Finland and the Nazis

Discussions on the Winter War and Continuation War, the wars between Finland and the USSR.
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WalterS
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Post by WalterS » 08 Dec 2004 18:00

Merry Christmas to you, too, Topspeed. :D

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Topspeed
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Post by Topspeed » 09 Dec 2004 09:48

Since Finlands wartime history has revealed no information that is considered a war crime or such information that of which is considered an intentional harming of a minority in co-operation with nazis this thread should also be placed into more propriate place.

I don't see that a jailing or exchange of prisoners of war is such a matter.
In fact finns neglected all nazi attempts to imprison or extradite finnish jews.

regards,

topspeed

David Thompson
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Post by David Thompson » 09 Dec 2004 11:43

Topspeed said:
Since Finlands wartime history has revealed no information that is considered a war crime or such information that of which is considered an intentional harming of a minority in co-operation with nazis this thread should also be placed into more propriate place.
Not so fast, Topspeed. In the first place, your statement is mistaken. Finland convicted some of its own officers for war crimes during WWII, and turned others over (though not many) over to Soviet authorities for war crimes trials. In the second place, the question of whether Finland knowingly aided and abetted or ratified Nazi war crimes, like the German plan to level Leningrad, or the Commissar Order, or Generalplan Ost, or the deliberate mistreatment of Soviet POWs, has not been answered yet. Marshal Mannerheim was certainly aware of Hitler's intention to destroy Leningrad, and he may also have been aware of the Nazi famine plans for the area. It's a little premature to call for closing the discussion just yet. WalterS may not be finished here (no pun intended).

You also said:
I don't see that a jailing or exchange of prisoners of war is such a matter.
It isn't, necessarily -- unless you know when you turn them over to the Nazis that they're going to be shot. This is the same situation and the same question that gets raised in the many discussions of "Operation Keelhaul" in this section of the forum, so it's not out-of-bounds for discussion.

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Topspeed
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Post by Topspeed » 09 Dec 2004 13:00

David Thompson wrote:Topspeed said:
Since Finlands wartime history has revealed no information that is considered a war crime or such information that of which is considered an intentional harming of a minority in co-operation with nazis this thread should also be placed into more propriate place.
Not so fast, Topspeed. In the first place, your statement is mistaken. Finland convicted some of its own officers for war crimes during WWII, and turned others over (though not many) over to Soviet authorities for war crimes trials. In the second place, the question of whether Finland knowingly aided and abetted or ratified Nazi war crimes, like the German plan to level Leningrad, or the Commissar Order, or Generalplan Ost, or the deliberate mistreatment of Soviet POWs, has not been answered yet. Marshal Mannerheim was certainly aware of Hitler's intention to destroy Leningrad, and he may also have been aware of the Nazi famine plans for the area. It's a little premature to call for closing the discussion just yet. WalterS may not be finished here (no pun intended).

You also said:
I don't see that a jailing or exchange of prisoners of war is such a matter.
It isn't, necessarily -- unless you know when you turn them over to the Nazis that they're going to be shot. This is the same situation and the same question that gets raised in the many discussions of "Operation Keelhaul" in this section of the forum, so it's not out-of-bounds for discussion.

Mr. Thompson,

I don't think that if an individual makes a crime during a war ( against the policies of the nation ) gives a right to blame a whole nation for it...does it ( I am not sure where you are referring here !? ) ?

Topic here is Finland and Nazis..as if Finland as a nation when securing its borders as cobelligrent ( was that the term ? ) against a common enemy is somehow a subject of a war crime. Don't forget it was the soviets who attacked Finland on June 22nd 1941 and bombed cities and ports. Also Adolf Hitler had made finns a target of an attack by saying finns are in "bund" with germans on a radio speech on June 22nd 1941. That was not informed to finns beforehand. Finn had merely sought aid from Germany against the threat USSR posed to Finland in 1940-1941. Molotov had in fact asked a permission to finish the business with Finland from the nazis during 1940 in Berlin.

There has been no illegal treatments against pows in Finland during the war ( except few cases were prisoners were not taken ). Two lost crops and a difficult winter in 1941 made some pows die earlier than their life expectancy would have been otherwise ( through malnutrion and uncontrollable diseases due to lack of food ). Generally the pows in Finland have actually thanked finns for excellent conditions towards pows.

Being a looser in the war we had no other alternatives than to agree with allied demands concerning pow exchange after the war.

Finns had no deal or part in forming Generalplan Ost whatsoever.

