A finland machine gun and a group of soldiers while the Winter War
Picture: A finland machine gun and a group of soldiers while the Winter War

It must be said that Finland’s war history during World War II was significant. Especially that was bound with Soviet war affairs. After the war, this country under a special situation and it directly affected to policies of that country during the Cold War.

Russia and Finland

Even though Finland was a part of Russia before the October Revolution, It was an area with significant self- Control. A month after the revolution, Finland announced their independence on 06th of December 1917. A month later that, on 04th of January 1918, Soviet Russia accepted Finland’s independence.

Accepting Finland’s independence was a trick of Soviet rulers. They hoped to build a communist rule by helping Finnish Communists. but after short- term and severe civil war, Finnish Communists were defeated.

Soviet rulers were inquiring about Finland all the time. A reason for that was Leningrad (Saint Petersburg) city is very close to the Finland boundary. At some point, there was the ability to threaten this city from Finland side.

Winter War

On the 23rd of August 1939, the Nazi-Soviet agreement was signed after that on the 1st of September 1939, World War II began with the German invasion of Poland. On 17th September, Soviet armies invaded Eastern Poland. A few days later Poland was invaded and its territory was divided between Germany and the Soviet Union.

After that soviet union focused on Finland. Based on an attack that happened to the village situated between the boundary of the Soviet Union and Finland, Soviet armies attacked Finland on 30th November 1939.

A Finland soldier during winter war
Picture: A Finland soldier during Winter war

No one doubts the results of the war when it starts because the Soviet Union had more army than Finland numerically. Anyway, it was not easy to defeat Finland as the soviet army thought. It was a disadvantage to the Red Army had to fight on foreign land during the winter. That challenge was Intensified because the winter was so cold in 1939-40 more than usual. Finnish armies Showed a massive resistance as they can. Their snipers were a big threat to soviet armies.

The battle happened in the next few months Soviet armies lost many lives comparing to Rival Finnish forces. However, it could not forget that advantage had red army because of their numerical strength.

In February 1940, Finland realized that they can’t keep going with war. on the other hand, the war was a political shame for the Soviet Union. The reason for that was Red army was not successful that much.

The areas that Finland lost in 1940, hanko in this was transferred under a lease
Picture: The areas that Finland lost in 1940, Hanko in this was transferred under a lease

Soviet armies were able to break through the battlefront in march. Meanwhile, discussions were happening between the two parties. The Soviet Union agreed to stop fighting on the 12th March 1940. So that they had to hand over many areas including Karelia and Vyborg to Finland.

Continuation war

Finland realized that was the best moment to retake the areas which they lost during the winter war, When Germany invaded the Soviet Union on the 22nd of July 1941. Finland had German support for sure and also The Soviets believed that there would be an invasion from Finland. Finland referred to this war as an extension of the winter war. Then it called a continuation war.

However, it can be said Finland did not give complete support to Germany. Finland did not allow German armies to use their land to invade the soviet union. But German air force used Finnish air force bases and Finland mobilized to land troops in the Gulf of Finland. It was the Soviet Union that waged fierce fighting on that front to cripple Finland. They tried to demotivate the Finnish army by air attacks. but that attempt was not successful as they hoped.

Finnish forces came to Leningrad by attacking Soviet forces. at the end of august, Vyborg city was Subdued by them. at the beginning of September, they were able to retake all areas that they lost in 1940.

A Finnish military parade after resubdued vyborg
Picture: A Finnish military parade after resubdued Vyborg

Meanwhile, catching up the railway from Murmansk to Leningrad and subdued the Murmansk city, were another goal of Finnish armies. But that attempts were not successful. From the end of 1941 to January of 1944, Leningrad city was surrounded and some soviet attacks that happened on the Finnish front were failed. however, Finland armies did not take a big attempt to attack Leningrad city from the Finnish side.

At that time 23rd soviet army was facing Finland, nearby Leningrad. The attack on Leningrad from Finland was so great that was created in a famous Yan haul at that time.

“There were three armies did not fight in world war. That was Swedish Army, the Turkish army and 23rd Soviet army.”( Sweden and turkey did not involve in war) German that beaten in battles like Stalingrad and Kursk, started to retreat from the soviet war front in the starting of 1944. The Siege of Leningrad was ended on the 27th of January 1944.after that Soviet power was established on that battlefront.

A Soviet-34 battle tank that destroyed in jully 1944
Picture: A Soviet-34 battle tank that destroyed in Jully 1944

However, this front was not taken priority of soviet armies. Most focus referred to travel to Berlin. Meanwhile, Finland did not show dislike to stop the war.

Soviet crops launched an operation in Karelia and Lake Ladoga area at the Finnish front in June 1944. The battle lasted until the end of August. In these battles, Finnish armies faced soviet armies successfully like the winter war in 1939-40. Again, their disadvantage was that their forces were not large.

In the meantime, the Soviets wanted to end the Finnish war because they had to turn their attention to Berlin. Therefore the battle ended and Finland and the soviet union again came to the same boundary which they came at the end of the war in 1940.

Lapland war

According to the Ceasefire Agreement with the soviet union, Finland had to remove German armies from their land. Also, Germany did not have a proper reason to stay in Finland. The reason was Their country is at risk of being invaded on all sides.

However, while the Finnish attempt to remove the German army, fights start between both sides. This is called the Lapland war because that happened in northern Lapland in Finland. There were not severe fights in this war.

The Cold War

It does not seem to be Soviet leader Joseph Sterlin has given up the thought to establishment of Communist Power in Finland. Therefore when he is alive he maintained Soviet Karelia as a separate Soviet republic. But furthermore, It could not seem that he needed to affect Finland. It seemed that he satisfied By keeping Finland neutral.

Few years after Sterlin died, Nikita Khrushchev confirmed power in the Soviet Union. In addition, he worked to changed relations with Finland. The Soviet Union followed a very friendly policy for Finland On the pledge to be Non-partisan during the cold war. The Soviet Union got out from Porkkalan Naval Base Area that Had been leased to the soviet union for 50 years in 1956. Soviet Karelia was appointed as an Autonomous Soviet republic from the Soviet republic.


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