as well. They promised that Finland will later get more back from Russia if they sign a contract. The Germans knew that they will attack, Operation Barbarossa was on the table and the northern ally was needed. Hitler thought that the white Finns belong to same race with the Aryans and he loved the Finnish mytology, Kalevala. Scandinavia was also an important sector because of the mineral resourses. So in 1940 Stalin received the diplomatic initiative for peace from Germany, not from Finland.

Stalin gave an order for Stavka to sever Finland from the war in 1944.

Stalin had a horry to Berlin, as we know he had the Race to Berlin going on with the West and the geographical location of Finland in not on the line. Stalin also needed the troops from Finland to the war against Germany in south.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_to_Berlin

Arthur Wellesley, the duke of Wellington: "all military plans disintegrate at the moment the enemy is engaged with".

Vierailija

Commenting a little of 3 and 4.

3) After the war, Soviet Union and later Russia has always been a tender subject to many politicians. Any negative comments concerning Russia as a possible military threat to Finland (based on the fact that it indeed is the only potential threat - no one is going to attack Finland from Europe's side) are generally met with a "shush, shut up" -attitude.

4) The people of Finland got mostly unified against the USSR during the war; the soviets had calculated that the former Reds of the civil war would rebel and aid the invaders from the inside, but that didn't happen. After the war pro-Soviet communists gained more influence, but never succeeded in seizing political power in democratic elections. And when USSR invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968, the truth of the communist agenda was revealed even to their supporters. However many clinged to the utopistic thought that socialism might work some day, and remained as a noisy annoyance for decades, opposing anything that would bring Finland closer to the West. In the 70s the worst stalinist group got named "taistolaiset" (after their leader Taisto Sinisalo). Today their successors are, in addition to the actual communist party, found mostly among the Leftists and the Greens, where they continue the stalinist traditions of anti-western attitude.

Vierailija
Fëanor
Commenting a little of 3 and 4.

3) After the war, Soviet Union and later Russia has always been a tender subject to many politicians. Any negative comments concerning Russia as a possible military threat to Finland (based on the fact that it indeed is the only potential threat - no one is going to attack Finland from Europe's side) are generally met with a "shush, shut up" -attitude.

4) The people of Finland got mostly unified against the USSR during the war; the soviets had calculated that the former Reds of the civil war would rebel and aid the invaders from the inside, but that didn't happen. After the war pro-Soviet communists gained more influence, but never succeeded in seizing political power in democratic elections. And when USSR invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968, the truth of the communist agenda was revealed even to their supporters. However many clinged to the utopistic thought that socialism might work some day, and remained as a noisy annoyance for decades, opposing anything that would bring Finland closer to the West. In the 70s the worst stalinist group got named "taistolaiset" (after their leader Taisto Sinisalo). Today their successors are, in addition to the actual communist party, found mostly among the Leftists and the Greens, where they continue the stalinist traditions of anti-western attitude.


Thanks a ton, I'll look more into Taisto Sinisalo, I've never heard of him, as well as othe Communist movements in the wars.

Vierailija
abare

3. What were major debates that resulted from the war that may still be argued today in Finland or not?
4. How did former Reds and Whites from the Civil War react to having to unite in World War Two to fight the Soviets?

-Alex




Just some ideas tro whet your appetite:

3. Winter War and Lapland War are more easily explained and not generally debated today. It is generally acknowledged that there was not much Finland could do to avoid Winter War or Lapland War. Winter War was more of a pure survival struggle while Lapland War was a 'necessary evil' that had to be dealt with one way or the other. Some will claim Winter War could have been avoided by giving up to the Soviet territorial claims while actually getting a larger piece of land (although inferior) in return. Some will claim the Soviets already had expansionist plans in Finland and that eventually they would have attacked regardless what they were given (see e.g. Molotov-Ribbentrop pact).

The debate since the wars has mostly been revolving around the Continuation War, it's reasons and justifications. I think there's a good portion of guilt involved; how could we join forces with the nazis? In high schools an eternal subject for history essays is whether in summer 1941 Finland was a driftwood in a rapid water or a 'church boat', still in the current but guided by able hands? Mainly due to political reasons the latter option was more prevailing during the cold war when there was political desire to portray Finland as a firm and willing German ally. Recently again, there's been opinions about Finland fighting it's own inevitable war with German help to create some 'buffer' against Soviet Union and to reclaim areas lost in Winter War.

According to this news paper article, 16 history professors of interviewed 28 said Finland wasn't fighting it's own separate war in the North but instead were a firm and willing ally of the Germans and deliberately took advantage of the German then-successful war efforts. 6 were in favour of the 'separate conflict' theory and 6 couldn't answer. http://www.uusisuomi.fi/kotimaa/38330-h ... ittolainen. There's also indication that the Finnish leadership already during Winter War knew Germany will loose the war(s). From there on it was a matter of thinking how to play the cards right without Finland loosing too much to the Soviets (Jukka Seppinen: "HITLER, STALIN JA SUOMI - ISÄNMAA TOTALITARISMIN PURISTUKSESSA 1935-1944"). During the Continuation War this plan was adjusted accordingly (e.g Finland refusing to cut Murmansk rail line and bombing Leningrad etc. in order not to piss of the Soviets).

However, it's a never ending debate (hundreds of pages of debate on this forum alone) and a sensitive subject. From a foreign perspective the issue seems more clear; Finland was unquestionably a German ally but the Finns are quick to point out there was a myriad of good reasons for this and that the Finns weren't an ideological ally (generally the Finns had no major issues against Jews or other minorities). At the end of the day Finland pulled out from the war with surprisingly minimal damage. In retrospect it can be argued that other kind of decisions in 1939-1944 could have resulted in more disastrous results, or atleast loosing independency. I don't envy you if youre' trying to make sense of all this as there's so many opinions about. In my school books (1980's) the subject was left open for the reader decide whether Finland knew what they were doing before and during the Continuation War or if it was more of a rapid success of events that were dealt with the best available information/intuition/whatever?

