Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

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

Post by prok » 03 Mar 2015 18:15

Good evening. Interested in a book about the activities of the Finnish artillery in the Winter War. It is a description of the fighting in the fortified area sikniemi. Several sheets. I would be very grateful. Nobody met?

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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by Seppo Koivisto » 03 Mar 2015 23:22

Maybe you mean the booklet Artillery barrage at Taipaleenjoki by Paavo Rahikainen, 13 pages, published by Suomen sotaveteraaniliitto in 1996.
http://www.worldcat.org/title/artillery ... c/41278218

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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by prok » 04 Mar 2015 10:46

Good afternoon. No, this book I have. And what do books on artillery in the Winter War there?

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John Hilly
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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by John Hilly » 26 Apr 2015 17:56

At last the new English trenslation of Väinö Linna's grat novel The Unknown soldier, now entitled Unknown Soldiers! :D
A must read. 8-)
Unknown Soldiers.jpg
Unknown Soldiers
Author: Väinö Linna
Translator: Liesl Yamaguchi
Penguin Classics Hardback 30 Apr 2015
Synopsis

Published for the first time in a faithful English translation, Unknown Soldiers is the story of a platoon of ordinary Finnish soldiers fighting their Soviet Union counterparts during the Second World War. Drawing on Linna's own wartime experiences, this gritty and realistic account shatters the myth of the noble, obedient Finnish soldier.
Product details

Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9780141393643
Size: 162 x 240mm
Pages: 480
Published: 30 Apr 2015
Publisher: Penguin Classics

With best, J-P :milwink:
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Aleksander P
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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by Aleksander P » 10 Jul 2015 23:23

Has anyone noticed that a new book in English is coming out about the Winter War? Wonder if it will offer anything new.
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CanKiwi2
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A new book on Finland in WW2 - not just the Winter War....

Post by CanKiwi2 » 14 Aug 2015 17:51

Due out from Pen & Sword Military on February 28, 2016 .... written by Claes Johansen....

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Hitler's Nordic Ally? Finland and the Total War 1939-1945 (
http://www.amazon.com/Hitlers-Nordic-Al ... s+johansen)

From Amazon - "Finland was the only nation with an elected and democratic government to fight on the German side in WWII. Despite being small, poorly armed and made up of conscripts, the Finnish army was probably the most effective fighting force at the time, managing with practically no outside help to keep the mighty Red Army at bay for more than three months during the Winter War of 1939-40. In 1944, the devastating Soviet mass attack against the Finnish army involved the largest artillery assault of the entire WWII theatre of operations up until this point. Nevertheless, the Finns eventually managed to halt the attack.

Most English books on Finland in WWII concentrate on the brief Winter War and make very little mention of the country's involvement in the remainder of the war, where it fought for more than three years alongside the Germans against the Soviet Union, and later against Germany in the Lapland War. This book examines this extremely important, highly dramatic and often overlooked and misunderstood chapter of WWII to a broad, English-reading audience. Building on the latest historical research, Claes Johansen's ground-breaking work explains how the Finnish war effort was planned and executed, how it was connected to the overall events of the era, and how the waging of a total war can affect a modern democratic society militarily, politically, diplomatically and on various levels of civilian life
."
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

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tramonte
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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by tramonte » 13 Oct 2015 11:47

This is a "must" book to understand the emotional reality of Winter War/Continuation War.

http://www.bonnierrights.fi/books/broken-minds/
" Broken Minds Murtuneet mielet
- Ville Kivimäki


Research on mental endurance and emotional breakdown of Finnish soldiers during the Second World War.

After the gunfire ceased, many veterans would be woken up by nightmares. What did they have to endure? How was it possible to maintain one’s mental health under circumstances where the limits of human endurance were met? What happened once this line was crossed?

The different stages of Finnish wars are well established, but the work on charting the emotional history of war is still ongoing. Broken Minds is a significant milestone in an important research area, resolutely deconstructing myths imposed upon bravery and national traumas that have afflicted several generations.

