I would now like to go back and take a good look at Laine's article, one paragraph at a time, to discuss what is actually being said. Due to our cooperation here on this forum this is, as far as I know, the only reasonably detailed text that is currently available in any other language than Finnish on the subject of how and why these camps were set up and administered (though a book seems to be on the way in Swedish).
The original text in Finnish can be found here: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/s ... .google.ie
Laine (who is still active as a university lecturer but unfortunately, I'm told, in declining health) was to my knowledge the first Finnish historian to dig deep into these issues and is still by many considered to be the leading expert on them and also an expert on other issues regarding the Continuation War. Here is the first paragraph once again, just so you won't have to scroll back:
(*Seoppo Koivisto suggest this translated to: "Finland was seeking justice for the wrongly drawn borders", which is more in accordance with the original text. However, it doesn't seem be fit in with what Laine is otherwise saying, so I have decided to leave this open for the moment.)When Finland took up contact with the Germans in August 1940, two kinds of objectives were merged. Finland was looking for a chance to win back the lost territories [in the Winter War]*, while Germany was looking for partners in its attempt to destroy the Soviet Union. When Finland joined the Barbarossa, it meant that larger goals came into view. Since the late 1800s, many Finns had dreamed of a Greater Finland. The idea was to liberate fellow tribesmen beyond the Russian Bolshevik border, so the Academic Karelia Society (AKS) was launched by tribe activists who had suffered defeat after Finland gained independence, and the organisation became quite popular during the 20s and 30s among university students.
The first thing that strikes me is that Laine mentions "a chance to win back the lost territories" as the only reason for the Finnish leaders to take up contact with the Germans. He says nothing about the need to defend oneself or the threat of a coming hunger crises. Perhaps he just takes such knowledge for granted, but by putting things this way he at least contradicts the more widespread idea that the first Finnish approaches to Nazi Germany were purely aimed at buying weapons and seeking a defense partner. In Laine's version there is military aggression from the word go and a full knowledge of what the Germans have in mind with regard to the USSR.
He then goes on to mention the reawakening of the old dream of expanding Finland's territory into Russia in order to unite "the Finnish tribes". His choice of words throughout the article is strongly coloured and mocking towards the AKS, as least as it comes out in direct translation. E.g. "tribesmen" in English would evoke images of a "primitive natives", indicating that the philosophy of the AKS was at its core quite primitive despite its claim to be an organisation of academics. One is reminded of a lot of similar pseudo scientific Nazi German theories concerning "Racial Hygiene" etc.
Laine mentions that the people who later founded the AKS had "suffered defeat after Finland gained independence". I assume he is hinting at the voluntary expeditions into East Karealia in the early 1920s by small Finnish military units aiming to urge the local population to revolt against their Soviet masters and liberate themselves, i.e. become a part of Finland. What was generally discovered during these expeditions was not the kind of enthusiasm that had been expected, which all in all makes you wonder why the whole idea wasn't simply dropped there and then.
It may be that Laine is right in saying that the expansionist motivation was only an old dream that was reawakened by the new circumstances in 1941, but perhaps that dream had not been quite so deep a slumber as some would like us to believe. In his book "Finland in the Second World War", the author Olli Vehviläinen mentions a parliament debate from 29 November 1941 where Prime Minister Rangell starts by stressing that the main aim of the war is to recapture the areas lost in the Moscow Pact, and that larger prospects must be settled at a later point. Next, he becomes a bit ambiguous by saying that while the occupation of East Karelia is strategic, Parliament must not forget that "it is inhabited by part of the Finnish nation. It is the duty of Finland to do all it can to secure the position of the Eastern Karelians." This forms a bridge into a much more pro-Karelia minded debate that is quite noteworthy, particularly with regard to the Social Democrat contributions:
p. 104... the representatives of the Agrarian League, the conservative National Coalition Party and the Patriotic People's Movement unreservedly supported the annexation of Eastern Karelia. The Social Democrat parliamentary group was represented by Väinö Voionmaa, a historian who had long believed in the ideal of a Greater Finland. Although he phrased his words more carefully than the non-Socialist speakers, he demanded 'freedom and self-determination and a place by our side in the community of nations' for the oppressed people of Eastern Karelia. Only the representatives of the Swedish People's Party adopted a clearly reserved stance towards 'the annexation of distant areas'.
