Great-Britain pushed Finland to cooperation with Germany

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Seppo Jyrkinen
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Great-Britain pushed Finland to cooperation with Germany

Post by Seppo Jyrkinen » 18 Sep 2017 05:54

During Interim Peace 1940-1941 Great-Britain made Finland reliant from Germany by using naval blockade. Purpose was to force Finland to use Germany's limited oil reserves. Finland was like a barge which was pushed by a powerful towboat.

Petsamo nickel is dominating the picture of history and Great-Britain's policy has been left mainly in shadows.


Before WW2 - Soviet Union was important

Great-Britain's governments saw Soviet Union more important than democratic Finland already before WW2. Soviet Union / Russia was important like it had been during WW1.

In the end of 1930's Finland and Sweden were planning to fortify Aland islands. For this they had to get Great-Britain's acceptance. London gave to Soviet Union an opportunity to say her opinion and Moscow rejected the plan.

Churchill wrote in April 1939: "No one can't say that there wouldn't exist common interest with western democracies and Soviet Union and we may not do anything to jeopardize this." (context about)

Great-Britain and France were negotiating with SU in Moscow to make an anti-German pact. Soviet Union wanted a permission to occupy small neighbors and 1.7.1939 British delegation accepted this. Joachim Ribbentrop was anyhow more credible and well known Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was born.


Phony war - actions behind curtains

Before Winter War Churchill wanted British Government to pressure Finland to accept Stalins demands and move border on Karelian nest. Two weeks before the war he wanted British Government tell to Stalin that they didn't support Finland but understand Soviet Union.

After the outbreak of the war, Halifax said in War Cabinet that he didn't like policy which would weaken relations with Soviet Union. British citizen's reaction was anyhow strong and Government was obliqued to sell weapons to Finns.

In the beginning of 1940 Great-Britain and France claimed they were planning a military action to help Finland. In real the purpose was to occupy mine area in Sweden and stop iron ore deliveries to Germany. Operation Avonmouth's commanding officer, General Macksey, got permission not to send troops to Finland at all.

MEW's undersecretary Charles Hambro traveled to Finland and made 7.4.1940 a proposal according to war trade agreement. Finns accepted text on the very next day. Finland promised not to sell imported goods to Germany and keep the mineral trade with Germany on the same level as it had been before the war. This means than Finland was willing to join anti-German embargo.

When Germany invaded Norway, British Government cut off the trade to Northern-Europe, which was a hostile action and against international contracts. After the Norwegian war they allowed mercantile shipping to Petsamo only under British control. London took Finland as semi-enemy country. You can also call this as a "state terror".


Interim peace before Barbarossa

Ministry of Economic Warfare told 16.7.1940 to Finns that they were allowed to transport oil products to Petsamo with one oil tanker only. It was only a matter of time when Finland's only tanker would be a target of military actions when sailing over northern Atlantic. Great-Britain's ambassador in Helsinki, Gordon Vereker, wrote three days later to FO that if British would avenge Finland because of nickel trade, this would push Finns more near connections with Germany.

In the end of July MEW's minister Dalton had a speech in the House of Commons and said that Finland should be forced to get it's oil products from Germany. He also met SU's London ambassador Ivan Maisky and wrote to he's diary: "I also touched upon Petsamo and said I did not understand why the Russians had not kept this after the Finnish war."

First political contact between Finns and Germans was 17.8.1940 when a German arms dealer Joseph Veltjens arrived to Finland. He's message was that Germany was willing to sell weapons to Finns, if transport of soldiers through Finland would be allowed. Transit through Finland until spring 1941 was 60 soldiers per day. Sweden had made also such contract two months earlier and daily traffic was 1.300 German soldier. Finns had transit agreement with SU also.

In the beginning of October Great-Britain cut off Finland's trade over Atlantic, also the trade with USA, for two months. Ambassador Vereker wrote to London claiming that British were forcing Finns to make "a contract with the Devil".

In the beginning of 1941 Finland's Foreign Minister, Rolf Witting, send a message to Sir Dingle Foot (MEW) telling that because of Britain's navicert policy, Finns didn't get gasoline to Petsmo, and they had bought it from Germany. Finns didn't understand that this was exactly what London really wanted!

