Continuation War

Continuation War

Overview
The Continuation War was the second of two wars fought between Finland and the Soviet Union during World War II.

At the time of the war, the Finnish side used the name to make clear its perceived relationship to the preceding Winter War
Winter War
The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland. It began with a Soviet offensive on 30 November 1939 – three months after the start of World War II and the Soviet invasion of Poland – and ended on 13 March 1940 with the Moscow Peace Treaty...

. The Soviet Union saw the war as a part of its struggle against Germany and its allies, the Eastern Front of World War II
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945...

 or, as it was known in the Soviet Union, the Great Patriotic War
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945...

. Germany regarded its operations in the region as a part of its overall war efforts of World War II.
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Encyclopedia
The Continuation War was the second of two wars fought between Finland and the Soviet Union during World War II.

At the time of the war, the Finnish side used the name to make clear its perceived relationship to the preceding Winter War
Winter War
The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland. It began with a Soviet offensive on 30 November 1939 – three months after the start of World War II and the Soviet invasion of Poland – and ended on 13 March 1940 with the Moscow Peace Treaty...

. The Soviet Union saw the war as a part of its struggle against Germany and its allies, the Eastern Front of World War II
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945...

 or, as it was known in the Soviet Union, the Great Patriotic War
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945...

. Germany regarded its operations in the region as a part of its overall war efforts of World War II. It provided critical material support and military cooperation to Finland.

Acts of war between the two countries started on 22 June 1941, the day Germany launched its invasion of the Soviet Union
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

. Open warfare started with a Soviet air offensive on 25 June. Subsequent Finnish operations undid its post-Winter War
Winter War
The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland. It began with a Soviet offensive on 30 November 1939 – three months after the start of World War II and the Soviet invasion of Poland – and ended on 13 March 1940 with the Moscow Peace Treaty...

 cessations on the Karelian Isthmus
Finnish reconquest of the Karelian Isthmus (1941)
The Finnish reconquest of the Karelian Isthmus refers to a military campaign carried out by Finland in 1941. It was part of what is commonly referred to as the Continuation War.Early in the war Finnish forces reconquered the Karelian Isthmus...

 and Ladoga Karelia
Finnish reconquest of Ladoga Karelia (1941)
The Finnish reconquest of Ladoga Karelia refers to a military campaign carried out by Finland in 1941. It was part of what is commonly referred to as the Continuation War.-Initial layout of forces:...

, and captured East Karelia
Finnish conquest of East Karelia (1941)
The Finnish conquest of East Karelia refers to a military campaign carried out by Finland in 1941. It was part of what is commonly referred to as the Continuation War...

 by September 1941. On the Karelian Isthmus, the Finns froze their offensive 30 km from Leningrad, where the pre-WW2 border of the Soviet Union and Finland ran. The Finns did not attack the city. Yet, they passively participated in the siege
Siege of Leningrad
The Siege of Leningrad, also known as the Leningrad Blockade was a prolonged military operation resulting from the failure of the German Army Group North to capture Leningrad, now known as Saint Petersburg, in the Eastern Front theatre of World War II. It started on 8 September 1941, when the last...

 by holding their pre-WW2 land for two and a half years on the Karelian Isthmus
Karelian Isthmus
The Karelian Isthmus is the approximately 45–110 km wide stretch of land, situated between the Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladoga in northwestern Russia, to the north of the River Neva . Its northwestern boundary is the relatively narrow area between the Bay of Vyborg and Lake Ladoga...

. The Soviet air forces bombed Helsinki
Bombing of Helsinki in World War II
The capital of Finland, Helsinki was bombed several times during World War II. Between 1939–1945 Finland fought three wars, two against the Soviet Union and one against Germany...

 and other major Finnish cities. Eventually the Soviet strategic offensive in the summer of 1944 drove the Finns from most of the territories they had gained during the war but the Finnish Army later fought it to a standstill in July 1944. Cease-fire ended the hostilities on 5 September and Moscow Armistice
Moscow Armistice
The Moscow Armistice was signed between Finland on one side and the Soviet Union and United Kingdom on the other side on September 19, 1944, ending the Continuation War...

 officially ending the hostilities was signed in 19 September. The Paris peace treaty
Paris Peace Treaties, 1947
The Paris Peace Conference resulted in the Paris Peace Treaties signed on February 10, 1947. The victorious wartime Allied powers negotiated the details of treaties with Italy, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Finland .The...

 concluded the war formally in 1947. Finland ceded Petsamo
Petsamo
Petsamo may refer to:*A former area of Finland, which is now Pechengsky District and part of Kolsky District of Russia*Finnish name for the urban-type settlement of Pechenga, Russia...

 and rented Porkkala
Porkkala
Porkkala is a peninsula in the Gulf of Finland located at Kirkkonummi in Southern Finland.The peninsula had great strategic value, as coastal artillery based there would be able to reach more than halfway across the Gulf of Finland...

 to the Soviet Union, and paid reparations of $300,000,000 equaling half of its annual gross domestic product in 1939, while Finland retained its independence.

Winter War



On 23 August 1939, the Soviet Union and Germany signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact where parties divided the independent countries of Finland, Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

, Latvia
Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

, Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 and Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

 into spheres of interest, with Finland falling to the Soviet sphere of interest. Shortly afterward, Germany invaded Poland
Invasion of Poland (1939)
The Invasion of Poland, also known as the September Campaign or 1939 Defensive War in Poland and the Poland Campaign in Germany, was an invasion of Poland by Germany, the Soviet Union, and a small Slovak contingent that marked the start of World War II in Europe...

 so the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 declared war against Germany. The Soviet Union invaded eastern Poland
Soviet invasion of Poland
Soviet invasion of Poland can refer to:* the second phase of the Polish-Soviet War of 1920 when Soviet armies marched on Warsaw, Poland* Soviet invasion of Poland of 1939 when Soviet Union allied with Nazi Germany attacked Second Polish Republic...

 on 17 September. Next, Moscow demanded that the Baltic states
Baltic states
The term Baltic states refers to the Baltic territories which gained independence from the Russian Empire in the wake of World War I: primarily the contiguous trio of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania ; Finland also fell within the scope of the term after initially gaining independence in the 1920s.The...

 allow the establishment of Soviet military bases and the stationing of troops on their soil. The Baltic governments accepted ultimatums
Background of the occupation and annexation of the Baltic states
The background of the occupation and annexation of the Baltic states covers the period before the first Soviet occupation on 14 June 1940, stretching from independence in 1918 to the Soviet ultimatums in 1939–1940. The Baltic states gained their independence during and after the Russian revolutions...

, signing the corresponding agreements in September and in October.

In October 1939, the Soviet Union attempted to negotiate for Finnish territories on the Karelian Isthmus
Karelian Isthmus
The Karelian Isthmus is the approximately 45–110 km wide stretch of land, situated between the Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladoga in northwestern Russia, to the north of the River Neva . Its northwestern boundary is the relatively narrow area between the Bay of Vyborg and Lake Ladoga...

, the islands of the Gulf of Finland
Gulf of Finland
The Gulf of Finland is the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea. It extends between Finland and Estonia all the way to Saint Petersburg in Russia, where the river Neva drains into it. Other major cities around the gulf include Helsinki and Tallinn...

 and a military base near the Finnish capital Helsinki
Helsinki
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The population of the city of Helsinki is , making it by far the most populous municipality in Finland. Helsinki is...

. The Finnish government refused, and the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 attacked on 30 November 1939. Condemnation by the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 and by countries all over the world had no effect on Soviet policy. International help to Finland
Foreign support in the Winter War
The foreign support in the Winter War contained materiel, men and moral support to the Finnish struggle against the Soviet Union in the Winter War. World opinion at large supported the Finnish cause...

 was planned, but very little actual help materialized, except from Sweden. The Moscow Peace Treaty
Moscow Peace Treaty (1940)
The Moscow Peace Treaty was signed by Finland and the Soviet Union on 12 March 1940, and the ratifications were exchanged on 21 March. It marked the end of the 105-day Winter War. The treaty ceded parts of Finland to the Soviet Union. However, it preserved Finland's independence, ending the Soviet...

, which was signed on 12 March 1940, ended the Winter War. According to the Treaty contract Finland lost one eleventh of its national territory and about 13 percent of its economic capacity. However, Finland had avoided having the Soviet Union annex the whole country.

Interim peace


The country's foreign policy had been based on multilateral
Multilateralism
Multilateralism is a term in international relations that refers to multiple countries working in concert on a given issue.International organizations, such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization are multilateral in nature...

 guarantees for support from the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 and Nordic countries
Nordic countries
The Nordic countries make up a region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic which consists of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and their associated territories, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland...

 and was considered a failure. Public opinion favored the re-conquest of Finnish Karelia
Finnish Karelia
Karelia is a historical province of Finland. It refers to the Western Karelia that during the second millennium has been under western dominance, religiously and politically. Western, i.e. Finnish Karelia is separate from Eastern, i.e...

. The defence of the country was declared first priority and military expenditures rose to nearly half of government spending. Finland received war material purchased and donated during and immediately after the Winter War. On the southern frontier, the Soviet Union had acquired a military base in Hanko near the Finnish capital of Helsinki
Helsinki
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The population of the city of Helsinki is , making it by far the most populous municipality in Finland. Helsinki is...

, employing over 30,000 military personnel.

Finland also had to resettle some 420,000 evacuees from the lost territories
Evacuation of Finnish Karelia
As a result of the 1940 Moscow Peace Treaty that concluded the Winter War, Finland ceded the area of Finnish Karelia and other territories to the Soviet Union...

. To ensure the supply of food, it was necessary to clear new land for them to cultivate. This issue was facilitated with the Rapid Settlement Act. The Finnish leadership wanted to preserve the spirit of unanimity
Spirit of the Winter War
The Spirit of Winter War is the national unity which is credited with having saved Finland from disintegrating along class and ideological lines under the Soviet invasion during the Winter War of November 30, 1939 to March 13, 1940....

 that was commonly felt throughout the country during the Winter War. The divisive White Guard
White Guard (Finland)
The White Guard was a voluntary militia that emerged victorious over the socialist Red Guard as part of the Whites in the Finnish Civil War of 1918...

 tradition of the Civil War
Finnish Civil War
The Finnish Civil War was a part of the national, political and social turmoil caused by World War I in Europe. The Civil War concerned control and leadership of The Grand Duchy of Finland as it achieved independence from Russia after the October Revolution in Petrograd...

 16 May victory day celebration was therefore discontinued. Relations between Finland and the Soviet Union remained strained despite the signing of the one-sided peace treaty and there were disputes regarding the implementation of the conditions of the treaty. Finland sought security against further territorial depredations by the Soviet Union and proposed mutual defence agreements with Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 and Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, but these initiatives were quashed by Moscow.

