Anti-immigration forces in Finland loathe cultural diversity in order to defend white privilege

by , under Enrique

Paavo Arhinmäki, head of the Left Alliance, was quoted as saying in Joensuu that Finland has never been a “monocultural” country. This is true but how many Finnish politicians understand never mind speak out and defend multiculturalism or cultural diversity? Unfortunately, too few.  

The fact that too few politicians have the courage to speak up for Finland’s cultural diversity is one of the factors that is throwing sand in the gears of acceptance and respect for minorities.

Kuvankaappaus 2013-8-17 kello 13.57.28
Read Finland never was, is, and will be only “white” here.

Those that claim that Finland is a ”monoculturally homogeneous” country, aim to turn back the hands of time to the days of nationalism and fascism of the 1930s.  

Which groups speak of Finland as one cultural bloc and fight tooth and nail against culturally diversity?

The first political group that comes to mind is the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party and its many cronies like the Suomalaisuuden liitto and Vapaa kielivalina, which aim to demote the Swedish language to elective status at schools.

But these are not the only ones who see cultural diversity as a threat to white Finnish-speaking Finland.

All political parties have strong anti-immigration voices. One of these is the youth wing of the National Coalition Party, which has given us the likes of Wille Rydman.

So what should you know if you want to understand the mindset of Finland’s present anti-immigration sentiment?

First and foremost we must understand history. After the Finnish Civil War of 1918, right-wing and far right forces had a carte blanche to build a country based on nationalistic, conservative and fascist values prevalent in Europe during the 1930s and first half of the 1940s.

That changed after the war, when those forces that furthered right-wing and conservative-nationalistic forces were put in cold storage.

Those very forces are now lifting their heads through parties like the PS. The issues are the same as before the war but in a different time-frame context. Before communism was the enemy and today it is immigration and cultural diversity.

As post-war Finland showed, values like mutual acceptance and respect between different political forces is possible.  Not only did it learn to coexist together in peace, it was one of the factors that made Finland prosper as a nation.

I wonder what type of country Finland would be today if the Nazis, which the Finns fought side by side with against the former USSR, would have won.

Today we need the same recipe for success that was in force after the Continuation War (1941-44): political acceptance and respect for all groups in Finland. Today we need acceptance and respect for cultural diversity – not failed ideologies that promoted racism and “monoculture.”

Finland never was, is or will be white and Finnish speaking.

  1. ohdake

    You are free to have your opinions but you might want to revise the version of history you wrote in the blog. That is assuming you want some one to take it seriously.

    Immediately after the war the largest part in Finland was still the social democratic party. Not right wing or even political center. Cabinets were centrist or liberal for the most part, not right wing. Actually only clearly left wing or right wing cabinet in the era was Tanner’s social democrat cabinet (which is LEFT WING party FYI) in 1926-1927. Both left wing and right wing hard-line parties were banned in early 1930s. And they weren’t banned because their opinions, both were banned because they actively worked to undermine the Finnish democracy & state. IKL – which was primary anti-communist than actually fascist party – peaked at some 8% support in 1936 parliamentary elections and were already in decline in 1939 elections. Which means that right wing parties – let alone the diminutive far right – did not have carte blanche to do anything in Finland in 1920s or 1930s as can be seen from the disastrous (for the far right wing that is) attempt of coup de etat in 1932. Which is an elementary fact for any one who has actually bothered to read about the history of Finland of that era.

    Also Finland did not fight against the Soviet Union because of some ideological reasons like your writing seems to be implying but mainly because the Soviet Union had launched an unprovoked war of aggression against Finland in 1939 with an intent of either annexing Finland altogether or installing a communist puppet government to power – in similar manner like the Soviets dealt with other areas ‘ceded’ to them in Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. At the time when Soviets were essentially allied with the Nazis. You can not ignore the Winter War or its aftermath when considering the Continuation War, those two are directly linked.

    And situation after the WWII was far from the rosy image you seem to be painting it. Acceptance of earlier anti-democratic communist party was externally forced on Finland something which created considerable resentment in population. It wasn’t created by nor did it cause an atmosphere of political acceptance and respect. In fact it resulted in severe infighting in the left wing parties and structures controlled by the left wing parties (workers unions). Something which you either have no idea of or then just seem to desire to ignore.

