Stalin and Hitler started the Second World War when they attacked and occupied Poland. On August 23, 1939, Stalin and Hitler divided eastern Europe amongst themselves in a secret pact. Finland was placed in the Soviet "sphere of influence" along with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The pact was followed by Hitler's invasion of Poland. Stalin's Red Army came to the "aid of Poland" and invaded Poland from the East on September 17, 1939. The three small Baltic countries were then occupied/invaded by the Soviets as per the agreement and later encorporated into the USSR by "unanimous" elections. Finland was next. Stalin offered Finland a cake: the icing was the "legitimate" concerns of U.S.S.R., while underneath was a rotten core consisting of the real motives: annexation. Finland had a choice: give up ground (Karelia) and then be attacked, or stand up against the aggressor. From a tactical point of view there really was no choice. Finland had no desire to be anyone's occupied buffer zone.
After the Soviets had begun military operations with Hitler, they requested minor adjustments to the border on the Karelian Isthmus and the lease of the Hanko peninsula at the mouth of the Gulf of Finland in return for a slice of East Karelia. No international law states that a country should give land to another country for defensive reasons, and Finland was within its rights to refuse. Paasikivi and Tanner, Finland's negotiators, felt that the territories requested were of military importance and refused Stalin's proposal. They didn't trust Stalin, nor did they accept at face value, Soviet concerns that a foreign power might attack Russia across Finland. I would think that a foreign power would use just such a tactic if it wanted to annex a neighboring country. Appeal to defence requirements, request the placement of "limited" forces on their soil and follow through with the rest of it when you have the advantage. If you look at a map, an attacking fleet would be wiped out in the Baltic as they sailed first past the Baltic countries, then into the Gulf of Finland, which was easily mined by both Russia and Finland, if they just cooperated. All Stalin had to do was ask Finland to mine their half of the Gulf of Finland, and do a few other things. There was no need to demand Finland compromise their defences, giving its strategic military advantage over to the whims of a foreign power.
Finland is not easily crossed from either the west or the east, unless you cross in winter, not an easy matter either. A mechanized German army would have just as much trouble in Finland as the Russians. The Finns were in their element, like the rabbit in the briar patch. The writer, like the Finnish leadership of 1939 believes that Stalin was just using it as an excuse, a believable one at that. But the Finns traditionally mistrusted the Russians, so it was no surprise that they mistrusted this murderer, Stalin. There is absolutely no way that Stalin could be considered a normal human being - he was a pathological, but clever, genocidal criminal, back-stabbing friend of Churchill and Roosevelt, who was never punished. This is the man many of the other writers want to believe at face value.
Stalin wanted to make a deal the Finns could not refuse: "say Finnsky, how about you all giving us Karelia, and we will more than compensate you with some wasteland up north." (not an exact quote but the spirit is there) The Finns have an uncanny ability to see through Russian demands; it comes with the territory.
- Winter War
The Soviets Attack
On November 30, 1939 the Soviet Army attacked Finland on all fronts with army, air force and navy; Helsinki was bombed, and 91 persons were killed. On Dec. 1, 1939, a puppet government headed by Finn-hater and Stalin's ghost writer/purge-accuser, Otto Kuusinen, was installed by Stalin in Terijoki.
When the Soviet Union invaded Finland, Antti, the writer's father, was in one of nine divisions of Finns against an army of 600,000 men divided into four main army groups over a 1000 km front. The odds pitted against Finland were so overwhelming that observers abroad expected the Finnish resistance to collapse in a short time because Finland was not well equipped to wage war with Russia in 1939. But the Finnish Army was well trained and they improvised and captured enemy weapons. Unlike the Norwegian army which required 84 days military service, every Finn had to serve a full 365 days. They would need every bit of that training.
By the end of December, 400,000 Russians were dead, wounded, captured or trapped. After many defeats, Stalin was desperate for a victory, so he installed new leaders, changed his tactics, and sent in 1.2 million men with masses of artillery. Finally in March, after Stalin's Red Army, that was coming to "liberate" Finland, had become an embarrassment to Soviet Union, the Finns began secret negotiations for peace.
The war lasted a little over 3 months. By March 1940, the brief but disastrous war was over. It was disastrous for the Soviets because they lost, by some Finnish estimates, close to one million men and for little Finland, especially the Karelian people, because Karelia was lost and over 420,000 people lost their homes, including the writer's parents and grandparents. The stupidity and arrogance with which the Russian campaign was carried out is simply mind-boggling. But the poor infantry troops who were led as sheep to the slaughter deserve our sympathy. Blame it all on the Russian state and Stalin. See book
- A Frozen Hell : The Russo-Finnish Winter War of 1939-40 by William R. Trotter
Juha Ilo's Version of Winter War - Finnish army, history, equipment, war...