German and Soviet expansion in Europe


After the Winter War, Germany was not popular in Finland as it was considered an ally of the Soviet Union. However, the Finnish government began to restore diplomatic relations with Germany. Finland continued its Western orientation policy and negotiated a war trade agreement with the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 but the agreement was renounced after the German invasion of Denmark and Norway
Operation Weserübung
Operation Weserübung was the code name for Germany's assault on Denmark and Norway during the Second World War and the opening operation of the Norwegian Campaign...

 on 9 April, when Britain cut all trade and traffic communications with Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

. With the fall of France
Battle of France
In the Second World War, the Battle of France was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, beginning on 10 May 1940, which ended the Phoney War. The battle consisted of two main operations. In the first, Fall Gelb , German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes, to cut off and...

, a policy of Western orientation was no longer considered an option in Finnish foreign policy. On 15–16 June, the Soviet Union occupied the Baltic states without resistance. Puppet regimes
Puppet state
A puppet state is a nominal sovereign of a state who is de facto controlled by a foreign power. The term refers to a government controlled by the government of another country like a puppeteer controls the strings of a marionette...

 were installed and within two months Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were incorporated as Soviet Republics within the Soviet Union. By mid-1940, both the northern democracies of Finland and Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 were encircled by the totalitarian states of Germany and the Soviet Union.

On 23 June, a short time after the Soviet occupation in the Baltic states, the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov
Vyacheslav Molotov
Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov was a Soviet politician and diplomat, an Old Bolshevik and a leading figure in the Soviet government from the 1920s, when he rose to power as a protégé of Joseph Stalin, to 1957, when he was dismissed from the Presidium of the Central Committee by Nikita Khrushchev...

 contacted the Finns and demanded a mining licence in the nickel
Nickel
Nickel is a chemical element with the chemical symbol Ni and atomic number 28. It is a silvery-white lustrous metal with a slight golden tinge. Nickel belongs to the transition metals and is hard and ductile...

 mines in Petsamo
Petsamo
Petsamo may refer to:*A former area of Finland, which is now Pechengsky District and part of Kolsky District of Russia*Finnish name for the urban-type settlement of Pechenga, Russia...

 for the Soviet Union or to a joint Soviet-Finnish company. The licence to mine the deposit had earlier been granted to a British-Canadian company and the proposition was rejected. Next month, the Soviets demanded Finland destroy the fortifications built in the Åland islands and give the right to use Finnish railways for transporting troops to the newly acquired Soviet base at Hanko. The Finns very reluctantly agreed to these demands. On 24 July, Molotov accused the Finnish government of persecuting the so-called Society for Peace and Friendship between Finland and USSR
Finland – Soviet Union Peace and Friendship Society
The Finland-Soviet Union Peace and Friendship Society was a Finnish anti-war propaganda organization founded on May 22, 1940 by Communist politician Mauri Ryömä in the aftermath of the Winter War between the Soviet Union and Finland...

, a pro-communist group, and soon after he publicly supported it. The society organized demonstrations, some of which turned into riots.

Finnish relations with Germany and the USSR


On 31 July 1940, the German leader Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 gave the order to start planning an assault on the Soviet Union. This meant that Germany had to re-assess the positions of both Finland and Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

. Until then, Germany had rejected Finnish appeals to purchase arms but in August the Germans allowed the secret sale of weapons. Military authorities made an agreement on 12 September and an official exchange of diplomatic notes were sent on 22 September. At the same time, German troops were allowed to transit their troop through Sweden and Finland. In practice, this meant redrawing of the border between German and Soviet spheres of influence.

Due to the changed situation, Molotov made a visit to Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 on 12–13 November. He wanted Germany to withdraw its troops from Finland and stop enabling Finnish anti-Soviet sentiments. He also reminded the Germans of the 1939 Soviet–German non-aggression pact. Hitler asked how the Soviet Union planned to settle the "Finnish question". Molotov answered that it would happen in the same manner as in Bessarabia
Bessarabia
Bessarabia is a historical term for the geographic region in Eastern Europe bounded by the Dniester River on the east and the Prut River on the west....

 and the Baltic states. Hitler rejected this. Next December, the Soviet Union, Germany and the United Kingdom all voiced opinions concerning suitable Finnish presidential candidates. Risto Ryti
Risto Ryti
Risto Heikki Ryti was the fifth President of Finland, from 1940 to 1944. Ryti started his career as a politician in the field of economics and as a political background figure during the interwar period. He made a wide range of international contacts in the world of banking and within the...

 was the only one of the candidates to whom none of three superpowers objected. He was elected on 19 December.

In January 1941, the Soviet Union demanded to take control of the Petsamo mining area. Finland rejected this, as it had by then a re-built defense force and was encouraged by Germany to reject the Soviet demand. On 18 December 1940, Hitler had officially approved Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

, the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Both Finland and Romania were expected to join in the campaign. Two days earlier, Finnish Major General Paavo Talvela
Paavo Talvela
Paavo Talvela was a Finnish soldier and a Knight of the Mannerheim Cross. He was one of the volunteers who served in the Finnish Jaeger battalion in Germany in 1916 to 1917. He was a battalion commander in the Finnish Civil War...

 had met German Colonel General Franz Halder
Franz Halder
Franz Halder was a German General and the head of the Army General Staff from 1938 until September, 1942, when he was dismissed after frequent disagreements with Adolf Hitler.-Early life:...

 and, a couple days later, Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

, in Berlin. This was the first time the Germans advised them, in carefully couched diplomatic terms, that they were preparing for a war with the Soviet Union. Outlines of the actual plan were revealed in January 1941 and regular contacts between Finnish and German military leaders started from February.

In late Spring 1941, the Soviet Union made a number of goodwill gestures in order to prevent Finland from completely falling under German influence. Soviet ambassador Ivan Zotov was replaced with the more flexible Pavel Orlov. Furthermore, the Soviet government announced that it no longer opposed an approchement between Finland and Sweden. However, these conciliatory measures did not have effect on Finnish policy.

Finnish-German agreement


On 20 May, Germany invited Finnish officers to Germany to discuss the coordination of Operation Barbarossa. The participants met on 25–28 May in Salzburg
Salzburg
-Population development:In 1935, the population significantly increased when Salzburg absorbed adjacent municipalities. After World War II, numerous refugees found a new home in the city. New residential space was created for American soldiers of the postwar Occupation, and could be used for...

 and Berlin, and continued in Helsinki
Helsinki
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The population of the city of Helsinki is , making it by far the most populous municipality in Finland. Helsinki is...

 on 3–6 June. They agreed upon the arrival of German troops, Finnish mobilization and general division of operations. It was also agreed that the Finnish Army would start mobilization
Mobilization
Mobilization is the act of assembling and making both troops and supplies ready for war. The word mobilization was first used, in a military context, in order to describe the preparation of the Prussian army during the 1850s and 1860s. Mobilization theories and techniques have continuously changed...

 on 15 June, but the Germans did not reveal the final date for the assault. The Finnish decisions were made by a small group of political and military leaders and the rest of the government was largely kept in the dark. They were not told until the 9th of June that the country would start mobilization of reservist
Reservist
A reservist is a person who is a member of a military reserve force. They are otherwise civilians, and in peacetime have careers outside the military. Reservists usually go for training on an annual basis to refresh their skills. This person is usually a former active-duty member of the armed...

s due to tensions between Germany and the Soviet Union.

Deployments and pre-assaults


The Germans took responsibility for a 500 km (310.7 mi) stretch of the front in the northern Finland, the Finnish Lapland. The Finnish army was now much stronger than it had been during the Winter War. Its total strength was 475,000 men and the artillery
Artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

 was relatively strong. However, there was only one tank
Tank
A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities...

 battalion and a lack of motorized transportation.

At the beginning of the war, the Soviet Union had only eighteen divisions in the region, against fifteen Finnish and four German divisions. The Finns also enjoyed air supremacy
Air supremacy
Air supremacy is the complete dominance of the air power of one side's air forces over the other side's, during a military campaign. It is the most favorable state of control of the air...

. Furthermore, the Soviet Union needed its best units and most up-to-date materiel
Materiel
Materiel is a term used in English to refer to the equipment and supplies in military and commercial supply chain management....

 on its western front.

The German troops assaulted the Soviet Union on 22 June elsewhere but not in Finland. However, German minelayers hiding in the Archipelago Sea
Archipelago Sea
Archipelago Sea is a part of the Baltic Sea between the Gulf of Bothnia, the Gulf of Finland and the Sea of Åland, within Finnish territorial waters...

 laid two large minefields across the Gulf of Finland
Gulf of Finland
The Gulf of Finland is the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea. It extends between Finland and Estonia all the way to Saint Petersburg in Russia, where the river Neva drains into it. Other major cities around the gulf include Helsinki and Tallinn...

 in the late hours of 21 June. Later the same night, German bombers flew along the Gulf of Finland to Leningrad and mined the harbour and the river Neva. On the return trip, these bombers landed for refueling on an airfield in Utti. In the early hours of 22 June Finnish forces launched Operation Kilpapurjehdus
Operation Kilpapurjehdus
Operation Kilpapurjehdus was the covername for the militarization of the Åland islands. The operation took place on June 22 1941, and in this way, Finland strived to prevent Soviet landings in the area....

 that occupied the demilitarized Åland Islands
Åland Islands
The Åland Islands form an archipelago in the Baltic Sea. They are situated at the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia and form an autonomous, demilitarised, monolingually Swedish-speaking region of Finland...

. An international treaty on the status of the islands called for Finland to occupy them in case of a threat of an attack. However the operation was coordinated with the Nazi invasion and the Soviet consulate there was arrested; Finland knew it had violated international norms.

On 21 June, Finnish units began to concentrate at the Finnish-Soviet border, where they were arranged into defensive formations. Finland mobilised 16 infantry divisions, one cavalry brigade, and two jäger
Jäger (military)
Jäger is a term that was adopted in the Enlightenment era in German-speaking states and others influenced by German military practice to describe a kind of light infantry, and it has continued in that use since then....

 brigades, which were standard infantry brigades, except for an armoured battalion in the 1st Jäger Brigade
Jaeger Brigade
The Jaeger Brigade is a unit of the Finnish Army. The unit is located in Sodankylä in Finnish Lapland, some 130 km north of the Arctic Circle. The brigade trains 1600 conscripts per year....

. There were separate battalions mostly formed from border guard units and used mainly for reconnaissance. Soviet military plans estimated that Finland would be able to mobilise only 10 infantry divisions, as it had done in the Winter War, but they failed to take into account the materiel Finland had purchased between the wars and its training of all available men. Two German mountain divisions were stationed at Petsamo
Pechengsky District
Pechengsky District is an administrative and municipal district , one of the five in Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It is located to the northwest of the Kola Peninsula on the coast of the Barents Sea and borders with Finland in the south and southwest and with Norway in the west, northwest, and north...

 and two infantry divisions at Salla
Salla
Salla is a municipality of Finland, located in Lapland. The municipality has a population of and covers an area of ofwhich is water. The population density is....