    Acceptance and respect can only be created slowly and gradually. Both in politics as in normal life. If you try to enforce them it often tends only to sow seeds for resentment and hatred.

  2. Enrique Tessieri

    Ohdake, Europe was sowing the seeds of WW2 after the end of WW1. How do you think the Civil War affected the political balance in Finland up to 1939? Finland was in many respects a country that mistrusted the USSR and was fearful of it. This fear of Russia was the underlying factor that determined Finland’s mistrust of Russia. This could be justified to a certain extent. But going to bed with Nazi Germany says a lot about Finland at the time. I doubt that Finland allied itself with Nazi Germany thinking it would lose the war. It did it for revenge for what happened in the Winter War, because it believed in Nazi Germany as a partner and its bellicose racist ideology. If Nazi Germany would have won the war, I doubt we’d be able to build a society like the one we have. After WW2 Finland became a prosperous nation thanks in part to trade with the Soviet Union and that Moscow allowed Finland to integrate slowly back to Western Europe through ogranizations such as EFTA.

    • Jssk

      -This fear of Russia was the underlying factor that determined Finland’s mistrust of Russia.
      Soviet union was undergoing radical changes the time after our civil war, there was uncertainty. And on top of that at the same time our grand-finland minded guerillas had their own war to liberate the finnic areas in karelia. After those attempts failed strategically, there was heavy collective punishments on the finnic populations in Karelia. How do you seriously except people to react to all that?

      At that time, the change of a new civil war or soviet agression was very real.

      -But going to bed with Nazi Germany says a lot about Finland at the time. I doubt that Finland allied itself with Nazi Germany thinking it would lose the war. It did it for revenge for what happened in the Winter War, because it believed in Nazi Germany as a partner and its bellicose racist ideology.

      I wouldnt say revenge, more like a way to fortify our defences and a threat to deter soviet agression. Yes, allying with Germany had its own price, continuation war and lapland war. But if we didnt ally, we would most propably have been overrun by soviets. There is no nice or righterous outcomes in wars. I think we went too far when the old border was crossed, that way we set our other foot in the sinking boat of Germany.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      – But of we didn’t ally, we would probably have been overrun by soviets.

      There’s nothing certain about this. It was Nazi Germany that attacked the USSR together with Finland.

    • ohdake

      There’s nothing certain about this. It was Nazi Germany that attacked the USSR together with Finland.

      That happened only after the USSR had attacked Poland while being allied with the Nazi Germany and triggered the World War II in the first place. And after USSR had launched an unprovoked war of an aggression against Finland. And also after the Soviets had intentionally blocked Finland from joining up with other Nordic countries in mid 1940 and later even torpedoed an attempt to form Finnish-Swedish union later in 1940. Either of which would have greatly assisted Finnish efforts to stay out of the war. Finns had already even agreed to a condition set by Swedes for the union which was an explicit promise and agreement by the Finns not to pursue to regain the lands lost in the Winter War – but that was not acceptable for the Soviets.

      You also ought to note that Soviet leadership had clearly expressed just prior to the WWII that the ‘major powers will not allow Finland to remain neutral’ should there be a war in Europe. And that due to the Winter War there existed sizable Soviet military base on the Finnish soil at Hanko. Explicit Soviet threats and demands were countered by dealing with Germans and getting German troops to Finland. So what exactly were the Finnish options to remain outside of the war between the Germany and the Soviet Union? Major power(s) had made it clear that they would not respect Finnish neutrality and had clearly not allowed Finland to form defensive union with other Nordic countries to stay out of the war while forces from both sides were located inside Finnish borders. Add to this the fact that Finland was dependent on foreign trade just in order to survive (i.e. not to starve) so pissing off both of the two major powers which controlled access to Finland at the time was not an option.

      While Finns could have technically traded with Swedes the problem was that the economical structures of the countries were roughly similar. In other words Finns had nothing the Swedes needed to buy. Add to that the minor detail that Swedes did not have enough surplus production to fully cover the Finnish needs.