Finland's ambassador in London, Georg Gripenberg, was finally told in February 1941, that Great-Britain would limit Finland's trade with the USA on purpose that Finns would buy goods from Germany. This was embargo policy and Finland was only a tool.

Great-Britain cut off Finland's foreign trade over Atlantic 11.6.1941, clearly before Barbarossa.


Barbarossa era

When Churchill heard that Finns had joined Barbarossa, he was pissed off and said angrily: "We could have expect them to stay still!" (context about)

Declaration of war came 6.12.1941. RAF had bombed Germans in Northern Finland a few times before that.


After WW2 - policy had continuity

After the WW2 British Government demanded remarkable limits to Finland's army. At first Soviet Union was against such, but finally gave up. Later at 1960's Grat-Britain refuse Finns to buy anti-aircraft missiles. During the worst years of cold war, Finland was without effective air defence in the neighborhood of Red Empire. A time of "Finlandization".

In Finnish: whole article http://www.jyrkinen.fi/historia/petsamon-nikkeli.html
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Sid Guttridge
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Re: Great-Britain pushed Finland to cooperation with Germany

Post by Sid Guttridge » 18 Sep 2017 15:51

Hi Seppo,

The Navicert system was part of a continent-wide blockade to prevent the Axis powers acquiring military resources from outside Europe via neutrals. Its most far reaching success was to help keep Spain out of the Axis camp in 1940-41. It was not directed specifically at Finland.

Cheers,

Sid

Seppo Jyrkinen
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Re: Great-Britain pushed Finland to cooperation with Germany

Post by Seppo Jyrkinen » 18 Sep 2017 18:34

I agree, Sid, the Navicert was originally not directed specifically at Finland. But this policy tells what was a small country's position through the eyes of London. Finland was so worthless country, that pushing it to the side of Germany was a goal.

In Finland there has been A LOT of discussion if Finland was a driftwood or a rowing boat during Interim peace. Historians are mostly looking at relations between Finland and Germany, and forgetting Great-Britain's impact, which was imperative. Several historians even claim that Finland was willing to join near cooperation or even became an ally with Germany. This analysis tells clearly that Finn's own opinions about Germany were worthless.

Limits of oil transport were destructive to Finland's defence. After July 1940 Finns didn't have even a theoretical possibility to survive alone.
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Re: Great-Britain pushed Finland to cooperation with Germany

Post by StrangerHereMyself » 19 Sep 2017 01:06

‘Great-Britain pushed Finland’… Oh, please. Finland could have chosen neutrality like Sweden. (‘Why didn’t you stop me?’ Unbelievable how many blame Britain for their own behaviour—‘Why won’t you just lay down and die for us?’)

The British declared war on Finland in response to the occupation of Eastern Karelia, which historically has never been part of the Grand Duchy of Finland and whose population, while Finnic, is of a distinct ethnicity of its own. We sent a note of our displeasure to Finland on September 22, then an ultimatum on November 28 warning Finland to cease their offensive (which also, as a matter of practicality, threatened the railway link between Murmansk and central Russia used to deliver matériel necessary to keep Russia in the fight). The US was also critical of Finland’s conduct, although ultimately stopping short of declaring war.
The day after Britain’s ultimatum had been delivered Prime Minister Churchill sent a personal letter … to Marshal Mannerheim, the Finnish Commander-in-Chief, giving his Government’s ultimatum the interpretation that Finland did not necessarily have to make a public statement, but could simply stop fighting and immediately cease all military operations for which the bitter winter would offer all possible justification, and thus de facto get herself out of the war.
(Wourinen, 134)

Finland had more than one opportunity to step back from the brink; instead, they chose to leap over it screaming the Finnish equivalent of ‘banzai’.

Nor was this was the first time that Finland attempted to expand their territory at Russian expense, their first attempt at annexing Eastern Karelia being in 1918–19, then again in 1921.

