Book Hitler's Nordic Ally? Finland and the Total War 1939-45

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Book Hitler's Nordic Ally? Finland and the Total War 1939-45

Post by Juha Tompuri » 27 Oct 2017 20:43

In order not to disrupt the Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War thread, I'll post my criticism here as a separate case:
viewtopic.php?f=59&t=130079&start=105#p2091958

Here some of the parts of the book that, according to my notes which I wrote down when reading the book, raised some doubts and/or puzzled me. There probably might have been more if I only would have time to go through the book more detailed.

The first impression when starting to read the book was that it*s OK except some photo captions puzzled me and the maps at the book were just awful.
When going through the text I then sadly found the following that might not be in line if following the rule of posting just the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth:

Preface xii: ”there existed among the Finnish upper class, particulary in business and academic
circles, strong pro-German passions.”
page 2 Photo caption: ”Väinö Tanner (left, 1881- 1966) and Juho Paasikivi (1870-1956) of
their way to negotiations in Moscow, October 1939”
page 3 ”On 14 April 1938, the Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Rudolf Holsti, received a
telephone call from a certain Boris Yartsev...”
page 4 ”The Finnish Army was small and poorly equipped, Yartsev stressed...”

”It gradually emerged that Moscow also wanted to deploy Soviet troops on Finnish
soil in peacetime”

”The negotiations between Finland and the Soviet Union continued in deepest
secrecy throughout the summer 1938 as the proposals made by the Kremlin
gradually became clearly defined”

”...on 29 August the negotiations broke down”
page 5 ”The negotiations with Yartsev had been conducted in deepest secrecy and involved
only a few Finnish government members...”
page 6 ”By and large Marshal Mannerheim was the only Finnish representative at the
negotiations who favoured...”
pages 9-10 ”Molotov later described...
...And we needed the Baltic States”


page 12 ”Finland was also to hand over some islands in the Gulf of Finland...”

”Hanko peninsula (on the extreme southwest corner of the Finnish mainland)”


page 19 ”Since the Soviet Union never managed to annex all of Finland, only some minor
territories, the quote... ...can hardly be said to confirm that Finland was meant to be
taken over completely....”
page 20 ”...Molotov and Khrushshev claimed... ….”Finns proved impossible to negotiate
with”...
...”Besides, an annexed Finland could become a ”festering wound” for us”

”It cannot be denied that Stalin and Molotov, during the negotiations leading up to the
war, were unexpectedly compromise-seeking...”
page 23 ”...as soon as the war broke out, the Finns could only do one thing to remain an
independent nation, and that was to fight back to a point far beyond anything that is
normaly seen as humanly and military possible”
page 27 ”The Soviet Fleet only saw limited action in the Winter War, primarily in skirmishes
with Finnish costal defence forts”

”So far only troops from the Leningrad Military District were meant to participate
in the invasion”
page 31 ”These young men (Jaegers, JT) came predominantly (but not exclusively) from the
upper middle classes”
page 33 ”In the early 1930s, the Finnish Army was exposed to budget cuts”
page 34 ”Although the guns of the Finnish coastal defences were from the ”Russian Period”,
they were still highly effective, partly thanks to their enormous calibres”...


Page 35 ”Now the gigantic guns from those days served a differed purpose, namely to
stop a landing by the Red Army...”


”Molotov coctails”... ”According to Finnish Army's own reports, it destroyed
some 2000 Soviet tanks during the war , mainly by these bottles filled by
inflammable liquid”
page 37 ”The Mannerheim Line... ...bunkers (most of them armed with machine guns)


” The Finnish Air Force... ...”This should be compared to the 1000 aircraft of the
Red Air Force deployed to the Finnish Front at the begining”
page 38 ” Finland tried to buy more aircraft...
...most of the planes bought had still not arrived when the war ended”

”...two coastal battle ships...
...which failed to contribute much to Finland's defence”

”...waters around Finland in December froze up so much that icebreaking
become impossible.”