4. I doubt there's any studies done on this or major references you can use? Anecdotally, there was occasional rivalry, i.e. pissing contests and dares etc. The 'reds' probably felt they had more to proof. Again, I think it's pretty generally acknowledged there was no major issues and that especially the Winter War helped to finally weld the nation together. The Soviet attack in 1939 was generally felt horribly unjust and the peace terms in 1940 even more so. Anecdotally (uncles and grandfathers) there was general keenness in 1941 to get back the lost territory as it was unjustly taken. Also, success in Winter War probably caused some false hopes of this being an easy job. After the war there's been some grunts about Finland never getting back the lost borders like others on the loosing side, especially Germany.

Some fresh foreign point of view to this subject would be most welcomed.

Vierailija

Although this is a direct quote from Wikipedia, I can't resist the temptation as it may answer some of your questions:

"One remarkable thing that was also decided at the Tehran Conference was the way in which the Allies would deal with Finland, a free democratic country which cooperated with Germany after decades of Soviet aggression and one that had not signed the Tripartite Pact, and had not declared war on any free Allied countries. Allied leaders decided that Finland was fighting a separate war against Soviet Union, and as such was not a de jure member of Axis. Their decision stipulated that Finland could conduct its own negotiations to obtain a peace contract with the USSR rather than being subject to the "unconditional surrender" that faced the Germans and Japanese."

It's about the Tehran Conference and there should be tons of non-wikipedia -related info/analysis about it around for you to explore.

Vierailija
Sleepysilver
abare

3. What were major debates that resulted from the war that may still be argued today in Finland or not?
4. How did former Reds and Whites from the Civil War react to having to unite in World War Two to fight the Soviets?

-Alex




Some fresh foreign point of view to this subject would be most welcomed.



Thank you for the response Very helpful.

I would have to say that after all of the months of research that I've put into this project, that Finland was and ally of Nazi Germany, owever I don't think they were a satellite of the Germans. I think Finland was just glad to see that there was some one else who had a similar objective: Fighting the Soviet Union. Finland was in between a rock and a very hard place though. Had they not cooperated with the Germans, they faced the Gulag occupation and by Soviets probably up untill the collapse of the Soviet Union like what happened in the Baltics, but if they had won the war with the Soviets, sooner or later Germany probably would have started killing off the minorities of Finland. I find it really amazing that Finland was able to escape both of these scenerios without giving in to the original territorial demands back in 1938 and 39.

Vierailija
abare
Soviets, sooner or later Germany probably would have started killing off the minorities of Finland. I find it really amazing that Finland was able to escape both of these scenerios without giving in to the original territorial demands back in 1938 and 39.



In the end I think that it was just pure luck. The Soviet Union could have crushed Finland in the end of the Winter War if it would have chosen to do so. I think that the war was so unpopular internationally that the Soviet Union decided in wasn't worth the effort.

Many of the Finnish troops that took part in the Continuation War felt a bit uneasy when they were crossing the old borders. There were many who perceived the plans of the Finnish military leadership as grandiose and megalomaniac. Examples of which can be found for example in this book:

http://www.hs.fi/kirjat/artikkeli/Tyrm% ... SI1KU014oy

I'm sorry, the book is only in Finnish. The book is called "The fronts policeman" Its a diary of one of the surveillance officers of the Finnish army during the Continuation War.

Vierailija

This is related to question number 3, but i don't have any reliable source to link for the time being. Perhaps some other forum user may have stomped on some study or book that is on to the subject.

Well anyways on to the matter. Some time back there was once again heated debate wheter Finland should stay officially bilingual country or not. During this debate there was a claim that swedish speaking minority refused to help or shelter people who came as a refugees from Karjala region. Swedish speaking minority denied this claim, yet at least i have always lived under the impression that it is commonly approved fact that swedish speakers back then refused to help the refugees.

Someone with more background knowledge on the matter should shed some more insight and sources on to this subject.

You should also check if finnish parliament does have a website that has been translated to english. There you might find reports that cover the Finlands stance towards NATO and compulsory military service. WW2 and post-war era definately have influenced those views.

poorstudent
Seuraa 
Viestejä98
Liittynyt26.3.2008
abare
Hei, nimeni on Alex and I am working on a National History Day project on Finland in World War II and have recently advanced to the national level of the competition to be held near Washington D.C. representing my school in Iowa. I am looking for reliable sources/people (for bibliographical purposes) who could answer these questions I have about Finland in World War two in relation to this year's theme, "Debate and Diplomacy: Successes, Failures and Consequences in History".

*Note*: Please don't recommend i try Wikipedia, we aren't allowed to use it in our final bibliography.

1. Why did Germany begin attacking Finland on Suursaari Island marking the beginning of the Lapland War? Weren't evacuations of German troops going peacefully?
3. Did the Wars Finland fought in World War Two solve any disputes that they had internally or externally with the Soviet Union besides the territorial disputes?
3. What were major debates that resulted from the war that may still be argued today in Finland or not?
4. How did former Reds and Whites from the Civil War react to having to unite in World War Two to fight the Soviets?

Thank you for your time!
Kiitos!!
-Alex




I recommend you to go http://forum.axishistory.com/viewforum.php?f=59 here.
There are lots of topics about wars and Finland-USSR relations.

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