How the Russians suffered in the Winter War.
Russians discuss what went wrong.
The Battles of Winter War
Molotov's denial that USSR is bombing civilians.
The case against the "Finnish Threat to Leningrad."
Statements By Soviets About the War
"I had firsthand knowledge of what happened, including the strategic miscalculation on our side. The very day the war with Finland started, I was in Moscow with Stalin. He didn't even feel the need to call a meeting. He was sure all we had to do was fire a few artillery rounds and the Finns would capitulate. Instead, they rejected our terms and resisted. There was a false sense of confidence on our side; a few days would pass and we would polish off the Finns. But that didn't happen either. Many of our troops were ground up by the Finns...Stalin lost his nerve after the defeat of our troops in the war against Finland. He probably lost whatever confidence he had that our army could cope with Hitler. Stalin never said so, but I came to this conclusion watching his behavior."
"We soon realized that we had bitten off more than we could chew. We found ourselves faced with good steel reinforced fortifications and effectively deployed artillery. The Mannerheim line was impregnable. Our casualties mounted alarmingly. In the winter it was decided to bypass the Karelian Isthmus and to strike a blow from Lake Ladoga to the north where there were no fortifications. But when we tried to strike from the rear, we found ourselves in an even more difficult situation than before. The Finns, who are a people of the North and very athletic, can ski almost before they can walk. Our army encountered very mobile ski troops armed with automatic high velocity rifles. We tried to put our own troops on skiis too, but it wasn't easy for ordinary, untrained Red Army soldiers to fight on skiis. We started intensively to recruit professional sportsmen. There weren't many around. We had to bring them from Moscow and the Ukraine as well as from Leningrad. We gave them a splendid send-off. Everyone was confident that our sportsmen would return victorious, and they left in high spirits. Poor fellows, they were ripped to shreds. I don't know how many came back alive...And so the war with Finland ended. We started to analyze the reasons why we were so badly prepared and why the war had cost us so dearly. I'd say we lost as many as a million lives...There's some question about whether we had any legal or moral right for our actions against Finland. Of course we didn't have legal right. As far as morality was concerned, our desire to protect ourselves was ample justification in our own eyes."
Stalin thought the problem was that his soldiers were poorly motivated, so he had political commissars there to encourage them and to follow them into battle. If they advanced against the Finns, then the Finns shot them down. If they retreated to the rear then the NKVD officers shot them down. They were also told that if they were taken prisoner their families would be arrested. And they themselves would be sent to Siberia or killed upon returning to their homeland.
A book called "Recalling The Past For the Sake of the Future - The Causes, Results and Lessons of World War Two" was published in Moscow in 1985 by Novosti Press. (perhaps a better title would have been "Inventing the Past For the Sake of Socialist Reality") It says the Following:
"But the Finnish government, prodded by Western powers, rejected these proposals and broke off the talks on November 7, 1939. Helsinki apparently believed that taking a "firm line" toward the Soviet Union, with the support of Britain and the U.S., was in its best interests. Finland carried out mobilization amid frenzied militarist propaganda, concentrated its troops on the border with the U.S.S.R. and provoked one border incident after another. Armed provocation continued despite warnings from the Soviet side, and on November 30, 1939, hostilities began between Finland and the Soviet Union."
The Soviet newspaper "Pravda" (Truth) wrote the following on December 4, 1939:
- "The Red Army approaches the frontier of Finland at the request of the People's Government. It will depart from Finnish territory as soon as the People's Government asks it to leave. The Red Army is going into Finland to the aid of the Finnish people. Only the Soviet Union, which rejects in principle the violent seizure of territory and the enslavement of nations, could agree to placing its armed might at disposal, not for the purpose of attacking Finland or enslaving its people, but for securing Finland's independence and enlarging her territory at the expense of the Soviet Union." (The Soviet Union is such a benevolent nation isn't it. Who thought up this garbage anyway.)
Headlines in the Communist Party newspaper the "Daily Worker" announced on December 1, 1939 "Red Army Hurls Back Invading Finnish Troops."
Some historians have written that Stalin only wanted to move the Finnish border slightly away for the protection of Leningrad, and that Finland was being unnecessarily difficult with the "legitimate defense requirements" of the Soviet Union. This claim has been disproved. If there was ever any doubt that Stalin wanted all of Finland, rather than just a tiny part to protect Leningrad, let the following statement by Khrushchev stand as testimony. This was just after the infamous pact with Hitler. "He (Stalin) said then and there that the document we signed would give us Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bessarabia, and Finland." (pg. 46, Khrushchev Remembers, Jerrold L. Schecter, with Vyacheslav V. Luchkov)
Finland did what it could to let food supplies through to Leningrad. Most of the nuisance was caused by Hitler's submarines in the North Sea. General Mannerheim himself said he did not want the blood of the Leningrad people on his hands.
