Finnish policy over East Karelia

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Philip S. Walker
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Finnish policy over East Karelia

Post by Philip S. Walker » 14 May 2011 18:45

The below has been moved from the ‘Finnish concentration camps in East Karelia’ thread: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=176121

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:

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.

(*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.)

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:

... 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'.

p. 104

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:

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”.


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.

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:


Eino 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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eino_Jutikkala

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:

Life 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.

http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jalmari_Jaakkola

Regards, Vely

Vaeltaja
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Re: Finnish policy over East Karelia

Post by Vaeltaja » 15 May 2011 14:27

Finnish word 'heimo' is indeed translated often as 'tribe'. However it also has other meanings such as family (in taxonomy) and most importantly for this particular case as reference to kinship (via cultural, language, or geographically basis) between different groups of people. Being a Finnic (cultural & language links) was in this case what the word 'heimo' - that Karelians (in Eastern Karelia's case) were of the same 'family' as (ie. 'brothers' or 'kin' to) the (Western) Finns. Word does not in that context carry any connotations towards primitivity or simplicity.

As for why the volunteer expeditions to the Viena and Aunus failed there are several reasons - most obvious being that British did not want them (perceived as being German allies) to succeed and that there still existed some 'traditional' distrust between Western (catholic/protestant) Finns and Eastern (orthodox) Finns who would have preferred to be independent from both Western Finns as well as from the Russians.

Before Stalin's purges Eastern Karelia remained Finnic (main populated by Karelians and Red Finns) - after late 1930s however things changed. Also given that it hadn't taken Finns for more than few weeks to evacuate 400 000 Finns from the Karelia it might not even have occurred that Soviets would be unable/incapable/unwilling (take your pick) to do the same, especially when they had much smaller number of people and vastly prolonged time to do so. Given how little POWs Finns and Soviets had given/lost in Winter War the amount of POWs in 1941 must have been a shock for the Finns - not to mention the amount and quality (all ablebodied men and women gone) of non-Finnic civilians.

Umh.. Where exactly do you have sources for that Greater Finland would have included areas from Sweden (most likely referring to Tornio river vale?) or from Norway (Finnmark?).

Also annexation is one thing - Finns never joined the Eastern Karelia to the Finland - only the areas lost in Winter War. Rest of the area (Eastern Karelia) was just occupied (mostly likely pending on the outcome of op. Barbarossa, but still not annexed). As much as i can learn from the 'Finnlands Lebensraum' book it seems to have been tailor made for the Germans should op. Barbarossa succeed - book was written in German from the start as it was never intended for anything else than giving post-Barbarossa Finland some credence for holding the 'three isthmus line'.

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Re: Finnish policy over East Karelia

Post by AndersG » 15 May 2011 16:05

Umh.. Where exactly do you have sources for that Greater Finland would have included areas from Sweden (most likely referring to Tornio river vale?) or from Norway (Finnmark?).


I think he is mixing this up with Edward Gylling's idea of the people's Republic of Finland. That one was supposed to include the areas in Norway and Sweden with a Sami population. Thus the idea originated in the Soviet Union - not Finland.

Presumably, he got the idea from here:
http://www.oslo2000.uio.no/program/pape ... -laine.pdf

Philip S. Walker
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Re: Finnish policy over East Karelia

Post by Philip S. Walker » 15 May 2011 19:38

Vaeltaja: Before Stalin's purges Eastern Karelia remained Finnic (main populated by Karelians and Red Finns) - after late 1930s however things changed.


This has been discusses on the original thread, where Forum Staff Member Art in Moscow wrote this:

Art: That is generally speaking not correct. There was a sizable Slavic population prior to 1917. Namely if one take that result of the 1897 census (the districts that roughly corresponded to the future Karelian ASSR):
Petrozavodsk district - 79 712 people total, of them 53 516 whose native language was Russian and 25 737 - with native Ugro-Finnish languages (mostly Karelian)
Olonets district - 39 990 total, of them 10 794 Russian and 29 114 Ugro-Finnish
Povenets distric - 26 381 total, 13 036 Russian, 13 300 Ugro-Finnish
Kem' district - 35 392 total, 15 939 Russian, 19 937 Ugro-Finnish
in addition Lodeynoye Pole district (in the Leningrad region in 1941, but partly occupied by the Finnish Army as well) - 26 255 total, 36 922 Russian, 9 204 Ugro-Finnish.
There was, of course, migration after that, nobody argues.