Leningrad albeit being close to Finlands was, in the hands of Stalinist communists, a hazardous security risk, city itself was not harmed by finns...albeit a speech for the capitulation of the city was planned and ready by minister Paasikivi well a head of the events that took place. This gives only an indication of the fact that germans had promissed the area around Leningrad that used to be inhabited by finns ( ~Ingrians ) back to the finns ( Ingrians of the area had been deported to Siberia for life and some executed ). It is possible that finns had agreed to use it as a farmland in the future like they had done for centuries, if germans were to win the war. Murderous policies against civilians of the nazis were openly critisised by the finns for example by general Talvela who was a liason officer in Berlin.

Also finns were against segregation or destruction of the jews. This is evident since finns did not deport their jews and Mannerheim personally told visiting Heinrich Himmler not to harm polish jews that C.G.E. Mannerheim knew by names. One has to remember finns were balancing on a tightrope since only help Finland was ever gonna get during the war was from the germans...until the situation changed after USSR was willing to make a peace which did not include Finlands occupation by allied forces namely soviets.

A few miscalculations perhaps did take place because ultranationalists had 2% in the parliament and their leader Vilho Helanen was in charge when choosing finnish speaking finns/ingrians from the ranks of RKKA pows in the german occupied territory. One has to remember USSR did not permit legally finnish originated finns to return to Finland until after 1991 in fact many of them were executed in USSR between 1937-1939. A great deal of them died in Gulags until 1953 and after it too since Stalins death only caused the soviets to free criminal prisoners and finnish originated people in USSR were labelled as political prisoners.

Some finns were indeed convicted after the war as warcriminals, but only because of the allied supervisory committee advised the state police to do so. I think the war crime is then committed by the allied forces in this matter and only executed by the finns.

best regards,

Topspeed
Last edited by Topspeed on 09 Dec 2004 20:30, edited 4 times in total.

Tero
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Post by Tero » 09 Dec 2004 13:13

By Topspeed
A few miscalculations perhaps did take place because ultranationalists had 2% in the parliament and their leader Vilho Helanen was in charge when choosing finnish speaking finns/ingrians from the ranks of RKKA pows in the german occupied territory.
And he was replaced well before the fortunes of war turned against the Germans. And I would think the pressure from the Western Allies played no small part in cleaning up these "beauty blemishes".
Some finns were indeed convicted after the war as warcriminals, but only because of the allied supervisory committee advised the state police to do so. I think the war crime is then committed by the allied forces in this matter and only executed by the finns.
Legally the procedures were dubious at best since all the Finnish "war criminals" were condemmed retroactively.

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WalterS
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Post by WalterS » 09 Dec 2004 15:46

Mannerheim was aware that the Germans planned to take and destroy Leningrad, but he and the Finnish government decided not to take part in that attack, not because it was wrong, but because they feared perpetual Soviet enmity if the Russians won the war.
22.8.1941

~ Field marshal Keitel writes to Mannerheim and asks that the Finnish army would start to pressure the Russian troops in Karelian Isthmus. Finnish troops should also help the German troops that are advancing towards Leningrad. Keitel also asks, that the Finns would attack to the other side of Syväri, towards the German attack columns. He also requests, that the Soviet base in Hanko would be destroyed immediately.

23.8.1941

~ The headquarter of the Red Army, divides the northern front. The troops between the Artic Sea and Lake Ladoga, form a front of Karelia and the troops that are defending Leningrad, form a front of Leningrad.

~ All of the Vuoksi and the north - west area of Lake Ladoga, is in the hands of the Finnish troops.

~ Soviet troops start an counter attack with a division, in the area of Kämärä - Mainikkala.

24.8.1941

~ Finnish troops are able to cross the bay of Vyborg and so the area of Vyborg is encircled and three Soviet divisions are inside the encirclement.

~ Commander of all Finnish forces, president and the defense minister discuss the question, that should the Finnish troops attack against Leningrad. They come to the conclusion, that Finnish troops will not attack against Leningrad, because they fear that the Russians will never forgive, if Finnish troops will participate to this attack.

~ Finnish troops capture the island of Konevitsa, in the Lake Ladoga.
http://www.silentwall.com/CWAugust41.html

What's important to note here is that while the Finnish government was refusing to attack Leningrad, the Finnish army was destroying three Russian divisions. These were three divisions that the Germans didn't have to face. How is that not "aiding" the German effort?

