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The main myth of the Continuation War


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#1 Artema

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 08:58 AM

The main myth of the Continuation War is its name :)
Finnish official version is that Finland just took back what was lost in the Winter war and wanted nothing else.

Please, look at the map:

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The gray line in the middle of the pink zone is "old" Finnish border. The rest was occupied during the war, and not just occupied but officially annexed, included into the Finnish state.
It was the realization of the old idea of "Great Finland". Baron Mannerheim swore in 1918 that he wouldn't sheathe his sword until Eastern Karelia was "free".
Finland invaded Russia twice -- in 1918 and 1921, wishing to capture Karelia. It's forgotten now, but was well remembered in 1939, when the Winter war began. And it should be remembered by those who like representing Finland as an innocent victim of monstrous Soviet Union. The real history is always more complicated than propaganda myths.

In a parallel thread I am going to cover the second myth of the "Continuation war" -- about Finland, which "wished staying neutral in the WWII".
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#2 hyde

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 11:28 AM

The main myth of the Continuation War is its name :)
Finnish official version is that Finland just took back what was lost in the Winter war and wanted nothing else.

The gray line in the middle of the pink zone is "old" Finnish border. The rest was occupied during the war, and not just occupied but officially annexed, included into the Finnish state.
It was the realization of the old idea of "Great Finland". Baron Mannerheim swore in 1918 that he wouldn't sheathe his sword until Eastern Karelia was "free".
Finland invaded Russia twice -- in 1918 and 1921, wishing to capture Karelia. It's forgotten now, but was well remembered in 1939, when the Winter war began. And it should be remembered by those who like representing Finland as an innocent victim of monstrous Soviet Union. The real history is always more complicated than propaganda myths.

In a parallel thread I am going to cover the second myth of the "Continuation war" -- about Finland, which "wished staying neutral in the WWII".

This is largely true. Finland did seek to annex Eastern Karelia and even Kola after the Germans offered it to our political leaders in the winter of 1941-42.
But even then we must not ignore the Winter war. We did want to get those lost lands back. That was the number one goal of the war. It is also necessary to say that Finland had lived in the fear of communism and in the fear of the Soviets for its whole independence. And the Winter war only cemented that fear in the minds of the people. Who now saw Barbarossa as a way out from that fear.
E.g. Finnish official policy towards the Western allies during the Continuation war was that Finland needs a better defensible terrain for its border with the Soviets (the three isthmus line) and preferably farther away in the east than the old border. That is pretty much the same rhetoric used by the Soviets to justify the Winter war ;)

The bottom line is that in Continuation war Finland was the aggressor, sure. But it isn't at all that surprising that Finland raised against the Soviets when they had been bullying us for a couple of decades and finally declared a war and an annexation attempt.

And regarding the so called 'Heimosodat' in 1918-1921. The Karelians were fighting their own Civil war(s). Heck, Ingrians and Eastern Karelians even tried to become an independent states in 1918-1920. Recognizing an independent, or even Finnish, Karelia to be beneficial to Finland strategy-wise the Finnish government did not prevent volunteer individuals and armed groups from crossing its borders to fight in Karelia. But it certainly did not give any concrete support to these 'operations'. In fact Mannerheim repeatedly pleaded for an intervention but was turned down. That was one of the reasons, together with the lost presidential elections, that made him step out of public life in 1920s.
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#3 Artema

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 01:07 PM

E.g. Finnish official policy towards the Western allies during the Continuation war was that Finland needs a better defensible terrain for its border with the Soviets (the three isthmus line) and preferably farther away in the east than the old border. That is pretty much the same rhetoric used by the Soviets to justify the Winter war ;)

Exactly.

#4 Artema

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 01:18 PM

But it isn't at all that surprising that Finland raised against the Soviets when they had been bullying us for a couple of decades and finally declared a war and an annexation attempt.


