Britain at war with Finland.

Britain declaring war on Finland - leaving America in an awkward position.

Britain Declares War On Finland, Hungary And Romania – U.S. Passes Defense Spending Bill – A Word With The Litvinovs – December 6, 1941

Britain at war with Finland.
Britain declaring war on Finland – leaving America in an awkward position.

December 6, 1941 – News Of The World + Interview with Maxim Litvinov and his wife – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

It was Saturday morning in America. Britain declared war on Finland, as well as Hungary and Romania. The decision was made on the 5th and expected to go into effect at midnight on the 6th. News came as a shock and was met with a goodly amount of awkwardness on the part of America and members of Congress who had just passed a Military spending bill to the tune of $8 billion, much of what was expected to be directed in the area of lend-lease. The declaration came as the result of non-response to a list of demands put forth by London, however Finland’s reply was slow in coming and by way of Washington. The Finnish reply said, in effect, that Finland could see no conflict of interest between herself, Great Britain or the United States. Finland was not menacing the Murmansk Railway. In the Finnish reply to the United States note, Finland tried to indicate to America that she was ready to lay down her arms soon. But the Finns were not in a position to indicate these points in so many words but they had hoped America would understand the meaning from the tone of the reply. Thirdly, the Finns had no agreement with the Germans, and hence it was impossible for them to enter into such a written agreement with the United States or Great Britain. Fourthly, as far as Finland joining the Anti-Comintern Pact was concerned, Finland’s position with regards to the other pact members, was based on the preamble to the Anti-Comintern Pact which stated that Finland’s position was based on its past independent history – it would not tolerate any interference in its internal affairs and that Finland would not enter into any political agreements. The Finnish reply ended by saying it would deeply regret if Great Britain found it necessary to declare a state of war. Even at this late hour, it was still hoped Britain would find a declaration of war unnecessary and that there was strong possibility this declaration might not be final since the declaration of war had been issued before the Finnish reply had reached London. There was also a high level of confusion over the actual authenticity of the declaration. Since the BBC announced the declaration had already been sent to the three countries some three hours earlier, the Finns took it as conclusive evidence that they would, over the coming hours, technically be in a state of War with Britain. All this, and December 6th was Finland’s Independence Day.

And in 24 hours, the entire picture would change.

At the end of this broadcast is an interview with Soviet Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov and Litvinov’s wife, who is British. They had just arrived in San Francisco, on their way to Washington for talks with State Department officials. The interview brings no revelations, and politics is left out of the picture almost entirely – but it’s just one more element in a puzzle that comes to light over the next day.


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1 thought on “Britain Declares War On Finland, Hungary And Romania – U.S. Passes Defense Spending Bill – A Word With The Litvinovs – December 6, 1941

  1. Apologies for the typo earlier – it’s what happens when you set your own deadline and try to meet it – and you skip proof-reading. The result is an idiotic mistake.

    G.

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