East Central Europe and the World: Developments in the Post-Stalin Era

By Stephen D. Kertesz; Karlis Kalnins et al. | Go to book overview

13: FINLAND

John H. Wuorinen

Finland's position and status since the Second World War have been sufficiently unique, not to say baffling, to have invited a good deal of comment and attempts at explanation. This is not surprising in view of the facts in the case. Finland had been invaded by the Soviet Union in November 1939. Despite heroic and amazingly successful fighting, the Finns had to sue for peace in March 1940. The provisions of the treaty that ended the war on March 12, 1940, called for substantial territorial cessions but left the nation's independence intact. This was not the end of the Soviet menace, however. In June 1941, immediately after Hitler's invasion of the USSR began, and while Finland was still resolved to remain neutral, the Soviets again attacked. The second phase of the Russo-Finnish War continued until September 1944, when the Finns were forced to accept Russian-dictated terms. The terms were considerably harsher than those of 1940 and appeared not only to jeopardize the immediate future of the nation but to prepare the way to increasing control by the USSR.

This pessimistic conclusion was modified, to be sure, by certain aspects of Finland's situation even after the exacting peace terms had been accepted. Neither in 1940 nor in 1944 did Finland's resistance to Soviet invasion result in complete military defeat, unconditional surrender and occupation by enemy forces. The reasons why Soviet military operations were not continued long enough to destroy Finnish capacity to resist, or why unconditional surrender was not demanded and occupation not attempted, are matters of conjecture. It appears correct to conclude that by virtue of not having been occupied, Finland was saved from a Soviet-sponsored communist government.

The next several years clearly showed that Finland's trials were not over and that its freedom and independence were far from secure. The expanding Soviet-controlled domain in Europe that brought the communist threat to the very heart of the Continent inevitably raised

-314-

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East Central Europe and the World: Developments in the Post-Stalin Era
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Previous Volumes in The International Studies Series ii
  • Title Page iv
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • 1: Another Five Years 1
  • Part One Internal Developments And Foreign Relations 19
  • 2: Baltic States 21
  • 3: Poland 45
  • 4: East Germany 64
  • 5: Czechoslovakia 95
  • 7: Rumania 156
  • 8: Bulgaria 169
  • 11: China: A New Power in Europe 264
  • Part Two On the Periphery Of The Soviet Orbit 279
  • 13: Finland 314
  • 14: Austria, 1955-1961 338
  • Part Three The West And East Central Europe 355
  • 15: American and West European Policy Toward East Central Europe Since Stalin 357
  • Index 377
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