Vaeltaja: Umh ... Where exactly do you have sources for that Greater Finland would have included areas from Sweden (most likely referring to Tornio river vale?) or from Norway (Finnmark?).


I read this first many years ago in book I borrowed from a British library, can't recall the title. I thought it was common knowledge for people with an interest in these things and I've never seen it disputed before. You only have to go to Wiki, though as usual in these matters the English entry has those parts taken out which are most compromising to the Finnish view. The Swedish entry mentions this as part of AKS policy. It also includes that lovely Order of the Day by Mannerheim when the old border was crossed.
http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storfinland

Also annexation is one thing - Finns never joined the Eastern Karelia to the Finland - only the areas lost in Winter War. Rest of the area (Eastern Karelia) was just occupied (mostly likely pending on the outcome of op. Barbarossa, but still not annexed).


Probably true, but I can't see how that changes my point in anything other than the most academical way. But then the AKS was, of course, an academical society :lol:.

As much as i can learn from the 'Finnlands Lebensraum' book it seems to have been tailor made for the Germans should op. Barbarossa succeed - book was written in German from the start as it was never intended for anything else than giving post-Barbarossa Finland some credence for holding the 'three isthmus line'.


That's my impression, too, from looking at this page: http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eino_Jutikkala. However, it's in Finnish only and hard to understand. Perhaps you would care to translate this bit for us so it's not just me doing all the hard work around here:

Jutikkalan propagandistisista töistä kuuluisin on maantieteen professori Väinö Auerin ja kansatieteen professori Kustaa Vilkunan kanssa kirjoitettu Finnlands Lebensraum (1941) ('Suomen elintila'), jossa perustellaan Itä-Karjalan olevan historiallisesti ja maantieteellisesti osa Suomea. Teos kirjoitettiin suoraan saksaksi, sillä sitä suunniteltiin käytettäväksi "tieteellisenä" perusteena Suomen aluevaatimuksille sen jälkeen kun Saksa olisi miehittänyt Neuvostoliiton. Toimeksianto kirjoittamiseen tuli korkeimmasta valtiojohdosta: kirjahankkeen ideoija oli presidentti Risto Ryti, kirjoittajat värväsi pääministeri J. W. Rangell apunaan poliittinen sihteerinsä L. A. Puntila.[5]

Suomen luonnolliseksi itärajaksi kirjassa määriteltiin ns. kolmen kannaksen linja eli Suomenlahti–Laatokka–Ääninen–Vienanmeri-linja. Auer huolehti väitteen maantieteellisistä perusteluista (Itä-Karjala kuuluu Fennoskandiaan) ja Vilkuna sen kansatieteellisistä perusteluista (Itä-Karjalan kulttuuri on suomensukuista). Jutikkalan osuudeksi jäivät väestötieteelliset perustelut. Niiden mukaan Suomi oli leveyspiirinsä tiheimmin asuttuja alueita ja sen väkiluku kasvoi kaikista Pohjoismaista ylivoimaisesti nopeimmin, joten uuden elintilan hankkiminen idästä oli pitkän aikavälin välttämättömyys.[5][6] Kirjan alkuperäinen nimi oli Das Geographische und Geschichtliche Finnland ('Maantieteellinen ja historiallinen Suomi'), mutta saksalainen kustantaja Alfred Metzner Verlag päätyi provosoivampaan nimeen Finnlands Lebensraum. Lisäksi Valtion tiedotuslaitoksen edustajana Berliinissä toiminut kirjailija Yrjö von Grönhagen editoi kirjaa lisäilemällä siihen kansallissosialistisia ajatuksia ja Hitler-sitaatteja. Jutikkalan pyynnöstä Valtion tiedotuslaitos kielsi kirjan julkaisemisen suomeksi.

Propagandatyönsä lisäksi Jutikkala julkaisi sotavuosina laajan historiateoksen Suomen talonpojan historia (1942), jota pidetään usein hänen tieteellisenä päätyönään. Teoksen pääosaan nousee itsenäinen, maataomistava talonpoikaisto, jota Jutikkala kuvaa perinteistä poiketen aktiivisena toimijana ja valtiollisena vallankäyttäjänä. Keskeiseksi jännitteeksi hän nostaa talonpoikaiston suhteen kruunuun ja aatelistoon, jotka pyrkivät rajoittamaan ja kontrolloimaan itsenäistä maanomistusta.


