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The Winter War began in November of 1939, when the Soviets invaded Finland, seeking to claim Finnish territory. With overwhelming numbers advantages in men and firepower, the Soviets were expecting victory in a couple of weeks. Instead, the conflict went on for three months, with the Soviet soldiers taking casualties at a rate five times that of the Finnish forces. While Finland ultimately agreed to sign 11% of its land over to the Soviets in the peace treaty that ended the war, Finland retained its sovereignty and demonstrated that it was no easy target. Nikita Khrushchev characterized the advantages the Soviets had, noting, “But on these most favorable terms, we could only win through huge difficulties and incredibly great losses. In fact, this victory was a moral defeat.”
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10. They ate well… and made sure the Soviets didn’t
9. They used (and coined the name) Molotov cocktails to neutralize Soviet tanks
8. They had the “White Death”
7. They had saunas
6. They divided and conquered
5. They used psychological warfare
4. They used reindeer and sleds
3. Finnish soldiers knew the terrain, and how to navigate it
2. They dressed for success
1. They had sisu
My mother was one of the cooks mentioned in point 10. One of her many stories was about the Finnish soldier escorting her while she carried a pot of stew to the troops. He stepped on the mine instead of her; his guts then were hung on the trees. She came to Britain in 1949, married a Welshman, and eventually got a army pension from Finland. On a separate point: very few Soviets surrendered to the Finns. Those that did almost certainly got murdered when repatriated to the USSR.
Sisu = True Grit + Patriotism. A folk tale. One day a farm boy was helping his father in the field. The earth started to rattle and Soviet tanks and soldiers began to come over the hill. The boy looked up at his father and said, "Father, their are so many Soviets and Finland is so small! Where will we bury all of them?" A Soviet officer was asked how much territory was gained after the winter war. "Enough to bury the dead all of the Soviet troops" he replied.
Incorrect. Germany had a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union during the winter war (1939-1940), so Finland was alone. Finland had another war with the Soviet Union from 1941-1944 called the continuation war where Finland attacked the Soviet Union with Germany and the other Axis powers.
You can understand " sisu " like this. You are getting your a** kicked and you are laying on the floor, then you stand up and this is going on for 10 more times and then you beat out the crap from your enemy, thats " sisu ". In finnish we have a saying " we will twist, but not brake ". But violence is not the answer to anything.
Wasn’t there also that story about Russian radio controlled explosives being jammed by blasting a song called „Säkkijärven Polkka“ over the same frequencies that the explosives used for several days...?
Actually, this war could be avoided, if Finnish government agreed on Stalin's proposal to move their border farther from Leningrad. Legitimate claim by the Soviets, by the way, if take in consideration Nazi advances at that time. Plus, they could probably save much of Karelia as well. Stalin personally atanded those meetings with Finns, that he rarely did before . It could flag importance of the metter for Finnish diplomats if they acted more rational. Who knows, they might get a better deal without war, than actually got after.
Maybe not. Sweden provided iron to Germanys military industry, and Soviets wanted to stop that. Also Soviets wanted to proceed as long as Norway so Germany could not use Norwegian ports to dominate North Atlantic. Finland was just the first step on the way.
Soviets would have attacked anyways.
Regarding number 10, that they ate well. During the inital stages of the war supplies were hard to come by and the spread out skitroops had no easy acces to heat or food. The finish soildiers fought many month (i think from the start untill christmas) with nothing but hardbread. When they got acces to porridge morale improved dramaticly beacause the food was coocked even thoug it consisted of the same ingridients.
Simon does not mention it, but the Finns had some help with the provision of weapons and supplies by another, much bigger, nation that had no love for the Soviets... does the helmet the guy as wearing at 11:08 remind you of anyone else's helmet (and I don't mean Darth Vader)? How about the "Sisu" award at 12:24? Looks suspiciously similar to an Iron Cross? I'm not trying to imply the Finns did anything wrong by accepting aid from the Reich, quite the opposite, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend," but very few commentators, foreign and Finnish alike, explore that angle.
Having a same enemy Soviet Union, and Finland accepting weapons and other aid from Germany, Finland is very often concidered part of Axis and/or a Nazi nation. That is far from truth. Finland did what most neutral and independent countries wanted to do. Defend themselves. Only Finland was able to do that in Europe. Helsinki was the only mainland European capital not to be invaded by foreign troops. London and Moscow the only to other.