  3. JusticeDemon

    And situation after the WWII was far from the rosy image you seem to be painting it. Acceptance of earlier anti-democratic communist party was externally forced on Finland something which created considerable resentment in population.

    Would that be the SKDL that consistently captured more than 20 per cent of the votes cast in Finnish parliamentary elections between 1945 and 1966 and was the largest parliamentary party after the 1958 poll?

    That would imply that Finland was externally forced to recognise a party that attracted nearly one vote in four, and was supported by over half a million voters in the 1960s.

    It is oddly ironic under these circumstances to justify excluding this party from political participation on the grounds that it was “anti-democratic”.

    • ohdake

      Finnish Communist party of 1920s & 1930s (located at Moscow) was anti-democratic. SKDL was not quite that extreme after all it wasn’t the same as the SKP – however given what took place in 1944-1948 including the party rhetoric like ‘Finland ought to follow the Czechs’ (in 1948) and the claimed threats of leftist coup de etat it is not that distant claim. You ought to notice that SKDL consisted of both communists as well as socialists which considerably moderated the stance the as a whole party had – individual members were a different story.

    • JusticeDemon

      Perhaps you should explain why the Finnish Communist Party was operating from Moscow in the first place. Forcing political parties into exile is an odd way to uphold the democratic rights of a population to choose its own political representation, and even one such as yourself cannot fail to see the irony in doing so on the grounds that the exiled party is “anti-democratic”.

  4. ohdake

    Finland was in many respects a country that mistrusted the USSR and was fearful of it. This fear of Russia was the underlying factor that determined Finland’s mistrust of Russia. This could be justified to a certain extent.

    Not a certain extent. Given that Soviets instigated the Finnish Civil War there was valid reasons not to trust the Soviets. Later on in 1920 Tarto treaties Soviets agreed to honor cultural autonomy of the Karelians. Which Soviets renegaded in 1930s. In Tarto treaty Finns had been granted right to sail from Gulf of Finland to Ladoga through Neva without any harassment, this also was renegaded by the Soviets in 1930s. Why should Finns have trusted the Soviets after those incidents?

    But going to bed with Nazi Germany says a lot about Finland at the time. I doubt that Finland allied itself with Nazi Germany thinking it would lose the war. It did it for revenge for what happened in the Winter War, because it believed in Nazi Germany as a partner and its bellicose racist ideology.

    It says nothing of Finland. It only states of the political realities. Following the Nazi conquests of Denmark and Norway in 1940 there was a grand total of 2 options which Finns had. Either bow to the Soviets – who had just tried to annex whole of Finland – or go with the Germans. Another part of this reality is that Finland was not self-sufficient at the time, so it needed foreign trade to survive (to have enough food) – and that was possible only the blessing of either of those two major powers.

    Finnish relations with Nazi Germany were actually fairly poor in late 1930s as instead of picking either totalitarian models Finns opted for Nordic neutrality. Relations were actually poor enough for the Germans to make publicly note of this. Finns refused German offers of non-aggression pacts for example. Even during the Winter War Germans had prevented shipments from reaching Finland – unlike most other European countries which actively tried to ship materiel to Finland. Soviets own actions during the Interim Peace 1940-41 also further pushed Finland towards Germany.

    First shooting down a Finnish passenger aircraft over the Gulf of Finland in 1940, demanding demilitarization of Åland which had not been part of the Moscow Peace treaty, demanding railroad access for Soviet military forces from new border to Hanko – route which led the Soviet forces pretty much through the Finnish heartlands, demanding Finland to cede some of Petsamo’s ore to Soviets, demanding Finnish ministers to resign from their positions, demanding Finns to limit their presidential candidates in 1940 elections to ones ‘acceptable to the Soviets’, openly supported an organization which aimed to subvert Finnish government, tried to blackmail Finnish government by withholding already agreed grain shipments, and so on… And you wonder why Finns chose rather to believe in Germans than in Soviets. Especially after it had been clear that Soviets had carried out ethnic cleansing of Finns in Soviet Karelia in late 1930s… Finns had a choice between two devils, one which had already stabbed at them and one which had not.