Regards, Vely

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Re: Finnish policy over East Karelia

Post by OJJE » 15 May 2011 21:09

There is a lot of information that remains in the dark for the most of the people if you aren't Finnish or russian-speaking.

I recomend the following book: "Suomalaisina Itä-Karjalassa Sotilashallinnon ja Suomen Punaisen Ristin yhteistoiminta 1941-1944 by Gunnar Rosén and the Finnish Historical Society. I will present some intresting information found in the book. It deals about the Finnish military administration and about the Finnish Red Cross. In the book you will find a lot of information about the transit camps and general information and statistics about the following and a lot of more departments.

*orphanages (information and pictures on page 217)
*Pharmacies
*shop
*Religion
*Prison (information about what kind of punishment criminals got ex. isolation...)
*nurserys
*Hospitals
*Childrens hospital (information and pictures on page 216)
*prenatal care
* POWs - statistics and information about their condition and so on.
* Civilians in transit camps - how mutch they got in daily pay for work, daily ration, condition in the camps.
* Swedish news papers visit the transit camps and their articles are published in Swedish newspapers, on page 223 you will find pictures of these articles.

and a lot more! This is the best book I have read about the administration of East-Karelia 1941-1944 and the detailed information about every single departmen like, schools, hospitals and so on..

..on page 181 you will find information about the sovjet hospital in Suurlahti.. and on the same page there is information about Soviet pharmacists being educated by finnish military doctors.

..on page 209 you will find a information and picture from the mental hospital in Äänislinna that the Sovjet union did not evacuate.. they left the patients for they own. The finnish red cross took over the care of patients.

..on page 210: t...he transit camp in Äänislinna had 125 dairy cows and all of the milk from these cows went strait to be used in the camp for the children, the ill and for the old . There where a total of 7 hospitals for the transit camps (1 hospital for each camp), besides The Paalu and Alavoisten camps that shared a hospital. And if necessary they could transfer patients to the main hospital in Äänislinna.

Vaeltaja
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Re: Finnish policy over East Karelia

Post by Vaeltaja » 15 May 2011 21:14

I wasn't referring solely to the native language but also to the ethnic background - those who had Ugro-Finnic native language were almost certainly Finnic while those who had Russian native language could have been Finnic by their background just as well. Granted that especially in Petrozavosdk area there were more Russians than elsewhere in the Eastern Karelia (possibly due Murman rail ?). Given the low population numbers the Soviet inability to evacuate their civilians is even more astonishing.

As for Greater Finland idea it seems to have been going around in different levels. However as described by en-wiki the inclusion of the Finnmark and Torne Valley were not commonly accepted even within the 'Greater Finland movement'.
The most coined version of "Greater Finland" was thought to be limited by so-called natural borders encompassing the territories inhabited by Finns and Karelians, ranging from the White Sea to Lake Onega and along River Svir and River Neva – or, more modestly, River Sestra – to the Gulf of Finland. Some proponents also included Ingria, Estonia, Finnmark, and the Torne Valley.


Probably true, but I can't see how that changes my point in anything other than the most academical way. But then the AKS was, of course, an academical society

Since your whole comment was based on 'annexation' of Eastern Karelia (which never happened) i seem to see that as slightly bigger argument against your point.

The most famous of Jutikkala's propagandistic works is the 'Finlands Lebensraum' written together with professor of geography Väinö Auer and professor of ethnology Kustaa Vilkuna which builds historical and geographical case for linking East Karelia as part of Finland. Work was written in German since it planned to be used as 'scienctific' basis for Finnish territorial claims after Germany had occupied the Soviet Union. Task for the writing came from the highest authority: father of idea for the book was President Risto Ryti and authors for the book were recruited by prime minister J.W. Rangell assisted by his politic secretary L.A. Puntila.

The so called 'line of three isthmuses', Bay of Finland-Ladoga-Onega-White Sea, was defined in the book as the natural eastern border for the Finland was defined. Auer took care of the geographical claims (East Karelia being part of Fennoscandia) and Vilkuna of the ethnical calims (East Karelian culture being Finnic). Jutikkala's task were the demographics claims. According to those Finland was the most densely populated region in its latitude with fastest population growth of all Nordic countries which made acquiring more space for growth a necessity for the long term plans. Books original name was 'Das Geographische und Geschichtliche Finnland' ('Geographical and historical Finland') but German publisher Alfred Metzger Verlag came up with more provocative title 'Finnlands Lebensraum'. In addition Yrjö von Grönhagen who was Finnish State's Information Department's representative in Berlin edited the book by adding nationalsocialistic comments and citations from Hitler to the book. From Jutikkala's request States Information Department forbid printing the book in Finnish.

