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If Timoshenko had won the Winter War

Discussion in 'Winter and Continuation Wars' started by General Vatutin, Sep 15, 2016.

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  1. General Vatutin

    General Vatutin New Member

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    What do you think would have happened if The Soviets had crushed Finland in 1939? Many scholars have attributed Hitler's eagerness to launch Barbarossa to the perceived weakness of the Red Army following their defeat in the Winter War. In addition to this, the Soviet Union had been virtually ignored until 1941. With pacts protecting both their borders, they had no reason to be drawn into World War two, and thus would've had a chance to increase the Soviet Sphere of Influence the middle east, and consolidate it's hold on Sinkiang.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. ColHessler

    ColHessler Member

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    I kind of thought they did!
     
  3. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    The Soviet victory was not pretty or cheap, but they got most of what they wanted, and they never wanted to 'crush' Finland.

    Hitler always wanted a empire carved out of the Soviet Union and his inability to use his army to settle matters with Britain made the clash inevitable considering Hitler's psyche. It was his greatest mistake none the less.
     
  4. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    In Deed ,Finland was ugly. Victory none the less.
     
  5. green slime

    green slime Member

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    I hate to be an acidic blob, but.... actually, no, I don't.

    There is something horrendously wrong when the signature, in the form of an advert, takes vastly more space than the actual message content.
     
  6. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Am I gonna have to get my ruler?
     
  7. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

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    Is your ruler millimeters or inches, ??Ummmmmmmmm, as an idea the administration could sell space on the site to raise money :) Lots to measure then !

    Gaines
     
  8. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    I'm a red blooded 'Merican we ain't gonna use no furriener measuan equipment!
     
  9. General Vatutin

    General Vatutin New Member

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    The legalities of the Soviet "victory" was nothing short of painting the disaster in it's best light. I would argue the Red Army suffered a great defeat in Finland.
     
  10. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

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    Uh, are you sure about that?

    Finnland was part of the Ribbentrop-Molotow-treaty, every other state mentioned and attacked was crushed.

    English is a foreign language for me (please have mercy with me, when i make mistakes), you are from Texas. Is "a empire" an american foible or you just forgot the "n".
     
  11. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    I am at a loss as to what legalities in which you speak. Certainly there was considerable Soviet spin to lessen the less than spectacular nature of the first half of the campaign, but the second half of the campaign led to the Soviets getting essentially all they demanded at the onslaught of the Winter War. There are costly victories and defeats, this is clearly a costly victory.
     
  12. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

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    The soviet official demands were far smaller than what they get after the war. But the finnish government did not accept them knowing that Stalin would never be satisfied and all the fortifications of the Mannerheim Line would be lost. And they knew, that the Red Army was in lousy condition, which was true. And that starting a war in Scandinavia in the winter is an idiotic idea, which it was and was responsable for the death of 200000 men.

    So it was a courageous decision not to accept. But no one knows if Stalin would have attacked later when the war reached Scandinavia, as usual when all the possible finnish allies were busy elsewhere. And then, it would have been a much easier task.

    It was a costly defeat, the puppet government announced to reach Helsinki soon.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finnish_Democratic_Republic
     
  13. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Actually I am quite sure about that and all the facts support such a conclusion.

    The Finnish Democratic Republic (FDR) was a standard Soviet era agit-prop organization created by the Soviet Union to create the pretext for the employment of Red Army troops. While standard for the Soviets, it is a Russian tactic still used to this day. Using the link provided in your follow up post the map in it clearly shows that the FDR/Soviet Union did not want all of Finland, but a strip of strategic importance to Moscow and containing some Russian's. This would be repeated in Poland, Romania and the Baltic's, unfortunately for them, the strategic area was their coastline.

    The initial Soviet offensive was ill timed, ill planned and ill supplied while encountering a very determined and vigorous defense. Nor were the Finn's comforted by any impression of flaws in the Red Army, they would have manned the lines whomever attempted to invade their country. Further, recent events would not indicate the Red Army was toothless by virtue of Kalkhin Gol where Soviet arms routed the not too shabby Imperial Japanese Army. What you see here is the difference between good leadership and bad.

    At the conclusion of the Winter War the Soviets actually got better terms than FDR/Soviets originally asked for because Finland could no longer stave off Soviet arms. The FDR was dissolved/absorbed Karelian ASSR having served its intended purpose.

    At the conclusion of the Continuation War the border of 1940 was essentially restored to the Soviet favor, though they did get a slight increase. Again the Finn's fought with great elan, but it must be remembered they were the secondary front and with the collapse of German arms in 1944, the Soviets could have continued offensives in Finland.

    So to sum up,

    The FDR did not want all of Finland.
    Their goals were the same as their creator the Soviet Union.
    Once they were achieved, the Soviets allowed a peace and shut down the FDR.
    Despite allying with Adolf Hitler, the Soviet Union was willing to settle for only modest increases in territory.
    The Soviet Union 'crushed' the Third Reich, yet did not crush Finland.

    I see nothing compelling to indicate that Stalin wanted to crush Finland.
     
  14. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

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    Then you see it now, use a translator:

    "Die bürgerlich-finnische und westliche Geschichtsschreibung hält den Angriff der Sowjetunion dagegen für den Ausdruck der imperialistischen Politik Stalins und Molotows. Ein Einlenken in den Verhandlungen des Herbstes 1939 hätte nach dieser Ansicht die Stellung Finnlands entscheidend geschwächt und das Land neuen Gefahren ausgesetzt. Hier wird insbesondere darauf verwiesen, dass, nachdem der Krieg begonnen hatte, Stalin nachweislich zunächst das Ziel der vollständigen Besetzung Finnlands verfolgt habe."
    Souce included in the link:
    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winterkrieg

    The soviets stopped the war because it draw too much attention already all around the world with Finnland calling for help everywhere.
    England was about to send troops to Finnland and Stalin did not want to risk a war against Finnland.