”Furthermore, the Finnish planners envisaged a situation where their army
constituted the northern flank in a broad attack on the Soviet Union, probably
led by France and Great Britain...”

page 42 Photo caption: ”Helsinki under Soviet Bombardmen, December 1939”
page 48 Photo caption: ”Soviet assault gun in position, December 1939”
page 63 ”The Soviet relief force was the Red Army's 44th Division, an elite unit arriving
directly from Moscow”
page 65 ”...the Finnish military force in the huge Petsamo area was limited to just two
companies, one of which was led by Major General Martti Wallenius...”
page 70 ” Support also came from Great Britain on in the shape of fighter aircraft: thirty
semi-obsolete Gladiators (ten donated and twenty sold
page 73 Photo caption: ”Danish volunteer pilot during the Winter War (name unknown,
possibly Flight Lieutenant Jörn Ulrich)”
page 75 Photo caption: ”Evacuation of the Finnish rural families prior to the breakout of
the Winter War”

”The Swedish historian Claes-Göran Isacson describes the situation...
...Most of the people who were now leaving Karelia would never return to their
scorched villages”

”The majority of the refugees were housed around Turku and Pori on the
southwest coast of Finland. Many of their possessions (foodstuffs,
pharmaceuticals etc.) were confiscated by the military along with tools an
machinery that could be used for production of military equipment.”

page 76 ”The Danish author Ole Juul describes in his book about the Winter War several
such air attacks which he personally experienced...
...When a plane penetrates the balloon barrages at low height...”
page 77 ”Finland was also home to a variety of scretarian movements...
...there was a religious-political sect, whose members believed that the Civil
Guard represented the beast in the Book of Revelation...
...Twenty -seven of them were later sent to prison for treason”

page 78 ”During Winter War vulnerable Finnish citizens were evacuated to the other
Nordic coutries...
...The total number of the evacuees during the Winter War was around 10 000, of
which the majority came from the Karelian Isthmus”
page 88 ”...losses of Soviet war materiel... ...15 anti-tank rifles...”
page 115 ”The casuaties of the Finnsh Army... ...27000 killed or missing in action, while
44000 were wounded...
...Krivosheev... ... Soviet figures at 130000 killed and 270000 wounded...”
page 119 ”...Molotov claimed that Finland had an army of 600000 men, of which the Soviet
forces have defeated about half...”


page 121 ”Furthermore, they had cut the country off from its most important trade routes.
Before the Winter War more than 15 per cent of Finnish exports had been
shipped out from either Viipuri or Hanko”


”Salpa Line... … a gigantic, 1200km long defence line”
page 122 ”Northern Lapland continued to be the weakest point in the Finnish defenc, so
bunkers were built there, too, mostly by important thoroughfares and bridges”

”...Finland's Blue-White Book II... ...Although words as 'Germany' and 'Nazi'
are carefully excluded...”
page 128 ”On June 14 1940... ...Finnish passenger and transport aircraft... ...was shot
down by two bombers from the Red Air Force... ...The passengers were
mainly international diplomats, a couple of them in the process of smuggling
documents out of Estonia”

” Eastern and northern Romania (i.e. Bessarabia and North-Bukovina)...
…were annexed by Moscow...”
page 137 ”...it must also be remembered that more that 40 per cent of the Finnish
population voted Social Democrat at the national elections”
pages 137-142 ”The German-Soviet Axis Negotiations”
page 148 ”The Germans were not the only ones that rejected the Finnish-Swedish plans of
a union. The leaders in Moscow did the same and in this they were supported by
Great Britain”
page 152 ”...Lieutenant General Heinrichs is supposed to have suggested...”