    Now I challenge you. Provide sources which prove that Finland joined with Germany in 1940/41 due to its ‘bellicose racist ideology’. Since you made that explicit claim.

    After WW2 Finland became a prosperous nation thanks in part to trade with the Soviet Union and that Moscow allowed Finland to integrate slowly back to Western Europe through ogranizations such as EFTA.

    In fact Soviets did as much as they could to prevent Finnish integration to the west. They blocked attempted nordic trade agreements in 1950s. Made sure that Finland could only join EFTA as full member after EFTA had already pretty much lost all its value…

    • JusticeDemon

      demanding demilitarization of Åland

      Why would the USSR demand something in 1940 that had already been guaranteed under the Treaty of Paris in 1856, confirmed by the League of Nations in 1921 and enshrined in Finnish law with at least de facto constitutional status under the Åland Autonomy Act of 1920?

      If such a demand had to be made in 1940, then this could only mean that Finland was not respecting its own legislative and treaty commitments.

  5. ohdake

    If such a demand had to be made in 1940, then this could only mean that Finland was not respecting its own legislative and treaty commitments.

    Your comment only shows your ignorance of the situation. The Soviet Union did not choose to respect the treaties which had bound the former Russian (Tsarist) Empire. Hence the Soviet Union by its own volition had no legal & official say to the demilitarization of Åland – which had been agreed in the aftermath of the Crimean War of 19th century vintage. Britain, France and Sweden however did. What Finns wanted was to get permission to built fortifications to the islands – something other parties subject to the treaty had no longer objections to.

    Furthermore Finland is still today committed (exactly according to the treaties) to defend Åland in case it is threatened. Given that Germany was still in 1940 in state of war – and that World War II continued on – that alone could be seen as a legitimate reason for maintaining the troops on the island. In addition Soviets actually gave Finns 2 options, either allow Soviet troops to take part into the fortifying of Åland or demilitarize the islands. Since no sane Finn wanted Soviet military presence to Åland and that there did not at that time exist any (Western or German) counterweight for the Red Army the islands were demilitarized in order not to needlessly antagonize the totalitarian dictator who had just failed in his attempt to conquest all of Finland.

    • JusticeDemon

      This response still makes no sense. Regardless of the “situation”, building fortifications and maintaining a military presence cannot be construed as demilitarisation.

    • ohdake

      This response still makes no sense. Regardless of the “situation”, building fortifications and maintaining a military presence cannot be construed as demilitarisation.

      Except if that action had been carried out with the permission of the other parties which had originally taken part in forming the agreement. In other words Finns applied to have the demilitarization overturned. Finns had in 1940 started fortifying the islands after having informed all the related parties of their actions, none of whom expressed any criticism of the Finnish action.

      Furthermore as long as there is a threat either to Åland – or even to Finland via Åland – then Finland is entitled and required to take any necessary actions to defend against the attacker to safeguard the neutrality of Åland. This is stated outright in the demilitarization agreement. 7th Article of the 1922 agreement.

    • JusticeDemon

      So it seems that you said demanding demilitarization when you really meant refusing remilitarisation of the strategically important Åland Islands.

      You also seem to appreciate that the USSR was most concerned about the prospects of a German land assault on Leningrad through Finland, and the two options that you describe are entirely consistent with this concern.

      You don’t explain why the USSR would have been in any way keen to initiate any campaign along this thousand kilometre-long peaceful frontier when it was already severely overstretched and losing ground in the course of ongoing hostilities further south.

    • ohdake

      So it seems that you said demanding demilitarization when you really meant refusing remilitarisation of the strategically important Åland Islands.

      No, i meant exactly what i wrote. This is because the Soviet Union had no part in the treaties regarding Åland – so they couldn’t have been refusing the remilitarization. Imperial Russia could have done so but not the Soviet Union.

      You also seem to appreciate that the USSR was most concerned about the prospects of a German land assault on Leningrad through Finland, and the two options that you describe are entirely consistent with this concern.