Philip S. Walker
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Re: Finnish policy over East Karelia

Post by Philip S. Walker » 15 May 2011 22:54

Kiitos Vaeltaja and OJJE for translations etc. Much appreciated. Hopefully, we can have some more translated bits from Rosén's book.

I wasn't referring solely to the native language but also to the ethnic background - those who had Ugro-Finnic native language were almost certainly Finnic while those who had Russian native language could have been Finnic by their background just as well. Granted that especially in Petrozavosdk area there were more Russians than elsewhere in the Eastern Karelia (possibly due Murman rail ?).


It seems to me that the Finnish project regarding East Karelia was like shooting in the dark. They really had very little practical notion of the population in the areas they were moving into. What they had was based on romantic historical falsification of a semi-Fascist nature.

Given the low population numbers the Soviet inability to evacuate their civilians is even more astonishing.


Why? I doubt the Kremlin had any idea that the Finnish leaders would order their army to round up c. half the population in East Karelia and put them in camps with a view to be sent on to German occupied areas of Russia as slaves for the "master race". Finland was a democratic Nordic country in the middle of the 20th Century. That means among many other things that a) You don't invade other nations, b) You don't carry out ethnic cleansing.

As for Greater Finland the idea seems to have been going around on different levels. However as described by en-wiki the inclusion of the Finnmark and Torne Valley were not commonly accepted even within the 'Greater Finland movement'.


We were talking about the AKS, who according to Laine had quite an astonishing amount of influence on the planning and administration of the Finnish policy in Finnish occupied East Karelia. The more detailed Danish Wiki entry says the following, translated into English:

Greater Finland (Finnish: Suur-Suomi) was an idea that existed in some right-wing circles in Finland before and during WWII. Among organizations supporting the idea was the Academic Society of Karelia, which among others had the later Finnish President Urho Kekkonen as a member. The idea of a Greater Finland was a Finnish expression of nationalism of a kind, which was quite widespread in Europe before WWII.

The idea was to bring together the people who allegedly had a cultural proximity to the Finnish people and culture, and the most radical supporters included - besides those areas which were then Finnish - East Karelia, Estonia, Ingria, Finnmark and parts of the Torne Valley. Borders would be at the White Sea, Onega, Svir and Neva. Slightly more moderate forces suggested a border drawn by the River Sestra to the Gulf of Finland.

The idea of a Greater Finland was strongly supported during the period after Finnish independence in 1917, but was mainly given up after the defeat in the Continuation War in 1944. The Finnish advance during the Continuation War was part of the plan to create a Greater Finland.

http://da.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stor-Finland

Phil: Probably true, but I can't see how that changes my point in anything other than the most academical way. But then the AKS was, of course, an academical society :lol: .

Vaeltaja: Since your whole comment was based on 'annexation' of Eastern Karelia (which never happened) I seem to see that as slightly bigger argument against your point.


What I said in my comment was that East Karelia seemed to be to Finland whatever suited Finland best according to the situation. If Germany had won the War, it would have been a liberated territory finally united with its tribal brothers and ethnically cleansed of "non-Fennic elements". If Germany lost the war, the invasion of East Karelia would merely be a creation of a buffer zone - which is why that is the preferred version today.

Regards, Vely

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Re: Finnish policy over East Karelia

Post by AndersG » 16 May 2011 07:06

What they had was based on romantic historical falsification of a semi-Fascist nature.


You really understand how to set the tone. I hope you realise that an opening statement like that means that most readers will stop right there....

The truth is probably that the ideas were based on the situation in 1917. The first to arrive were truly horrified when they realised the extent of russification and there was some feeling to "put things right", probably not such a great idea in retrospect.

with a view to be sent on to German occupied areas of Russia as slaves for the "master race"


And your source for that is?

We were talking about the AKS, who according to Laine had quite an astonishing amount of influence


But that is according to Laine, other sources may say otherwise.

