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. Finland was next. 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.
The Soviets 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. Paasikivi and Tanner, Finland's negotiators, felt that the territories requested were of military importance and refused Stalin's proposal. They refused to accept at face value, Soviet concerns that a foreign power might attack Russia across Finland.
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. It was obvious that the Soviets, like the Nazis, were out to grab land and enslave nations.
Despite the long border possessed by Russia, Stalin insisted that a big power would choose to land in Hanko. But the Baltic accesses to the Gulf of Finland are easily mined and defended, precluding invasion from that direction. The element of surprise would be impossible. Besides, the Soviets controlled access to the Gulf of Finland after annexing the Baltic States. There was no realistic threat to Leningrad from Finland.
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 Joronen, 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 the laughing-stock to the whole world, 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.
Juha Ilo's Version of Winter War
The Battles of Winter War
The case against the "Finnish Threat to Leningrad."
Statements By Soviets About the War
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev, a native Ukranian, remembers very well. It speaks the truth, not the usual lies that come from Soviet leaders. I suppose it is fine to speak the truth when you are no longer in the power structure.
"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."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. That is socialism. Russia the terrible!
"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 skis too, but it wasn't easy for ordinary, untrained Red Army soldiers to fight on skis. 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."
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."
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)
Contrary to Soviet propaganda, Finland did not join Hitler in the siege of Leningrad either, in fact Finland did what it could to keep the Murmansk supply lines open, according to the writer's father who was there. 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. Stalin created
this self fulfilled prophecy in his paranoia about everything and everyone
including Finland. 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. Since Germany lost, history is told from the Soviet perspective, and as we know, it is "Soviet Reality," or just plain lies - like Viipuri (Vyborg) is an old Russian city. This is what visitors are being told when they visit my parents old city.
Hitler was responsible for the holocaust, Stalin for the purges. Much has been said, and continues to this day, about the holocaust. Very little is said about the purges, which were far worse. Are Jewish lives more important than any other group? I'm sure you will agree that everyone's lives are important. Further, the word "purge" softens the act of killing and doesn't always mean murder, but rather something desirable - a cleansing regimen to get rid of toxins and undesirable elements. "To purify, cleanse, or to remove from an organization, political party, or army" - Webster's Dictionary. It does not say that the person was also removed from this earth. However for Hitler's
murders (which were horrible) we use the word "holocaust" which means "burnt offering, destruction."
What's a good word for millions being shot in the back of the head which is just as bad? Both words: holocaust and purge refer to slaughter; there is no difference when used in these contexts. Why do we minimize one and maximize the other?
Stalin had a plan to dominate the world. He needed excuses to attack neighboring countries which was provided by the war. The excuse used to attack Finland: the defense requirements of Leningrad, which Prime Minister Cajander correctly saw as ridiculous. (There is always a "valid reason" in aggression.)
Here we see the Luciferian principle in action, whereby the real agenda is hidden inside a pretext or appeal to a highly righteous position, or positions. The annexation of Karelia was achieved by Stalin because he convinced his two allies of his righteousness.
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. Is America repeating Roosevelt's mistakes with the KGB agent Putin? Once a KGB, always a KGB.
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:
Stalin wanted to barter land for having taken the brunt of Hitler's army. His losses were great, so he must have land. The borders of Europe must be redrawn. His people suffered more so he should say what kind of system Eastern Europe should have - Communist naturally. No journalists were allowed to the areas Stalin was operating in. Clever. Before anyone could respond, he had already moved into Eastern Europe and encorporated it into the Soviet Union. All the while, Stalin's allies accommodated him by sending him millions of people at gunpoint. In Finland those who fled to Sweden were spared, but many others ended up back in the Soviet Union then onto trains. Some were resettled in strange places, many others sent to prison camps and certain death. The extent of this collaborative holocaust and cover-up by the Allies is recently coming to light after extensive research by a few dedicated people. See Page 2
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."
Early in their relationship, Churchill visited Stalin in Moscow and asked him if he was still angry at him for trying to "kill the baby", the young communist state in 1917-18. Stalin just said it was in the past, and the past belonged to God. Stalin often mentioned God when conversing with Churchill. Was this a way of conditioning Churchill's mind, that perhaps the stories he has
heard about this "beast" must have been exaggerated? There seems to be
some very cleaver manipulation on the part of Stalin. In this way Stalin
gradually drew his two Allies to him in a treacherous alliance which favored
the interests of the inhumane Communist State.
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."
Churchill did not take a firm stand regarding what should be done with Finland before the end of the war, preferring to let Stalin decide. Churchill should have pressed the point Stalin himself pushed: that Stalin could not negotiate a separate peace with Finland. Therefore the two allies could have outvoted Stalin in all peace negotiations between Stalin and Finland and the other countries affected by the results. Incredible lack of communication with the Finns and too much willingness, in the absence of Churchill's own information, to take Stalin's point of view just made what happened inevitable. The aforementioned letter gave Stalin the feeling he could do as he pleased. If Churchill wished to know the Finn's opinion, (or anyone else's for that matter) why did he not ask himself instead of making speculations about what the Finns wanted with Stalin? Stalin was the one who denied bombing civilians in Finland in 1939, and then accused Finland of attacking the Soviet Union in 1941 - both lies. Now Stalin could say anything he wanted about the Finns and Churchill would go along with it regardless of validity, so worried was he about offending Stalin and wrecking the Grand Alliance.
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. (turn the blind eye) So Stalin got off. The negligence on the part of Roosevelt and Churchill in dealing with Stalin was criminal, and the results disastrous.
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.
In 1945 Roosevelt proudly boasted: "the flag of freedom flies over all of Europe."
© 1998 - 2006 Osmo Joronen