Ville Kivimäki examines the reasons behind mental endurance and emotional breakdown and their fluctuation through the different stages of the Second World War. Who were these soldiers, described as “cracked up” by their contemporaries? Why were they treated so differently in comparison to others wounded in the war?

The work also addresses military psychiatric practise prevalent at the time, as well as treatment options ranging from occupational therapy to electric shocks.

Broken Minds was awarded Finland’s most significant non-fiction literature prize, Non-fiction Finlandia Prize, in 2013. "
But first remember - it is a book explaining why was is possible that relatively low percentage of Finnish soldiers actually mentally collapsed after years and years living front line service. Also important detail: 1/3 of those with broken mind were not actually combat soldiers. Kivimäki explained also that so called trench warfare from summer 1942 to spring 1944 was not nearly as secure period for soldiers as common wisdom is understanding. Actually it has been much more devastating because soldiers were always living in grey zone of peaceful illusion while danger was looming all the time near them.

For Red Army soldiers things were likely similar. Somehow it helped me to understand better also the life of RAF/USAF bomber crews: today in pub, tomorrow in hellfire.
"Military history is nothing but a tissue of fictions and legends, only a form of literary invention; reality counts for very little in such affair."

- Gaston de Pawlowski, Dans les rides du front

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Aleksander P
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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by Aleksander P » 09 Dec 2015 21:23

Aleksander P wrote:Has anyone noticed that a new book in English is coming out about the Winter War? Wonder if it will offer anything new.
The writers of this book will be releasing a book about the Continuation and Lapland War next March. Probably doesn't offer anything new to Finnish readers but certainly valuable for ones who don't speak Finnish.
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Gamle Lode
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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by Gamle Lode » 13 Jan 2016 19:13

Toni Wirtanen? The rocker Apulanta-Toni?

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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by Lotvonen » 15 Jan 2016 06:05

"Toni Wirtanen? The rocker Apulanta-Toni?"

Yessir!

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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by valtonen » 31 Jan 2016 09:46

Toni the Rocker first studied computer science at the University of Helsinki, but dropped out at the time when Apulanta became a moneymaker. Records show, that a certain Toni Wirtanen enrolled in the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Helsinki. Although Virtanen is the most common finniish last name (or was it Lahtinen) it is very seldom spelled with a W. Therefore - the historian really might be the Rocker himsel!

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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by sandels » 31 Jan 2016 15:57

Yes it actually is him. Story about his book writing(in finnish): http://www.iltasanomat.fi/viihde/art-1444890551106.html

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Re: Recommended “Hitler’s Nordic Ally?: Finland and the Total War 1939-45”

Post by CanKiwi2 » 03 Jun 2016 15:26

“Hitler’s Nordic Ally?: Finland and the Total War 1939-45” by Claes Johansen

“Hitler’s Nordic Ally?: Finland and the Total War 1939-45”is a through and detailed study of Finland’s experiences in WW2, covering the lead in to the Winter War, the Winter War itself, the Interim Peace, the Continuation War and the Lapland War. For readers who want to understand the totality of Finland’s experience in WW2, you couldn’t find a better and more readable source.

Finland in WW2 is a story of a small Scandinavian country caught up through no choice of its own in the savagery of a war fought between two of the most evil empires ever to have existed –Hitler’s Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union. Invaded by the Soviet Union without a declaration of war in late November 1939, Finland held the might of the Red army at bay for more than three months during the Winter War of 1939-1940. A war that ended with Finland staving off occupation by the Russian’s, unlike the smaller Baltic States and eastern Poland, which fell to Stalin’s rule, with appalling results for their peoples.

Under increasing pressure from the Soviet Union over the next two years, Finland came to see an arrangement with Nazi Germany as the country’s only hope for survival. When Hitler embarked on war with the Soviet Union in June 1941, Finland again found itself drawn into conflict with the Soviet Union, now in an unofficial alliance with the Germans. This war would become known in Finland as the Continuation War – to the Finns, it was seen as a continuation of the Winter War, where Finland hoped to regain the territories illegally annexed by force to the USSR as part of the peace treaty that ended the Winter War.