. On the morning of 22 June, the German Mountain Corps Norway began its advance
Operation Renntier
Operation Renntier was a German operation during World War II intended to secure the nickel-mines around Petsamo, in Finland, against Soviet attack in the event of a renewed war between Finland and the Soviet Union....

 from northern Norway to Petsamo. Finland did not allow direct German attacks from its soil into the Soviet Union. On the same day, another German infantry division was moved in from Oslo to face Ladoga Karelia.

The Karelian Isthmus was covered by the 23rd Army
23rd Army (Soviet Union)
The 23rd Army was a Field Army of the Soviet Union's Red Army. It was formed in May 1941 in the Leningrad Military District for the defence of the southernmost part of the Soviet Union's border with Finland, north and northeast of Vyborg...

. Ladoga Karelia was defended by the 7th Army
7th Army (Soviet Union)
The Soviet Red Army's 7th Army first saw action in the 1939-40 Winter War against Finland. In November 1939, just before the initial Soviet attack, it consisted of the 19th Rifle Corps , 50th Rifle Corps , 10th Tank Corps, 138th Rifle Division, and an independent tank brigade...

. In the Murmansk
Murmansk
Murmansk is a city and the administrative center of Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It serves as a seaport and is located in the extreme northwest part of Russia, on the Kola Bay, from the Barents Sea on the northern shore of the Kola Peninsula, not far from Russia's borders with Norway and Finland...

Salla
Salla
Salla is a municipality of Finland, located in Lapland. The municipality has a population of and covers an area of ofwhich is water. The population density is....

 region, there was the 14th Army
14th Army (Soviet Union)
The 14th Army was formed in October 1939 in the Leningrad Military District. It participated in the Soviet-Finnish war, during which its 52nd and 104th Rifle Divisions fought in the Battle of Petsamo.From 24 June 1941 the Army included...

 with the 42nd Corps. The Red Army also had around 40 battalions of separate regiments and fortification units present. Leningrad was garrisoned by three infantry divisions and one mechanized corps. As the initial devastating German strike against the Soviet Air Force had not affected air units located near Finland, the Soviets deployed 700 planes as well as some aircraft from the Navy
Soviet Navy
The Soviet Navy was the naval arm of the Soviet Armed Forces. Often referred to as the Red Fleet, the Soviet Navy would have played an instrumental role in a Warsaw Pact war with NATO, where it would have attempted to prevent naval convoys from bringing reinforcements across the Atlantic Ocean...

 against 300 Finnish planes.

Campaign of 1941


In the morning of 25 June, the Soviet Union launched an air offensive of 460 fighter and bombers targeted against 19 airfields in Finland; however, inaccurate intelligence and bad bombing accuracy caused several raids to actually hit Finnish cities or municipalities. There was considerable destruction in the cities and 23 planes were shot down. This offered the Finnish government a ground for claiming that the country had become the target of a new assault and the parliament approved the "defend war" as a fait accompli
Fait Accompli
Fait accompli is a French phrase which means literally "an accomplished deed". It is commonly used to describe an action which is completed before those affected by it are in a position to query or reverse it...

. The message was more for public opinion in Finland than abroad, where it was seen that the country was in the German camp. In 1941, most Finns thought it was only to regain back what had been wrongly taken in the Winter War.

The Soviet Union claimed the air attack was directed against German targets, especially airfields, in Finland. At the same time, Soviet artillery stationed at the Hanko base began to shell Finnish targets and a minor Soviet infantry attack was launched over the Finnish side of the border in Parikkala
Parikkala
Parikkala is a municipality of Finland located in the province of Southern Finland and is part of the South Karelia region. The municipality has a population of and covers an area of of which is water...

.

The Soviet Union was struggling to contain the German invasion and soon the Soviet High Command
Stavka
Stavka was the term used to refer to a command element of the armed forces from the time of the Kievan Rus′, more formally during the history of Imperial Russia as administrative staff and General Headquarters during late 19th Century Imperial Russian armed forces and those of the Soviet Union...

 had to call all available units to the rapidly deteriorating front line. Because of this, the initial air offensive against Finland could not be followed by a supporting land offensive in the scale originally planned. Moreover, the 10th Mechanized Corps and the 237th Infantry Division were withdrawn from Ladoga Karelia, thus stripping reserves from the remaining defending units.

Reconquest of Ladoga Karelia


The Finnish plans for the offensive in Ladoga Karelia were completed on 28 June. It was launched on 10 July and by 16 July it had already reached the shore of Lake Ladoga
Lake Ladoga
Lake Ladoga is a freshwater lake located in the Republic of Karelia and Leningrad Oblast in northwestern Russia, not far from Saint Petersburg. It is the largest lake in Europe, and the 14th largest lake by area in the world.-Geography:...

 and cut the defending Soviet army in two, hindering the Soviet defense of the area. Finnish HQ halted the offensive in Ladoga Karelia on 25 July after reconquering the area of Ladoga Karelia lost to Soviet Union in 1940 and advancing as far as Vitele, and then moved onto the offensive at other sections of the front.

Reconquest of the Karelian Isthmus



Finnish II Corps (II AK) started offensive in the region of the Karelian Isthmus on 31 July. Finnish troops reached the shores of lake Ladoga on 9 August, surrounding most of three defending Soviet divisions on the north-western coast of the lake from where they were evacuated across the lake. On 22 August Finnish IV AK started its offensive from the 1940 border between the Gulf of Finland and II AK and advanced towards Viipuri. By 23 August, the Finnish II Corps had reached the Vuoksi waterway
Vuoksi River
The Vuoksi River runs in the northernmost part of the Karelian Isthmus from Lake Saimaa in southeastern Finland to Lake Ladoga in northwestern Russia. The river enters Lake Ladoga in three branches, an older main northern branch at Priozersk , a smaller branch few km...

 from the east and continued to surround the Soviet forces defending Viipuri
Vyborg
Vyborg is a town in Leningrad Oblast, Russia, situated on the Karelian Isthmus near the head of the Bay of Vyborg, to the northwest of St. Petersburg and south from Russia's border with Finland, where the Saimaa Canal enters the Gulf of Finland...

. The Soviet withdrawal order came too late, and divisions lost much of their equipment, although a sizable portion of their manpower was later evacuated via the Koivisto islands
Beryozovye Islands
Beryozovye Islands , alternatively spelled Berezovye Islands, is an island group in Leningrad Oblast, Russia. The islands are situated at the bottom of the Gulf of Finland, just outside the town of Primorsk on the Karelian Isthmus....

. The badly mauled defending Soviet army was unable to halt the Finnish offensive, and by 2 September they had reached the 1939 border along its whole length. On 31 August, Finnish HQ ordered the offensive to halt at a straightened line just past the former border. However, according to Soviet sources the Finns advanced and took the settlement of Novyi Beloostrov
Beloostrov
Beloostrov , from 1922 to World War II—Krasnoostrov , is a municipal settlement in Kurortny District of the federal city of Saint Petersburg, Russia, located on the Sestra River, Karelian Isthmus, and a key station of the Saint Petersburg-Vyborg railroad since 1870 at the junction of Saint...

 on 4 September, but a Soviet counter-attack threw them out the next day, although the war diary of the Finnish 12th Division facing the settlement does not mention the fighting and notes that it was quiet at the time while the neighboring 18th Division gave clear orders on the morning of 4 September 1941 not to advance to N. Beloostrov. Neither does Finnish chronology of the Continuation War mention fighting at N. Beloostrov on 4-5 September 1941. Staryi Beloostrov (Valkeasaari) was taken by the Finns on September 4 and the Soviet counterattacks failed to retake the settlement. The Finns took Novyi Beloostrov on 11 September. This created a dangerous bulge in the Soviet defensive line. Fighting for the settlement continued until 20 September when the Soviets managed to force the Finns out. After that the front stabilized.

Conquest of East Karelia


Finnish offensive in East Karelia started in early July in the northern section of the front. In early September, the attack in the northern section reached the Rukajärvi (Ругозеро, Rugozero) village and HQ halted the offensive there. In the southern area on August 27, Finnish HQ ordered the offensive to reach Svir river
Svir River
Svir is a river in the north-east of Leningrad Oblast, Russia. It flows from Lake Onega west to Lake Ladoga, thus connecting the two largest lakes of Europe. It is the largest river flowing into Lake Ladoga....

. Finnish troops cut the Kirov railroad on 7 September and crossed the Svir on 15 September and then halted the offensive. Advance troops reached shores of Lake Onega
Lake Onega
Lake Onega is a lake in the north-west European part of Russia, located on the territory of Republic of Karelia, Leningrad Oblast and Vologda Oblast. It belongs to the basin of Baltic Sea, Atlantic Ocean, and is the second largest lake in Europe after Lake Ladoga...

 on 24 September and the town of Petrozavodsk
Petrozavodsk
Petrozavodsk is the capital city of the Republic of Karelia, Russia. It stretches along the western shore of the Lake Onega for some . The city is served by Petrozavodsk Airport. Municipally, it is incorporated as Petrozavodsky Urban Okrug . Population:...

 was captured on 1 October after the Soviets withdraw from the town to avoid encirclement. On 6 November, the Finnish HQ ordered their forces to capture Karhumäki
Medvezhyegorsk
Medvezhyegorsk , formerly known as Medvezhya Gora and Karhumäki, is a town and the administrative center of Medvezhyegorsky District of the Republic of Karelia, Russia. Population: 15,800 ....

 and then move to defense. The Finnish forces captured the area of Karhumäki
Medvezhyegorsk
Medvezhyegorsk , formerly known as Medvezhya Gora and Karhumäki, is a town and the administrative center of Medvezhyegorsky District of the Republic of Karelia, Russia. Population: 15,800 ....

 and Povenets
Povenets
Povenets is an urban locality in Medvezhyegorsky District of the Republic of Karelia, Russia, located on the shore of Lake Onega, north of Petrozavodsk. Population:...

 and halted the offensive in early December.

Related to Finnish advance to Svir the German Army Group North advanced from the south towards Svir river and managed to capture Tikhvin
Tikhvin
Tikhvin is a town and the administrative center of Tikhvinsky District of Leningrad Oblast, Russia, located on both banks of the Tikhvinka River in the east of the oblast, east of St. Petersburg. Tikhvin is also an industrial and cultural center of the district, as well as its transportation...

 before Soviet counterattacks forced the Germans to withdraw to Volkhov River
Volkhov River
Volkhov is a river in Novgorod Oblast and Leningrad Oblast in northwestern Russia.-Geography:The Volkhov flows out of Lake Ilmen north into Lake Ladoga, the largest lake of Europe. It is the second largest tributary of Lake Ladoga. It is navigable over its whole length. Discharge is highly...

. Soviet forces also made several attempts to force Finns out from their bridgehead south of Svir during October and December 1941 however the Soviet efforts to reduce the bridgehead were blocked by the Finns. Soviet forces also attacked against the German 163rd Division – which was operating under Finnish command – across the Svir in October 1941 but the Soviet forces which had crossed the river were pushed back soon after.

