December 4-6, 1939 – Finnish Foreign Minister’s Office – Radio Address – Radio Helsinki – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
If the outbreak of war between France, Britain and Germany over the invasion of Poland weren’t enough, the Soviet Union, now allied with Nazi Germany added to the already boiling tensions.
The Winter War also known as First Soviet-Finnish War was a war between the Soviet Union (USSR) and Finland. It began with a Soviet invasion of Finland on 30 November 1939, three months after the outbreak of World War II, and ended three and a half months later with the Moscow Peace Treaty on 13 March 1940. Despite superior military strength, especially in tanks and aircraft, the Soviet Union suffered severe losses and initially made little headway. The League of Nations deemed the attack illegal and expelled the Soviet Union from the organization.
The Soviets made several demands, including that Finland cede substantial border territories in exchange for land elsewhere, claiming security reasons—primarily the protection of Leningrad, 32 km (20 mi) from the Finnish border. When Finland refused, the USSR invaded. Most sources conclude that the Soviet Union had intended to conquer all of Finland, and use the establishment of the puppet Finnish Communist government and the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact’s secret protocols as evidence of this,[F 8] while other sources argue against the idea of the full Soviet conquest.[F 9] Finland repelled Soviet attacks for more than two months and inflicted substantial losses on the invaders while temperatures ranged as low as –43 °C (–45.4 °F). The battles focused mainly on Taipale in Karelian Isthmus, on Kollaa in Ladoga Karelia and on the Raate Road in Kainuu, but there were also battles in Salla and Petsamo in Lapland. After the Soviet military reorganized and adopted different tactics, they renewed their offensive in February and overcame Finnish defenses.
Here by way of Radio Helsinki in a member of the Finnish Foreign Office, delivering an address beamed to the American people, sometime between December 4-6, 1939.
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