page 163 ”over the the following days three Soviet vessels were stricken by Finnish mines.
One of them, a submarine, immediately sank”
page 192 Photo caption: ”Scene from the Finnish advance on Reboly”
page 208 ” We have already looked at the first Finnish minelaying operations in the Gulf of
Finland (p. 163
)

page 210 ”In total, the Finnish air force shot down 356 Soviet aircraft during 1941.
Their own loss was eighty-four machines”
page 216 ”Even if one accepts in principle that the occuption of East Karelia improved the
defensive possibilities for the Finnish Army (which in itself is depatable)...
...stretching their supply lines to the limits...”
page 217 ”...Finnish leaders... ...tended to give the Germans too much rather than little”


”London and Washington were sympathetic to the Finnish ambition of recapturing
the ceded areas”


page 219 ”Indeed, it seems possible that Finland could have kept the 1939 border or at least
Viipuri, had the occupation of East Karelia never occurred”

page 242 ”...There was also some fighting over the island of Hogland in the middle of Finnish
Gulf... ...But similar German attempts to capture a handful of smaller islands in the
same waters failed, and further attacks were cancelled when the Russians made an
attempted sortie from Leningrad, so German troops had to be transferred to the city
from other parts of the region”
page 244 ”...1st Partisan Brigade... ...In June 1941 the Brigade undertook its biggest
operation... ...This particular patrol lasted for a total of six months before it was
spotted by Finnish troops in the area. The Finns then encircled the patrol, but its
members managed to break out and flee back to their own lines”
page 246 ” Part of this conversation which was practically a monologue by Hitler, was
recorded by the Finnish intelligence services. Whether this happened by mistake
or it was a deliberate act remains uncertain”
page 248 ”...Soviet submarines... ...By then they had sunk eighteen vessels, of which five
were Swedish ships escorting the the German transports”
page 250 ”four Italian moter torpedo boats... ...Later in the month six German minelaying
vessels also arrived... ...Here they were added to the Finnish fleet on the lake to
form Navel Detachment K”
page 258 ”By far the largest group of international volunteers in the Finnish Army during the
Continuation War came from the Finnish-related population in Ingria...”

”...Ingria, a name sometimes used for the area along the southern bank of the
Gulf of Finland, including Estonia and the south-western Leningrad districts”
page 266 ”In the case of Finland, no offensive German action was to be employed. Instead,
all German troops were merely to be pulled north to secure Petsamo. Later, plans
were also made for an occupation of Åland Islands and Hanko”
page 269 ”...account of one of the Soviet pilots... ... And somewhere in the dark were
barrage balloons...”
page 270 ”After his meeting in Stockholm with Kollontai, Paasikivi packed his suitcase
and embarked on a new journey to Moscow...
...The negotiations began on 22 April...”
page 274 ”The attack force on the Karelian Isthmus by the start of the offensive...
...270000 men, 7660 artillery pieces, 620 tanks and 1500 aircraft...
...The quantitative advantage of the Soviet forces at the start of the offensive on
the Karelian Isthmus was 4:1 for personel, 5:1 for tanks, 6:1 for artillery and 15:1
for aircraft”
Page 278 ”The Geman leaders had by now started to consider how the Soviet pressure the
on the Finnish positions...
...Their main concern was for their own troops in Lapland”
page 284 ”However before we look at the fighting itself, it should be mentioned that the
very idea of seeing the combat in this area as one big isolated battle -'the Battle of
Tali-Ihantala' – is of a newr date and has been criticised for being a Finnish
neo-patriotic construction”

page 295 ”Ilomantsi... ...the only area where Soviet troops managed to force the Finns back
behind the 1940 border”
page 307 ”...Mannerheim, who nonetheless until his death in 1951 lived in constant fear that
something of the kind might happen to him (in fact, he always carried in his pocket
a suicide pill). Perhaps that was why he spent his retirement moving between three
countries that were known for their reluctance to hand over supposed war
criminals to the soviet Union, namely Sweden, Spain and Switzerland”

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Re: Book Hitler's Nordic Ally? Finland and the Total War 1939-45