Operation Silver Fox on the North


The German objective in northern Finland was to take Murmansk
Murmansk
Murmansk is a city and the administrative center of Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It serves as a seaport and is located in the extreme northwest part of Russia, on the Kola Bay, from the Barents Sea on the northern shore of the Kola Peninsula, not far from Russia's borders with Norway and Finland...

 and seize control of the Murman Railway. Murmansk was the only ice-free port year round in the north and a threat to the nickel mine of Petsamo. The Operation Silver Fox
Operation Silver Fox
Operation Silver Fox was a joint German–Finnish military operation plan during World War II, though it was mainly operated and engaged by Germans. Its main goal was the capture of the key Soviet port at Murmansk through attacks from Finnish and Norwegian territory.The operation had to be three...

 was run by the German AOK Norwegen and had two Finnish divisions under its command. The German soldiers were from central Europe and they had difficulties moving over a roadless terrain of swamp
Swamp
A swamp is a wetland with some flooding of large areas of land by shallow bodies of water. A swamp generally has a large number of hammocks, or dry-land protrusions, covered by aquatic vegetation, or vegetation that tolerates periodical inundation. The two main types of swamp are "true" or swamp...

 and forest
Forest
A forest, also referred to as a wood or the woods, is an area with a high density of trees. As with cities, depending where you are in the world, what is considered a forest may vary significantly in size and have various classification according to how and what of the forest is composed...

. Troops managed to advance some distance with heavy casualties, but the terrain offered good defensive positions for the Soviet resistance.

The order for German–Finnish troops to move to defensive operations was given on 17 November and attempts to reach the Murman Railway had failed.

Naval campaign


Though the Red Banner Baltic fleet
Baltic Fleet
The Twice Red Banner Baltic Fleet - is the Russian Navy's presence in the Baltic Sea. In previous historical periods, it has been part of the navy of Imperial Russia and later the Soviet Union. The Fleet gained the 'Twice Red Banner' appellation during the Soviet period, indicating two awards of...

 started the war in a strong position, the naval mine warfare, aerial supremacy and rapid changes to the land forces forced Soviet Navy to evacuate its bases to Kronstadt
Kronstadt
Kronstadt , also spelled Kronshtadt, Cronstadt |crown]]" and Stadt for "city"); is a municipal town in Kronshtadtsky District of the federal city of St. Petersburg, Russia, located on Kotlin Island, west of Saint Petersburg proper near the head of the Gulf of Finland. Population: It is also...

 and Leningrad
Leningrad
Leningrad is the former name of Saint Petersburg, Russia.Leningrad may also refer to:- Places :* Leningrad Oblast, a federal subject of Russia, around Saint Petersburg* Leningrad, Tajikistan, capital of Muminobod district in Khatlon Province...

. Evacuations from Tallinn and Hanko
Battle of Hanko (1941)
The Battle of Hanko was a lengthy series of small battles fought on Hanko Peninsula during the Continuation War between Finland and the Soviet Union in the second half of 1941...

 proved to be very costly operations. As the Soviet Navy withdrew to the eastern end of the Gulf of Finland
Gulf of Finland
The Gulf of Finland is the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea. It extends between Finland and Estonia all the way to Saint Petersburg in Russia, where the river Neva drains into it. Other major cities around the gulf include Helsinki and Tallinn...

 it left the nearly the whole of the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

 as well as many of the islands to the Germans
Kriegsmarine
The Kriegsmarine was the name of the German Navy during the Nazi regime . It superseded the Kaiserliche Marine of World War I and the post-war Reichsmarine. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches of the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany.The Kriegsmarine grew rapidly...

 and the Finns
Finnish Navy
The Finnish Navy is one of the branches of the Finnish Defence Forces. The Navy employs 2,300 people and about 4,300 conscripts are trained each year. Finnish Navy vessels are given the ship prefix "FNS" simply short for "Finnish Navy Ship"...

. Though submarines caused some threat to German traffic on the Baltic, the withdrawal of the Soviet Navy made the Baltic Sea a 'German lake' until the second half of 1944. Though the Soviet navy left in a hurry, the naval mines it had managed to lay before and during the evacuations caused casualties both to the Germans and to the Finns, including the loss of one of the two Finnish coastal defence ships, the .

Political development


The main forces of Germany advanced rapidly deep into the Soviet territory during the first weeks of campaign. The Finns believed the Germans would defeat the Soviet Union soon. President Ryti visionized Greater Finland
Greater Finland
Greater Finland was an idea which was born in some irredentist movements emphasizing pan-Finnicism and expressed a Finnish version of pre-World War II European nationalism. It was imagined to include Finland as well as territories inhabited by ethnically-related Finnic peoples: Finns, Karelians,...

, where the country and other Finnic people would live inside "natural defence borderline" by incorporating the Kola Peninsula
Kola Peninsula
The Kola Peninsula is a peninsula in the far northwest of Russia. Constituting the bulk of the territory of Murmansk Oblast, it lies almost completely to the north of the Arctic Circle and is washed by the Barents Sea in the north and the White Sea in the east and southeast...

, East Karelia
East Karelia
East Karelia , also rendered as Eastern Karelia or Russian Karelia, is a name for the part of Karelia that since the Treaty of Stolbova in 1617 has remained Christian Orthodox under Russian supremacy. It is separated from the western part of Karelia, called Finnish Karelia or historically Swedish...

 and perhaps even northern Ingria
Ingria
Ingria is a historical region in the eastern Baltic, now part of Russia, comprising the southern bank of the river Neva, between the Gulf of Finland, the Narva River, Lake Peipus in the west, and Lake Ladoga and the western bank of the Volkhov river in the east...

. In public the proposed frontier was introduced by the slogan "A short border – a long peace". Some members of parliament opposed the idea, such social democrats
Social Democratic Party of Finland
The Social Democratic Party of Finland is one of the three major political parties in Finland, along with the Centre Party and the National Coalition Party. Jutta Urpilainen is the current SDP leader. The party has been in the Finnish government cabinet for long periods and has set many...

 and Swedish-speaking party people, and argument that 1939 frontier would be enough. The Commander-in-Chief C.G.E. Mannerheim
Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim
Baron Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim was the military leader of the Whites in the Finnish Civil War, Commander-in-Chief of Finland's Defence Forces during World War II, Marshal of Finland, and a Finnish statesman. He was Regent of Finland and the sixth President of Finland...

 gave an order of the day on 10 July, the Sword scabbard declaration
Sword Scabbard Declaration
The Order of the Day of the Sword Scabbard, or the Sword Scabbard Declaration, actually refers to two related declarations by the Finnish Commander-in-Chief Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim during World War I and World War II against Soviet control of East Karelia.-World War I:During the Civil War in...

, in which he pledged to liberate Karelia. The Finnish government assured to Americans that it was unaware of the order.

Finland had prepared for a short war, but in late autumn it was clear that there was no decisive outcome in the short term. The Finnish troops suffered losses during its advance, and overall German victory became unsure as their troops were halted near Moscow
Battle of Moscow
The Battle of Moscow is the name given by Soviet historians to two periods of strategically significant fighting on a sector of the Eastern Front during World War II. It took place between October 1941 and January 1942. The Soviet defensive effort frustrated Hitler's attack on Moscow, capital of...

. The Finnish economy suffered from a lack of labour, food shortages and increased prices. The Finnish government had to demobilize part of the army so that industrial and agricultural production would not collapse. In October, the Finns informed Germany that it would need 175000 ST (158,757.3 t) of grain
GRAIN
GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems. Our support takes the form of independent research and analysis, networking at local, regional and...

s to manage till next year's harvest. German authorities would have rejected the request, but Hitler himself agreed. The annual grain deliveries 200000 ST (181,436.9 t) amounted to almost ½ of the Finnish domestic crop. In November Finland decided to join the Anti-Comintern Pact
Anti-Comintern Pact
The Anti-Comintern Pact was an Anti-Communist pact concluded between Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan on November 25, 1936 and was directed against the Communist International ....

. The advance in East Karelia was halted on 6 December. The Finns had suffered 75,000 casualties of whom 25,000 died during the advance.

Finland and Western Allies


Finland worked to maintain good relations with the Western powers. The government stressed that Finland was fighting as a co-belligerent of Germany only against the Soviet Union to protect itself. Furthermore, Finland stressed that it was still the same democratic country as it had been in the Winter War. However, the United Kingdom had signed with the Soviet Union an agreement of joint action on 12 July. Furthermore, Finland had to close, under German pressure, the British legation
Legation
A legation was the term used in diplomacy to denote a diplomatic representative office lower than an embassy. Where an embassy was headed by an Ambassador, a legation was headed by a Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary....

 in Helsinki. As a result, diplomatic relations between Finland and the United Kingdom were broken on 1 August. On 28 November, Britain presented Finland an ultimatum, in which it demanded that Finland cease military operations by 3 December. Unofficially Finland informed the Western powers that troops would halt their advance in the next few days. The reply did not satisfy the United Kingdom. It declared war on Finland on 6 December, following Commonwealth countries
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 of Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

.

Relations between Finland and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 were more complex. The American public was sympathetic to the 'brave little democracy' and there were still anti-communist feelings. At first, the U.S. empathised with the Finnish cause; however, the situation became problematic after Finnish troops crossed the 1939 border. Finnish and German troops were a threat to the Murmansk Railway
Murmansk Railway
Murman Railway is a broad gauge Russian railway network that links the Murman Coast and Murmansk city and Saint Petersburg...

 and northern communication supply line between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union. On 25 October, the U.S. demanded that Finland cease all hostilities against the Soviet Union and withdraw behind the 1939 border. In public President Ryti rejected the demands, but in private he wrote Mannerheim on 5 November asking him to halt the offensive. Mannerheim agreed and secretly instructed General Hjalmar Siilasvuo
Hjalmar Siilasvuo
Hjalmar Fridolf Siilasvuo was a Finnish general who led troops in the Winter War, Continuation War and Lapland War...

 to break off the assault against the Murmansk Railway.

1942–1943: Trench warfare



Military operations


Though military operations during 1942–1943 were limited, the front did see some action. In early 1942, Soviet Karelian Front forces attempted to retake the Medvezhyegorsk
Medvezhyegorsk
Medvezhyegorsk , formerly known as Medvezhya Gora and Karhumäki, is a town and the administrative center of Medvezhyegorsky District of the Republic of Karelia, Russia. Population: 15,800 ....

 which had been lost to the Finns in late 1941. As the spring came, the Soviet forces also went onto the offensive in the Svir
Svir River
Svir is a river in the north-east of Leningrad Oblast, Russia. It flows from Lake Onega west to Lake Ladoga, thus connecting the two largest lakes of Europe. It is the largest river flowing into Lake Ladoga....

 front as well as in Kiestinki region. All Soviet offensives started promisingly but either due to overextending their lines or by stubborn resistance, the Soviet offensives were stopped and repulsed. After Finnish and German (in Kiestinki) counterattacks, the eventual front lines had moved very little. On September 1942, the Soviets tried again at Kriv
KRIV
KRIV, channel 26, is an owned-and-operated television station of the News Corporation-owned Fox, located in Houston, Texas. KRIV is co-owned with MyNetworkTV affiliate KTXH...

 near Medvezhyegorsk
Medvezhyegorsk
Medvezhyegorsk , formerly known as Medvezhya Gora and Karhumäki, is a town and the administrative center of Medvezhyegorsky District of the Republic of Karelia, Russia. Population: 15,800 ....

