2011/01/21

Why Finland was spared in 1944

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I saw this today in a forum:

One of the enduring mysteries of World War II is why the Soviets decided to leave Finland alone but at much cost in blood and treasure they went all the way to Berlin until they finally occupied Hitler's bunker.

 
Territories ceded by Finland in 1944 (again)
It's not really a mystery; the reason is merely beyond the horizon of most of today's politicians and pundits.

The Finns had fought a limited war only and proved under most extreme circumstances that they were no threat: Stalin understood their message.

They could have brought Leningrad down, but they followed their policy and an earlier guarantee that Finland is no threat to Leningrad. Thus they marched to its outskirts and began to sit there for almost three years.

It was an example of smart and firm strategy, much better than anything ever reported from major WW2 warring powers.


Certain pundits of our time (some of which seriously called AQ or even the Taliban an "existential threat") would and could never be that smart and develop a strategy that sets limitations instead of brushing them aside. Finland would have been a Soviet Republic in 1944-1991 if it had followed people like certain loud-mouth pundits of today. Likewise, Stalin was smarter than them, too, for he was able to judge which country is a real threat and what's merely a border conflict.

S O
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4 comments:

  1. Well one opponent launched a surprise assault, tried to conquer all of russia, pounded its army,
    shelled Moscow and killed 20 million russians in the process.

    The other were the fins.

    Wich braindead perceives any mystery in this?

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  2. To be fair; Stalin had more troubles with the Fins than with the Bulgarians, and his revenge against the Bulgarians was tougher.

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  3. I'm not so sure I agree.
    Many countries that were not a threat were still ruthlessly subjugated, even those who were activly resisting German Occupation and aiding Russia werent liberated, they were reoccupied, in many cases by an even more brutal occupation force.
    Bulgaria makes a good example.

    The Enemy was Germany.
    Finland was not on the way to Germany.
    There were no Germans in Finland.

    Any Forces sent against Finland, an extremely capable force on the defence, would have been pulled directly away from real war. And the Red Army simply didnt have the manpower.

    Forces sent against Finland at the start of the war would have been pulled directly from the defence of Kursk, a defence that I maintain would have broken had the Germans have fed the last of their reserves into it.
    Had the Kursk Offensive worked, the Soviets wouldnt have had an army.
    The reserves that reinforced the victorious, battle hardened defenders and drove back the Wehrmacht would instead have met retreating, broken formations and joined them in flight.

    It wasnt until 1944 the Red Army could attack in the North, and by then, time was of the essence. A War into Finland would have delayed the Baltic push by months at a minimum.
    The Allies had finaly landed and were busy liberating France, we had no intention of disregarding the agreement on dismembering Germany, but Stalin had no way of knowing that.

    If he'd wasted six months or a year taking Finland, he had every reason to believe The Western Powers would meet him on the German border and tell him to go **** himself.

    Finland was no prize compared to the industry of Berlin

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  4. "Certain pundits of our time (some of which seriously called AQ or even the Taliban an "existential threat") would and could never be that smart and develop a strategy that sets limitations instead of brushing them aside."

    While I share your sentiment, I disagree on the judgement. Those pundits call threats, where they see them, because they can actually afford to do so, certainly in direct context of those "threats". The globe needs stop spinning, before AQ etc actually turn into an existential danger to US fortunes. Sure, indirectly the repercussions might be uncomfortable (weary allies, contenders benefitting etc), but still not existential per se.

    For Finland the lessons learned in the Winter War constitute such a common sense-approach, regardless of how successful the Germans were initially. They were not necessarily wiser, they just learned the hard way, that they had to be careful. One might speculate how a Finnish government led by the Lapua-radicals would have acted...

    Such a lesson is yet to be learned for the USA, even though Vietnam arguably had influence on decision-making for a while, until it faded away.

    A modern analogue would be the American attitude towards China. Even though plenty of outspoken hawks can be found in that regard, I have yet to see anyone with influence suggesting a bombing of Bejing or the like. Its a matter of common sense prevailing, if and when the sh+t might really hit the fan, I think.

    A lesser example would be Pakistan, where nobody with radical sentiments like "move in and safeguard the nukes, or we are screwed" is demonstratedly having a serious impact on standing policy (although I am sure, theoretical exercises are another matter).

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