Major references:
Hannikainen, Lauri. “The Finnish Civil War 1919 and its Aftermath.” Implementing Humanitarian Law Applicable in Armed Conflicts: The Case of Finland, edited by Lauri Hannikainen, Raijka Hanski and Allan Rosas, Martinus Nijjoff, 1992, pp. 32–40.
Kivimäki, Ville. “Three Wars and Their Epitaphs: The Finnish History and Scholarship of World War II.” Finland in World War II: History, Memory, Interpretations, edited by Tiina Kinnunen and Ville Kivimäki, Koninklijke Brill, 2012, pp. 1–48.
Wuorinen, John H. Finland and World War II, 1939–1944. Greenwood Press, 1983.
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Sid Guttridge
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Re: Great-Britain pushed Finland to cooperation with Germany

Post by Sid Guttridge » 19 Sep 2017 10:49

Hi Seppo,

It is extremely unlikely that "Finland was so worthless country, that pushing it to the side of Germany was a goal" of the
British. In mid-1940 Britain "stood alone", had little army after Dunkirk, was facing invasion and was hardly likely to want to create even more enemies than it already had, however distant and insignificant.

Finland's problem was that it was remote from the UK, of little significance on any level and therefore not a focus of British policy at a critical juncture in the war for the British. Nor could Britain help Finland if it chose to pursue a foreign policy independent of the signatories of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

Because Britain was necessarily self absorbed in the second half of 1940, the fate of Finland did not register strongly on the national radar one way or the other.

In the event, Britain and Finland managed to avoid fighting each other, despite being technically at war for nearly three years. This tells us all we need to know about their relations. Fate may have put them on opposite sides but they were never active enemies.

Cheers,

Sid.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Great-Britain pushed Finland to cooperation with Germany

Post by Sid Guttridge » 19 Sep 2017 10:49

Hi Seppo,

It is extremely unlikely that "Finland was so worthless country, that pushing it to the side of Germany was a goal" of the
British. In mid-1940 Britain "stood alone", had little army after Dunkirk, was facing invasion and was hardly likely to want to create even more enemies than it already had, however distant and insignificant.

Finland's problem was that it was remote from the UK, of little significance on any level and therefore not a focus of British policy at a critical juncture in the war for the British. Nor could Britain help Finland if it chose to pursue a foreign policy independent of the signatories of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

Because Britain was necessarily self absorbed in the second half of 1940, the fate of Finland did not register strongly on the national radar one way or the other.

In the event, Britain and Finland managed to avoid fighting each other, despite being technically at war for nearly three years. This tells us all we need to know about their relations. Fate may have put them on opposite sides but they were never active enemies.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Great-Britain pushed Finland to cooperation with Germany

Post by antwony » 19 Sep 2017 12:14

StrangerHereMyself wrote:‘Great-Britain pushed Finland’… Oh, please. Finland could have chosen neutrality like Sweden. (‘Why didn’t you stop me?’ Unbelievable how many blame Britain for their own behaviour—‘Why won’t you just lay down and die for us?’)
Don't bother, that guy has a thing about Churchill. On his blog he tries to link Petsamo, Churchill and the Amritsar massacre...

He's taken some ideas from Jukka Nevakivi and run wild with them
StrangerHereMyself wrote:Eastern Karelia, which historically has never been part of the Grand Duchy of Finland
So.

The Duchy of Finland was an Imperial Russian creation, it's boundaries have little relevance. Artifical boundaries drawn up by the Proletriat to divide the Bourgeoisie shouldn't have held any relevance to the Soviet Union.
StrangerHereMyself wrote: and whose population, while Finnic,
Karelians are most certainly Finnic.
StrangerHereMyself wrote:is of a distinct ethnicity of its own.
No. There were three tribes from which Finns were descended; Varsinaissuomalaiset, Hämälaiset and Karelians.

The residents of East Karelia, circa WW2, were mainly Karelians, but there were Russians too (+ some Veps and maybe some other Finnic people)
StrangerHereMyself wrote:Finland had more than one opportunity to step back from the brink; instead, they chose to leap over it screaming the Finnish equivalent of ‘banzai’.
Questionable, but I don't care. Have fun with Seppo.