Academic Society of Karelia, which among others had the later Finnish President Urho Kekkonen as a member


Note: "had", Kekkonen left AKS in 1932 because he did not agree with their various illegal activities.

and the most radical supporters


Ding, ding, we have a winner! Then as now, the world was full of whackos that had somewhat extreme agendas and that definition, the leadership of Soviet Carelia were "most radicals" because they supported the same ideas.

Ethnic clensing was nothing uncommon at the time (but still deplorable). It was also practised in Sweden and Norway aganist the Sami. For the Norwegian take on the matter, please read "Den Finske Faren", published in the 30's.

There is a tendency among some to exaggerate the influence AKS and IKL had over Finnish policy and also to exaggerate German/Nazi influence, possibly to put an ideological twist on interpretations.

The more detailed Danish Wiki entry says the following


You should not trust everything you read on the Internet....

Seppo Koivisto
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Re: Finnish policy over East Karelia

Post by Seppo Koivisto » 16 May 2011 07:59

Philip S. Walker wrote:This has been discusses on the original thread, where Forum Staff Member Art in Moscow wrote this:
Art: That is generally speaking not correct. There was a sizable Slavic population prior to 1917. Namely if one take that result of the 1897 census (the districts that roughly corresponded to the future Karelian ASSR):
Petrozavodsk district - 79 712 people total, of them 53 516 whose native language was Russian and 25 737 - with native Ugro-Finnish languages (mostly Karelian)


It should be noted, that written Karelian language did not exist at that time. It is possible that many Karelians able to read were classified as Russian speakers. We should have figures on nationalities instead.

Much of the fuel for AKS activities came from Russia. The results of collectivization, deportations and Stalin´s purges were very well known in Finland.

It is true that also Sweden and Norway suppressed their Finnish minorities.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Me%C3%A4nkieli_dialects
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kven_language

Jagala
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Re: Finnish policy over East Karelia

Post by Jagala » 16 May 2011 08:13

Philip S. Walker wrote:I read this first many years ago in book I borrowed from a British library, can't recall the title. I thought it was common knowledge for people with an interest in these things and I've never seen it disputed before. You only have to go to Wiki, though as usual in these matters the English entry has those parts taken out which are most compromising to the Finnish view. (...)


Are you as barmy as I think? Do you really believe that is how the en.wikipedia entries got their current shape? Someone first translated the "original" Finnish entries and then thought better of including the "most compromising" parts? Someone set out to rewrite the entries and carefully omit any sensitive passages? "Oh no, we cannot have foreigners reading about these things!"?

It is indeed common knowledge - which, alas, may be increasinglu uncommon these days - that many ardent fans of Panfennism (an ideology not terribly far removed from those pan- things in and around Russia, Germany, Italy, Greece, Poland etc) included "Länsipohja" in Sweden and "Ruija" in Norway (not to forget Estonia or Ingria) in their grand concept.
Independent Finland expressed concern for the plight of the ethnic minority, activists arrived as volunteer teachers, brought aid to the poor and tried to "wake up a Finnish indenty" etc. There were, of course, some rather hysterical reactions to all this in those two countries.

However, you would have to look pretty far from any positions of power or influence to find someone who in 1941 looked forward to a "New Europe" where Norway and Sweden would have to cede these areas to Finland.

(BTW Rautavaara, the idealistic and nationalistic school master in "Täällä pohjantähden alla", had a map on which he kept planning his own borders for the future Finland and when he felt particularly incensed at the Swedes, he rushed to move the northwestern border further...)

Probably true, but I can't see how that changes my point in anything other than the most academical way. But then the AKS was, of course, an academical society :lol:.


"Probably true"! I know you are a connoisseur of language, you enjoy writing, you love to give and take in discussion and you just cannot help yourself from throwing in totally unnecessary (and often quite uncalled for) remarks and small "underliga sliringar och förolämpningar". This particular one is almost harmless (and possibly quite innocent), though (which is why I bother to comment it at all).


That's my impression, too, from looking at this page: http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eino_Jutikkala. However, it's in Finnish only and hard to understand. Perhaps you would care to translate this bit for us so it's not just me doing all the hard work around here.


In a nut shell: Jutikkala wrote his contribution on orders with his propagandist's hat on and insisted that the book appear only in German. The books he wrote as a historian do not give the appearanc of having been written by a lunatic semi-Fascist author.

