Military Review

Was the Soviet-Finnish 1939-1940 war a defeat for the USSR?


The Soviet-Finnish war of 1939-1940 has become quite a popular topic in the Russian Federation. All authors who love to go through the "totalitarian past," love to remember this war, to remember the balance of power, the losses, the failures of the initial period of the war.

Reasonable causes of war are denied or silenced. Often blame the decision on the war personally to Comrade Stalin. As a result, many of the citizens of the Russian Federation, who had heard about this war in general, are sure that we lost it, suffered huge losses and showed the whole world the weakness of the Red Army.

The origins of Finnish statehood

The land of the Finns (in the Russian annals - “Sum”) did not have its own statehood, in the XII-XIV centuries it was conquered by the Swedes. On the lands of Finnish tribes (sum, em, Karelians), three crusades were carried out - 1157, 1249 — 1250 and 1293 — 1300. Finnish tribes were conquered and were forced to adopt Catholicism. A further invasion of the Swedes and the Crusaders was stopped by the Novgorodians, who inflicted several defeats on them. In 1323, the Orekhovsky Peace was concluded between the Swedes and Novgorod.

The lands were ruled by Swedish feudal lords, the control centers were castles (Abo, Vyborg and Tavastgus). The Swedes had all the administrative and judicial power. The official language was Swedish, the Finns did not even have cultural autonomy. The nobility and the entire educated segment of the population spoke Swedish, Finnish was the language of ordinary people. The church had a great power - the Abosky episcopate, but paganism retained its position among the common people for quite a long time.

In 1577, Finland received the status of the Grand Duchy and received a coat of arms with a lion. Gradually, the Finnish nobility merged with the Swedish.

In 1808, the Russian-Swedish war began, the reason was the refusal of Sweden to come forward with Russia and France against England; Russia won. According to the Friedrichsham Peace Treaty of September 1809, Finland became the property of the Russian Empire.

Over a hundred years ago, the Russian Empire turned the Swedish province into a practically autonomous state with its own authorities, monetary unit, mail, customs, and even the army. Since 1863, Finnish, along with Swedish, has become the state language. All managerial posts, except for the Governor-General, were occupied by local residents. All taxes collected in Finland remained in the same place, Petersburg almost did not interfere in the internal affairs of the grand duchy. The migration of Russians to the principality was prohibited, the rights of Russians living there were limited, and the province was not Russified.

Was the Soviet-Finnish 1939-1940 war a defeat for the USSR?

Sweden and territories colonized by it, 1280 year

In 1811, the principality was given to the Russian province of Vyborg, which was formed from the lands that had been ceded to Russia under the 1721 and 1743 agreements. Then the administrative border with Finland approached the capital of the empire. In 1906, by decree of the Russian emperor, Finnish women, the first in all of Europe, gained the right to vote. The Finnish intelligentsia fostered by Russia did not remain in debt and wanted independence.

The territory of Finland in the composition of Sweden in the XVII century

Beginning of independence

6 December 1917, the Sejm (Finnish Parliament) declared independence, 31 December 1917, the Soviet government recognized the independence of Finland.

15 (28) January 1918 was a revolution in Finland that developed into a civil war. The White Finns called for help from German troops. The Germans did not refuse, in early April they landed on the Hanko Peninsula an 12-thousandth division (the Baltic Division) under the command of General von der Goltz. Another squad in 3 thousands of people sent 7 on April. With their support, the supporters of Red Finland suffered a defeat, the 14-th Germans occupied Helsinki, Vyborg fell on April X-VX, in early May the Reds were completely defeated. Whites carried out mass repressions: more than 29 thousands of people were killed, about 8 thousands of rot in concentration camps, about 12 thousands of people were arrested and imprisoned. A genocide was unleashed against the Russians in Finland, they killed everyone indiscriminately: officers, students, women, old people, children.

Berlin demanded that the German prince, Friedrich Karl of Hesse, be put on the throne, the Seym of October 9 elected him king of Finland. But Germany was defeated in World War I, and therefore Finland became a republic.

The first two Soviet-Finnish wars

Independence was not enough, the Finnish elite wanted to increase the territory, deciding to take advantage of the Troubles in Russia, Finland attacked Russia. Karl Mannerheim promised to join East Karelia. On March 15, the so-called “Wallenius Plan” was approved, according to which the Finns wanted to seize Russian lands along the border: White Sea - Lake Onega - Svir River - Lake Ladoga, moreover, the Pechenga region, the Kola Peninsula, Petrograd had to move to Suomi become a "free city". On the same day, volunteer detachments were ordered to begin the conquest of Eastern Karelia.