StrangerHereMyself wrote:Nor was this was the first time that Finland attempted to expand their territory at Russian expense, their first attempt at annexing Eastern Karelia being in 1918–19, then again in 1921.

By 1918-19 you presumably mean the Aunus Expedition of 1919. Those volunteers that took part hadn't received much official support and their failed efforts led to organised opposition to Mannerheim's (and others) plan to use a Finnish conscript army to attack St. Petersburg. It's not the best example for you to use.

By 1921, you presumably mean the people of the Repola district voting to join Finland and leave the "Karelian" Socialist Soviet Republic, the FInnish and Russian government not recognising that vote and the population of the district fleeing over the border after the Communists turned up. That's an even worse example.

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Re: Great-Britain pushed Finland to cooperation with Germany

Post by Seppo Jyrkinen » 19 Sep 2017 19:01

StrangerHereMyself wrote:‘Great-Britain pushed Finland’… Oh, please. Finland could have chosen neutrality like Sweden.
If you look to map, you'll see that Finland had 1.300km common land border with Soviet Union and Sweden didn't had such at all. Denmark and Norway did choose neutrality too...

Image

Finland did choose neutrality before WW2, but Soviet Union didn't allow that 1939.

After occupation of Norway Finland was between Hitler and Stalin. And Great-Britain was restraining Finland's foreign trade, especially oil product transport after 16.7.1940.

Stalin said before WW2 that great power's will not accept neutrality to Finland, and he was right. Several small countries in Europe claimed to be neutral in the early years of the war. Neutrality need acceptance from others; in this case Hitler, Stalin and Churchill.

British declaration of war belongs to margin in this analysis and East Karelian has no place at all. Pushing towards Germany started almost two years earlier, after Wehrmacht had occupied Norway.
Sid Guttridge wrote:In mid-1940 Britain "stood alone", had little army after Dunkirk, was facing invasion and was hardly likely to want to create even more enemies than it already had, however distant and insignificant.
British Government didn't try to make Finland as an enemy, but forcing it to use German goods. As I wrote before, "In the end of July MEW's minister Dalton had a speech in the House of Commons and said that Finland should be forced to get it's oil products from Germany." Germany was short of gasoline and it was worthy to get Finns too to use it. Every gallon was away from Luftwaffe.
Sid Guttridge wrote: Because Britain was necessarily self absorbed in the second half of 1940, the fate of Finland did not register strongly on the national radar one way or the other.
Two different things:
1. Not to care about Finland
2. Push Finland towards Germany
The last one did happen. This was also told to Finland's ambassador Gripenberg in February 1941.

Sources

My chronology is from those books; a few more than Nevakivi only. More detailed in my blog.
– Autere & Liede, Petsamon nikkeli. Taistelu strategisesta metallista
– Erkki Maasalo, Päämäärä ennen mainetta. Rolf Witting jatkosodan ulkoministerinä 1940-1943
– Erkki Maasalo, Sir Henrik saa tehtävän
– Esko Vuorisjärvi, Petsamon nikkeli kansainvälisessä politiikassa 1939-1944
– Juho Kotakallio, Hänen majesteettinsa agentit. Brittitiedustelu Suomessa
– Jukka Nevakivi, Apu jota ei pyydetty
– Jukka Nevakivi, Ystävistä vihollisiksi
– Jukka Seppinen, Suomen ulkomaankaupan ehdot 1939-1944
– Klas Åmark, Att bo granne med onskan
– Marianne Junila, Kotirintaman aseveljeyttä
– Markku Ruotsila, Churchill ja Suomi
– Martti Häikiö, Maaliskuusta maaliskuuhun
– Mauno Jokipii, Jatkosodan synty
– Michael Jonas, Kolmannen Valtakunnan lähettiläs
– Mikko Uola, Petsamo 1939-1944
– Olli Vehviläinen, Jatkosodan kujanjuoksu
– Paavo Rantanen, Suomi kaltevalla pinnalla
– Silvo Hietanen & al, Kansakunta sodassa III
– Sotatieteen laitos, Jatkosodan historia, osa 1
– Sotatieteen laitos, Suomen Sota 1941-1945, osa 1
– T.M. Kivimäki, Suomalaisen poliitikon muistelmat
A word irony is baked into the word history.

