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Finnish Communists/Socialists vs Russians in the Winter War

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  • Finnish Communists/Socialists vs Russians in the Winter War

    When reading about the Russo-Finnish Winter War I found this very interesting. Nationalism trumps politics when your country is attacked and invaded. Robert

    "In addition, to the surprise of both the Soviet leadership and the Finns, it turned out that the majority of the Finnish Socialists did not support the Soviet invasion but fought alongside their compatriots against the common enemy. Many Finnish Communists had moved to the Soviet Union in the 1930s to "build Socialism," only to end up as victims of Stalin's Great Purges, which led to widespread disillusion and even open hatred of the Soviet regime among Socialists in Finland. This partial healing of the wounds and rifts after the Civil War in Finland (1918), and Finland's language strife, is still referred to as "the Spirit of the Winter War," although it should also be noted that many communists were not allowed to fight in Finland's conscription army because of their political background.

    Soviet arrogance and/or incompetence was an important factor. The attackers weren't expecting much of a struggle, and due to Stalin's purges, the commanders of the Red Army had suffered 80% peacetime losses. These were commonly replaced by people less competent but more pleasing to their superiors, and tactics which were obsolete by World War I were sometimes witnessed. Tactics were strictly "by the book," as a failed initiative otherways carried a high risk of execution. The Soviet army was also far less well prepared for winter warfare, particularly in forests, and heavily used vulnerable motorized vehicles. The so-called "Raatteentie Incident," during the month-long Battle of Suomussalmi, where one Soviet division was defeated after marching on a forest road straight into an ambush with vastly outnumbered Finnish soldiers, is still used in military academies as an example of what not to do."

    http://web.archive.org/web/200512271...winter_war.htm

    Robert
    Last edited by JCFalkenbergIII; 16 Mar 10, 23:21.
    For the first time I have seen "History" at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. - WWI General Max Hoffman

  • #2
    Originally posted by JCFalkenbergIII View Post

    Soviet arrogance and/or incompetence was an important factor.
    After Khalkin Gol, they must have thought they had the greatest Army around. After all, who were the Finns compared to the Empire of Japan?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
      After Khalkin Gol, they must have thought they had the greatest Army around. After all, who were the Finns compared to the Empire of Japan?
      Of course they made mistakes in early part of war - wrong tactics, underestimated enemy, lack of suitable clothing for arctic winter etc. but anyway, even in such conditions they broke Mannerheim line.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Ulrih View Post
        Of course they made mistakes in early part of war - wrong tactics, underestimated enemy, lack of suitable clothing for arctic winter etc. but anyway, even in such conditions they broke Mannerheim line.
        But at what cost? Sooner or later the Finns had to crack but by God did they make them pay for it.
        Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the cheesemakers

        That's right bitches. I'm blessed!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by JCFalkenbergIII View Post
          In addition, to the surprise of both the Soviet leadership and the Finns, it turned out that the majority of the Finnish Socialists did not support the Soviet invasion but fought alongside their compatriots against the common enemy.
          Erm, and what's so surprising about it? Socialists were officially considered "social-fascists" by the Komintern and generally the relationship between Communists and Socialists has never been rosy.

          Or are you one of these people for whom Pol Pot, Lenin and Al Gore are all tightly linked members of an evil cabal aiming to destroy mom's apple pie?

          The so-called "Raatteentie Incident," during the month-long Battle of Suomussalmi, where one Soviet division
          Two Soviet divisions, 163rd and 44th. The former was heavily battered, the latter was totally annihilated and its leadership executed.
          Last edited by ShAA; 17 Mar 10, 15:10.
          www.histours.ru

          Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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          • #6
            Thought I needed to correct my post: 163rd was encircled and 44th was coming to the rescue along a narrow forest road, and the Finns dissected it into pieces and annihilated it.
            www.histours.ru

            Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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            • #7
              Originally posted by ShAA View Post
              Erm, and what's so surprising about it? Socialists were officially considered "socialist-fascists" by the Komintern and generally the relationship between Communists and Socialists have never been rosy.
              I think what surprised everyone was that those Finns who had actually fought on the Red side in the civil war/revolution of 1918, and had survived the subsequent white terror (about 20 000 or so killed from a total 2 million population), and/or their sons, hunkered down and fought off the Soviets alongside the bourgeois and peasants. The post-war white terror in Finland seems to have cost more lives than the actual fighting.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Johan Banér View Post
                I think what surprised everyone was that those Finns who had actually fought on the Red side in the civil war/revolution of 1918, and had survived the subsequent white terror (about 20 000 or so killed from a total 2 million population), and/or their sons, hunkered down and fought off the Soviets alongside the bourgeois and peasants. The post-war white terror in Finland seems to have cost more lives than the actual fighting.
                Well, things had changed a lot since 1918 by that time. The Reds of the Finnish civil war were probably similar to those in the USSR at that time but entirely different from those USSR Reds in 1939. There was the Kronstadt revolt and the internal party struggle in the 1920s and the persecution of Trotsky and his followers - the ideology had evolved too far to be anything similar to what the Red Finns fought for in 1918.
                www.histours.ru

                Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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                • #9
                  European Social Democratic were not really allies to the Communist parties and were condemned as traitors by them (mainly by the Communist party of USSR).
                  So there is nothing strange that Finnish Social Dempocrats were fighting against the Soviet Army.
                  Kind regards
                  Igor

                  * My grandfathers WW2 memoirs - Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, 1944-1945.
                  * On the question of "2 mil. rapes" by RKKA
                  * Verdicts of RKKA Military Tribunals for crimes against civilians in 1945

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                  • #10
                    and for their soil ! Every nation fight for his soil ! And finns have also a particular language and culture.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by grosnain View Post
                      and for their soil ! Every nation fight for his soil ! And finns have also a particular language and culture.
                      Exactly. And that's the point .Some can put aside thier political differences when the land they live in is in danger. Robert
                      For the first time I have seen "History" at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. - WWI General Max Hoffman

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JCFalkenbergIII View Post
                        Some can put aside thier political differences when the land they live in is in danger. Robert
                        You still haven't pointed out any grave differences which could've kept a part of the Finns away from fighting Stalin.
                        www.histours.ru

                        Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by grosnain View Post
                          and for their soil ! Every nation fight for his soil ! And finns have also a particular language and culture.
                          Yes, but to complicate matters Finland is both Finnish and Swedish speaking. Back in 1918 as much as 20% of the population have been Swedish speaking.

                          Especially on the white side, which was very much supported by the Swedish speakers (both traditional upper-class and the Swedish speaking rural communities along the coast in northern Finland) the civil war was often cast as a race-war between Germanics and "Mongolian" Finns. The choice of Communism among the working-class Finns in the large industrial centres was interpreted as generated by some kind of atavistic "race-psychology" traits making Finns, Ugrians or even "Mongolians", more prone to a collectivist mindset than the individualistic, "aristocratic", Germanics.

                          Really, it was as bad as that in a number of cases.

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                          • #14
                            I wonder if other Communists/Socialists in other countries would have done the same if they were invaded by Soviet troops? Robert
                            For the first time I have seen "History" at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. - WWI General Max Hoffman

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                            • #15
                              you 've gat an exemple in france, much socialist (after the armistice) give power to Petain june 1940.
                              Also some of them, even a "non conventional" communist fought under german uniform(doriot).
                              I think there is no rules, everything happens and people react "day to day".
                              About communist in the sixties for exemple if France was invaded by soviets i think that most of them would have fought first for their soil and way of living. I think this because lot of communist vote for national front in the eighties after the collapse of the old "stalinist french party". That means that "voting" don't give a real point of view on the accordance with the "doxa" of the political parties.
                              It depends also of your regional location in the coutry (culture, language and relationship with the central power).

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