Kremlin had 1 1/2 year to show his good intentions but failed to do so. If it a few weeks tried to act civilly, and that only out of fear, wasn't very convincing. And in any case, this policy would have an option only if the future has been seen.
To this the Kremlin would reply that they had been very reasonable and shown good intentions in the negotiations before the Winter War, but the Finns had ruined everything. On top of that they totally humiliated the Red Army in the eyes of the world which is the worst thing you can do to a bunch of bully boys if they have a chance to get the upper hand on you later on.
Philip: The Russian state is not a country you can conquer, i.e. occupy in a normal way. A country like that can only collapse through its own weakness or internal disagreement.
Anne G:Well, the Germans believed in the first sentence, the Finns more in the second.
History also shows that once a nation is attacked by a foreign power, most internal disagreement immediately evaporates.
In understanding history, the first thing is to forget what happened afterwards. The second thing is to understand that people were different from us and saw the world differently.
Which is why we're trying to find out how the Finnish leaders saw the world, in order to discover what their elusive war goals might have been.
F.ex. Ryti was convinced that the Russia was a permanent threat to Finland, has been so 1000 years and will always be if nothing was done, and now was the one and only chance to remove that threat (= the Germans would do it) for ever.
But Ryti is well-known for having been a fatalist, so how does "chance" enter into the picture?
Mannerheim, on the other had was anti-Bolshevik and would have been happy to see Stalin's empire collapse but believed convinced that Russia will eventually rise again.
Let's hope the next time they'll get it right.
What about Väinö Linna? What did he feel it was all about? In my opinion "Unknown Soldier" isn't really about the Continuation War, since the plot and the main conflict doesn't deal with Finland versus the Soviet Union at all. The conflict lies in unsolved issues from the Civil War. It is the same thing Pipping says that the soldiers in his company felt. For them the Continuation War was "herrojen sota", a stunt meant to suppress the average population, cheating and forcing them into a campaign of conquest alongside the Nazis, carefully dressed up as a defensive war and an inevitable "continuation" of the Winter War where everyone had stood together.
(On a larger scale it is really the old story of nature versus civilisation, Kivi's seven brothers pitted against the school teacher. Looking at Finland today, it is obvious who won that battle. So perhaps the finno-fanatics are right when they claim that the Finnish Army won the Continuation War. That even includes killing lots of foreign people, only nowadays it is done by selling them unnecessary little gadgets that in years to come is suspected will give millions of people all over the world brain cancer. But of course, I'm digressing now.)
Now, when the Finnish leaders saw this one and only chance, they also wanted to have their share of bounty.
Yes, and don't tell me that the "share of the bounty" aspect was seen as acceptable to decent people back in those days.
As well as making sure of the German good will in the future, with couldn't be gained by part-time participation.
I assume you are now quoting the Finnish leaders' assumption, not your own (since you have a hindsight that tells you several other nations got away with giving the Germans considerably less than Finland did). However, I think there are noticeable differences in this area between the Finnish leaders. It seems there were crucial factors that the military knew but the others didn't. For instance, the fear you mention Ryti had that the Germans might not lauch Barbarossa would hardly have been shared by the military leaders, whose experience and close contact with the Germans would have left them in no doubt about what was going on. Even worse, they military leaders - for the same reasons - would have known that the Germans were so cocky from the start that they didn't feel they needed the Finns to help them out very much in the coming invasion. It seems these factors were hidden from the politicians, or at least not presented in a way so they carried the weight they should have. Which brings us back to the "stunt" aspect, a feature we have probably been paying far too little attention during our discussions here.Regards, Vely