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henryk
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Re: Great-Britain pushed Finland to cooperation with Germany

Post by henryk » 19 Sep 2017 19:12

viewtopic.php?f=59&t=181452&hilit=finland
Thread on proposed British-French support of Finland in the Winter War, and other activities against the Soviet Union.

Seppo Jyrkinen
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Re: Great-Britain pushed Finland to cooperation with Germany

Post by Seppo Jyrkinen » 20 Sep 2017 18:14

Before the WW2 Great-Britain and France were willing to accept Stalin's demand to occupy small countries. Mr. Seeds and Mr. Strang made a proposal 1.7.1939 in Moscow.

After outbreak of the Winter war minister Halifax said in War Cabinet that he didn't want policy which would harm diplomatic connections with Soviet Union. Ordinary citizen wanted sell weapons to Finland and opinion's inside the Government were kept secret.

Between the end of Winter War and before Barbarossa happened much more. Minister Daltons speech is very clear and so is ambassador Vereker's message.

Chronology in the beginning of this thread has sources, they are not "wild imagination".
A word irony is baked into the word history.

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Re: Great-Britain pushed Finland to cooperation with Germany

Post by StrangerHereMyself » 20 Sep 2017 18:46

Seppo: ‘Denmark and Norway did choose neutrality too...’ And who was Denmark and Norway attacked by, Seppo? The nation that Finland chose to ally with. And are you really going with ‘Muh maps’ as justification for Finland’s invasions of the Soviet Union?

antwony, as regards ‘Artifical boundaries’, all national boundaries are artificial; even when borders coincide with geographical features, it’s still by the agreement of men, and often born of convoluted and bloody histories. The borders of Finland were established and revised through the Treaties of Nöteborg (1323), Teusina (1595), Stolbovo (1617), Nystad (1721), Turku (1743), Hamina (1809), Tartu (1920), etc. It’s less the USSR’s views of their territory being encroached upon that are at issue as much as Britain’s; and Britain, although not viewing the Bolsheviks with great favour (warring against them up to 1919), had just as unfavourable a view of the expansionist aims of Finland (and Poland as well*), to the point of British units fighting against White Finns.
When it became clear that the White [Finnish] forces were certain to win the [Finnish civil] war, a fear arose within the Foreign Office that these forces would lay claim to territories belonging to Russia, such as Karelia and Murmansk. The British naval units based at Murmansk were ordered to take action against the White Finns and fight alongside the remnants of the defeated communists. The Foreign Office had little reason for feeling generous towards the Soviet government which had left the war against Germany. It was in fact the fear of German expansion in the Northern region and the effect this might have on the broader European conflict which conditioned the British response. Ideology was not a consideration.
(Gerrard, abstract)

(* Thread on this site informs how dimly Britain regarded Polish expansionism: viewtopic.php?f=111&t=219105 4thskorpion’s contributions are especially enlightening.)

Finland formally concluded peace with Germany in March 1918, ratifying the treaty in June:
The pro-German atmosphere in Finland was intertwined with the prospect of at least annexation of East Karelia to Finland. The government of White Finland was openly expansionistic and reckoned to get their aims either as a diplomatic solution, in which Germany would safeguard the creation of Greater Finland, or a military solution, whereby Finns, hopefully with the assistance of the Germans, would incorporate the regions. … For the British, the Finns were nothing but German underlings, who had to be pushed back to Finland.
(Roselius, 135–6)

antwony, with respect to Eastern Karelian ethnicity, you would be better taking up your dispute directly with Ville Kivimäki as I simply used his description (his email is in the book):
Finnish Karelia must be separated from “Eastern Karelia” or “Soviet Karelia,” which has never been part of Finland and the Karelian population of which, unlike the Finnish Karelians, is an ethnic Finnic people of its own.
(Kivimäki, passim, 1).
I don’t really care about Finnish ethnicities—I mainly object to my country being blamed for other countries’ actions. Far as I’m concerned, Finland is Russian clay… or Swedish—they should toss a coin for the place (loser is stuck with it). More relevant than ethnic quarrels is how tenaciously the Eastern Karelians fought against the Finns in 1918, ‘almost annihilating the White Finns along the White Karelia waterway’ (Roselius, 136), suggesting that East Karelians were not overly keen on becoming part of any Suomen valtakunta.