    I acually don' know exactly why Stalin did not claim Finnland in 1945, maybe he knew, that the western allies would have enough of the soviet expansion soon. But this is speculative and Finnland remained at least neutral after the war.
     
  15. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Sorry still do not see it, and yes I looked at the English wiki version of this before my last post. The English version (not a translation of yours) has considerably more content. Both however concede that the Finnish government initiated contact (after several rebuffed attempts) to find a diplomatic solution. It also concedes that Finland accepted a treaty worse than what the USSR demanded prior to the outbreak of hostilities.

    Yes Stalin was getting pressure from Berlin, but in real terms there is nothing they could in the short term. As for British intervention, that was nothing more than a bad comedy of errors.

    The Anglo-French Proposal to aid Finland was never realistically more than that and was the culmination of an inability to come to a coherent offensive strategy to satisfy a growing political discontent over a seemingly passive stance in the face of mounting aggression. 'Aiding' Finland was the only option they could agree on, yet once agreed they never got anything meaningful off the ground.

    First off Norway did not want 'pre-emptive' Allied protection, nor was Sweden interested (let alone willing) in allowing the Anglo-French to cross their territory in aid of Finland and both nations were quite vocal about the matter. The actual 'effort' was constantly being reworked and rethought, Chamberlain, who was never very keen on the idea kept finding reasons to stand down this cobbled together force. It was in fact in one of those stand downs when Germany struck Norway. When the Anglo-French finally released their forces, just how badly planned and organized was clearly evident.

    The Finn's knew there would be no meaningful aid coming and if the Finn's knew, so did the Soviets.

    Twice the Soviet Union settled for essentially what they wanted before any hostilities began. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

    The Continuation War ended 19 September 1944, many months before VE-Day in Europe. Nothing prevented the SU from finishing off Finland, their military was vast, well armed, battle tested and experts in winter warfare. They also, as they did in the Winter War, broke through the best defensive positions Finland had. The Western Allies were not going to have much of a opinion on how the SU fought the war in the east, and even if they did, could do nothing about it.
     
  16. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Shouldn't this be in the WHAT IF? section?
     
  17. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

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    Yes, and an order is an order. The Red Army had orders to stop at the swedish border.
    http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-13513025.html
    "Rotarmisten, die im Norden des Landes zur Offensive antraten, erhielten genaue Karten und Order, nicht zu weit vorzustürmen, sondern an der schwedischen Grenze anzuhalten."

    Short translation: Red Army soldiers received orders and maps to prevent them from moving further than the swedish border.

    The Red Army in 1944 was far away from capturing Finnland easily:
    "Erst einmal lieferten die Deutschen Waffen und Munition. Später rollten auch deutsche Verbände an die Front. Unter Aufbietung aller Reserven des Vier-Millionen-Volkes, das nun 530 000 Mann unter Waffen hatte, wurde die sowjetische Großoffensive Ende Juli noch vor der Grenze angehalten. Die Russen hatten in sechs Wochen 260 000 Mann an Toten und Verwundeten eingebüßt."
    Stalin wies die Forderung seiner Generäle nach Verstärkungen ab: "Ihr müßt mit dem auskommen, was ihr habt!"

    Short translation: A massive soviet offensive was stopped before it even reached the finnish border. The Red Army lost 260000 men in 6 weeks.

    In autumn 1944 there was no need anymore to secure borders in the North and maybe an independent Finnland was seen as useful in the future. But i don't know enough about the continuation war to be honest. It is almost a forgotten war in Germany.
     
  18. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Yes.
     
  19. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    First let me tackle your link to a Der Spiegel article.

    Sadly the English translation is flawed at best The third paragraph reads as such once translated "Yet Moscow today at no neighbors and no other state in the wide world so good, easy relationship as just about this Finland, and certainly not to Socialist countries". Frankly this is incomprehensible to me. Many such passages follow. In any event at best it merely confirms that like many nations on the border of a powerful nation/empire have a difficult history, something I have not denied.

    Then there are your two 'orders', both written in German, not Russian. I don't think the Red Army operated under orders written in German. If you can find such orders written in Russian and credibly attributed to Stalin or STAVKA than you may have something. It is not that I doubt your veracity (truth) but it is well known that Germany at this period had some trouble with it.

    If we take you first 'order' (and your translation) at face value it is not the smoking gun (hard proof) you are looking for. Armies in the modern era (WWII to present) are usually provided with both instructions and maps not to violate the border of a nearby neutral country while conducting operations. This is most common with naval, air and artillery units, but also issued to ground units when needed.

    Your second 'Order'/translation does not even sound like a 'order' but a propaganda statement. Nor is it even particularly accurate as it implies Finland crossed the border and inflicted a massive defeat of Russian arms on Russian soil.

    Your final statement only supports my argument that the Soviet Union wanted border adjustments, not the complete destruction of Finland. Nations never expend this much time, effort, money and blood, then say 'never mind' when they are at the cusp of seeing their goals achieved. It simply does not pass the logic test and Occam's Razor rules.
     
  20. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

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    No, i won't search for the orders. I trust the Spiegel, which was back then an authority in german journalism, different to what it may is today.

    According to the article, Stalin stopped for "image" reasons. The Soviet Union was already thrown out of the league of nations for what they did to Finnland. Not stopping after they got more than initially demanded would cause the loss of the last rest of credibility that may remained.
     

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