Post by Juha Tompuri » 04 Nov 2017 11:30

Some more after done some checking:
page 273: "The more specific goals for the offensive on the Karelian Isthmus are harder to work out...
...according to the plan, the offensive was to be carried out in nine days."
page 282: (about peace terms, delivered via Mme Kollontai, JT) "There exists, however, a different vesion of these events, according to which
the Finnish leaders simply used the claimed linguistic entanglement as a means to drag out the negotiations, while behind the
scenes they tried to reach an agreement with Berlin over more military support. The purpose was allegedly to strengthen the
Finnish position on the battlefield as much as possible before entering into the negotiations with Moscow. Such a procedure would
be in accordance with traditional diplomatic conduct and for that reason alone it seems highly plausible."

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Re: Book Hitler's Nordic Ally? Finland and the Total War 1939-45

Post by Claes Johansen » 19 Nov 2017 14:34

@Juha Tompuri

As you know as well as anyone, particularly since you have been a moderator on this forum for many years, there is nothing resembling actual "critique" in your postings here, and hence it is impossible to reply to them.

It is now more than four months since I requested that you substantiate your rather coarse exclamations about my book "Hitler's Nordic Ally?" in the review section, but all you have done is open this new thread with a list of passages taken from the book were, according to yourself, you "have some doubts about facts being mixed with guesswork and fiction". To merely indicate these passages with no further comments and in-depth discussion is not "critique", it is just deliberate insult and destructiveness in a manner that goes directly against the behaviour we are supposed to adhere to on this forum.

In accordance with your general behaviour on this forum over the years, I can only see the real intention behind your bizarre conduct in this case as to harm the spreading of some of the information presented in my book, particularly in regard to the Finnish leadership and the darker side of Finnish conduct during WWII. You are a Finnish patriot who loves his country more than he loves the truth, and who thinks the be-all-end-all of any investigation into these issues should be the Finnish Govenment publication Finland's Blue-White Book from 1941. In other words, your behaviour in these matters goes directly against the very basis of the idea behind the Axis History Forum, which is to openly distribute historical information - not to deliberately obstruct its distribution where it doesn't suit one's private political agenda.

Based on the above I have now reported you to the webmaster and shall await his reaction.
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Re: Book Hitler's Nordic Ally? Finland and the Total War 1939-45

Post by Claes Johansen » 20 Nov 2017 11:55

(The following paragraph didn't come out too well in my previous post, and when I wanted to make some edits, it was too late - so let me try again:)

It is now more than four months since I requested that you substantiate your rather coarse exclamations about my book "Hitler's Nordic Ally?" in the review section. But all you have done is open this new thread with a list of quotes taken from the book, where - according to yourself - you "have some doubts about facts being mixed with guesswork and fiction". To merely copy these quotes and post them here - with no further comments and in-depth discussion - is not "critique". Instead, it is just deliberate insult and destructiveness in a manner that goes directly against the behaviour we are supposed to adhere to on this forum.
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Re: Book Hitler's Nordic Ally? Finland and the Total War 1939-45

Post by Juha Tompuri » 20 Nov 2017 21:21

One more:
page 291: "The attack (Soviet air attack against Immola 2nd July, JT) destroyed thirty-three German aircraft, of which nine were subsequently
beyond repair..."

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Re: Book Hitler's Nordic Ally? Finland and the Total War 1939-45

Post by Juha Tompuri » 20 Nov 2017 21:28

Hi!

