Finland... Good, Bad, or Cursed?




 
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August 2nd, 2011  
5.56X45mm
 
 

Topic: Finland... Good, Bad, or Cursed?


Finland's role in WWII is often overlooked and misunderstood. A Liberal Democracy tucked up in the Nordic countries. With Russia to her East and Germany to her South and West. She had a small population and a under strength armed forces.

Germany sold her and the Baltic states to the USSR with the famous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. In 1939 the USSR waged war against her after conquering Estonia (which had a very close relationship to Finland) and the other Baltic States along with half of Poland. The Finns fought a hard and brutal war for survival against the Soviet beast and held out.

Finland was hoping that Sweden, Norway, and Denmark would join in the fight and help push back the Soviets. But only Sweden supported Finland (along with Estonia in the form of troops that fled Soviet rule) with men and material.

Then Germany does a 180 and asks Finland's help for the invasion of the USSR. Finland at this point with a dicey choice. Sit out the war and have the Soviets hit them anyways or throw their lot in with the Germans and take back what was taken away from them in the Winter War. They do the logic choice with a interesting twist.

Finland at this point was surrounded by despotic regimes. The USSR to the East and Germany to her South and West. Germany was ruling Norway and Denmark at this point in time. Finland simply wanted to stay as a free nation.

So she joins in the fight and marches eastward.... to a point and then says no more. Finland operated a Jewish Synagogue in the eastern front.... remember at this point in time they were working with the Germans. They also had Jewish soldiers serve alongside German troops and even had Jewish doctors treat wounded Germans. Germany awarded Iron Crosses to Jewish Finn Soldiers... though the Jewish Finns turned down the awards.

The tide of the eastern front changes and the USSR pushes west. Finland sues for peace with the USSR. Part of that peace is that they have to disband their armed forces and kick out the Germans from Finnish lands ASAP. They do.... and the Finnish Army fights the Germans pushing them to the Norwegian Border.

Finland is treated as a member of the Axis and the Soviets screw Finland over until 1991 when the USSR falls.

So was Finland good, bad, or simply screwed over by being in a bad spot on the map?

I respect the Finns for what they went through. They simply wanted to be alone at first and Germany throws her to the Soviets under the table. The Soviets invade and she fights back and looses but by hold the high ground. She is then put in another crappy spot and knows that if she says know to the Germans it will not be good. So she tries to keep her distance by saying she's not an ally but simply they have the same crappy neighbor. Looses that fight and then has to fight the Germans at the same time while disbanding their armed forces and bending over for the Soviet foot that will be shoved up their rear end.

She tried with all of her might to stay out of crap and walk away but she couldn't. So she did the best thing possible.
August 2nd, 2011  
sunb!
 
 
During negotations in 1939 the Soviet Union demanded Finland to cede land in Karelia as the Finnish-Soviet border was too close to Leningrad. The Finns rejected and offered to cede land elsewhere, but Finland was attacked by the Soviets after alleged border provications in the border city of Mainila. The Finns resisted until the 13th of March 1940 when a peace agreement was signed. The Finns was forced to cede 10% of the territory and 20% of the industrial capacity to the Soviets. 10% of the population had to evacuade.

The resume war, from june 1941 until fall 1944.The Soviet union attacked Finland on the 25th of June 1941 and lasted until the cease fire agreement began on the 4th and 5th of September 1944. Finland received military support from Germany in this period and was of great importance to defend Finland against the Soviet attacks.

The cease fire in 1944 imposed Finland to dispel the German forces from Finland, if that failed - the Soviets would do so themselves, which ment Soviet occupation of Finland. The German troops retreated through Lappland to Finnmark in Norway - and later was evacuated to the South of Norway or Europe.

The Finnish engagement in 1941-1944 was part of the plan to take back the areas given to the Soviets earlier, and to create a Great-Finland that included the East of Karelia which had strong historical bonds to Finland.

Finland avoided Soviet occupation, but had to remain neutral during the cold war.

The Winter war in the Nordic countries led to great support to Finland. Sweden, Norway and Denmark sent weapons, munitions and other supplies to the finnish soldiers. Several scandinavians were volunteer soldiers and fought side by side with the finnish soliders against the Soviets.

Some other nuances and historical facts that must be kept in mind.
August 2nd, 2011  
MontyB
 
 
One point to remember is that of all the axis aligned countries Finland was the only one not to be occupied and the only one Stalin did a deal with so rather than good, bad or unlucky I would suggest they were abandoned, resilient and lucky.
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August 2nd, 2011  
Korean Seaboy
 
 
They were quite lucky compared to other countries the Soviets dealt with. They dealt ruthlessly with the Baltic states after re-conquering them (the Baltic states declared independence during Barbarossa which complicated Soviet defenses), and the Balkan countries also.
The Winter War is a famous example of Soviet blunder and incompetence during WWII (though they were quite successful after Moscow). The Finns were grossly underequipped and outnumbered (the Soviets had the largest army in the world at that time), yet they won against amazing odds, surrenduring only 1/10 of their land to the Soviets when they faced a possible extinction within a few days like how Nazi Germany did to Belgium or the Neatherlands.
The Finns also had a just reason why they went with the Germans in Barbarossa.
They made a significant part of Army Group North during Barbarossa, though they did fail to capture Murmansk.
At the end of the war, the Soviets penetrated their first and second lines of defense (The V and the VT line) and were only stopped at the final line of defense, the VKT line
August 2nd, 2011  
KJ
 
 
My grandfather fought in the civil war, in the winter war and in the continuation war on first the "white" then the finnish side.