Wars seldom break without a proper explanation. Germany also had its reasons, and USSR too, and Poland took a bite of Czecoslovakia in 1938, having some excuse... It was quite normal in those times.
Personally I don't condemn Finland. The only thing I would condemn is misrepresentation of facts :)

#5 Kai-Petri

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 03:54 PM

If Germany had not attacked the USSR Finland would never have been able to attack the Karelia area. 4 million in Finland vs 200 million in the USSR?!!! I cannot see that very likely, to be honest.

It seems like your true colours are coming out now with these myths about Finland. Have it your way I could not be bothered any more....
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#6 olegbabich

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 04:09 PM

Imperialistic, Militant, War Hungry Finland was always out to get a Peace Loving Soviet Russia.:rolleyes:

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#7 Artema

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 05:09 PM

If Germany had not attacked the USSR Finland would never have been able to attack the Karelia area. 4 million in Finland vs 200 million in the USSR?!!! I cannot see that very likely, to be honest.

Yes, that's it. Finland used German invasion to take its own bite of Russia. Just what Poland did with Czechoslovakia after Munich conference in 1938 and Stalin -- with Poland in September 1939. As I have already said, it was quite normal in those times.

It seems like your true colours are coming out now with these myths about Finland. Have it your way I could not be bothered any more....

Have I taken it right that you prefer to "attack" your opponent's personality rather than arguing the facts? :P

Edited by Artema, 13 March 2010 - 09:03 PM.


#8 Artema

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 07:00 PM

And regarding the so called 'Heimosodat' in 1918-1921. The Karelians were fighting their own Civil war(s). Heck, Ingrians and Eastern Karelians even tried to become an independent states in 1918-1920. Recognizing an independent, or even Finnish, Karelia to be beneficial to Finland strategy-wise the Finnish government did not prevent volunteer individuals and armed groups from crossing its borders to fight in Karelia. But it certainly did not give any concrete support to these 'operations'.

The first war was officially declared by the Finnish government on May 15, 1918. As for the second war of 1921-1922, you're right.
I don't concern the question of morality. For me it's regretful that Baron Mannerheim hadn't came to agreement with the White Movement leaders and didn't take Petrograd.
But it must be clearly understood, that these events (which are hushed up now) were fully used by Soviet propaganda to form the image of aggressive Finland (and it wasn't compete lies), so the Winter war was approved by the Soviet public opinion.

Edited by Artema, 13 March 2010 - 09:05 PM.


#9 hyde

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 09:04 PM

The first war was officially declared by the Finnish government on May 15, 1918.

umm.. I have never heard anything about that?

Did we declare war on someone? If so then to who?

Only operations in 1918 that I'm aware of, besides our own civil war that didn't end until 18th of May, are two expeditions attacking towards Kem in March and April 1918 and one attacking towards Petsamo (Pechenga) in late April. By July all these expeditions were back on the Finnish side of the border.

And then there is the Estonian civil war in late 1918 to where we did send some troops and material.
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#10 Artema

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 09:52 PM

umm.. I have never heard anything about that?

Did we declare war on someone? If so then to who?


To Soviet Russia, considering that it supported "the Reds" in Finnish civil war.
It was the decision of the Finnish government published on May 15, 1918 by Mannerheim's headquaters.

If there were no war declaration, what peace talks in Tartu in 1920 were about?

Edited by Artema, 14 March 2010 - 10:13 PM.


#11 Kersantti Gustafsson

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 06:42 PM

If one goes far enough back in history(the Great Wrath, the Lesser Wrath, attempted Russification under Bobrikoff), Finland's concerns about Her neighbor to the east become clear, in my opinion anyway.
"Retreat? Hell we're just attaching in another direction" God Bless You Chesty, wherever You are.:flag_fin:

#12 Artema

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 08:07 PM

If one goes far enough back in history(the Great Wrath, the Lesser Wrath, attempted Russification under Bobrikoff), Finland's concerns about Her neighbor to the east become clear, in my opinion anyway.


This may be told about any country and any area. Going far enough in history you will find anything you want to. :-)

Edited by Artema, 15 March 2010 - 08:12 PM.