Sorry for being a bit slow writer here.
My idea was to at first collect all the cases at your book, that I found puzzling, and after that go through them more detailed case by case.
Claes Johansen wrote:It is now more than four months since I requested that you substantiate your rather coarse exclamations about my book "Hitler's Nordic Ally?" in the review section.
Do you mean here the your post on 21st September?
viewtopic.php?f=59&t=130079&start=120#p2099220

Regards, Juha

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Re: Book Hitler's Nordic Ally? Finland and the Total War 1939-45

Post by Claes Johansen » 21 Nov 2017 01:21

@Juha Tompuri
Sorry for being a bit slow writer here.
It's actually not the slowness as such that has been the main problem, it is the whole weird and backwards way you have gone about all this.
My idea was to at first collect all the cases at your book, that I found puzzling, and after that go through them more detailed case by case.
That of course is a fine work procedure but as you very well know you should have done it in private on your computer, finished off the work and THEN you could have sent it to the forum.
Do you mean here the your post on 21st September?
viewtopic.php?f=59&t=130079&start=120#p2099220
Well, it FELT like four months. :)
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Re: Book Hitler's Nordic Ally? Finland and the Total War 1939-45

Post by Juha Tompuri » 22 Nov 2017 21:31

Claes Johansen wrote:
My idea was to at first collect all the cases at your book, that I found puzzling, and after that go through them more detailed case by case.
That of course is a fine work procedure but as you very well know you should have done it in private on your computer, finished off the work and THEN you could have sent it to the forum.
As mentioned before, I think that the procedure that we now do follow, going through your posts and claims one by one, might be clearer, and the outcome might well be less chaotic, than at your suggested alternative.

Claes Johansen wrote:
Do you mean here the your post on 21st September?
viewtopic.php?f=59&t=130079&start=120#p2099220
Well, it FELT like four months. :)
Well, at first I wondered about your calendar system there, but seems that it was just you being far from the truth. Something I think we have got used now.


The first case about your book.
The maps:
Juha wrote:Here some of the parts of the book that, according to my notes which I wrote down when reading the book, raised some doubts and/or puzzled me. There probably might have been more if I only would have time to go through the book more detailed.

The first impression when starting to read the book was that it*s OK except some photo captions puzzled me and the maps at the book were just awful.
How do you, or anyone else, who has seen them, rate the maps at the book?

Regards, Juha

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Re: Book Hitler's Nordic Ally? Finland and the Total War 1939-45

Post by Claes Johansen » 23 Nov 2017 13:48

Who is moderator on this thread?
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Re: Book Hitler's Nordic Ally? Finland and the Total War 1939-45

Post by Juha Tompuri » 23 Nov 2017 17:27

Claes Johansen wrote:Who is moderator on this thread?
Yours truly, the same chap you mentioned here:
Claes Johansen wrote:It is now more than four months since I requested that you substantiate your rather coarse exclamations about my book "Hitler's Nordic Ally?" in the review section.
Claiming over four months but the truth being less than two.
Quite far.

But, what about my question about the maps at your book?

Regards, Juha

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Re: Book Hitler's Nordic Ally? Finland and the Total War 1939-45

Post by Claes Johansen » 23 Nov 2017 18:35

I think we can all see what's going on here so I shall make no further comments.
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Re: Book Hitler's Nordic Ally? Finland and the Total War 1939-45

Post by Juha Tompuri » 24 Nov 2017 18:21

Claes Johansen wrote:I think we can all see what's going on here
Yes, let's all try to stick to the truth here.
Claes Johansen wrote:so I shall make no further comments.
Your choice, I understand your position.
Case #2 about your book coming soon.

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Re: Book Hitler's Nordic Ally? Finland and the Total War 1939-45

Post by Claes Johansen » 24 Nov 2017 19:30

Claes Johansen wrote:
so I shall make no further comments.
Juha Tompuri: Your choice, I understand your position.
My "no further comments" was only in relation to the absurd fact that you are allowed to be your own moderator on this thread.

As anyone can see, we need someone else to take care of this job if there is to be any sense in all this. Otherwise the whole idea of this forum, its ability to be objective and sober and be taken seriously, simply crumbles and what we are left with in the Finnish corner is a dictatorship run by Juha "Trumpuri", whose views on Finnish WWII history stops at what was commonly believed around 1950.