In 1944, with Hitler’s Germany looking increasingly unlikely to win the war, the Finnish Army fought of a major offensive by the Red Army which culminated in a victory for the Finns in the battle of Tali-Ihantala, the largest battle ever fought on Scandinavia soil. Finland subsequently negotiated an armistice with the Soviet Union. As part of this agreement, the Finns were to force the German’s to withdraw from northern Finland. This led to fighting breaking out between the Finnish military and the Germany Army in the north, a war that was later known as the Lapland War.

At the end of WW2, Finland remained an independent country, it’s capital, Helsinki, one of only three capital cities of belligerents in Europe not to be occupied by enemy forces – the other two being Moscow and London. No mean feat for a tiny country caught between the Red Army and the Wehrmacht.

In writing “Hitler’s Nordic Ally? Finland and the Total War 1939-1945”, author Claes Johansen has filled a major gap in the subject of Finland in WW2. Most books to date on Finland in WW2 have concentrated on the Winter War – a heroic episode, but also only a small part of Finland’s struggle for survival. A very small number of books in English exist on the Continuation War and on other aspects of Finland’s experience in WW2, but there really are none that adequately cover the entirety of Finland’s experience from start to finish, an experience which included fighting first the Russians and then the Germans. (And, incidentally, the USA never did declare war on Finland in WW2, while the UK did, but only in response to pressure from Stalin).

For readers outside of Europe – Canadians and Americans in particular – WW2 is often seen as a single continuous conflict between two sides—with the countries involved fighting on either one side or the other. What is often forgotten was that at the start of WW2, Stalin’s USSR and Hitler’s Germany were for all intents and purposes allies, aiding and assisting each other, and it was in this context that the Winter War was fought, with Britain and France seeking to assist Finland whilst using this as a pretext to open up Scandinavia as a further front in the war against Germany – giving some further context to the German invasion of Norway.

By giving us this level of background and the explanatory detail necessary to understand Finland’s circumstances, Johansen brings home the fact that countries such as Finland were caught up in WW2 against their will and, as he illustrates so ably, sought only to survive intact as an independent nation. Where we see WW2 as one continuous conflict between the “Allies” and the “Axis”, Johansen shows us the war from Finland’s perspective - a series of three successive and separate wars fought by Finland against both the Soviet Union and Germany in order to survive, while around Finland the rest of the world was embroiled in a greater war.

A preface sets out the intertwined history of Finland and the Soviet Union leading up to the Winter War. We learn that from 1809 to 1917 Finland was a grand duchy of Russia and that it gained its independence after a civil war that paralleled the one in Russia but which had a very different result (the Reds in Finland lost). This Civil War and Finland’s independence set the stage for two decades of tension as the Soviet Union worried about the security of their second largest city, Leningrad (the once and future Saint Petersburg), whose suburbs lay only 30 kilometers from the Finnish border.

The bulk of the book is divided clearly into four distinct sections covering the Winter War, the 15-month Interim Peace, the Continuation War and the Lapland War. The narrative itself alternates between detailed descriptions of the political debate and the maneuvering that preceded and followed each of the wars and blow-by-blow accounts of the military actions that shifted the Finnish-Soviet border first westward, then eastward and then westward again. The narratives of battle are brought to life by excerpts from journals and first-hand accounts from participants on the ground. The book also includes a good selection of photographs of stunning quality. At the end of the book are six pages of maps to help the reader locate the various battle zones and the shifting borders. Readers not familiar with the geography may want their own detailed map at hand to glance at frequently during their reading.

The author also highlights the participation and accounts of his Danish countrymen as a way to provide a window into Finland through the eyes of foreigners involved in the wars — as well as other international volunteers from Norway, Sweden and the Baltic countries. What comes through clearly in Johansen’s account is his deep admiration for the Finnish people (if not always for each and every one of their political and military leaders) and their determination to survive as an independent people.