, but despite of five days of fighting, the Soviets managed to push back the Finnish lines only 500 m (546.8 yd) on a roughly 1 km (0.621372736649807 mi)-long stretch of the front.

Unconventional warfare was fought in both the Finnish and Soviet wilderness. Finnish LRRPs organized both by Finnish HQ—4th Separate Battalion (Er.P 4)—and by local units patrolled beyond Soviet lines. In the summer of 1942, the Soviet Union had formed the 1st Partisan Brigade. The unit was only 'partisan' in the name as it was essentially more than 600 men and women on long range patrol. The 1st Partisan Brigade was able to infiltrate beyond Finnish patrol lines but was found out and largely destroyed.

On the naval front, the Soviet Baltic Fleet
Baltic Fleet
The Twice Red Banner Baltic Fleet - is the Russian Navy's presence in the Baltic Sea. In previous historical periods, it has been part of the navy of Imperial Russia and later the Soviet Union. The Fleet gained the 'Twice Red Banner' appellation during the Soviet period, indicating two awards of...

 still operated from the besieged city of Leningrad
Leningrad
Leningrad is the former name of Saint Petersburg, Russia.Leningrad may also refer to:- Places :* Leningrad Oblast, a federal subject of Russia, around Saint Petersburg* Leningrad, Tajikistan, capital of Muminobod district in Khatlon Province...

. In early 1942, Soviet forces recaptured the island of Gogland but lost both Gogland and Bolshoy Tyuters
Bolshoy Tyuters
Bolshoi Tyuters is an island in the Gulf of Finland of the Baltic Sea, located 75 km away from the coast of Finland, to the south-east from Hogland. The island is a part of the Leningrad Oblast, Russia. The area is approximately 8.3 km². There are no permanent inhabitants, save for a...

 to the Finns later in the spring of 1942. During the winter of 1941/1942, the Soviet Baltic Fleet made the decision to use the large Soviet submarine fleet to carry the fight to the enemy. Though initial submarine operations in the summer of 1942 were successful, the German Kriegsmarine
Kriegsmarine
The Kriegsmarine was the name of the German Navy during the Nazi regime . It superseded the Kaiserliche Marine of World War I and the post-war Reichsmarine. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches of the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany.The Kriegsmarine grew rapidly...

 and Finnish Navy
Finnish Navy
The Finnish Navy is one of the branches of the Finnish Defence Forces. The Navy employs 2,300 people and about 4,300 conscripts are trained each year. Finnish Navy vessels are given the ship prefix "FNS" simply short for "Finnish Navy Ship"...

 soon stepped up their anti-submarine efforts, making the Soviet submarine operations later in 1942 very costly. The underwater offensive carried out by the Soviets convinced the Germans to lay anti-submarine net
Anti-submarine net
An anti-submarine net is a device placed across the mouth of a harbour or a strait for protection against submarines.-Examples of anti-submarine nets:*Lake Macquarie anti-submarine boom*Indicator net*Naval operations in the Dardanelles Campaign...

s as well as supporting minefields between Porkkala
Porkkala
Porkkala is a peninsula in the Gulf of Finland located at Kirkkonummi in Southern Finland.The peninsula had great strategic value, as coastal artillery based there would be able to reach more than halfway across the Gulf of Finland...

 and Naissaar
Naissaar
Naissaar is an island northwest of Tallinn in Estonia. The island covers an area of 18.6 km². It is 13-14 km long and 6 km wide, and lies about 8.5 km from the mainland. The highest point on the island is Kunilamägi, which is 27 meters above sea-level. The island consists predominantly of...

 which proved to be an insurmountable obstacle for the Soviet submarines.

Diplomatic manoeuvers


Operation Barbarossa was planned as a blitzkrieg
Blitzkrieg
For other uses of the word, see: Blitzkrieg Blitzkrieg is an anglicized word describing all-motorised force concentration of tanks, infantry, artillery, combat engineers and air power, concentrating overwhelming force at high speed to break through enemy lines, and, once the lines are broken,...

intended to last a few weeks. British and U.S. observers believed that the invasion would be concluded before August. In the autumn of 1941, this turned out to be wrong, and leading Finnish military officers started to doubt Germany's capability to finish the war quickly. German troops in Northern Finland faced circumstances they were not properly prepared for, and failed to reach their targets, most importantly Murmansk
Murmansk
Murmansk is a city and the administrative center of Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It serves as a seaport and is located in the extreme northwest part of Russia, on the Kola Bay, from the Barents Sea on the northern shore of the Kola Peninsula, not far from Russia's borders with Norway and Finland...

. As the lines stabilized, Finland sent out peace feelers to the Soviet Union several times. Germany was alarmed by this, and reacted by drawing down shipments of desperately needed materials each time. The idea that Finland had to continue the war while putting its own forces in the least possible danger gained increasing support, perhaps in the hope that the Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

and the Red Army would wear each other down enough for negotiations to begin, or to at least get them out of the way of Finland's independent decisions. Nationalist elements, including the IKL, may also have continued to hope for an eventual victory by Germany.

Finland's participation in the war brought major benefits to Germany. The Soviet fleet was blockaded in the Gulf of Finland
Gulf of Finland
The Gulf of Finland is the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea. It extends between Finland and Estonia all the way to Saint Petersburg in Russia, where the river Neva drains into it. Other major cities around the gulf include Helsinki and Tallinn...

, so that the Baltic was freed for the training of German submarine crews as well as for German shipping, especially for the transport of vital iron ore from northern Sweden and nickel and rare metals
Nickel deposits of Finland
The Finnish nickel deposits were found in the Petsamo area near the Barents Sea. Until the Paris Peace Treaties, 1947, this was the northernmost part of Finland. In 1934 it was estimated that the deposits contained over five million tons of nickel...

 (needed in steel processing) from the Petsamo area. The Finnish front secured the northern flank of the German Army Group North
Army Group North
Army Group North was a German strategic echelon formation commanding a grouping of Field Armies subordinated to the OKH during World War II. The army group coordinated the operations of attached separate army corps, reserve formations, rear services and logistics.- Formation :The Army Group North...

 in the Baltic states. The sixteen Finnish divisions tied down numerous Soviet troops, put pressure on Leningrad
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

 (although Mannerheim refused to attack it directly), and threatened the Murmansk railway. Additionally, Sweden was further isolated and was increasingly pressured to comply with German and Finnish wishes, though with limited success.

Despite Finland's contributions to the German cause, the Western Allies had ambivalent feelings, torn between residual goodwill for Finland and the need to accommodate their vital ally, the Soviet Union. As a result, Britain declared war against Finland, but the U.S. did not. With few exceptions, there was no combat between these countries and Finland, but Finnish sailors were interned overseas. In the U.S., Finland was denounced for naval attacks made on American Lend-Lease
Lend-Lease
Lend-Lease was the program under which the United States of America supplied the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, China, Free France, and other Allied nations with materiel between 1941 and 1945. It was signed into law on March 11, 1941, a year and a half after the outbreak of war in Europe in...

 shipments, but received approval for continuing to make payments on its World War I debt throughout the inter-war period.

Because Finland joined the Anti-Comintern Pact
Anti-Comintern Pact
The Anti-Comintern Pact was an Anti-Communist pact concluded between Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan on November 25, 1936 and was directed against the Communist International ....

 and signed other agreements with Germany, Italy, and Japan, the Allies characterized Finland as one of the Axis Powers
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

, although the term used in Finland is "co-belligerence
Co-belligerence
Co-belligerence is the waging of a war in cooperation against a common enemy without a formal treaty of military alliance.Co-belligerence is a broader and less precise status of wartime partnership than a formal military alliance. Co-belligerents may support each other materially, exchange...

 with Germany", emphasizing the lack of a formal military alliance treaty.

International volunteers and support


Like in the Winter War
Winter War
The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland. It began with a Soviet offensive on 30 November 1939 – three months after the start of World War II and the Soviet invasion of Poland – and ended on 13 March 1940 with the Moscow Peace Treaty...

, Swedish volunteers were recruited. Until December they were tasked with guarding the Soviet naval base at Hanko. When it was evacuated by sea in December 1941, the Swedish unit was officially disbanded. During the Continuation War, the volunteers signed for three to six months of service. In all, over 1,600 fought for Finland, though only about 60 remained by the summer of 1944. About ⅓ of the volunteers had previously participated in the Winter War. Another significant group—about ¼ of the men—were Swedish officers on leave.

From 1942 to 1944 there was also a Schutzstaffel
Schutzstaffel
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...

(SS) battalion of volunteers on the northern Finnish front that was recruited from Norway, then under German occupation, and similarly, a some Danes
Frikorps Danmark
Free Corps Denmark was a Danish volunteer free corps created by the Danish Nazi Party in cooperation with Germany, to fight the Soviet Union during the Second World War. On June 29, 1941, days after the German invasion of the Soviet Union, the DNSAP's newspaper Fædrelandet proclaimed the creation...

. About 3,400 Estonian volunteers
Finnish Infantry Regiment 200
Infantry Regiment 200 or Soomepoisid was a unit in the Finnish army during World War II made up mostly of Estonian volunteers, who preferred to fight against the Soviet Union in the ranks of the Finnish army instead of the armed forces of Germany....

 took part. On other occasions, the Finns received around 2,100 Soviet prisoners of war in return for those POWs they turned over to the Germans. These POWs were mainly Estonians
Estonians
Estonians are a Finnic people closely related to the Finns and inhabiting, primarily, the country of Estonia. They speak a Finnic language known as Estonian...

 and Karelians
Karelians
The Karelians are a Baltic-Finnic ethnic group living mostly in the Republic of Karelia and in other north-western parts of the Russian Federation. The historic homeland of Karelians includes also parts of present-day Eastern Finland and the formerly Finnish territory of Ladoga Karelia...

 who were willing to join the Finnish army. These, as well as some volunteers from occupied Eastern Karelia, formed the Kinship Battalion (Finnish: "Heimopataljoona"). At the end of the war the USSR requested members of the Kinship Battalion to be handed over. Some managed to escape before or during transport, but most of them were either sent to the labor camps or executed.

Finnish occupation policy


On 19 July 1941, the Finns set up the military administration
Finnish military administration in Eastern Karelia, 1941–1944
Finnish military administration in Eastern Karelia was an interim administrative system established in those areas of the Karelo-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic of the Soviet Union which were occupied by the Finnish army during the Continuation War. The military administration was set up on July...

 in the occupied East Karelia
East Karelia
East Karelia , also rendered as Eastern Karelia or Russian Karelia, is a name for the part of Karelia that since the Treaty of Stolbova in 1617 has remained Christian Orthodox under Russian supremacy. It is separated from the western part of Karelia, called Finnish Karelia or historically Swedish...