      You don’t explain why the USSR would have been in any way keen to initiate any campaign along this thousand kilometre-long peaceful frontier when it was already severely overstretched and losing ground in the course of ongoing hostilities further south

      The sole reason for there to be a prospect of a German land assault on Leningrad from the north (which never took place because Finns refused to allow such or to take part in such) was the Soviet invasion of Finland – i.e. the Winter War – and the hostile & aggressive politics of the USSR against Finland at the time. Which only underlines the issue that Soviets themselves created the problem of having hostile neighbor in their NW border. Do note that as there exists the little thing known as causality the Winter War is a valid reason for the Continuation War but not the vice versa.

      And Soviet Union had been quite keen to initiate campaigns on that very same thousand kilometer long peaceful frontier just one year earlier. Just like they had launched campaigns against Poland over peaceful frontier just as well. Soviet Union under Stalin was nothing but a totalitarian dictatorship, it didn’t need reasons for taking actions, only the whims of its top leadership. And like the Soviets had themselves openly stated to the Finns, they (i.e. USSR being a major power) wouldn’t respect the Finnish neutrality if there were to be a large scale war in Europe.

    • JusticeDemon

      …the Soviet Union had no part in the treaties regarding Åland – so they couldn’t have been refusing the remilitarization.

      This is equivalent to arguing that Finland could not oppose the annexation of Eastern Karelia because it was not a party to the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Finland could have done so if it had remained part of Russia, but not as an independent State.

      The distinction between locus standi and a material interest should be clear to any Finn who has considered the safety of Sosnovy Bor nuclear power plant. By your reasoning Finland may not even seek to exert any influence over this question.

      [The] Soviet Union under Stalin was nothing but a totalitarian dictatorship[. I]t didn’t need reasons for taking actions, only the whims of its top leadership.

      An interesting observation coming from someone who only in the preceding paragraph had presumed to lecture on causality.

      The point stands. While engaged in a fierce struggle for its own existence on the rest of its Western front, there is no reason whatever to suppose that the USSR would have launched any aggressive military campaign on an otherwise peaceful frontier. The Finnish offensive itself ensured that there would be no German action in this sphere, and the pursuit of that offensive beyond the pre-1939 frontier made it clear that Finland had territorial and political ambitions reaching well beyond this.

      But we have discussed this before.

    • ohdake

      This is equivalent to arguing that Finland could not oppose the annexation of Eastern Karelia because it was not a party to the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.

      Far from it. Demilitarization of Åland did not directly affect the USSR while the annexation of Eastern Karelia did directly affected Finland. Your comparison couldn’t really be further off the mark.

      The distinction between locus standi and a material interest should be clear to any Finn who has considered the safety of Sosnovy Bor nuclear power plant. By your reasoning Finland may not even seek to exert any influence over this question.

      Sure Finland can seek to. But Russia is not required to take heed of it and can consider Finnish attempts as a foreign intervention into its private matters. That is if there wouldn’t already exists treaties for the matter – which there happens to be. Exact same went as to what the USSR was able to state regarding Åland (where there did not exist any treaties in which USSR would have had any part to).

      While engaged in a fierce struggle for its own existence on the rest of its Western front, there is no reason whatever to suppose that the USSR would have launched any aggressive military campaign on an otherwise peaceful frontier. The Finnish offensive itself ensured that there would be no German action in this sphere, and the pursuit of that offensive beyond the pre-1939 frontier made it clear that Finland had territorial and political ambitions reaching well beyond this.

      As it happens there is actually no more reason to suppose that the Soviet Union would not have launch aggressive military campaign against Finland using the same old ‘protection of Leningrad’ as an excuse. Besides after the aggressive and hostile politics performed by the USSR towards Finland in 1940/41 it is hilarious that you consider the border to have been peaceful. That peaceful border did not prevent Soviet Union from shooting down Finnish passenger aircraft nor did it prevent Soviet Union from blackmailing Finland with food shipments…

      While you can draw some possible territorial and political ambitions from the extent where Finnish troops advanced to you also need to keep in mind that Finland never annexed those areas (or even claimed to do so) apart from the areas that had been part of Finland in 1939 which were re-annexed. That on the other hand indicates that while Finns were occupying the Eastern Karelia they did not have actual political or territorial ambitions beyond the 1939 borders.