In his introduction he asserts that the “Finnish Army was probably the most effective fighting force in all of the Second World War. Despite being made up of conscripts, small and poorly armed, it managed with practically no outside help to keep the mighty Red Army at bay for more than three months during the Winter War of 1939-40.” For all that, his tone is generally detached and non-judgmental, Johansen leaves no stone unturned in examining every angle of the choices made by the Finnish political leadership when their choices boiled down to either surrendering to the Soviet Union or to cooperating with Nazi Germany in its war against the Soviets.

Johansen’s ambivalence about making any judgement on Finland’s choices no doubt explains why the title ends with a question mark. And it would be fair to ask why the question mark in the book’s title. After all, as an unoccupied country that coordinated with Berlin in advance of Operation Barbarossa (the Axis invasion the Soviet Union), Finland surely qualified as a German ally—even if Finland was never a formal member of the Axis.
Yet, as Johansen is at pains to demonstrate, the Finns were operating out of practicality and were not at all invested in Hitler’s Nazi ideology. Finland during this period may be one of the best examples we have of the old expression: “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. And while the Winter War and the Continuation War were both fought against the Soviets, the seven-month Lapland War of 1944-45, which followed an armistice with the Soviets, was fought against the Germans.

What we come to understand is that Finland’s motivations and actions were complex, driven by the practicality of ensuring Finland survived (where no other country defeated by the Soviet Union did for all practical purposes); and not always morally comfortable if looked at in black and white terms. Johansen succeeds ably in giving the reading an understand of the tough choices facing Finland, and the basis on which decisions were made. In the end, these choices, morally questionable at they at times might have been, were validated as, against all odds, Finland survived as a free and independent country.

Of all the complexities and seeming paradoxes that come to light in exploring Finland’s history in WW2, probably the biggest conundrum is the one highlighted by Johansen at the very outset in his introduction: “Finland was the only nation with an elected and democratic government to fight on the German side in the Second World War.” As the author makes clear, this was largely out of necessity. The Finns would gladly have accepted support and aid from the Allies, but aid was never forthcoming.

In point of fact, the French and the British first sought to use Finland as a pawn in their own war against Germany, a fact of which Finland’s leadership was well aware. Following the outbreak of war between Germany and the USSR, the British in particular saw nothing reprehensible about throwing Finland as a bone to the USSR. As Johansen so well illustrates, at every turn the Finns were thwarted by other countries caught up in their own uncomfortable necessities and their own shifting allegiances and interests.

By the end of Johansen’s book, we are appreciative of the near-miraculous fact that Finland survived as an independent country, avoiding the sad fate of nearby Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and eastern Poland.

Claes Johansen’s “Hitler’s Nordic Ally? Finland and the Total War 1939-1945” is currently available for ordering on Amazon and through other book suppliers and is well worth purchasing by anyone interested in the history of Finland in WW2. Published by Pen & Sword, the books is printed and bound to Pen & Sword’s usual impeccable standards and also contains a good assortment of photographs taken from the Finnish Defence Forces photographic archives.

As you can no doubt gather, this book comes highly recommended. I should also make it clear I did some editing for this book for Claes - a great experience.

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Panssari Salama
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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by Panssari Salama » 04 Jun 2016 08:27

^^ Excellent news Kiwi :thumbsup:

34.95 at suomalainen.com. Order placed :welcome:
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CanKiwi2
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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by CanKiwi2 » 04 Jun 2016 12:18

Panssari Salama wrote:^^ Excellent news Kiwi :thumbsup:

34.95 at suomalainen.com. Order placed :welcome:
Hey, great. I think you'll enjoy it. It's the book I wish had been available when I first started reading up on Finland and WW2. Works you all the way thru and it's readable. Really, there's not much in English on anything but the Winter War, and the other books out there like that earlier one of Lund's are pretty dry. Claes put a tremendous amount of effort and research into this book and I think it shows. :thumbsup:
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