In short: We need another moderator, and quick.
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Re: Book Hitler's Nordic Ally? Finland and the Total War 1939-45

Post by Juha Tompuri » 24 Nov 2017 21:07

If we leave the a bit childish name-calling aside, what I have done wrong here, in your opinion, except posting some critique towards your book and postings?

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Re: Book Hitler's Nordic Ally? Finland and the Total War 1939-45

Post by Claes Johansen » 25 Nov 2017 00:44

@Juha Tompuri.
what I have done wrong here, in your opinion, except posting some critique towards your book and postings?
So far there has been nothing even remotely resembling "critique" in your postings, only some weird notes on some negative feelings you had during the reading. I was in fact thinking of coining a phrase for it - "fake critique" - but we can let that one lie for now.

Otherwise, the problem with your "critique" is something I have explained many times over: You need to substantiate your accusations when you post them on this forum, and not with a delay. In that regard it doesn't matter if the delay is ten minutes, or three or four months or whatever.

However, if we are to look at the REAL ROOT of the problem, as I see it, then it has to do with many Finnish people who truly believe it is best if the dark and compromising sides of their country's history is kept hidden to people in the rest of the world. To do this they have for decades used a ton of methods, starting with their language and ending up with some of the ways you have been conducting yourself as a moderator on this forum and which I have already explained elsewhere in several cases. I think this policy is wrong in every imaginable aspect because sooner or later the truth WILL come out, and then there WILL be a loss of sympathy because suddenly people won't know who or what to trust. It's obviously better just to tell the truth from the start. However, that was simply not possible during the war itself or even during the post war decades, and so a very unhappy tradition of simply hiding and lying emerged, which luckily young Finnish historians are now finally beginning to break down for real.

My book is, among other things, a deliberate attempt at presenting these new views to a world audience. Its idea is to show an English-reading audience as much of the WHOLE story as you possibly can in a pretty small book, accompanied by some high quality pictures and some very basic maps that won't make anyone run away screaming if they aren't familiar with reading that kind of thing, or they simply find it cynical to view a terrible thing like war in such a technical manner. I haven't the slightest doubt in my mind that it is possible to include the critical and darker sides of the story WITHOUT the audience feeling any less sympathy for the Finns. On the contrary, it makes the Finnish people more understandable and human, and through that it actually enhances the admiration and gratefulness we all deep down feel for the Finnish people - i.e. they didn't do this because they are simply born supermen and that's what supermen do. They did it despite the fact that they are just normal people like everyone else. That can only enhance the size of the deed.

Regarding your query as to who read the manuscript and what did they think of it? That's all in the introduction, and I'm sure you will recognise quite a few people that you, like myself, admire and see as your friends. So the question is: Why didn't I ask Juha Tompuri to look through the manuscript as well? The answer to that again lies in your conduct on this forum, where in my opinion and experience you have directly tried to sabotage any attempt to promote exactly the kind of attitudes that I wanted to be the carrying element in my book.

In fact, that saddens me more than anything I have experienced on this forum lately. I'm sure you could have spotted even more errors in my manuscript than my other readers did, because undoubtedly you are a huge capacity when it comes to knowledge of the period. But I couldn't in my wildest dreams imagine that you would have wanted to participate.

Funnily enough, now you have almost involuntarily pushed yourself into a corner where you have to do it. I'm sure you have found things that are worth correcting in later editions of the book. So though it's never nice to be caught out, I'm nevertheless looking forward to seeing those and to insert them in future editions (with a credit to you, of course). Still, perhaps for the sake of the house peace and the nervous system of the other members we should stick to the factual stuff?

I hope you can see from the above that I actually have a lot of respect for you, I just find that, as a Finnish patriot, you are shooting yourself in foot with your over protective attitude. This idea that Finland is best off with certain historical blemishes hidden under the carpet is in my opinion self-destructive and completely unnecessary. You might have noticed that not in one single place in my book do I blame the general Finnish population for any of the more negative and dubious things that happened, and that is still how I feel about it.
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