    • JusticeDemon

      Demilitarization of Åland did not directly affect the USSR

      Last time I checked, the Åland Islands were a formidable location for a Baltic naval base controlling the sea lanes to Leningrad. Of course plate tectonics may have changed things since the 1940s.

      As it happens[,] there is actually no more reason to suppose that the Soviet Union would not have launch[ed some] aggressive military campaign against Finland using the same old ‘protection of Leningrad’ as an excuse.

      No reason at all if you simply forget that its forces were already severely overstretched to the south. Declining to respond to this point and asserting some vacuous “anything can happen” unpredictability of the Soviet government does not give substance to the view that Finland faced any immediate danger at the end of June 1941. With no Finnish attack to consider, tell me which Red Army divisions you would have diverted from defence of the roads from central Europe to Leningrad, Stalingrad and Moscow to pursue an unnecessary northern expedition?

      That[,] on the other hand[,] indicates that while Finns were occupying [the] Eastern Karelia[,] they did not have actual political or territorial ambitions beyond the 1939 borders.

      Wasn’t this convenient political fiction busted in Hesari a few months ago? At least the Petrozavodsk internment camps and new street names call for some serious exegesis. And what about that embarrassing miekantuppipäiväkäsky? How does the fundamentalist explain that away? Youthful exhuberance by the 74 year-old ylipäällikkö?

    • ohdake

      Last time I checked, the Åland Islands were a formidable location for a Baltic naval base controlling the sea lanes to Leningrad.

      Perhaps you ought to take some additional lessons in geography then. Åland islands control access to the Gulf of Bothnia – not to the Gulf of Finland. As a comparison nearest point from Åland to sea routes leading to Leningrad was (and still is) well over 125 km while distance from say Helsinki (or Paldiski) to same routes is just around 25 km. Åland is actually one of the most distant locations (with the exception of Gulf of Bothnia) from the sea routes leading to Leningrad in the whole of the Baltic Sea…

      With no Finnish attack to consider, tell me which Red Army divisions you would have diverted from defence of the roads from central Europe to Leningrad, Stalingrad and Moscow to pursue an unnecessary northern expedition?

      Unnecessary perhaps but like the Soviets had themselves stated they (i.e. a major power which USSR was) would not accept (nor honor) the Finnish neutrality. Such a statement left were little to room for interpretations. Nor is it really that surprising that a country against which the USSR launched an unprovoked war of an aggression might want to regain what it lost. You shouldn’t forget that the only reason there existed a threat from Finland was because the Soviets had themselves created that threat.

      Wasn’t this convenient political fiction busted in Hesari a few months ago? At least the Petrozavodsk internment camps and new street names call for some serious exegesis. And what about that embarrassing miekantuppipäiväkäsky? How does the fundamentalist explain that away? Youthful exhuberance by the 74 year-old ylipäällikkö?

      Interning potentially hostile civilians was standard of WW II era – see for example the internment of the Japanese-Americans in the USA. I really fail to see what relevance a street name (which is about the same worth as a traffic sign) has to do with anything.

      You really seem to be under an impression that Mannerheim would have been not a dictator – which he wasn’t. He was merely the supreme commander of the Finnish military without any political standing. In other words his orders of the day are not exactly a reliable tool for determining what Finland’s political or territorial ambitions were.

    • JusticeDemon

      Åland is actually one of the most distant locations (with the exception of Gulf of Bothnia) from the sea routes leading to Leningrad in the whole of the Baltic Sea…

      Not when the sea lanes are mined and the only open routes are within range of coastal artillery.

      Unnecessary perhaps …

      Unnecessary.

      There is not the slightest reason to suppose that the USSR would have initiated hostilities in the north. The indications are that Finland did so as part of a concerted offensive launched by Germany.

      Interning potentially hostile civilians was standard [during the] WW II era – see for example the internment of the Japanese-Americans in the USA.

      What was the main criterion for selecting internees? What were the long-term plans for their treatment?

      I really fail to see what relevance a street name (which is about the same worth as a traffic sign) has to do with anything.

      What do you mean by annexation in concrete terms? How would you know that it was happening?

      [Mannerheim] was merely the supreme commander of the Finnish military without any political standing. In other words his orders of the day are not exactly a reliable tool for determining what Finland’s political or territorial ambitions were.