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Re: Finnish policy over East Karelia

Post by Jagala » 16 May 2011 09:14

Philip S. Walker wrote:It seems to me that the Finnish project regarding East Karelia was like shooting in the dark. They really had very little practical notion of the population in the areas they were moving into. What they had was based on romantic historical falsification of a semi-Fascist nature.


It's not too difficult to find Fascism, semi-Fascism or Fascistoid tendencies in a lot of places, if one wants hard enough to find them, but doing so sometimes muddles or hides more than it boasts to reveal.

Carelian activists were no doubt idealists (and some were both idealists and men of action) and their more recent information may have come from biased sources (such as pro-Finnish refugees) or become out of date in regard to Russian settlement or the progress of Russification (or "all-Sovietization") - but it was not completely whacko or based on a historical falsification.

Why? I doubt the Kremlin had any idea that the Finnish leaders would order their army to round up c. half the population in East Karelia and put them in camps with a view to be sent on to German occupied areas of Russia as slaves for the "master race". Finland was a democratic Nordic country in the middle of the 20th Century. That means among many other things that a) You don't invade other nations, b) You don't carry out ethnic cleansing.


It was quite astonishing to Finns that the Soviets did not do what the Finns had done before and during the Winter War, i.e. evacuate the civilian population from the war zone. It was quite unexpected that Stalin would only evacuate those who were needed for the war effort and leave everyone else behind. I wouldn't be too sure that the fate of the population in Finnish hands was among his considerations when he made that decision; OTOH the possible advantages for partisan warfare may well have been higher on the list than any shortage or lack of transport capacity.

BTW you could make these discussions even more simple by drawing that ace out of your sleeve sooner and every time we are discussing anything related to the Continuation War!


We were talking about the AKS, who according to Laine had quite an astonishing amount of influence on the planning and administration of the Finnish policy in Finnish occupied East Karelia


I am not too sure that Laine ever foresaw that someone would be subjecting the text of his English summary to such close reading - but who else could have been involved in the administration? There was more or less a constant clash right from the beginning between the "idealistic" civilians and "matter-of-fact" military men (and a slow reaction from the above when things got slightly out of hand, as was the case time and time again), though.

The Finnish advance during the Continuation War was part of the plan to create a Greater Finland.


This, of course, is where you - along with Henrik Arnstad - wish to lead us: had their been no AKS, no idea of a Greater Finland, no idology of Panfennism, Finland would not have advanced into Soviet Karelia and/or Finland would not have joined Nazi Germany in the invasion of Soviet Union. (And, naturally, that Finland had every chance of surviving the war without siding with Germany, but the Finnish leadership failed to see it, did not want to see, could not see it because they were dazzled by the prospect of Greater Finnish glory or saw it but chose not for ditto reason...)

BTW I did notice the source of the quote.

What I said in my comment was that East Karelia seemed to be to Finland whatever suited Finland best according to the situation. If Germany had won the War, it would have been a liberated territory finally united with its tribal brothers and ethnically cleansed of "non-Fennic elements". If Germany lost the war, the invasion of East Karelia would merely be a creation of a buffer zone - which is why that is the preferred version today.


The problem is that it was both of those things, also quite irrespective of the other. There was a more or less sound military and strategic reason for the advance. there was an idea and an ideological reason, cause and argument. What do you think: would the Finns have stopped their advance at the 1939 border, if the population on the Soviet side had been entirely and unarguably Russian? Or what do you think, should the Finns have chosen not to use the idea of a Greater Finland for all purposes of propaganda to support the military advance and to "whitewash" (one of your favourite words) the crass strategic reasons?

(Alternative, speculative or counterfactual history is only what it is, but it can sometimes help clear the head or give a new point of view.)

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Re: Finnish policy over East Karelia

Post by Jagala » 16 May 2011 09:32

AndersG wrote:[
with a view to be sent on to German occupied areas of Russia as slaves for the "master race"

And your source for that is?


You obviously aren't yet familiar with Philip's style and his way of arguing his case! There is, of course, no such source, but since there were vague plans of moving them to "Russian areas", it naturally follows - according to Philip - that since we know what plans Hitler had in store for the Russian population in his sphere, the Finns must have acted in full knowledge, co-operation and approval of these plans. (He also chooses to overlook any other reasons for setting up the camps.)