15 May 1918, Helsinki declared war on Russia, until the autumn of active hostilities was not, Germany concluded the Brest peace with the Bolsheviks. But after its defeat, the situation has changed, 15 October 1918, the Finns seized the Rebolsky region, in January 1919, the Porozersky region. In April, the Olonets volunteer army began an offensive; it captured Olonets, approached Petrozavodsk. During the Vidlitskoy operation (27 June-8 July), the Finns were defeated and expelled from the Soviet land. In the autumn of 1919, the Finns repeated the attack on Petrozavodsk, but were repulsed at the end of September. In July 1920, the Finns suffered a few more defeats, and negotiations began.

In mid-October, the Yuryevsky (Tartu) peace treaty was signed by 1920, Soviet Russia ceded the Pechenga-Petsamo area, Western Karelia to the Sestra river, the western part of the Rybachiy peninsula and most of the Middle Peninsula.

But this was not enough for the Finns, the plan of “Great Finland” was not implemented. The second war was started, it began with the formation of partisan detachments on the territory of Soviet Karelia in October 1921, on November 10, Finnish volunteer units invaded Russia. By mid-February 6, the Soviet troops liberated the occupied territories, on March 1922 an agreement on the inviolability of borders was signed.

Border change under the Tartu Agreement 1920 of the year

Years of cold neutrality

Swinhoodwood, Per Evind, 3 President of Finland, 2 March 1931 of the Year - 1 March 1937 of the Year

In Helsinki, they left no hope to profit at the expense of the Soviet territories. But after two wars, they drew conclusions for themselves - it was necessary to act not by volunteer detachments, but by an entire army (Soviet Russia got stronger) and allies were needed. As the first Finnish Prime Minister Svinhuvud put it: “Any enemy of Russia must always be a friend of Finland.”

With the exacerbation of Soviet-Japanese relations, Finland began to establish contacts with Japan. Japanese officers began to come to Finland for internships. Helsinki reacted negatively to the entry of the USSR into the League of Nations and the agreement on mutual assistance with France. The hopes for a big conflict between the USSR and Japan were not justified.

The hostility of Finland and its readiness for war against the USSR was not a secret either in Warsaw or in Washington. So, in September 1937, the American military attache in the USSR, Colonel F. Faymonville reported: "The most urgent military problem of the Soviet Union is to prepare to repel the simultaneous attack of Japan in the East and Germany together with Finland in the West."

Provocations constantly occurred on the border of the USSR and Finland. For example: October 7 1936 was shot by a Finnish side by a roundabout Soviet border guard. Only after a long wrangling, Helsinki paid compensation to the family of the deceased and pleaded guilty. Finnish aircraft violated both land and water frontiers.

Moscow was particularly concerned about Finland’s cooperation with Germany. The Finnish public supported the actions of Germany in Spain. German designers designed the submarines for the Finns. Finland supplied Berlin nickel and copper, receiving 20-mm anti-aircraft guns, planned to buy combat aircraft. In 1939, a German intelligence and counterintelligence center was created in Finland, its main task was intelligence work against the Soviet Union. The center collected information about the Baltic navy, Leningrad Military District, Leningrad Industry. Finnish intelligence worked closely with the Abwehr. During the Soviet-Finnish war of 1939-1940, the blue swastika became an identification mark of the Finnish Air Force.

By the beginning of 1939, with the help of German specialists in Finland, a network of military airfields was built, which could take on 10 times more aircraft than the Finnish Air Force had.

Helsinki was ready to fight against the USSR, not only in alliance with Germany, but also with France and England.

The problem of protecting Leningrad

By 1939, we had an absolutely hostile state on the north-western borders. There was a problem of protecting Leningrad, the border was just 32 km, the Finns could fire heavy artillery at the city. In addition, it was necessary to protect the city from the sea.

From the south, the problem was solved by concluding a mutual assistance agreement with Estonia in September 1939. The USSR received the right to deploy garrisons and naval bases on the territory of Estonia.

Helsinki did not want to solve the most important issue for the USSR through diplomacy. Moscow offered to exchange territories, an agreement on mutual assistance, joint defense of the Gulf of Finland, to sell part of the territory for a military base or to rent out. But Helsinki did not accept a single option. Although the most far-sighted figures, for example, Karl Mannerheim, understood the strategic necessity of the demands of Moscow. Mannerheim offered to move the border away from Leningrad and get good compensation, and to offer the island of Yussarö under the Soviet naval base. But in the end, the position prevailed not to compromise.