      Was political control of the Finnish armed forces really so poor that the Commander-in-Chief was free to choose the overall scope of the entire campaign?

      What do you think were “Finland’s political or territorial ambitions”?

    • ohdake

      Not when the sea lanes are mined and the only open routes are within range of coastal artillery.

      Only open sea lanes to Leningrad were all the time within range of coastal artillery – however never from Åland. In addition there are no accessible sea lanes running to Leningrad near Åland – apart from those running directly to Åland. Waters in the area (and south of it) are simply too treacherous. The sole eastbound route runs through Finnish (non-Åland) waters. So Åland was effectively in the furthest corner of the Baltic Sea when the sea lanes to Leningrads are considered and had no effect to their safety. Your statement was about as logical as stating that Ireland is crucial for the passage through the English Channel.

      There is not the slightest reason to suppose that the USSR would have initiated hostilities in the north.

      Interestingly enough that is exactly what the Soviets did on 25 June 1941. Bombed Finnish civilians.

      What was the main criterion for selecting internees? What were the long-term plans for their treatment?

      It actually varied quite a bit, there are books which discuss that. There were some homeless refugees (homes destroyed in fighting), some had their homes too close to the front line – which affected mostly Russian speaking population who happened to live primarily just where the Finns stopped their advance, some were interned because of Soviet partisan activity in their areas.

      Long term plan actually depended on how the war would end, if the area (East Karelia) was to be Finnish then the Russian population would have been relocated to the Russia – which although just a plan would have been less severe operation than the Allied sanctioned purge of Germans from Eastern Europe after the WW II.

      What do you mean by annexation in concrete terms? How would you know that it was happening?

      Per definition from a dictionary: To incorporate (territory) into an existing political unit. And the areas lost in WW2 were incorporated back into Finland on 9 December 1941. But not the territories beyond the 1939 borders.

      Was political control of the Finnish armed forces really so poor that the Commander-in-Chief was free to choose the overall scope of the entire campaign?

      Far from it. It just is that Commander-in-Chief’s comments do not reflect the actual Finnish aims for the war. Order of Day stuff was just PR and morale boosting (sword scabbard thing backfired in that respect), not laying out actual policies.

      What do you think were “Finland’s political or territorial ambitions”?

      Initially in WW II, before the Soviet Union decided to invade Finland without any reason? To stay out of the war.

      After the Soviets had made it clear that Finland could not sit this war out: To restore what what had been lost.

    • JusticeDemon

      You did not even begin to discuss the closure of international seaways by naval mines while retaining coastal routes within easy range of fixed and mobile artillery.

      Interestingly enough that is exactly what the Soviets did on 25 June 1941. Bombed Finnish civilians.

      Would that be three days after the Finnish navy began mining operations with a view to blockading Leningrad, and the Finnish air force began providing logistical and technical support for bombing raids on that city? Perhaps you are suggesting that these and other uses of lethal force did not constitute hostilities, because after all the intended victims were only Slavic Untermensch.

      It is much more credible to suppose that Finland initiated a new war in the north in order to avoid a German occupation of its own, but was at least partly coerced into a military expedition that broadened the Eastern Front, helping to enable a siege that killed more than a million non-combatants in Leningrad alone.

    • ohdake

      You did not even begin to discuss the closure of international seaways by naval mines while retaining coastal routes within easy range of fixed and mobile artillery.

      Because no routes go to Leningrad via Åland. No coastal or mobile artillery in Åland can even come close to reaching the sea lanes to Leningrad. No mines laid within the 3 nautical mile wide neutrality zone around the Åland (measured from the islands themselves, not from borders) could have come even close to blocking routes to Leningrad. Ironically Finnish waters extended beyond the 3 nm wide zone so Finns could perfectly legally already then lay mines between the international waters and Åland…

      Would that be three days after the Finnish navy began mining operations with a view to blockading Leningrad, and the Finnish air force began providing logistical and technical support for bombing raids on that city?

