Finland before and after ww2
Finlands War Of Choice: The Troubled German-Finnish Coalition in World War II by Henrik O. LundeThis book describes the odd coalition between Germany and Finland in World War II, and their joint military operations from 1941 to 1945. This is a topic often missing in English, though in stark contrast to the numerous books on the shorter and less bloody Winter War. That conflict represented a gallant fight of a democratic David against a totalitarian Goliath that caught the imagination of the world. The story of Finland fighting alongside a Goliath of its own has not brought pride to that nation and was a period many Finns would rather forget. The prologue of this book brings the reader up to speed by briefly examining the difficult history of Finland, from its separation from the Soviet Union in 1917 to its isolation after being bludgeoned in 1939-40. It then examines both Finnish and German motives for forming a coalition against the USSR, and how--as logical as a common enemy would seem--the lack of true planning and preparation would doom the alliance.
Tracing Finland’s eastern border
The Vaalimaa border station in southeastern Finland, the oldest border station for road transport between Finland and Russia, opened in July picture from Photo: Matti Karjanoja. The areas to the south and west of the border, including Vyborg, belonged to Sweden, while the areas north and east of the border, including the northern parts of Finland, were Russian territory. For centuries, the border drawn in the Treaty would separate two cultures, religions and languages, and its impacts are still felt today. Finnish dialects can be roughly classified into eastern and western variants in accordance with this ancient divide. Resurgent Sweden and Russia clashed a number of times during the ensuing centuries and most of the battles were fought on Finnish soil.
As relations with the Soviet Union changed during the war, Finland was placed in the unusual situation of being for, then against and then for the overall interests of the Allied powers. The first two major conflicts were the defensive Winter War against an invasion by the Soviet Union in —, followed by the Continuation War , alongside the Axis Powers against the Soviets, in — The third conflict, the Lapland War against Germany in —, followed the signing of the Moscow Armistice with the Allied Powers, which stipulated expulsion of Nazi German forces from Finnish territory. As a result of this territorial loss, all East Karelians abandoned their homes, relocating to areas that remained within the borders of Finland. Finland entered a personal union with the Russian Empire as a grand duchy with extensive autonomy.
Immediately after the attack a coalition government formed under Risto Ryti. Despite courageous resistance and a number of successful defense actions, the defense of the Karelian Isthmus broke down, and Finland had to initiate peace negotiations. By the Treaty of Moscow of March 12, , Finland surrendered a large area of southeastern Finland, including the city of Viipuri renamed Vyborg , and leased the peninsula of Hanko to the Soviet Union for 30 years. After the Treaty of Moscow the plan for a Nordic defense union was resumed. The Soviet Union still objected, however, and the plan was thus abandoned. When the tension between Germany and the Soviet Union grew in the spring of , Finland approached Germany but did not conclude a formal agreement.
On this day, Finland, under increasing pressure from both the United States and the Soviet Union , finally declares war on its former partner, Germany. After the German invasion of Poland, the USSR, wanting to protect Leningrad more than ever from encroachment by the West—even its dubious Nonaggression Pact partner Germany—began demanding control of various disputed areas from Finland, including part of the Karelian Isthmus the land bridge that gave access to Leningrad. Finland resisted the Soviet pressure. Stalin claimed that Finnish troops opened fire on Soviet troops. The Finns stunned everyone by beating back the initial Soviet offensive. Although their resistance consisted of only small numbers of trained soldiers on skis and bicycles! But by the time the Soviets had a chance to regroup and send in massive reinforcements, the Finnish resistance was spent.
The signing of the preliminary peace treaty between Finland and the Soviet Union on September 19, , marked the beginning of a new era for Finland. Its hallmark was to be a diametrical change in Finnish policy toward the Soviet Union; the traditional hostility was to be replaced by a policy of friendship. Finnish leaders felt that only a genuine rapprochement between the two countries could guarantee Finland's long-term survival as an independent state. In the late s, the new policy, operative for more than forty years,appeared to have been successful in preserving Finland's freedom. Domestically, Finland's society and economy have undergone rapid changes that have made the country a prosperous social-welfare state. Finland's achievements in the postwar years have been surviving external threats and thriving as a modern industrialized country.