Unlike Russia, Finland would not sign a formal alliance with Hitler, but was only a co-belligerent fighting to regain Karelia, which has special significance to the Finnish people, their identity. By attacking Finland, Stalin gave Hitler the confidence he needed to bring Barbarossa onto the Russian people, and forced Finland and any other country fighting Communism to fight with the Germans.
Well, so much for Roosevelt as a good judge of character, for one of the most savage and barbaric of all was his friend and confidante Joseph Stalin. Roosevelt was the worst president in history of the United States if we consider the results of his leftist policies during the war. His contribution to Stalin's success is incalculable.
Mannerheim was against attacking Leningrad; nor did he allow Finnish troops to cut off food supplies bound for the besieged city. Finland was not interested in Hitler's plan of world domination, nor in any theories of a master race, or any such fascist nonsense. Her goals were, self preservation and the return of Karelia. It was useless to become Stalin's ally, he would just send his army in and that would be the end of Finland. She chose instead the "lesser" of the two evils, Adolf Hitler.
And the Lord commanded all people to love their neighbors: "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor." - Holy Bible
Here is a partial list of manufactured goods (US$300,000,000 - actual value was close to US$570,000,0000 - discrepancy due to pricing basis used) sent to the Soviet Union:
Roosevelt wanted to keep Stalin on his side to help defeat Hitler, but also to finish off Japan in Manchuria because the atomic bomb could not be relied upon. In order to sway public opinion to support his friend Stalin, it was necessary for Roosevelt to convince the American public that Stalin was no longer the Communist bogey-man he used to be. He was good now, and he should get aid. All Stalin wanted was to "defend the fatherland," that was it. However, this delusion was to be Roosevelt's undoing, for Stalin did not separate the military from the political. Stalin's defense policy was two sided: one defense, the other aggression - just another round in the battle between Communism and "Imperialism."
The agreement that the Grand Alliance signed did not allow for a
separate peace with any country, which was perfect for Stalin. When
Churchill made overtures to Stalin about the possibility of Finland being
pulled out of the war in 1943, Stalin just reminded him of their deal that
they must all agree to such a move. The wording of the alliance sealed
Finland's fate. A separate peace may have saved Karelia, but Stalin's plan was
to deal with Hitler, then attack the Finns with overwhelming strength of arms
acquired in the Lend Lease deal on D-Day.
In any war where Britain and United States sides with Russia, the
countries Russia preys upon become enemies by default.
Churchill writes in his book The Hinge of Fate, page 751 that Premier Stalin turned down Roosevelt's offer to take Finland out of the war:
To which the Prime Minister replied:
Generally speaking, I should have thought that the Finns would be anxious to withdraw from the war as soon as they are convinced that Germany must be defeated. If so, it seems to me that it might not be altogether premature for you to ask the United States Government whether they know or could find out, without disclosing your interest, what terms the Finns would be prepared to accept. But you will be the best judge of the right tactics."
Roosevelt believed that Americans and Russians both stood for
"democratic" government, and that Finland stood for Fascism! It was only
towards the end of his life, when Russian intentions in Poland could no longer
be overlooked, that Roosevelt came to understand the interpretation that
Stalin put on democracy. He trusted Stalin so much, and believed he would not
betray him. But Roosevelt's naive, wishful thinking was dead wrong. There
would be so much suffering and injustice from trusting this man, who had
demonstrated time after time, what and who he really was. Accusations about
Stalin's murderous conduct poured in from such countries as Poland, but Stalin
denied them all (eg. Katyn massacre).
Churchill's position was that he could not begin to deal with them and Hitler too. Churchill was afraid to hurt Stalin's feelings; Stalin might be sad and he wouldn't want that. Stalin wanted Karelia; he would get it, and everything else. His attitude cost millions of lives and untold suffering.
When finally in 1944, the Soviet Union began its move West, an attempt
was made to annex Finland a second time, which had nothing to do with beating
Hitler who was already beaten. The Americans and British would have allowed it.
When the war was over, the allies wanted all Soviet citizens sent back to the Soviet Union to labor camps to their deaths, at the point of a gun if necessary. Thousands were sent back from Finland. This was a great crime against humanity rivalling Stalin's genocide. Read this. In 1945 Roosevelt proudly boasted: "the flag of freedom flies over all of Europe."
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