(Granted that the proposed repatriation in Russia and/or exchange between Finns and Finnic people may not have materialized the way the idealists foresaw it and that resettlement in German-occupied territory would no doubt have meant just that.)

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Re: Finnish policy over East Karelia

Post by Philip S. Walker » 16 May 2011 09:36

@AndersG

Philip: What they had was based on romantic historical falsification of a semi-Fascist nature.

Anders: You really understand how to set the tone. I hope you realise that an opening statement like that means that most readers will stop right there....


No, I don't realise that.

Philip: with a view to be sent on to German occupied areas of Russia as slaves for the "master race"

AndersG: And your source for that is?


My source is Laine's article, which you should have read by now, either in Finnish from the link I've given or the translation into English I've put on the original thread. Furthermore, I have also answered twice already to that same question on the original thread.

Philip: We were talking about the AKS, who according to Laine had quite an astonishing amount of influence

Anders: But that is according to Laine, other sources may say otherwise.


That's what we're here to discuss and ask Finnish readers to give us translated examples of.

DK-WIKI: Academic Society of Karelia, which among others had the later Finnish President Urho Kekkonen as a member

Anders: Kekkonen left AKS in 1932 because he did not agree with their various illegal activities.


What "illegal activities" are we talking about?

Philip: and the most radical supporters

Anders: Ding, ding, we have a winner! Then as now, the world was full of whackos that had somewhat extreme agendas and that definition, the leadership of Soviet Carelia were "most radicals" because they supported the same ideas.


Source, please - and also explain why this is relevant.

Ethnic clensing was nothing uncommon at the time (but still deplorable). It was also practised in Sweden and Norway aganist the Sami. For the Norwegian take on the matter, please read "Den Finske Faren", published in the 30's.


Yes, completely deplorable. Still, not quite as bad as what we're talking about here.

There is a tendency among some to exaggerate the influence AKS and IKL had over Finnish policy and also to exaggerate German/Nazi influence, possibly to put an ideological twist on interpretations.


You're mixing three things together here. Let's stick with the AKS. If you read Laine's article you will find that according to him they had a very strong influence on the policies in East Karelia. He gives sources for most of it. If you have other sources that contradict him, please state them.

You should not trust everything you read on the Internet....


Thanks for telling me.
Last edited by Philip S. Walker on 16 May 2011 14:11, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Finnish policy over East Karelia

Post by Philip S. Walker » 16 May 2011 09:54

@Jagala

Are you as barmy as I think? Do you really believe that is how the en.wikipedia entries got their current shape? Someone first translated the "original" Finnish entries and then thought better of including the "most compromising" parts? Someone set out to rewrite the entries and carefully omit any sensitive passages? "Oh no, we cannot have foreigners reading about these things!"?


Perhaps you have put a bit too much of your own creativity into the description of the work process, but otherwise that's the way it looks like it, time and time again. So yes, I'm that barmy.

It is indeed common knowledge - which, alas, may be increasingly uncommon these days - that many ardent fans of Panfennism (an ideology not terribly far removed from those pan- things in and around Russia, Germany, Italy, Greece, Poland etc) included "Länsipohja" in Sweden and "Ruija" in Norway (not to forget Estonia or Ingria) in their grand concept.


Glad you agree, and also thanks for the comparisons with Russia, Germany, Italy, Greece and Poland around this time. Now we know what we're talking about instead of all those stories of Anglophiles and Scandinavianism.

Independent Finland expressed concern for the plight of the ethnic minority, activists arrived as volunteer teachers, brought aid to the poor and tried to "wake up a Finnish indenty" etc. There were, of course, some rather hysterical reactions to all this in those two countries.


Perhaps the hysteria over these otherwise praiseworthy initiatives should be seen in the light of the more militant ambitions of certain Finnish political activists? In any case, I was only pointing out that there was a basis here for discomfort between Finland and Sweden at a time when that was particularly unlucky. Then again, why should Finland care about that? When you have the strongest power in history behind you, who needs Sweden?

However, you would have to look pretty far from any positions of power or influence to find someone who in 1941 looked forward to a "New Europe" where Norway and Sweden would have to cede these areas to Finland.


Perhaps, but it would still not be good for inter-Nordic relations.

Philip: Probably true, but I can't see how that changes my point in anything other than the most academical way. But then the AKS was, of course, an academical society :lol:.