And Finland was in war with Germany too later in WW II. Not many know that.
About the Molotov cocktails. Contrary to what Simon tells here, the Molotov cocktails used by the Finns (mostly) didn't use a soaked rage to ignite the liquid. Rather the bottle was closed with a regular cap and the ignition was done with a storm-match taped to the side of the bottle, which is a far more reliable method. You can even see this in the pictures presented in this video, in a contrast to what Simon is saying.
Yes, and there was always two of those per bottle. Just in case the first attempt to throw the bottle was not successful and the match burned out, you still had the second match and you can easily try again. That fuse also provided plenty of time to light the match and then advance, not advance first and then light the match. A lot safer to use than a rag. Once you light up the rag, you must throw it quickly and there is no backing out of it.
I'm an American who is a quarter Finnish, I have a girlfriend who is ethnically Russian from Eastern Europe. Once when I was over at her family's house for a dinner one of the family friends who was a jerk and found out I was Finnish ask me to ask my girlfriend how many of my relatives were killed by her relatives. I replied not as many as were killed by my relatives, I might have mentioned the casualty ratio to him. This was met with a blank look on his face.
I really admire the Finns success in the winter war, but this was only possible ,and it’s not mentioned, by a very stupid plan to invade Finland by the soviet leadership: influenced by the German operation in Poland they launched the attack from the east on a wide front where roads were few , stockpiling for just 2 weeks of fighting instead of focusing ,as they did later, on a well equipped and supplied thrust from the south aiming for the capital.
So Britain and France declare war on Germany for invading Poland, who has stolen land off Germany and were killing German citizens.
Russia invaded both Poland AND Finland and the allies didn't care? Why didn't the allies declare war on communism? Hmmmm I wonder why!?
Reminds me of how the Houthies are currently defeating the Saudis. Especially the Molotov cocktails effectiveness against tanks. As well as the utilization of reindeer to trek the landscape. Rpgs and donkeys in the case of the houthies but still... Saudis have top of the line American weaponry. I see many similarities
18th century - France vs. Russia - Napoleon failed to Invade Russia (Mostly because of the fierce Winter)
19th century - Germany vs. Russia- Hitler failed to conquer Russia (Mostly because of the Winter)
19th (Still) Finland vs. Russia - Soviets Failed to Conquer the Fins because of Sausages, Saunas, Stealth Reindeers😱, Cash Payments, A Word without no definite English Translation, Dresses and A Some Humble and Handsome Man with a 505/0/0 Record. (No assists = Pro KS)
The Continuation War was 41-44 and was bigger in every way than the Winter War of 39-40. It wasn't all winter, there were long spring-summer-autumn phases too.
Reindeers were a curiosity, very rare. Horses were common and plenty. Horses outperform trucks and cars in forests and during winter too. Without the Finnish horse breed, strong, brave and accustomed to cold, the outcome might have been different. Definately they offered a big advantage.
even though Finland lost to Russia, they Russia won hell of fight, despite being out number, out gunn t hem and Finland didn't have army really. it was said that they have police most of them were citizens just picking up a gun a basically. how awesome to stand there ground. im sure all of us lived in Finland in that time, I would be so scared, we would all be shitting in our pants or retreat, but the citzens of Finland fought back knowing they will lose, that is a great example of ya Russia won, but you have more respect tin fnland
My parents & grandparents ( on both sides) that contributed to the Finnish War Effort, in their memory I wish to say THANKYOU for your respectful & honest reporting of what happened...
To ALL (including volunteers from outside of Finland) that helped Finland fight for it’s freedom & to survive as a nation I salute you all- from the heart & with RESPECT
KIPPIS ! 🍻🍺
America's greatest sniper: Chris Kyle "the punisher 💀" 150+ confirmed kills in batlle
Finlands greatest sniper and the greatest in world history: simo häyhä "white death👻" 542 confirmed kills in battle .
Don't forget Simo also killed 200 more Ruskies with his Sumoi SMG. Also, his used iron sights so he didn't have to raise his head that extra two inches.
Where is Säkkijärven polkka? Using an accordian song to detonate Soviet radio mines.
The word you can't seem to understand directly, "Sisu" has a direct understanding in the English language, it means being a man, or in the in the secondary understanding manhood. It means to suffer for others, for the future, or in the moment, to be a man.
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