Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Discussions on the Winter War and Continuation War, the wars between Finland and the USSR.
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Claes Johansen
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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by Claes Johansen » 22 Nov 2017 15:04

Lawrance Robinson wrote in the above:
Mannerheim also ordered the evacuation of 160 Jews refugees to Sweden in order to protect them
I still refuse to discuss Mr Robinson's outrageous accusation that I am "massively biased against the Finns" in my book Hitler's Nordic Ally; however this particular story looks so interesting it surely demands a thread of its own and so I have opened one here:

viewtopic.php?f=59&t=231976
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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by Claes Johansen » 24 Nov 2017 17:15

The same Mr Robinson ALSO wrote in the above:
Finnish bombers would follow Soviet Bomber formations back to their base and as the planes were landing, they would continue flying and bomb the field, causing massive amounts of damage. The Soviets were forced to pull their bases further and further back until they soon were out of range of any of the big cities of Finland.
Again, I found this story so compelling it must demand a thread of its own and so I have opened one here:

viewtopic.php?f=59&t=232000
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Anne G,
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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by Anne G, » 26 Nov 2017 10:13

Laurance.Robinson wrote: For example he states "the group of people who were handed over was very small, apparently just eight individuals" in relations to Jews. There is no apparently. We know that 8 individuals were handed over by the Finnish government to Germany. However they were not handed over because they were Jewish but because information presented by the German government showed them to be criminals, indeed they were accompanied with 19 other individuals who Germany called criminals. While this obviously doesn't excuse the action, it does shine more light onto the situation and indeed after this incident, Finland never allowed any other German or occupied territory refugees be deported
This interpretation is repealed by Antero Holmila in his book Holokausti. Tapahtumat ja tulkinnat. From the German POV, it was
indifferent how the Finns justified the matter to themselves – the Germans got a set Jews from Finland and Jews were ordered to be annihilated. If the Germans had regarded it as a mere police work, why would they have murdered also a wife and two children who left with those five "criminals" ? (They have indeed done petty crimes if I remember right.) Also the Finns (meaning Valpo) knew how the Germans treated the Jews, although the chief of Valpo, Antohoni, tried to claim otherwise in his trial after the war.

Holmila believes that Heikki Ylikangas is right in his claim that behind the surrender of eight Jewish refugees was the difficult food situation
in Finland. At the same time, there was a struggle of power between the ministers, whether they had a decision in their own areas. By threatening to resign, the Minister of Interior, Horelli, backed by President Ryti, won Tanner and Fagerholm who had opposed surrending the Jews, with the
help of the Social Democrat and Liberal press. However, the public attention prevented any further surrenders.

According to Holmila, despite his extreme Antisemitism, warfare was a top priority for Hitler. He was angry to Mussolini who protected Italian Jews but didn't do anything. In the same way, he didn't want to endanger his relationship with Finland whose war contributionwas important to Germany. Also, the Germans couldn't afford to punish Denmark for the transfer of Jews to Sweden.

The reason for that most Jews in Finland were saved, was simply that Finland wasn't occupied by Germany.

Just as in the other countries, also in Finland the relation toward Jewish citizens was different than the relation towards the Jewish refugees.

Already in the summer 1941, Ryti had given Anthoni extensive powers to deal with refugees.In the summer 1942, Anthoni had made an agreement
with the chief of Gestapo, Henrinrich Müller, that the Germans would receive from Finland such people that Valpo regarded as unrealiable.
Anthoni could freely decide what kind of persons how he defined "political unreliability".

Anthoni and Horelli were known for their Antiseminitism, but that wasn't the central reason for surrenders. If it had been, there would have been
more persons. In addition to eight Jews, 19 other aliens were sent to Tallinn. Nobody has been interested enough to clarify what their fate
was although comparing their "crimes" with the "crimes" of five Jews would give light why just these persons were selected to be surrender.

Holmila corrects Elina Sana: Jewish POVs (except Jofficers and politruks) were assembled in one camp so they could be better helped by
the Jewish congregation and a list of Jewish refugees was made by the Foreign Ministry (not by the Miinister of Interior whose subordinate
Valpo was!) in order they could be transferred to Sweden.

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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by Anne G, » 26 Nov 2017 10:37

Laurance.Robinson wrote: We can see how he dedicates 5 pages to the Soviet PoWs in Finland and downplays the stretched resources and other factors that contributed to about 18,000 dead out of 65,000 (and very little mention of Mannerheim's personal intervention that saw massive improvements made to the camps). He tries to present the deaths as a result of Finnish malice and akin to the German's racial theories. He then dedicates 1 and a half pages to Finnish PoWs in the USSR which saw a mortality rate of 40% and attempts to ignore their poor treatment.
The new researches (f.ex. Lars Westerlund) have refuted the claim that the reason of the high mortality of the Soviet POWs in Finland was only the food shortages. While it wasn't planned like in Germany, the Finnish authorities could have made much more but didn't - just in Red camps in 1918.