#13 Slipdigit

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 08:37 PM

The main myth of the Continuation War is its name :)
Finnish official version is that Finland just took back what was lost in the Winter war and wanted nothing else.

Please, look at the map:

[deleted]

The gray line in the middle of the pink zone is "old" Finnish border. The rest was occupied during the war, and not just occupied but officially annexed, included into the Finnish state.
It was the realization of the old idea of "Great Finland". Baron Mannerheim swore in 1918 that he wouldn't sheathe his sword until Eastern Karelia was "free".
Finland invaded Russia twice -- in 1918 and 1921, wishing to capture Karelia. It's forgotten now, but was well remembered in 1939, when the Winter war began. And it should be remembered by those who like representing Finland as an innocent victim of monstrous Soviet Union. The real history is always more complicated than propaganda myths.

In a parallel thread I am going to cover the second myth of the "Continuation war" -- about Finland, which "wished staying neutral in the WWII".


How is the name "Continuation War" a myth, as indicated by your title and opening sentence?

Your second sentence makes an assertion about "official" Finnish claims as to the reason for the "continuation" of war foisted upon them in 1939. Please provide support for that statement.

Extending warfare beyond one's national border does not necessarily indicate aggression on the part of a country that finds itself defending territory from an already established aggressor nation.

Who attacked who first, and without provocation?

Is it not better to fight an enemy on it's own and destroy it's infrastructure that to fight it on your own?

Wartime occupation of territory does not mean that the occupying country intends to retain ownership of the territory after the fighting subsides. Which country initially attacked the other with the sole intention of retaining any occupied territory?

Stalin's great mistake was attacking a smaller country (out of 5 he attacked during that time period) that could and did defend itself.

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#14 Artema

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 09:52 PM

Wartime occupation of territory does not mean that the occupying country intends to retain ownership of the territory after the fighting subsides.

You obviously haven't read the whole thread. Eastern Karelia was annexed by Finland. Is there any difference between occupation and annexation?

Stalin's great mistake was attacking a smaller country (out of 5 he attacked during that time period) that could and did defend itself.

Politically it wasn't a mistake (saying nothing of the moral side). Stalin fulfilled his main goal. He secured Leningrad. As for the losses, which were immense, I don't think he felt any pity for them.

#15 Kai-Petri

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 04:18 PM

The Mainila shots that were the "reason" why the Winter war started has been politically verified by the USSR/Russia themselves in 1991 that they were shot by the Red Army and thus the cause of the war is totally the same as the Germans attacked Poland for the radio station attack.

Also how is it possible that the Red Army forces were so strong all along the Finnish borderline if the negotiations were still going on in mid-November 1939. That is because the troops were being deployed along the front starting August-September 1939 and you cannot get the troops in the middle of nowhere in two weeks, you need weeks or perhaps months. But why would Stalin send so many men with guide books of Finnish roads and bridges to the border???
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#16 Kai-Petri

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 04:23 PM

Have I taken it right that you prefer to "attack" your opponent's personality rather than arguing the facts? :P


As long as you prefer to see the ONLY thing on the map is the Eastern Karelia line and not for example the stoppage line to Leningrad or that the Finns would not attack and capture the Murmansk line, because Mannerheim did not want that. The weird thing is that Hitler never really demanded that either. There are even signs still in St Petersburg that the people need not fear artillery or bombs from the Finnish side.you fail to mention those because it does not fit the "picture". But why should you forget such "small" things?
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#17 Anderan

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 04:40 PM

This may be told about any country and any area. Going far enough in history you will find anything you want to. :-)


you don't seem to realize how long people's memories can be...

#18 Artema

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 04:46 PM

As long as you prefer to see the ONLY thing on the map is the Eastern Karelia line and not for example the stoppage line to Leningrad or that the Finns would not attack and capture the Murmansk line, because Mannerheim did not want that.

There wasn't a single sector at the front line, where the Finnish army would have stopped by its own will. It was stopped by the Red Army either by fight, as at Olonets Isthmus and Karelia, or by fortifications, as at Karelian Isthmus.
That is why I think that Mannerheim "did not want to" because he could not really.