. The goal of the administration was to prepare the region for eventual incorporation into Finland. In the early stage, the Finns aimed at ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing is a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic orreligious group from certain geographic areas....

 where the Russian population would be moved out of the area once the war was over. They would be replaced with Finnic peoples
Finnic peoples
The Finnic or Fennic peoples were historic ethnic groups who spoke various languages traditionally classified as Finno-Permic...

 such as Karelians
Karelians
The Karelians are a Baltic-Finnic ethnic group living mostly in the Republic of Karelia and in other north-western parts of the Russian Federation. The historic homeland of Karelians includes also parts of present-day Eastern Finland and the formerly Finnish territory of Ladoga Karelia...

, Finns, Estonians
Estonians
Estonians are a Finnic people closely related to the Finns and inhabiting, primarily, the country of Estonia. They speak a Finnic language known as Estonian...

, Ingrians
Ingrian Finns
The Ingrian Finns are the Finnish population of Ingria descending from Lutheran Finnish immigrants introduced to the area in the 17th century, when Finland and Ingria were both part of the Swedish Empire...

, and Vepsians. The Russian population was deemed "non-national". Most of the East Karelian population had been evacuated before the Finnish forces arrived. About 85,000 people — mostly the elderly, women and children — were left behind, and less than ½ of them were Karelians
Karelians
The Karelians are a Baltic-Finnic ethnic group living mostly in the Republic of Karelia and in other north-western parts of the Russian Federation. The historic homeland of Karelians includes also parts of present-day Eastern Finland and the formerly Finnish territory of Ladoga Karelia...

. A significant number of civilians —almost 30% of the remaining Russians — were interned in concentration camps
East Karelian concentration camps
East Karelian concentration camps were special internment camps in the areas of the Soviet Union occupied by Finnish military administration during the Continuation War. These camps were organized by the armed forces supreme commander Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim...

.

The winter of 1941–1942 was hard for the Finnish urban population due to poor harvests and a shortage of agricultural laborers. However, for the interned it was disastrous and over 3,500 of them died, mostly from famine
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

. The figure was equivalent to 13.8% of the inmates, where the corresponding figure for the free population of the occupied territories was 2.6% and for Finland proper 1.4%. Conditions were gradually improved, and the following year ethnic discrimination in wage levels and food rations was terminated, and schools were established also for the Russian section of the population. By the end of the occupation the death rate dropped to the same level as in Finland proper.

Soviet partisans


Soviet partisans conducted a number of operations in Finland and in Eastern Karelia from 1941 to 1944. The major one failed when the 1st Partisan Brigade was destroyed in the beginning of August 1942 at lake Seesjärvi. Partisans distributed propaganda newspapers, "Pravda
Pravda
Pravda was a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union and an official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party between 1912 and 1991....

" in Finnish
Finnish language
Finnish is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland Primarily for use by restaurant menus and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. It is one of the two official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a...

 and "Lenin's Banner" in Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

. One of the leaders of the partisan movement in Finland and Karelia was Yuri Andropov
Yuri Andropov
Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov was a Soviet politician and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 12 November 1982 until his death fifteen months later.-Early life:...

.

Finnish sources state that partisan activity in East Karelia focused mainly on Finnish military supply and communication targets, but almost two thirds of the attacks on the Finnish side of the border targeted civilians, killing 200 and injuring 50, including children and the elderly.

Jews in Finland


Finland had a small (approx. 2,300) Jewish population. They had full civil rights and fought shoulder to shoulder with other Finns in the ranks of the Finnish Army. The Germans had mentioned the Finnish Jews at the Wannsee Conference
Wannsee Conference
The Wannsee Conference was a meeting of senior officials of the Nazi German regime, held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee on 20 January 1942. The purpose of the conference was to inform administrative leaders of Departments responsible for various policies relating to Jews, that Reinhard Heydrich...

 in January 1942, wishing to transport them to Majdanek
Majdanek
Majdanek was a German Nazi concentration camp on the outskirts of Lublin, Poland, established during the German Nazi occupation of Poland. The camp operated from October 1, 1941 until July 22, 1944, when it was captured nearly intact by the advancing Soviet Red Army...

 in General Gouvernment. SS leader Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

 mentioned the Finnish Jews during his visit in Finland in the summer of 1942. Finnish Prime Minister Jukka Rangell replied that Finland had no Jewish question
Jewish Question
The Jewish question encompasses the issues and resolutions surrounding the historically unequal civil, legal and national statuses between minority Ashkenazi Jews and non-Jews, particularly in Europe. The first issues discussed and debated by societies, politicians and writers in western and...

. However, there were differences for Jewish refugees in Finland. In November 1942, the Finns handed eight Jewish refugees over to the Gestapo
Gestapo
The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police...

. This raised protests among the Finnish Social Democrat ministers, and after this no more refugees were handed over. Over 500 Jewish refugees were granted asylum
Right of asylum
Right of asylum is an ancient juridical notion, under which a person persecuted for political opinions or religious beliefs in his or her own country may be protected by another sovereign authority, a foreign country, or church sanctuaries...

.

The field synagogue
Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

 in Eastern Karelia was one of the very few functioning synagogues on the Axis side during the war. There were even several cases of Jewish officers of Finland's army awarded the German Iron Cross
Iron Cross
The Iron Cross is a cross symbol typically in black with a white or silver outline that originated after 1219 when the Kingdom of Jerusalem granted the Teutonic Order the right to combine the Teutonic Black Cross placed above a silver Cross of Jerusalem....

, which they declined. German soldiers were treated by Jewish medical officers who succeeded in saving their lives.

Finland and the Western Allies


The Continuation War represents the only case of a genuinely democratic state participating in World War II on the side of the Axis powers, albeit without being a signatory of the Tripartite Pact
Tripartite Pact
The Tripartite Pact, also the Three-Power Pact, Axis Pact, Three-way Pact or Tripartite Treaty was a pact signed in Berlin, Germany on September 27, 1940, which established the Axis Powers of World War II...

. The United Kingdom declared war on Finland on 6 December 1941 (Finnish Independence Day), with Canada and New Zealand declaring war on Finland on 7 December and Australia and South Africa declaring war the next day. The U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull
Cordell Hull
Cordell Hull was an American politician from the U.S. state of Tennessee. He is best known as the longest-serving Secretary of State, holding the position for 11 years in the administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt during much of World War II...

 congratulated the Finnish envoy on 3 October 1941 for the liberation of Karelia but warned Finland not to enter Soviet territory; furthermore, the U.S. did not declare war on Finland when they went to war with the Axis countries and, together with UK, approached Stalin in the Tehran Conference
Tehran Conference
The Tehran Conference was the meeting of Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill between November 28 and December 1, 1943, most of which was held at the Soviet Embassy in Tehran, Iran. It was the first World War II conference amongst the Big Three in which Stalin was present...

 about acknowledging Finnish independence. However, the U.S. government seized Finnish merchant ships
Merchant vessel
A merchant vessel is a ship that transports cargo or passengers. The closely related term commercial vessel is defined by the United States Coast Guard as any vessel engaged in commercial trade or that carries passengers for hire...

 in American ports, and in the summer of 1944 shut down Finnish diplomatic and commercial offices in the U.S. as a result of President Ryti's treaty with Germany. The U.S. government later warned Finland about the consequences of continued adherence to the Axis.

The best-known British action on Finnish soil was an aircraft carrier strike on German and Finnish ships
Raid on Kirkenes and Petsamo
The raid on Kirkenes and Petsamo took place on 30 July 1941 during the Second World War. The Royal Navy air arm launched this unsuccessful raid from the aircraft carriers and to inflict damage on merchant vessels owned by Germany and Finland and to show support for their new ally, the Soviet...

 in the Finnish harbour of Petsamo
Pechengsky District
Pechengsky District is an administrative and municipal district , one of the five in Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It is located to the northwest of the Kola Peninsula on the coast of the Barents Sea and borders with Finland in the south and southwest and with Norway in the west, northwest, and north...

 on 31 July 1941. This attack achieved little except the loss of three British aircraft, but it was intended as a demonstration of British support for its Soviet ally. Later in 1941, Hurricanes
Hawker Hurricane
The Hawker Hurricane is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd for the Royal Air Force...

 of No. 151 Wing RAF, based at Murmansk, provided local air cover for Soviet troops and fighter escorts for Soviet bombers. The British contribution to the war was occasional but significant.

Finnish radio intelligence
Finnish radio intelligence
The Finnish Radio Intelligence was founded in 1927 by Reino Hallamaa. He quickly managed to build up an efficient organization Through international exchange, and during World War II, the radio intelligence proved very successful in breaking the codes and ciphers used by the Soviet Union, as well...

 is said to have participated effectively in German actions against British convoys to Murmansk
Murmansk
Murmansk is a city and the administrative center of Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It serves as a seaport and is located in the extreme northwest part of Russia, on the Kola Bay, from the Barents Sea on the northern shore of the Kola Peninsula, not far from Russia's borders with Norway and Finland...

. Throughout the war, German aircraft operating from airfields in northern Finland attacked British air and naval units based in Murmansk and Archangelsk.

1944: Soviet offensive


Overtures for peace


Finland began to actively seek a way out of the war after the disastrous German defeat at the Battle of Stalingrad
Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad was a major battle of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in southwestern Russia. The battle took place between 23 August 1942 and 2 February 1943...

 in February 1943. Edwin Linkomies
Edwin Linkomies
Edwin Johannes Hildegard Linkomies was Prime Minister of Finland March 1943 to August 1944, and one of the seven politicians sentenced to 5½ years in prison as allegedly responsible for the Continuation War, on the demand of the Soviet Union...

 formed a new cabinet with peace as the top priority. Negotiations were conducted intermittently in 1943–44 between Finland and its representative—Juho Kusti Paasikivi
Juho Kusti Paasikivi
Juho Kusti Paasikivi was the seventh President of Finland . Representing the Finnish Party and the National Coalition Party, he also served as Prime Minister of Finland , and was generally an influential figure in Finnish economics and politics for over fifty years...

