News and Commentary – Elliot Roosevelt – November 30, 1939 – Mutual – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Finland was in the news this day. Reports that some 1/2 million Soviet troops crossed the border into Finland, setting off what was to be a long and costly war before a peace settlement was finally reached.
According to this news and analysis by Elliot Roosevelt, son of the President, the Soviet Union invaded the country earlier in the day, sending shockwaves throughout Europe and the rest of the world.
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 Soviets 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, while other sources argue against the idea of a full Soviet conquest. Finland repelled Soviet attacks for more than two months and inflicted substantial losses on the invaders while temperatures ranged as low as −45 °F. The battles focused mainly on Taipale along the Karelian Isthmus, on Kollaa in Ladoga Karelia and on 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 defences.
The news prompted outrage and Roosevelt was quick to condemn the action, placing blame squarely on the Soviet Union. The Winter War, as it came to be known, would last well into March of 1940 before the Soviet Union finally reached a peace settlement with Finland.
Here is that commentary, delivered by Elliot Roosevelt on November 30, 1939 over the Mutual Network.
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