Simply by not demanding heavy work from the POVs would have helped many of them to survive. Or, if the employers couldn't have new POWs to replace those they had exhausted, they would have treated them better. Also, inspecting the POV camps would have prevented the guards to steal the POV's food and shooting them for "trying to espace".

One of the problems was Mannerheim's double role as the Commander-in-Chief of the Finnish Army and the chairman of the Finnish Red Cross. He reacted only after the conditions of the POV camps had become a scandal in Sweden and elsewhere in the West and the Soviets understandable used the matter in their propagnda for their benefit.

Corrected some grammar and misunderstanding.
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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by Claes Johansen » 26 Nov 2017 14:26

@Anne G.

Thanks for two brilliant postings by someone who really knows what she's talking about.

I read somewhere that the number of Jews handed over to the Germans was actually 13 in total, not 8. It might have to do with the way things are defined. For instance, there were Russian-Jewish prisoners in Finnish POW camps. In any case, having grown up in Denmark where the Jewish issue was much larger, I find the Finns are exaggerating the importance of these issues in the own country beyond all reason. Probably, the aim is to make it absolutely clear that Finland wasn't a Nazi country.

Finnish people are in general reputed to be deeply uncertain of how they are perceived by other nations, and in my opinion they tend to over compensate. In fact most people who know anything at all about Finland in WWII are fully aware that the country was in a very precarious situation and that it was by no means Nazi-orientated. Politically, it was a surprisingly average Nordic country with a huge Social Democrat party. There's really no need for all this talk about "only 8 Jews handed over the the Germans", and if we really want to find racism in Finland it is not in relation to the Jews, but much more the "non-Fennic" ethnic groups. That was why I didn't spend so much space in my book on the "Jewish question" in Finland as some people believe I should have.

Going back to Lars Westerlund, his essay on Mannerheim can be found here as a PDF in English:
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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by Claes Johansen » 26 Nov 2017 22:56

I should probably have mentioned that the essay by Lars Westerlund titled The mass death of Soviet Prisoners of War and the negligence of the Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian Red Crosses can be found in the abovementiond PDF book on page 291-350.

Many of the other essays in the book are interesting, too, although not all are in English.

Free reading for anyone who is ready to learn something about Finnish history that they perhaps didn't already know. Maybe we should even open a separate thread for this book where we can discuss these essay with one another in an open and friendly atmosphere.
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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by Laurance.Robinson » 27 Nov 2017 12:21

Claes Johansen wrote:I should probably have mentioned that the essay by Lars Westerlund titled The mass death of Soviet Prisoners of War and the negligence of the Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian Red Crosses can be found in the abovementiond PDF book on page 291-350.

Many of the other essays in the book are interesting, too, although not all are in English.

Free reading for anyone who is ready to learn something about Finnish history that they perhaps didn't already know. Maybe we should even open a separate thread for this book where we can discuss these essay with one another in an open and friendly atmosphere.
I have done such here viewtopic.php?f=59&t=232080

If you are prepared to be friendly, open and adult, we can conduct discussion here.

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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by Laurance.Robinson » 27 Nov 2017 15:56

Now to get this thread back on track.

The Naval War in the Baltic 1939 -1945 by Poul Grooss
From my GoodReads review:

"What a thrill of a book. Jam packed with information and a joy to read.

It seems split into two parts. The first looks at the period between 1939-44 and takes a general overview of the Baltic Sea and the events around it, focusing heavily upon German, followed by Sweden and Denmark respectively but that isn't surprising or biased.
The second seems to focus heavily upon the German operations, mainly the heroic evacuation efforts, in the area.

His choice to devote a large part of the book to the final years of the war and the struggle that Germany now faced is warranted. The subject matter is rarely looked at because of the more glamorous land and air war of the Eastern Front but the efforts of the Kriegsmarine in those final days are the stuff of legends. Evacuating many thousands of civilians, despite the collapse of your system around you, the closeness of the enemy, shows equal parts desperation and heroism.

The author does seem to hold to the elite SS and advanced Nazi war machine ideas but not strongly nor in a way that would call into question his beliefs.

The postscript is beautifully done, focusing on the actions of all the nations involved and laying out in plain language their deeds and results. The author deserves credit for not shying away for the more difficult historical topics.

A must read for naval fans, world war two enthusiasts and general history followers."

While the book does focus more upon Germany's Naval War, it does also look at Finland (more during the Continuation War). The graphics contained within it, as well as the information pages, really help make the book more than just another history book.

While being a Dane, he keeps his National Conciousness of Guilt in check by not expanding it and overlaying it onto other nations (unlike other Danish writers who seem to tar all nations under the same brush). The postscript of the actions of all the nations of the book (Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and the USSR) are generally unbiased and laid out as they are, not inflated or focused heavily on more than one nation, as it should be.