There are even signs still in St Petersburg that the people need not fear artillery or bombs from the Finnish side.you fail to mention those because it does not fit the "picture". But why should you forget such "small" things?

You are wrong. That's just what I mentioned in a parallel thread.
Look here:

Of course we should remember it was Mannerheim who denied the Finnish troops for advancing further, refused attacking Leningrad and accepted only sabotage of the Murmansk line.

Do you think it was because of his humanism or he wanted to avoid losses when assaulting Soviet fortifications in Karelian Isthmus (which were by the way stronger than Mannerheim Line)? Considering that till 1943 Finland had no heavy artillery (correct me if I am mistaking)? (*)
However it be, personally I am glad that the Finns did not participate actively in Leningrad blockade. Honestly, no irony. My great grandfather died of hunger in the city in January, 1942.

Frankly speaking, I don't catch the idea of yours. What are you trying to argue? Finland did annex Eastern Karelia. It's an obvious fact. This evidence is sufficient to prove that it had at least one aggressive goal in this war. How is it possible to deny it?

#19 Artema

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 04:49 PM

you don't seem to realize how long people's memories can be...


I realize it all right. One of the most weird examples we can see in Palestine.
But I also realize that a man has only the memories of his own. So-called "historical memory" is a result of propaganda, that can always find some profitable "historical evidence".

#20 Kai-Petri

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 04:56 PM

To Soviet Russia, considering that it supported "the Reds" in Finnish civil war.



Indeed. And not just by sending letters...

.... a train from Russia promised by Lenin, the so called "weapons train" arrived in January 1918 bringing 15,000 rifles, 30 machineguns, 76mm guns, two armoured cars and ammunition....
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#21 Artema

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 05:18 PM

Indeed. And not just by sending letters...

.... a train from Russia promised by Lenin, the so called "weapons train" arrived in January 1918 bringing 15,000 rifles, 30 machineguns, 76mm guns, two armoured cars and ammunition....


Well, wasn't it quite natural that Red Russians supported Red Finns?
I really envy the Finns, that their White Movement could propose some realistic idea that was appreciated by the people. Russian White Movement had nothing of the kind, and lost.

#22 hyde

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 11:46 AM

To Soviet Russia, considering that it supported "the Reds" in Finnish civil war.
It was the decision of the Finnish government published on May 15, 1918 by Mannerheim's headquaters.

If there were no war declaration, what peace talks in Tartu in 1920 were about?

Soviet Russia supported the red Finns and Finland supported white Russians (or Karelians and Estonians) but to my knowledge there never was an official declaration of war on neither side(?) The Tartu peacetalks were organized to stop militant forces from crossing the border and to prevent areas (eg. Repola, Porajärvi) from swapping their 'nationality'.
It was also important to have a mutual agreement about where the actual border would be. Because before that there was some room for interpretation and that had led to problems.
Dixi et animam levavi

#23 Artema

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 12:01 PM

Soviet Russia supported the red Finns and Finland supported white Russians (or Karelians and Estonians) but to my knowledge there never was an official declaration of war on neither side.


This is not the period of my knowledge, so I cannot provide any additional evidence. Russian sources say about this declaration in similar words, so I suspect it all goes to a single source which I am unable to identify.

#24 Kai-Petri

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 04:41 PM

Well, wasn't it quite natural that Red Russians supported Red Finns?


Driving a country into a certain civil war by sending guns and ammo? Yes, the revolution must go on....
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#25 Artema

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 05:44 PM

Driving a country into a certain civil war by sending guns and ammo? Yes, the revolution must go on....


Are you surprised? That was the goal of Lenin and Trotzki. I suppose you blame them for it. Then, please, answer one question, yes or no.
Entente states had the goal of their own -- they wanted Russia to continue the war with Germany. That's why they supported Russian White Movement, driving Russia into terrible civil war. Would you blame Entente for it as well?




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