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Post by Dan » 09 Dec 2004 16:45

What's important to note here is that while the Finnish government was refusing to attack Leningrad, the Finnish army was destroying three Russian divisions. These were three divisions that the Germans didn't have to face. How is that not "aiding" the German effort?
I doubt anyone with an IQ over 85 denies Finland aided Germany during WW2. The question is a) whether it was a war crime and b) whether or not it was immoral.

If you think that the US armed forces is some sort of vicarious sword of the deity, they yes, in the universe you inhabit Finland acted immorally. But if we are talking about warcrimes in the secular sense why is destroying 3 Soviet Divisions bad?

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Topspeed
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Post by Topspeed » 09 Dec 2004 16:53

It is not aiding because, finns were conquering back territories they lost to soviets in 1940 Moscow peace which was decleared illegal. It could be interpeted as aiding the nazis and Hitler was seemingly satisfied with finnish effort possibly because germans in Lappland and north of finnish troops did not advance much. What Hitler did not know and what finns feared was that would A. Hitler demand finns to advance further and or attack Leningrad at all costs. Finns could have easily advanced all the way to Ural. Cleverly the finns stopped after conquering the much disputed Eastern Karelia..much because the AKS ( Academic Karelia Society ) people wanted to free finnish speaking tribes or closely related tribes like Olonets Karelians and White Sea Karelians...why no effort was made to conquer White Sea Karelia is unknown. Possibly because the position finns had taken was easy to defend bordering into waterways and Mannerheim saw that germans aren't going to win the war....and England had already decleared war on Finland. Mannerheim was very popular in England before the war and that must have made him consider very carefully his moves.

According to general Talvela border was now set where nature had it meant to be ( after succesful invasion to Petroskoi / Äänislinna ) ! Talvela used to be a member of one banned nationalistic parties IKL ( Patriotic Peoples Movement ), but resigned in 1935.

Nazis knew very well their effort will be easier if they get finns to fight along with them..therefore Sibelius was being played on daily bases in Germany in 1941-1942 on public broadcastings etc. Older germans get goosepumps after hearing Sibelius nowadays.

Last speech between Lothar Rendulic and Mannerheim is interesting.

http://www.silentwall.com/CWSeptember44.html

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Post by Earldor » 09 Dec 2004 18:25

WalterS wrote:Mannerheim was aware that the Germans planned to take and destroy Leningrad, but he and the Finnish government decided not to take part in that attack, not because it was wrong, but because they feared perpetual Soviet enmity if the Russians won the war.

[...]

What's important to note here is that while the Finnish government was refusing to attack Leningrad, the Finnish army was destroying three Russian divisions. These were three divisions that the Germans didn't have to face. How is that not "aiding" the German effort?
Now, really, Walter. What's the point of your attack? IMHO, you haven't succeeded in blemishing the picture one iota. All of your claims have been shot down in flames except the trivial one about Finns fighting alongside the Germans, and in that way inadvertantly aiding and abetting in the Holocaust. Yes, you might reply, that I'm Finnish. That is true, but I believe that I am and have been very impartial in this matter. I'm sure we could discuss Finnish war crimes quite dispassionately, if you think that there are any.

If you're simply trying to distract the attention from the silly Bush/terror pilots-threads, you're not succeeding. Do you seriously believe that this kind of a diversionary attack is worth your while? I can think of many more pressing issues.

P.S. You forgot that Mannerheim studied and lived for a long while in St. Petersburg (he was an officer in the Chevalier Guard, the Czar's bodyguard unit), which also might have affected his decisions in this matter...

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Post by David Thompson » 09 Dec 2004 18:40

Topspeed said:
Some finns were indeed convicted after the war as warcriminals, but only because of the allied supervisory committee advised the state police to do so. I think the war crime is then committed by the allied forces in this matter and only executed by the finns.

Tero added:
Legally the procedures were dubious at best since all the Finnish "war criminals" were condemmed retroactively.
For the names of some of the Finnish civil and military officials accused of war crimes, see:

Did any of Germany's allies commit war crimes?
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 251#241251

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 844#242844
Last edited by David Thompson on 09 Dec 2004 18:48, edited 1 time in total.

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Topspeed
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Post by Topspeed » 09 Dec 2004 18:47

Mr. Thompson,

Luckily I refrased my comment above before you posted this link.
90 % of those finnish convicted by soviets are considered national heroes..what they undoudabtly were.