In what sense, antwony, is it ‘questionable’ that Finland had ‘more than one opportunity’ to avoid conflict with Britain? Did we send in the tanks and the Lancs without prior declaration of war? Or did we send Finland first a warning, then an ultimatum (followed by a personal letter from our PM offering one of the most painless exits from a war ever), and only declared war in response to their rejection of our terms?

There’s a bit more to the 1918–19 episode, antwony:
Great Britain warned Finland, up to the threat of its declaration of war on Finland, from entering into Eastern Karelia. Great Britain’s warnings and its presence in Viena Karelia (and in the region north of it) supporting and organizing East-Karelians to fight the Finns (Finland was regarded as an ally of Germany) restrained the Finns from proceeding to larger interventions …
(Hannikainen, passim, 34)

antwony, my reference to 1921 was to the Karelian uprising against Soviet rule, of which the Repola vote for secession was but one component, which some irredentist Finns tried to exploit (Roselius, 148)—Russia’s difficulty is Finland’s opportunity, as they might have said. That episode finished with the Finns showing their solidarity with Eastern Karelians by returning Repola and Porajärvi—again—to the Soviets in exchange for some Russian land.

Major references:
Roselius, Aapo. “Holy War: Finnish Irredentist Campaigns in the Aftermath of the Civil War.” The Finnish Civil War 1918: History, Memory, Legacy, edited by Tumoas Tepora and Aapo Roselius, Koninklijke Brill, 2014, pp. 119–155.
Gerrard, Craig. “The foreign office and British intervention in the Finnish civil war.” Civil Wars, Vol. 3, Iss. 3, 2000, dx.doi.org/10.1080/13698240008402448
And passim.
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Re: Great-Britain pushed Finland to cooperation with Germany

Post by Seppo Koivisto » 20 Sep 2017 21:54

StrangerHereMyself wrote:The borders of Finland were established and revised through the Treaties of Nöteborg (1323), Teusina (1595), Stolbovo (1617), Nystad (1721), Turku (1743), Hamina (1809), Tartu (1920), etc.
Well, you could also say Sweden and Novgorod divided Karelia.

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Re: Great-Britain pushed Finland to cooperation with Germany

Post by Seppo Jyrkinen » 21 Sep 2017 20:39

A lot of discussion about history which has nothing to do with the time period between Winter War and Continuous War.

How about those historical matters which I gave in the beginning of this thread. Is there something you don't believe as true? Any of them?
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Re: Great-Britain pushed Finland to cooperation with Germany

Post by Seppo Koivisto » 23 Sep 2017 09:44

At least the Finnish Air Force tried to keep contacts with the Brits. As late as 29 May 1941 Wing Commander Carlow was allowed to test fly a captured Soviet Polikarpov I-153 fighter plane. (Suomen ilmailuhistoriallinen lehti 3/2017)

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Re: Great-Britain pushed Finland to cooperation with Germany

Post by John T » 23 Sep 2017 10:34

Seppo Jyrkinen wrote:A lot of discussion about history which has nothing to do with the time period between Winter War and Continuous War.

How about those historical matters which I gave in the beginning of this thread. Is there something you don't believe as true? Any of them?
Most is just hot air in my oppinion.

You are way too nationalistic in outlook to make any sense of the greater powers actions.


1. You try to mak a general British policy look like it was targeting Finland specifically.

2. You seem unaware of the blockade rules British authorities adhered to, your reference to "State terrorism" is plain hot air.

3. You are consistently avoiding comparison with Germany
Like that Germany did not allow Finland and Sweden to freely export goods.
In your parlace that would that been state terrorism too?

And why do you claim that Finland had no political contact with Germany before "17.8.1940" that could affect British policy?


It seems like you try to blame your countrys fate on external factors giving finnish authorities absolution for what happened during the second world war.

And that isn't history, that present day politics.

/John

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