Jagala: "Probably true"! I know you are a connoisseur of language, you enjoy writing, you love to give and take in discussion and you just cannot help yourself from throwing in totally unnecessary (and often quite uncalled for) remarks and small "underliga sliringar och förolämpningar". This particular one is almost harmless (and possibly quite innocent), though (which is why I bother to comment it at all).


I was trying to light up the atmosphere a bit, perhaps also check who might think this funny. Not admirers of the AKS, of course.

In a nut shell: Jutikkala wrote his contribution on orders with his propagandist's hat on and insisted that the book appear only in German. The books he wrote as a historian do not give the appearance of having been written by a lunatic semi-Fascist author.


Sounds like a really trustworthy guy. :roll:

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Re: Finnish policy over East Karelia

Post by Jagala » 16 May 2011 11:52

Philip S. Walker wrote:Perhaps you have put a bit too much of your own creativity into the description of the work process, but otherwise that's the way it looks like it, time and time again. So yes, I'm that barmy.


Pray describe the work process, as you see it, in more detail. That was the best description in sync with what you alleged that I could come up with my best effort and I'm sorry if it it was too far-fetched or florid or whatever you wish to imply by too much creativity. I'm not entirely familiar with Wikipedia, but I understand that you should be able to quite easily find the "history" of the entries, i.e. any passages from earlier versions that were omitted by those Finnish censors or whitewashers are still readable there.

Glad you agree, and also for the comparisons with Russia, Germany, Italy, Greece and Poland around this time. Now we know what we're talking about instead of all those stories of Anglophiles and Scandinavianism.


Since I suspect you are not completely ignorant on European 19th century history I must assume you are being disingenuous. Which does not surprise me one little bit. And yes, now that we agree there really existed something that rose its ugly head in Finland that did not, for various reasons, exist in Britain or in Scandinavia at least not at the same time or in the same form we can all agree that nothing else existed or meant squat in matters of foreign or military policy.

Why cannot you try sitting on your fingers and letting your witticisms dry before you rush to submit your reply? Even on the rare occasion when you might have a point you lose it in the manner you choose to express it. Just my humble opinion.

Perhaps the hysteria over these otherwise praiseworthy initiatives should be seen in the light of the more militant ambitions of certain Finnish political activists? In any case, I was only pointing out that there was a basis here for discomfort between Finland and Sweden at a time when that was particularly unlucky. Then again, why should Finland care about that? When you have the strongest power in history behind you, who needs Sweden?


Of course the Scandinavian reactions must be seen in the light of, for instance, the Finnish excursions into Soviet Karelia after the Civil War - but they can also be seen in the light of, a part of and a continuation of the Russophobia in those two countries. Anyway, the funny thing is that there were a lot of things that created friction between Sweden and Finland before WWII, but on all of these issues there had been a steady progress towards amicable relations - and there was no turn for the worse or rekindling of old issues in 1941 (as you are so keen to suggest). I.e. there had been basis for discomfort - which from the Finnish point of view included Swedish support for separatism in Aland islands and in Swedish Ostrobothnia, Swedish meddling in language politics - earlier, but not towards the late 1930's and certainly no acute development for the worse due to any rekindling of annexation fantasies in 1940-1941.


Perhaps, but it would still not be good for inter-Nordic relations.


Of course not - assuming that the Swedes were somehow colossally unable to figure out what was what and who was who. i mean i cannot believe they could really believe that the Finnish politician, soldiers etc they met and discussed with only presented a "cleansed" front and that what the Finns really thought was to be found in what some zany journalist in some fringe paper wrote.

Methinks you are too hard trying tomake some kind of oblong argument that Finland cannot have been serious about the proposed Finnish-Swedish defense co-operation and political and and military union, because it would have clashed with their plans to annex a part of Sweden. Or that the onus on its failure lies firmly on Finland for its failure to distance itself from a fraction of nationalists (and not, for instance, on the Soviet Union, who on no less than three occasions threatened Finland with severe consequences unless such plans were immediately dropped):


I was trying to light up the atmosphere a bit, perhaps also check who might think this funny. Not admirers of the AKS, of course.

I am not terribly interested whether you notch this one up as one of the "underliga sliringar" or one of the "förolämningar". But I won't call you a Sir, Sir!

Sounds like a really trustworthy guy. :roll:


In any case a man I'd much rather have shaken hands with than you. (I hope you accept this as a case of yours truly sinking to your level...)

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