Thanks for the link.


rgds,

Topspeed

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 09 Dec 2004 22:51

WalterS wrote:Mannerheim was aware that the Germans planned to take and destroy Leningrad, but he and the Finnish government decided not to take part in that attack, not because it was wrong, but because they feared perpetual Soviet enmity if the Russians won the war.
Yes and he was terrified on such plans. That fear you mentioned was one point, but there were many other much more important ones, for example the question "what would Finland gain of taking part of the attack?" Finland had its own goals in this war.
22.8.1941
~ Field marshal Keitel writes to Mannerheim and asks that the Finnish army would start to pressure the Russian troops in Karelian Isthmus. Finnish troops should also help the German troops that are advancing towards Leningrad. Keitel also asks, that the Finns would attack to the other side of Syväri, towards the German attack columns. He also requests, that the Soviet base in Hanko would be destroyed immediately.
See, it was not an order, it was a kind request. Finns made own decisions depending on the situation. As we can see Finnish attack in Karelian Isthmus had already started and it was partly tied to German advance south from Gulf of Finland. As a soldier you shoud know that open flanks are not desired hence the delay in attack...

Finns reached River Svir (Syväri) on 7.9.1941 but it was not related to Keitel's letter. Not full German 163. Infanterie-Division advanced with Finnish troops and was placed to the front at River Svir for the attack across it. Attack was cancelled when Soviet bet Germans near Tikhvin and couldn't advance far enough. Finns would have only supported this river crossing but Finns saw clearly that one not full German division was too weak for such an attempt.

Finns didn't destroy Hanko naval base on Finnish soil. Soviet troops withdrew away from there at the beginning of December 1941 when the sea started freezing and Finns and volunteer Swedish troops liberated the heavily mined area.
WalterS wrote:
24.8.1941
~ Finnish troops are able to cross the bay of Vyborg and so the area of Vyborg is encircled and three Soviet divisions are inside the encirclement.
~ Commander of all Finnish forces, president and the defense minister discuss the question, that should the Finnish troops attack against Leningrad. They come to the conclusion, that Finnish troops will not attack against Leningrad, because they fear that the Russians will never forgive, if Finnish troops will participate to this attack.
~ Finnish troops capture the island of Konevitsa, in the Lake Ladoga.
What's important to note here is that while the Finnish government was refusing to attack Leningrad, the Finnish army was destroying three Russian divisions. These were three divisions that the Germans didn't have to face. How is that not "aiding" the German effort?
Of course Finnish troops did their best because that was war. These were three divisions Finns had to face and they were destroyed. Mostly it aided Finnish troops because after that the road to Leningrad was virtually open. Finnish troops could have easily continued much closer to Leningrad with six or seven divisions but the attack was stopped by an order of Finnish C-in-C Mannerheim.

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Post by Valtoro » 09 Dec 2004 23:38

There has been no illegal treatments against pows in Finland during the war ( except few cases were prisoners were not taken )
...Just referring to an older thread.

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 9&start=15

(This is not an personal attack on you TopSpeed :)

Merry Christmas / God Jul! 8)

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Beppo Schmidt
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Post by Beppo Schmidt » 09 Dec 2004 23:45

I fail to see how "collaborating" with Nazi Germany was any more "immoral" than collaborating with the Soviet Union. I'm sure the millions of victims of both dictatorships don't care whether they were murdered because of their race, religion, or political beliefs.

So if Finland can be put on trial here for aiding the war effort of a criminal state, why can't someone start a thread accusing the United States of abetting Soviet crimes?

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Post by Mark V » 10 Dec 2004 00:01

Beppo Schmidt wrote:I fail to see how "collaborating" with Nazi Germany was any more "immoral" than collaborating with the Soviet Union. I'm sure the millions of victims of both dictatorships don't care whether they were murdered because of their race, religion, or political beliefs.

So if Finland can be put on trial here for aiding the war effort of a criminal state, why can't someone start a thread accusing the United States of abetting Soviet crimes?
Beppo,

Not all Finns find there is problem. To me Finland was an Axis nation during Continuation War, with own objectives though.

So what ?? We would had collaborated with devil himself if he would had had something better to offer than Germans (Soviets had their fair chance and timeframe also, but they offered us nothing but end of nation and annihilation of our people in the Siberia)... it was about survival as an nation and tribe - nothing less of that.

The geopolitics could not be changed - in 1941 Finland had to choose side. No other alternatives. We would gladly had lived in some remote island far away from neighbours, but we had to face the harsh reality between USSR and Germany. Between those Hitler and Germany was an "pussycat"....


Mark V
Last edited by Mark V on 10 Dec 2004 00:07, edited 1 time in total.

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