Concept

Finland in World War II

Summary
Finland participated in the Second World War initially in a defensive war against the Soviet Union, followed by another battle against the Soviet Union acting in concert with Nazi Germany and then finally fighting alongside the Allies against Germany. The first two major conflicts in which Finland was directly involved were the defensive Winter War against an invasion by the Soviet Union in 1939, followed by the offensive Continuation War, together with Germany and the other Axis Powers against the Soviets, in 1941–1944. The third conflict, the Lapland War against Germany in 1944–1945, followed the signing of the Moscow Armistice with the Allied Powers, which stipulated expulsion of Nazi German forces from Finnish territory. By the end of hostilities, Finland remained an independent country, albeit "Finlandized", having to cede nearly 10% of its territory, including Viipuri (Finland's second-largest city [Population Register] or fourth-largest city [Church and Civil Register], depending on the census data), pay out a large amount of war reparations to the Soviet Union, and formally acknowledge partial responsibility for the Continuation War. In 1809, the Russian Empire seized Finland from Sweden in the Finnish War. Finland entered a personal union with the Russian Empire as a grand duchy with extensive autonomy. During the period of Russian rule the country generally prospered. On 6 December 1917, during the Russian Civil War, the Finnish parliament (Suomen Eduskunta) declared independence from Russia, which was accepted by the Bolshevik government of the Soviet Union on 31 December. In January 1918, the Eduskunta ordered General Carl Mannerheim to use local Finnish White Guards to disarm Finnish Red Guards and Russian troops throughout the country, a process which began on 27 January and led to the beginning of the Finnish Civil War. After the Eastern Front and peace negotiations between the Bolsheviks and Germany collapsed, German troops intervened in the country and occupied Helsinki and Finland.
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