It doesn't seem that the question of what to do with the non-Fennic people of East Karelia entered into this debate. However, we must presume it was known to the members of the parliament since it had already been included in plans drawn up by the Finnish Headquarters in the summer of that same year.
With regard to the Swedish People's Party and their general distaste for annexations, it must be remembered that the dreams of a Greater Finland also included plans for conquering and annexing parts of Northern Sweden, a not too unrealistic perspective if Germany won the war with Finland as its eager Waffenbruder and Sweden but a sulky salesman.
Now on to the second paragraph of our translation of Laine's text, and once again it reveals a few interesting facts. It goes like this:
So c. two months before Finland is joining the German attack on the Soviet Union, plans are being made not only for the recapture of the areas lost in the Winter War, and not only for a further invasion into landscapes that had never in all of history been Finnish, but also for how these areas should be ethnically cleansed and the remaining population indoctrinated to become fully fledged Finns.From April 1941, the Finnish top leaders started to prepare for the situation in the regions that were to be taken over. The first task was to make the Germans understand why East Karelia should belong to Finland. The arguments given were of both historical and geographical nature. Historian Eino Jutikkla made a report that was translated into German called “Finnlands Lebensraum”. Another publication that appeared in several languages was Professor Jalmari Jaakkola’s “The Finnish Question in the East”.
This isn't just something made up by a few members of the semi-Fascist Academic Karelia Society. This is being arranged by "the Finnish top leaders". Laine doen't specify, but according to Wiki it was President Ryti who took the initiative supported by Prime Minister Randell.
To the Finnish public as well as to the Western Powers this would be presented not as an annexation, but as an establishing of a buffer zone to keep the Soviets away from Finnish territory as much as possible in case of an attack. Strangely, no one seems to have pointed out the irony here: if this was to become part of Finnish territory, how can an attack on it not be an attack on Finnish territory? Seems like East Karelia was only part of Finland as long as it suited the Finns, and in an emergency situation it was reduced to a buffer zone. (No more difficult to understand than the double nature of radiation, I suppose.)
However, at the early stage we a looking at now the most important thing was seen as convincing the Germans why Finland has a historical and ethnic "right" to these areas. A bit naive, considering that in case of a German victory it would of course all become part of Neuropa, no matter what strange dialect of Finnish was spoken in these areas.
However, a pair of well-educated Finnish scholars - one an historian, the other a professor - paid by the Finnish state was given the task of explaining to the Germans the historical and geographical justification for a Finnish take-over. This was done in a language that Berlin could understand, i.e. German, presumably enriched with the particular kind of new vocabulary that the Nazis had introduced.
Let's take a look at these two Finnish scholars now. Who is this chap Eino Jutikkala? Some obscure semi-Fascist nutcase who had his fifteen minutes in 1941 and was subsequently brushed under the carpet by an embarrassed Finnish society, never to be heard of again? Not at all. In fact, he is one of Finland's foremost historians of all time. Just read this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eino_JutikkalaEino Kaarlo Ilmari Jutikkala (24 October 1907 in Sääksmäki–22 December 2006 in Helsinki), until 1931 Eino Rinne, was a Finnish historian, and professor of history at the University of Helsinki from 1950 to 1974. He had an exceptionally long and prolific career, and is considered one of the most important Finnish historians of the 20th century.
Jutikkala wrote mainly about collective phenomena in history, focusing on social and economic history. His main contributions are in the areas of early modern period economic history and historical demography. His methodological innovations are also thought to have greatly improved the quality of local history research in Finland.
As seen again and again, this English Wiki entry of historical content regarding Finland in WWII has been cleansed of all compromising material. The original Finnish entry is less afraid of telling the truth. I shall prepare some translations soon that will cast some more light on Jutikkala's contribution to the pro-Karelia propaganda.
There is no English Wiki entry on Jalmari Jakkola, but a Swedish one from which I have translated this:
http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jalmari_JaakkolaLife in medieval Finland was for him a struggle between East and West, where the Finnish tribes stood as the last outpost against the Slavic pressure from Novgorod. Jaakkola's views are firmly anchored in 1920 - and 1930s ideological world view, and later research has often criticized and revised his output.