—on one side and the Western Allies and the Soviet Union on the other, but no agreement was reached. Stalin decided to force Finland to surrender; a bombing campaign on Helsinki
Bombing of Helsinki in World War II
The capital of Finland, Helsinki was bombed several times during World War II. Between 1939–1945 Finland fought three wars, two against the Soviet Union and one against Germany...

 followed. The air campaign in February 1944 included three major air attacks involving a total of over 6,000 sortie
Sortie
Sortie is a term for deployment or dispatch of one military unit, be it an aircraft, ship, or troops from a strongpoint. The sortie, whether by one or more aircraft or vessels, usually has a specific mission....

s. Finnish anti-aircraft defences managed to repel the raids as only 5% of the dropped bomb
Aerial bomb
An aerial bomb is a type of explosive weapon intended to travel through the air with predictable trajectories, usually designed to be dropped from an aircraft...

s hit their planned targets. Major air attacks also hit Oulu
Oulu
Oulu is a city and municipality of inhabitants in the region of Northern Ostrobothnia, in Finland. It is the most populous city in Northern Finland and the sixth most populous city in the country. It is one of the northernmost larger cities in the world....

 and Kotka
Kotka
Kotka is a town and municipality of Finland. Its former name is Rochensalm.Kotka is located on the coast of the Gulf of Finland at the mouth of Kymi River and it is part of the Kymenlaakso region in southern Finland. The municipality has a population of and covers an area of of which is water....

 but, because of radio intelligence and effective anti-aircraft defence
Anti-aircraft warfare
NATO defines air defence as "all measures designed to nullify or reduce the effectiveness of hostile air action." They include ground and air based weapon systems, associated sensor systems, command and control arrangements and passive measures. It may be to protect naval, ground and air forces...

s, the number of casualties was small.

Meanwhile, the lengthy and ferocious German defence in Narva
Battle of Narva (1944)
The Battle of Narva was a military campaign between the German Army Detachment "Narwa" and the Soviet Leningrad Front fought for possession of the strategically important Narva Isthmus on 2 February – 10 August 1944 during World War II....

 aided by Estonians denied a Soviet-occupied Estonia as a favorable base for amphibious invasions and air attacks against Helsinki and other Finnish cities. The tactical success of the army detachment "Narwa" from mid-February to April diminished the hopes of the Stavka to assault Finland and force it into capitulation
Capitulation (surrender)
Capitulation , an agreement in time of war for the surrender to a hostile armed force of a particular body of troops, a town or a territory....

 from Estonia. Finland terminated the negotiations in mid-April 1944 when it became apparent that Soviet terms were impossible to fulfill.

Soviet strategic offensive


On 9 June 1944, the Soviet Union opened a major offensive against Finnish positions on the Karelian Isthmus
Karelian Isthmus
The Karelian Isthmus is the approximately 45–110 km wide stretch of land, situated between the Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladoga in northwestern Russia, to the north of the River Neva . Its northwestern boundary is the relatively narrow area between the Bay of Vyborg and Lake Ladoga...

 and in the area of Lake Ladoga
Lake Ladoga
Lake Ladoga is a freshwater lake located in the Republic of Karelia and Leningrad Oblast in northwestern Russia, not far from Saint Petersburg. It is the largest lake in Europe, and the 14th largest lake by area in the world.-Geography:...

 (it was timed to accompany D-Day
D-Day
D-Day is a term often used in military parlance to denote the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated. "D-Day" often represents a variable, designating the day upon which some significant event will occur or has occurred; see Military designation of days and hours for similar...

). On the 21.7 km (13.5 mi)-wide breakthrough segment the Red Army had concentrated 3,000 guns and mortars. In some places, the concentration of artillery pieces exceeded 200 guns for every kilometer of the front (one every 5 m (5.5 yd)). On that day, Soviet artillery fired over 80,000 rounds along the front on the Karelian Isthmus. On the second day of the offensive, the Soviet forces broke through the Finnish front lines. The Soviets penetrated the second line of defence
VT-line
The VT-line or Vammelsuu–Taipale line was a Finnish defensive line on the Karelian Isthmus built in 1942–1944 during the Continuation War and running from Vammelsuu on the northern shore of the Gulf of Finland through Kuuterselkä and Kivennapa and along Taipaleenjoki to Taipale on the western...

 by the sixth day. The Soviet pressure on the Karelian Isthmus forced the Finns to reinforce the area. This allowed the second Soviet offensive in Eastern Karelia to meet less resistance and to capture Petrozavodsk
Petrozavodsk
Petrozavodsk is the capital city of the Republic of Karelia, Russia. It stretches along the western shore of the Lake Onega for some . The city is served by Petrozavodsk Airport. Municipally, it is incorporated as Petrozavodsky Urban Okrug . Population:...

 by 28 June 1944. The main objective of the offensives was to force Finland from the war.

Finland especially lacked modern antitank weaponry which could stop Soviet heavy tanks, and German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop
Joachim von Ribbentrop
Ulrich Friedrich Wilhelm Joachim von Ribbentrop was Foreign Minister of Germany from 1938 until 1945. He was later hanged for war crimes after the Nuremberg Trials.-Early life:...

 offered these in exchange for a guarantee that Finland would not seek a separate peace again. On 26 June, President Risto Ryti
Risto Ryti
Risto Heikki Ryti was the fifth President of Finland, from 1940 to 1944. Ryti started his career as a politician in the field of economics and as a political background figure during the interwar period. He made a wide range of international contacts in the world of banking and within the...

 gave this guarantee as a personal undertaking
Ryti-Ribbentrop Agreement
The Ryti–Ribbentrop letter of agreement of June 26, 1944 was a personal letter from President Risto Ryti to Führer Adolf Hitler where Risto Ryti, then President of Finland, undertook not to reach a separate peace in the war with the Soviet Union without the approval from Nazi Germany to secure...

, which he intended to last for the remainder of his presidency. In addition to delivering thousands of hand-held Panzerfaust
Panzerfaust
The Panzerfaust was an inexpensive, recoilless German anti-tank weapon of World War II. It consisted of a small, disposable preloaded launch tube firing a high explosive anti-tank warhead, operated by a single soldier...

and Panzerschreck
Panzerschreck
Panzerschreck was the popular name for the Raketenpanzerbüchse , an 88 mm calibre reusable anti-tank rocket launcher developed by Nazi Germany in World War II. Another popular nickname was Ofenrohr ....

antitank weapons (German equivalents of American bazooka
Bazooka
Bazooka is the common name for a man-portable recoilless rocket antitank weapon, widely fielded by the U.S. Army. Also referred to as the "Stovepipe", the innovative bazooka was amongst the first-generation of rocket propelled anti-tank weapons used in infantry combat...

s), Hitler sent the 122nd Infantry Division, ½-strength 303rd Assault Gun Brigade, and a Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

Gefechtsverband Kuhlmey
Detachment Kuhlmey
Detachment Kuhlmey was a temporary unit of the German Luftwaffe during World War II. The unit was commanded by Oberstleutnant Kurt Kuhlmey and the detachment was built around the unit Schlachtgeschwader 3, which also was commanded by Kuhlmey....

to provide temporary support in the most threatened defense sectors.

With new supplies from Germany, the Finnish army halted the Soviet advance in early July 1944. At this point, the Finnish forces had retreated about one hundred kilometres, which brought them to approximately the same line of defence they had held at the end of the Winter War. This line was known as the VKT-line
VKT-line
The VKT-line or Viipuri–Kuparsaari–Taipale line was a Finnish defensive line on Karelian Isthmus during the Continuation War, spanning from Viipuri through Tali and Kuparsaari along the northern shore of Vuoksi River, Suvanto and Taipaleenjoki to Taipale on the western shore of Lake Ladoga, using...

 (short for "Viipuri–Kuparsaari–Taipale", running from Viipuri
Vyborg
Vyborg is a town in Leningrad Oblast, Russia, situated on the Karelian Isthmus near the head of the Bay of Vyborg, to the northwest of St. Petersburg and south from Russia's border with Finland, where the Saimaa Canal enters the Gulf of Finland...

 to River Vuoksi to Lake Ladoga at Taipale), where the Finnish Army stopped the Soviet offensive in the Battle of Tali-Ihantala
Battle of Tali-Ihantala
The Battle of Tali-Ihantala was part of the Continuation War , which occurred during World War II. The battle was fought between Finnish forces—using war material provided by Germany—and Soviet forces...

 in spite of the Soviet numerical and material superiority. The front stabilized once again. A few battles were fought in the latter stages of the war. The last of them was the Battle of Ilomantsi
Battle of Ilomantsi
The Battle of Ilomantsi was a part of the Continuation War . It was fought from July 26 to August 13, 1944, between Finland and the Soviet Union in area roughly 40 kilometers wide and 30 kilometers deep, near the Finnish-Soviet border, close to a small Finnish town of Ilomantsi, in North Karelia...

, a Finnish victory, from 26 July to 13 August 1944. The struggle to contain the Soviet offensive was exhausting Finnish resources. The German support under the Ryti-Ribbentrop Agreement
Ryti-Ribbentrop Agreement
The Ryti–Ribbentrop letter of agreement of June 26, 1944 was a personal letter from President Risto Ryti to Führer Adolf Hitler where Risto Ryti, then President of Finland, undertook not to reach a separate peace in the war with the Soviet Union without the approval from Nazi Germany to secure...

 had prevented a disaster, but the country would not be able to hold another major attack. The Soviet advances against German Army Groups Center and North further complicated matters for Finland. With the front being stable so far, it was a good time for Finland to seek a way out of the war. By the beginning of August President Ryti
Risto Ryti
Risto Heikki Ryti was the fifth President of Finland, from 1940 to 1944. Ryti started his career as a politician in the field of economics and as a political background figure during the interwar period. He made a wide range of international contacts in the world of banking and within the...

 resigned to allow Finland to sue for peace again, which the new government did in late August. The Soviet peace terms were harsh but the $600,000,000 reparations demanded in the Spring were reduced to $300,000,000, most likely due to pressure from the US and Britain. However, after the ceasefire the Soviets insisted that the payments should be based on 1938 prices, which doubled the amount.

Soviet prisoners of war in Finland


The number of Soviet prisoners of war was estimated to be around 64,000 persons. Of these, 56,000 were captured in 1941. About 2,600–2,800 Soviet prisoners of war were handed over to the Germans in exchange for roughly 2,200 Finnic
Finnic peoples
The Finnic or Fennic peoples were historic ethnic groups who spoke various languages traditionally classified as Finno-Permic...

 prisoners of war. Food was especially scarce in 1942 in Finland due to a bad harvest, and this was the primary reason for the number of deaths. Out of 64,188 Soviet POWs, 18,318 died in Finnish prisoner of war camps.

Finnish prisoners of war in the Soviet Union


There are two views of the number of Finnish prisoners of war. The Soviet and Russian view is that of 2,377 Finnish prisoners of war who reached the prison camps 1,954 were returned after Moscow Armistice
Moscow Armistice
The Moscow Armistice was signed between Finland on one side and the Soviet Union and United Kingdom on the other side on September 19, 1944, ending the Continuation War...

. The Finnish view is that of original ~3,500 prisoners of war only ~2,000 were returned (more than 40% perished). The difference can be at least partially explained by Soviet practice of counting only the prisoners who survived to reach a prison camp.