It should be noted that London did not stand aside and in its own way provoked a conflict. Moscow was hinted that they would not interfere in a possible conflict, and the Finns were told that they had to hold positions and give in.

As a result, the November 30 1939, the third Soviet-Finnish war began. The first stage of the war, until the end of December 1939, was unsuccessful, because of the lack of intelligence and insufficient strength of the Red Army suffered significant losses. The enemy was underestimated, the Finnish army mobilized in advance. She occupied the defensive fortifications of the Mannerheim Line.

New Finnish fortifications (1938-1939's) were not known to intelligence, they did not allocate the required amount of forces (for successful hacking of fortifications it was necessary to create superiority in the ratio 3: 1).

West Position

The USSR expelled from the League of Nations, violating the rules: 7 countries from 15, who were members of the Council of the League of Nations, were in favor of exclusion, 8 did not participate or abstained. That is, excluded a minority of votes.

Finns supplied weapons England, France, Sweden and other countries. More than 11 of thousands of foreign volunteers arrived in Finland.

London and Paris eventually decided to start a war with the USSR. In Scandinavia, they planned to land an Anglo-French expeditionary force. Aviation Allies had to inflict airstrikes on the Union’s oil fields in the Caucasus. From Syria, the Allied forces planned to conduct an offensive on Baku.

The Red Army frustrated large-scale designs, Finland was defeated. Despite the persuasion of the French and the British to hold on, 12 March 1940, the Finns sign the world.

USSR lost the war?

- Under the Moscow Treaty of 1940, the USSR received the Rybachiy peninsula in the north, part of Karelia with Vyborg, the northern Ladoga area, and the Hanko peninsula was leased to the USSR for 30 years, a naval base was established there. After the start of World War II, the Finnish army was able to reach the old border only in September 1941 of the year.

- We received these territories, without giving away ours (offered twice as much as requested), and free of charge - we also offered monetary compensation. When the Finns remembered the compensation and cited the example of Peter the Great, who gave 2 million thalers to Sweden, Molotov replied: “Write a letter to Peter the Great. If he orders, we will pay compensation. ” Moscow still insisted on 95 million rubles compensation for damage to equipment and property from land seized by the Finns. Plus, the USSR also transferred 350 sea and river transports, 76 locomotives, 2 thousand carriages.

- The Red Army acquired an important combat experience, saw its shortcomings.

It was a victory, though not brilliant, but a victory.

Territories ceded by Finland to the USSR, as well as leased by the USSR in 1940

Sources of:
Civil war and intervention in the USSR. M., 1987.
Diplomatic dictionary in three volumes. M., 1986.
Winter War 1939-1940. M., 1998.
Isaev A. Antisuvorov. M., 2004.
History international relations (1918-2003). M., 2000.
Meinander H. History of Finland. M., 2008.
Pykhalov I. The Great Obolgannaya war. M., 2006.

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  1. turnip
    turnip April 12 2011 13: 29
    and the fourth Russo-Finnish war will be ??? smile
    1. Alex
      Alex 21 June 2014 23: 52
      Turnip, well, you have jokes ...
    2. Mavrikiy
      Mavrikiy 7 January 2016 21: 33
      No. Everything will be calm on the Sino-Finnish border. Hello from the humor of 1981.
  2. cabin boy
    cabin boy April 12 2011 20: 32
    The author did not disclose the question of who financed the first two Soviet-Finnish wars. Something I strongly doubt that "Greater Finland" has such a great financial system.
    Turnip when the printers of green pieces of paper become completely ill, there will be not only the fourth Russian-Finnish and second Russian-Georgian, but also the Russian-Baltic countries not for nothing that they come up with NADO plans to protect against Russian aggression.
  3. Escander
    Escander April 12 2011 23: 16
    Pendosa financed, as did Yapov.
  4. Flax
    Flax April 13 2011 21: 06
    Another one-sided article about the Winter War. The author at the beginning runs over: As a result, many of the citizens of the Russian Federation who have heard about this war are sure that we lost it, suffered huge losses and showed the whole world the weakness of the Red Army.,
    but in the course of the article this does not refute anything, silent the course of the war, completely mediocre organization, terrifying losses.
    In my opinion there are not so many mentally balanced people who do not understand the need for this war, so why devote an entire article to this? but HOW this has been done explains a lot. In particular, the brilliant military transformations of Stalin.
  5. hickey
    hickey April 29 2011 20: 13
    Scoop lost 125,000 and little Finland 25,000
    Scoop lost 3,500 tanks, and Finland - 30
    The scoop lost 500 years, and Finland - 62
    1. Alex
      Alex 21 June 2014 23: 54
      Quote: Hickey
      Scoop lost xnumx tanks
      Where you counted so many tanks ........deleted by moderator Apollo?
  6. Joker
    Joker April 30 2011 10: 11
    the British have such a program, calculates the offensive options, very smart.