One of the highlights is the often unheard of useage of Finnish anchorage by the Soviets soon after the armistice came into affect.

While not just a Finnish focused book, I definitely believe it should be added here and looks at an often overlooked area of Finnish Military History.

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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by CF Geust » 11 Dec 2017 20:05

IMG_1181.JPG
I assume that the Swedish edition of the book by Paul Grooss "Kampen om Östersjön", two volumes, Svenskt MIlitärhistoriskt Bibliotek (2016) is even better than the English edition, as the Swedish edition apparently includes much new text, photos and maps related to Sweden and Finland!
(However I have not seen the English edition...)
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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by Juha Tompuri » 11 Dec 2017 20:55

Thank you both for the hints.
Might well also attract Finnish readers, if so available.

Regards, Juha

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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by Laurance.Robinson » 11 Dec 2017 21:52

CF Geust wrote:IMG_1181.JPGI assume that the Swedish edition of the book by Paul Grooss "Kampen om Östersjön", two volumes, Svenskt MIlitärhistoriskt Bibliotek (2016) is even better than the English edition, as the Swedish edition apparently includes much new text, photos and maps related to Sweden and Finland!
(However I have not seen the English edition...)
Oh that looks very nice.

I might have to try and find it.

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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by alpinoinMT » 12 Aug 2018 23:27

The Memoirs of Marshal Mannerheim translated by Count Eric Lewenhaupt [Dutton 1954]
I have been looking for this book for years, as it regularly goes for $175... just sniff around on the net.
Anyway, a fantastic book on one of the champions of the 20th Century. Yes he is an aristocrat, but also a hell of a statesman - his diplomatic skills getting Finland recognized on the world stage after WW1, when the Allies were listening to "White Russia" NOT to recognize Finland's independence. I will say half the book is fantastic insights & actions before & during the Winter & Continuation Wars. No doubt our Finnish friends here know most of this, so much of the book came as a surprise to myself, from his early life in the cavalry, to spying for the Czar across China, acting as a Swedish anthropologist. He was a consumate horseman & anyone who knew him recognized that, indeed the Chinese tribesmen gave him the name "the Horse That Leaps Through Clouds." He was a loyal soldier for thirty years in the Czars army, & made friends across his career. He also instantly recognized the horrors of the Soviet Union, its retention of Czarist imperialism, its involvement in the Civil War, his total distrust before & during WW2, when other powers thought Stalin could be diplomatic. As war clouds gather in the early 1930s, even before, & into the invasion of Poland [where he kept his friendships & love of the Poles as a young cavalry officer stationed there] he warns the Finnish legislature/government of the peril coming, which falls on very deaf ears. "we need new aircraft & especially anti-tank guns!" He is no fan of Germany, being constantly told "Finland owes everything to Germany in WW1 & WW2" the intrigue in 1918, the treacherous Molotov-Von Ribbetrop Pact... but accept support during Barbarossa. Mannerheim's function as commander & politician, he does not wave his flag, but that of the Finnish people & military, especially his soldiers! He was quite impressed with the Panzerfausts & Panzerschrecks, the opposite with the skiing abilities of the Soviet Army - How does a small nation survive, militarily & politically? His friendships with Churchill, & German Field-Marshall Jodl, the later who knows Finland is looking for a treaty/survival with the Soviets & tells him "no one should lead his country to death for another." There is no way I can tell you the depth of the book, Mannerheim's observation's & achievements, his angst & successes, you'll have to read the book, you wont regret it. It is also translated (written?) in what I'd call Victorian & aristocratic, which the man was, & so much more.
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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by SFCLinken » 14 Aug 2018 12:53

Trying to find a review on this book:

Finland at War
The Continuation and Lapland Wars 1941-45
ISBN 9781472815262

Failed so far, can any one help out? How detailed is it? Maps? OOBs? and so on. Any help appreciated.

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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by Mangrove » 14 Aug 2018 15:48

SFCLinken wrote:
14 Aug 2018 12:53
Failed so far, can any one help out? How detailed is it? Maps? OOBs? and so on. Any help appreciated.
You may read parts of the book through Google Books at https://books.google.com/books?id=zb6gC ... frontcover

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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by Teemu S » 17 Aug 2018 13:07

Hello,

I'm thinking of buying Ari Raunio's (et.al) Jatkosodan torjuntataisteluja 1942-1944, but before I do I'd like to know if anyone who might have the book could tell me how detailed the battle descriptions are? Are battles such as Tali-Ihantala or Ilomantsi described in a day to day fashion? I already own Sotatoimet - Suomen sotien 1939-1945 kulku kartoin, but I am looking for a similar book that goes in more detail.

Thanks!

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