      You should note that Finnish minelaying started after Soviet aircraft had already tried to bomb Finnish shipping in the morning of 22 June. Also Soviets were fully unaware of the Finnish minelaying until the end the of the war. As to what Germans did it wasn’t really Finnish business – Finns had prohibited Germans from launching attacks from Finland.

      It is much more credible to suppose that Finland initiated a new war in the north in order to avoid a German occupation of its own, but was at least partly coerced into a military expedition that broadened the Eastern Front, helping to enable a siege that killed more than a million non-combatants in Leningrad alone.

      Finns had rather few options. They had to to pick either Soviets (who had already betrayed them) or Nazis. After being forced to enter into WW II by the Soviets in 1939 there really were no other real options. Since Finns were quite well aware of the atrocities carried out in Stalin’s Purges and there existed around 400 000 people who wanted nothing but their homes back the end result is not exactly surprising.

      Siege was perfectly legal form of warfare by WW II standards. It was the responsibility of the besieged party – not the besieging party – to take care of them. Only cases when it would have been other way around would have been if the besieged objective would not have been defended – however Leningrad was, or if the besieged would have surrendered.

    • JusticeDemon

      Because no routes go to Leningrad via Åland. No coastal or mobile artillery in Åland can even come close to reaching the sea lanes to Leningrad.

      And if those sea lanes to Leningrad are closed by naval mines so that only the Finnish coastal route remains open? Funny how I have to labour this obvious point.

      As to what Germans did it wasn’t really Finnish business – Finns had prohibited Germans from launching attacks from Finland.

      Use of Finnish air space for a German bombing raid on Leningrad from the north and refuelling those aircraft at a Finnish military airfield on the return run, use of Finnish transmitters to send air attack radio beacons …?

      Was the timing of the Finnish assault a complete accident, or were the Finns forewarned of the starting time of Operation Barbarossa?

    • ohdake

      And if those sea lanes to Leningrad are closed by naval mines so that only the Finnish coastal route remains open? Funny how I have to labour this obvious point.

      But that has nothing to do with Åland any more but instead with Finland and Finnish neutrality. Any traffic which would have gone through Finnish coastal route would have gone through the Finnish waters, not through international waters. And it would have passed by several strong Finnish coastal artillery forts along the way long before it would have even reached Åland. Again, Åland would have had no effect even then.

      Use of Finnish air space for a German bombing raid on Leningrad from the north and refuelling those aircraft at a Finnish military airfield on the return run, use of Finnish transmitters to send air attack radio beacons …?

      Under the agreement the Finns had made Germans had the right to refuel their aircraft in Finland – which was made initially to enable German aircraft to overfly Finland directly to northern Norway. They didn’t have right to launch attacks from Finland. Finnish radios and transmitters operated as normal – it was still peace time, there is really nothing special about that.

      Was the timing of the Finnish assault a complete accident, or were the Finns forewarned of the starting time of Operation Barbarossa?

      Finns were forewarned, but according to historians Finns didn’t really believe all what Germans where saying. There was still a fear that the whole German attack plan would have been a German orchestrated sham to sell Finland to Soviets. Which is why for example operation Kilpapurjehdus was halted in early hours of 22 June 1941.

  6. ohdake

    Perhaps you should explain why the Finnish Communist Party was operating from Moscow in the first place. Forcing political parties into exile is an odd way to uphold the democratic rights of a population to choose its own political representation, and even one such as yourself cannot fail to see the irony in doing so on the grounds that the exiled party is “anti-democratic”.

    Mainly because the members of the said party had tried to take over the country. Do note that the original SKP was not even formed in Finland but instead formed in Moscow by people who tried and failed in their coup de etat and later lost the civil war. Having warrants for arrest (for good reason since they had been the instigators for the civil war) was probably incentive enough to stay away. Given that the attempt was made with direct and open Soviet support – and that the SKP of the era was fully bolshevik – the end result would have been the end of democracy in Finland if not the end of Finland as a sovereign state.

    • ohdake

      Perhaps you cannot see the irony after all.

      I see there no irony blocking a political party from operating in a country that party’s goal was to overthrow the government and instead either bolshevik or fascist government – either way it is anti-democratic. Be it SKP of 1920s & 1930s or Lapuan Liike.

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