He told me he didn´t believe in "luck" anymore since in the trenches at the VTK line under bombardment from 15 Russian Arty regiments, "no one was lucky".

I dunno, I wasn´t there.
What I do know is that in Finland no veteran fom the second world war pays for parking.
They have payed their share, and in doing so made sure the finnish people had somewhere TO park their vehicles..

I submit that some of the most astonishing moments during times of unrest came to be during the winter and continuation war.
Furthermore I find the tactics and employment of said tactics to be innovative and interesting.
Although very area specific I reckon the finnish Jägar batts wrote the book on small unit winter warfare a long time before there were schools to teach it.

Either way.
They stopped cold the largest army in the world, practically on their own only to have the Brits declare war on them for kicking their allies arse.
Interesting times in history to say the least.

KJ sends..
August 2nd, 2011  
George
 
Think the US during the 1st War even sold some fighters, Brewster Buffalos, to Finland.
August 3rd, 2011  
sunb!
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5.56X45mm
Finland was hoping that Sweden, Norway, and Denmark would join in the fight and help push back the Soviets. But only Sweden supported Finland (along with Estonia in the form of troops that fled Soviet rule) with men and material.
As I posted earlier, the winter war initially raised great support for Finland in Scandinavia. In 1941, several norwegians joined Waffen SS to assist Finland in the war against the Soviets. (1942 and onwards, recruitments to Waffen SS were to fight bolshevism.). This is a blurry part of the history on the Northern Front so I will not go into detail as that would hi-jack this thread...

Regarding Sweden, Finland used Swedish diplomats while negotating with the Soviets - a good move as the Swedes were neutral and would work as a diplomacy buffer between the combatants.
August 4th, 2011  
5.56X45mm
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunb!
As I posted earlier, the winter war initially raised great support for Finland in Scandinavia. In 1941, several norwegians joined Waffen SS to assist Finland in the war against the Soviets. (1942 and onwards, recruitments to Waffen SS were to fight bolshevism.). This is a blurry part of the history on the Northern Front so I will not go into detail as that would hi-jack this thread...

Regarding Sweden, Finland used Swedish diplomats while negotating with the Soviets - a good move as the Swedes were neutral and would work as a diplomacy buffer between the combatants.
Well.... the norwegians and everyone else had some citizens join the Waffen SS and the Heer. Belgians, Danes, Spanish, French, Estonian, Russian, etc... all had units within the Waffen SS and the Heer. There was even a Indian and British unit.
August 4th, 2011  
sunb!
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5.56X45mm
Well.... the norwegians and everyone else had some citizens join the Waffen SS and the Heer. Belgians, Danes, Spanish, French, Estonian, Russian, etc... all had units within the Waffen SS and the Heer. There was even a Indian and British unit.
Yes I am fully aware of that, even muslim SS units on the Balkans.
My point for 1941 is that the recruitment was done for helping Finland on the battle field, from 1942 and later recruitment for fighting bolsevism, several foreign SS soldiers fought in Stalingrad and in Berlin in May 1945. You see the difference.
August 4th, 2011  
MontyB
 
 
While messing around on the net I found this however I wont vouch for its accuracy...

Country/Ethnicity - Estimated # of volunteers- Name of Waffen-SS Units
Albanian 3,000 -21st SS Division

Belgian: Flemish 23,000 -5th SS Div., 27th SS Div.

Belgium: Walloon 15,000 -5th SS Div., 28th SS Div.

British Commonwealth (English) 50 -The British Freikorps

Bulgaria 1,000 in the Bulgarisches Reg.

Croatia (includes Bosnian Muslims) 30,000 7th SS Div., 13th SS Hanshar Div.23rd SS Div.

Denmark 10,000 in Freikorps Danemark, 11th SS Div.

India3,500 in the Volunteer Legion

Estonia 20,000 in the 20th SS Div.

Finland 1,000 in a Volunteer Battalion.

Hungarians 15,000 in the 25th SS Div., 26th SS Div. 33rd SS Div.

Latvia 39,000 in the 15th SS Div., 19th SS Div.

Netherlands 50,000 in the 23rd SS Div., 34th SS Div.

Norway 6,000 in the 5th SS Div., 6th SS Div.11th SS Div., .

France 8,000 33rd SS Div.

Italy 20,000

Poland/Ukraine 25,000 14th SS Div.

Russian (Belorussia) 12,000 29th SS Div., 30th SS Div.

Russian (Cossack) 40,000 XV SS Kosaken-Kavallerie-Korps

Russian (Turkic) 8,000 Ostürkische SS, Tatarishe SS

Rumania 3,000 Waffen-Grenadierregiment der SS (rumänisches 1)

Serbia 15,000 Volunteer Corps

Spain 1,000 Spanische-Freiwilligen-Kompanie der SS 101

Sweden, Switzerland & Luxemburg 3,000 5th SS Div., 11th SS Div.



Read more at Suite101: Hitler’s Foreign Legion: Waffen SS: Non German Units in the Waffen SS During World War Two | Suite101.com http://www.suite101.com/content/hitl...#ixzz1U2fjuYG3
 


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