    She was given the conditions of the Finnish war, she refused to fight at minus 40. The frost was removed. She "delivered" a nuclear strike. EVERYTHING, under those conditions, it was unrealistic to fight and even more to attack. Of course, there were also miscalculations of the leadership, BUT, the attackers always suffer greater losses than the defenders, and the border, under the political conditions prevailing at that time, was vital to move away from St. Petersburg.
    1. Alex
      Alex 21 June 2014 23: 54
      I read this funny story from V. Suvorov.
  7. Anton_V
    Anton_V 17 February 2015 17: 41
    Thank. Briefly and informatively.
  8. tehnokrat
    tehnokrat 27 December 2015 01: 06
    “... it is important to value and know the history, especially the history of your country ...”
    The author, it would seem, agrees with this indisputable truth. But then how to understand this:
    “... why certain periods, for example, Nicholas II and Yeltsin, have been so lately lauded ...”
    By whom and where are they exalted? A lot is being written about our History now, both about all the Romanovs and about the Soviet period. Nicholas II was considered to be a failure, and is believed to be, and Yeltsin was called as an alcoholic, so they are called.
    "... Soviet time is being erased and blackened ..." Who denigrates something? "Whitewashing" the Soviet time, you say:
    "... the bureaucrats who have always ruled in our country ... then did not allow Stalin to achieve this competitiveness in the elections ...".
    “... a party that always indicates how and what to do to state bodies ... in case of failure, it’s not responsible for anything ...”
    “... unfortunately, after the death of Stalin, power was in the hands of Khrushchev, who tried to destroy everything positive”

    This you write about the Soviet era! There is some kind of blackening!
    The “whitening” of the Soviet period boiled down to the whitening of Stalin ... And who denigrates something? Who wanted to - blackened for a long time, 25 years ago.
    The authors now and then sin by using the method that has been overwhelming over the years of pulling out the pulling out of certain facts and figures:
    "... before the war, thanks to the industrialization of the country, he was able to prepare the USSR to repulse the enemy ..."
    Those. at 31, did he already know of a future attack? Oh yes, here's the rest:
    “He made a mistake in his predictions for several months - after 10 years the war began”
    Why did we support Germany? Did they teach pilots and tankers? Strategic cargo drove up until the morning of June 22 ?? With such foresight, it was necessary to have a best friend - England, well, in the worst case, France - still a future ally!
    Stalin was a statesman, and at that time such countries were led. And about foresight - it's overkill!
    "During the war, the marshals all moved aside, because those who were in 1937, and whom our lovers of democracy mourn as" victims of Stalinism ", could not have fought against the Germans - they were the marshals of the civil war"
    Well, yes, the Marshals pushed aside. And why did he transfer commanders of regiments?
    The Finnish war showed the results of this “update”.
    The article is a fat minus. And the authors wish:
    “... it is important to value and know the history, especially the history of your country ...”
    Now minus
    1. Mavrikiy
      Mavrikiy 7 January 2016 22: 02
      "So at 31 he already knew about a future attack?"

      "Well, you give Keptin." Let me tell you an amazing secret: in Russia, analysts were cooler than in England. By the end of, say, our participation in WW1, the General Staff under the tsar had a note in which he indicated that the war was generally won, but it would not achieve its goals, so there will be another, in 20 years, and to prepare for it, the military-industrial complex must be nationalized. And Stalin in 1931 ... You do not know his great "If we do not pass in 10 years, the path that Europe has traveled in 100 years, we will be crushed." The main thing is not even 10 years, the main thing here is Europe, the fight against the European Union.
      And the rest is completely crap.
      What could we teach German tank pilots and on what? When did cooperation begin and when did it end? Who brought what to schools? The Germans bought tanks and planes, and we gave training ranges, and studied together. With the advent of Hitler, goodbye.
      England, France allies: read books not about 1941, but about boring 1930. and questions will disappear.
  9. tehnokrat
    tehnokrat 27 December 2015 09: 14
    How did I get my comment written on a completely different topic ??
    1. Mavrikiy
      Mavrikiy 7 January 2016 21: 26
      Merry Christmas! Yours.