Armistice and aftermath




Mannerheim had repeatedly reminded the Germans that in case their troops in Estonia
Battle of Narva (1944)
The Battle of Narva was a military campaign between the German Army Detachment "Narwa" and the Soviet Leningrad Front fought for possession of the strategically important Narva Isthmus on 2 February – 10 August 1944 during World War II....

 retreated, Finland would be forced to make peace even on extremely unfavourable terms. The territory of Estonia would have provided the Soviet army with a favourable base for amphibious invasions and air attacks against Finland's capital, Helsinki
Helsinki
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The population of the city of Helsinki is , making it by far the most populous municipality in Finland. Helsinki is...

, and other strategic targets in Finland, and would have strangled Finnish access to the sea. The initial German reaction to Finland's announcement of ambitions for a separate peace was limited to only verbal opposition. However, the Germans arrested hundreds of sailors on Finnish merchant ships in Germany, Denmark and Norway.

Previously, in return for critically needed food and defense materiel from the Germans, President Ryti had personally committed, in writing, that no separate peace with the Soviets would be attempted. Accordingly, it became clear that he must resign, paving the way for a separate peace. Finland's military leader and national hero, Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim
Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim
Baron Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim was the military leader of the Whites in the Finnish Civil War, Commander-in-Chief of Finland's Defence Forces during World War II, Marshal of Finland, and a Finnish statesman. He was Regent of Finland and the sixth President of Finland...

, was extraordinarily appointed president by the parliament, accepting responsibility for ending the war.

On 4 September, the cease-fire ended military actions on the Finnish side. The Soviet Union ended hostilities exactly 24 hours after the Finns. An armistice
Moscow Armistice
The Moscow Armistice was signed between Finland on one side and the Soviet Union and United Kingdom on the other side on September 19, 1944, ending the Continuation War...

 between the Soviet Union and Finland was signed in Moscow on 19 September. Finland had to make many concessions: the Soviet Union regained the borders of 1940, with the addition of the Petsamo area (now Pechengsky District
Pechengsky District
Pechengsky District is an administrative and municipal district , one of the five in Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It is located to the northwest of the Kola Peninsula on the coast of the Barents Sea and borders with Finland in the south and southwest and with Norway in the west, northwest, and north...

, Russia); the Porkkala
Porkkala
Porkkala is a peninsula in the Gulf of Finland located at Kirkkonummi in Southern Finland.The peninsula had great strategic value, as coastal artillery based there would be able to reach more than halfway across the Gulf of Finland...

 peninsula (adjacent to Helsinki) was leased to the USSR as a naval base for fifty years and transit rights were granted; Finland's army was to be demobilized with haste, and Finland was required to expel all German troops from its territory within 14 days. As the Germans did not leave Finland in time for the given deadline, the Finns fought their former allies in the Lapland War
Lapland War
The Lapland War were the hostilities between Finland and Nazi Germany between September 1944 and April 1945, fought in Finland's northernmost Lapland Province. While the Finns saw this as a separate conflict much like the Continuation War, German forces considered their actions to be part of the...

. Finland was also to clear the minefields
Land mine
A land mine is usually a weight-triggered explosive device which is intended to damage a target—either human or inanimate—by means of a blast and/or fragment impact....

 in Karelia (including East Karelia) and in the Gulf of Finland. Retreating German forces had also mined northern Finland heavily. The demining
Demining
Demining or mine clearance is the process of removing either land mines, or naval mines, from an area, while minesweeping describes the act of detecting of mines. There are two distinct types of mine detection and removal: military and humanitarian.Minesweepers use many tools in order to accomplish...

 was a long operation, especially in the sea areas, lasting until 1952. 100 Finnish army personnel were killed and over 200 wounded during this process, most of them in Lapland.

Nevertheless, in contrast to the rest of the Eastern front countries, where the war was fought to the end, a Soviet occupation of Finland did not occur and the country retained sovereignty. Neither did Communists rise to power as they had in the Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

 countries. A policy called the Paasikivi–Kekkonen line formed the basis of Finnish foreign policy towards the Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991.

Analysis



Finland was forced into World War II by the Soviet invasion of Finland during the Winter War
Winter War
The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland. It began with a Soviet offensive on 30 November 1939 – three months after the start of World War II and the Soviet invasion of Poland – and ended on 13 March 1940 with the Moscow Peace Treaty...

, despite the Finnish intention of relying on the League of Nations and Nordic neutrality to avoid conflicts. During the Continuation War, Finland primarily aimed at reversing its territorial losses under the March 1940 Moscow Peace Treaty
Moscow Peace Treaty (1940)
The Moscow Peace Treaty was signed by Finland and the Soviet Union on 12 March 1940, and the ratifications were exchanged on 21 March. It marked the end of the 105-day Winter War. The treaty ceded parts of Finland to the Soviet Union. However, it preserved Finland's independence, ending the Soviet...

 and, depending on the success of the German invasion, possible expansion, especially into East Karelia
East Karelia
East Karelia , also rendered as Eastern Karelia or Russian Karelia, is a name for the part of Karelia that since the Treaty of Stolbova in 1617 has remained Christian Orthodox under Russian supremacy. It is separated from the western part of Karelia, called Finnish Karelia or historically Swedish...

 (Karelo-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic). Some small right-wing groups
Academic Karelia Society
The Academic Karelia Society was a Finnish elitist nationalist and Finno-Ugric activist organization aiming at the growth and improvement of newly independent Finland, founded by academics and students of the University of Finland in 1922...

 also supported a Greater Finland
Greater Finland
Greater Finland was an idea which was born in some irredentist movements emphasizing pan-Finnicism and expressed a Finnish version of pre-World War II European nationalism. It was imagined to include Finland as well as territories inhabited by ethnically-related Finnic peoples: Finns, Karelians,...

 ideology. Finland was able to come out of World War II without losing its independence, although the price for war was high in war casualties, reparation payments, territorial loss, a bruised international reputation, and subsequent careful consideration of Soviet international perspectives
Finlandization
Finlandization is a term used to describe the influence that one powerful country may have on the policies of a smaller neighboring country.It is generally considered to be pejorative, originating in West German political debate of the late 1960s and 1970s...

 during the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

. The Finnish–German alliance was different from most of the other Axis relationships, an example of which is represented by the participation of Finnish Jews in the fight against the Soviet Union. The Finns did not take any anti-Jewish measures in Finland, despite repeated requests from Nazi Germany. One remarkable aspect of the Finnish-German relationship was that Finland never signed the Tripartite Pact
Tripartite Pact
The Tripartite Pact, also the Three-Power Pact, Axis Pact, Three-way Pact or Tripartite Treaty was a pact signed in Berlin, Germany on September 27, 1940, which established the Axis Powers of World War II...

, which was signed by all de jure Axis countries. However, for Hitler the matter was irrelevant and he saw Finland as an ally.
Finland adopted the concept of a "parallel war" whereby it sought to pursue its own objectives in concert with, but separate from, Nazi Germany.

Major events of World War II, and the tides of war in general, had a significant impact on the course of the Continuation War:
  • Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa
    Operation Barbarossa
    Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

    ) is closely connected to the Continuation War's beginning.
  • The Allied
    Allies of World War II
    The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

     invasion of France (Battle of Normandy) was coordinated with the Soviet major offensive against Finland (9 June-15 July 1944).
  • The subsequent Soviet and Allied advances towards Germany drew away the interest in military operations from Northern Europe
    Northern Europe
    Northern Europe is the northern part or region of Europe. Northern Europe typically refers to the seven countries in the northern part of the European subcontinent which includes Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Finland and Sweden...

     hastening the end of the Continuation War.


Soviet sources maintain that Soviet policies up to the Continuation War were best explained as defensive measures by offensive means: the division of occupied Poland with Germany, the occupation of Lithuania
Lithuanian SSR
The Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic , also known as the Lithuanian SSR, was one of the republics that made up the former Soviet Union...

, Latvia and Estonia
Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic
The Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic , often abbreviated as Estonian SSR or ESSR, was a republic of the Soviet Union, administered by and subordinated to the Government of the Soviet Union...

, and the invasion of Finland in the Winter War are described as elements in the construction of a security zone or buffer region between the perceived threat from the capitalist
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 powers of Western Europe and the Communist
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 Soviet Union—as some see the post-war establishment of Soviet satellite state
Satellite state
A satellite state is a political term that refers to a country that is formally independent, but under heavy political and economic influence or control by another country...

s in the Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

 countries and the Agreement of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance concluded with post-war Finland. Western historians such as Norman Davies
Norman Davies
Professor Ivor Norman Richard Davies FBA, FRHistS is a leading English historian of Welsh descent, noted for his publications on the history of Europe, Poland, and the United Kingdom.- Academic career :...

 and John Lukacs
John Lukacs
John Adalbert Lukacs is a Hungarian-born American historian who has written more than thirty books, including Five Days in London, May 1940 and A New Republic...

 dispute this view and describe the prewar Soviet policy as attempting to stay out of the war and regaining land lost after the fall of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

.

See also

  • List of Finnish corps in the Continuation War
  • List of Finnish divisions in the Continuation War
  • Finnish prisoners of war in the Soviet Union
    Finnish prisoners of war in the Soviet Union
    There were two waves of the Finnish prisoners of war in the Soviet Union during the World War II: POWs during the Winter War and the Continuation War.-Winter War:...

  • Co-belligerence
    Co-belligerence
    Co-belligerence is the waging of a war in cooperation against a common enemy without a formal treaty of military alliance.Co-belligerence is a broader and less precise status of wartime partnership than a formal military alliance. Co-belligerents may support each other materially, exchange...

  • Einsatzkommando Finnland
    Einsatzkommando Finnland
    Einsatzkommando Finnland was a German paramilitary unit active in northern Finland and northern Norway during World War II, while Finland was fighting the Continuation War against the Soviet Union with the support of Nazi Germany...

  • Finlandization
    Finlandization
    Finlandization is a term used to describe the influence that one powerful country may have on the policies of a smaller neighboring country.It is generally considered to be pejorative, originating in West German political debate of the late 1960s and 1970s...

  • Finnish Waffen-SS volunteers
  • Paasikivi–Kekkonen line
  • Salpalinja
    Salpalinja
    The Salpa Line , or its official name, Suomen Salpa , is a bunker line on the eastern border of Finland. It was built during the Interim Peace between the Winter War and the Continuation War to defend Finland against a possible Soviet invasion. The line is 1200 km long, stretching from the Gulf of...

  • No. 151 Wing RAF
  • Karelian question in Finnish politics
    Karelian question in Finnish politics
    The Karelian question or Karelian issue is a dispute of Finnish politics over whether or not to try to regain sovereignty over the Finnish Karelia and other territories ceded to the Soviet Union in the Winter War and the Continuation War...

  • Russo-Finnish wars
    Russo-Finnish wars
    The following is a list of Russo-Finnish wars....


Finnish

  • Finnish National Archive Luovutukset: Research on prisoner-of-war deaths, extraditions and deportations from Finland between 1939–55, Research project, See

Russian


External links

Stavka directive of 24 June 1941 "on measures to foil a possible enemy strike from the territory of Finland against Leningrad", authorising the Soviet air offensive of 25 June 1941 (page 1, page 2)