Updated on July 14, 2022
History of Finland: A selection of events and documents
Russian rule 1808-1899 | Beginning of the 20th century 1900-1917 | The first two decades of the independence 1917-1939 | The Winter War and the peace time between the wars
1939-1941 | The Continuation war 1941-1944
Sisällysluettelo/Contents in Finnish / Urkunder till Finlands historia
of Finland - Swedish rule c. 1200-1809
Pope Innocentius IV's Letter of Protection to the Confessors of the Christian Faith in Finland 27 August 1249.
medieval church from the 15th century
is a fine example of the Catholic time churches
in Finland, with biblical stories painted on the walls..
A Letter of Protection by King Birger Magnusson for womankind in Karelia on Oct. 1, 1316.
A letter by Martin Luther to the Swedish king Gustavus Vasa. The king sought a tutor to his son, and Luther recommends also the Finn Michael Agricola, who later in 1548 translated the New Testament into Finnish. April 20, 1539.
Georg North's short description about Finland. Printed in London, 1561. North's text is based on Sebastian Münster's Cosmographia, Basle 1544.
Treaty between Sweden and Russia May 18, 1595. The Duchy of Estonia was recognized to belong to Sweden and the eastern border of Finland was defined through this treaty. Even though its final signatories, the Russian Tsar Fyodor Ioannovich (died 1598) and the Swedish King Sigismund (deposed 1599) never signed the treaty, it was put into effect right after the negotiations. Parallel old Swedish text included.
1662. The first printed map of the Grand Duchy of Finland (Magnus Ducatus Finlandiæ). It was published by Dr Joan Blaeu, a Dutch publisher of fine atlases. The original cartographer was the Swede Anders Bure (Andreas Bureus). The arms of Finland and her provinces are beautifully presented on the map.
The arms of two Finnish provinces,
Satakunta and Varsinais-Suomi, on the tomb
of the Swedish king, Gustaf Vasa, 1581.
Uppsala Domkyrka, Sweden.
Johannes Schefferus: The history of Lapland 1674. Digital copy
at the National Library Digital Collection (link, pdf, 78 MB)
The Nystad Peace Treaty of August 30, 1721 between Sweden and Russia. In Swedish and German.
Russian (Khronos). The treaty ended Swedish dominance in the Baltics. Russian troops withdraw from Finland. Karelian isthmus, city of Viipuri (Vyborg) and areas north of Lake Ladoga were annexed to Russia. That part of the country, Old Finland, was reunited with rest of the country by the imperial decree of Alexander I in 1811.
In 1736 an
expedition organised by the French Academy of Sciences was
sent to Tornio (Swedish Torneå), Finland, near the polar circle. It was lead by Moreau deb Maupertuis and its purpose was to make precise geodesic measurements to
prove the globe to be an oblate spheroid. En español.
After the Peace Treaty of Turku (Åbo) in 1743 the eastern border against Russia was drawn along the River of Kymi, considerably to the west of the previous one. To strengthen the country's defence, the construction of the sea-fortress of Sveaborg
began on islands facing Helsinki in 1748. (The Governing
Body of Suomenlinna).
An economic description of Turku (Åbo), the provincial capital of Finland. A university dissertation of Niclas Wasström, a local student in the Academy of Åbo, 1749.
Nationnale Winsten (The National Gain/National Profit and
Loss). A study by Anders Chydenius from the year 1765. It was published as a partial answer to the debate provoked by his book "Källan Til Rikets Wan-Magt" (The Source of the Nation's Weakness). (Chydenius Foundation)
The Form of Government of Sweden. Given by the Estates and King Gustavus III of Sweden. Dated Stockholm August 21, 1772.
A Treaty of Amity and Commerce Concluded between His Majesty the King of Sweden and the United States of North America. Signed in Paris April 3, 1783, and terminated Feb. 4, 1919 (Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States of America 1776-1949, Vol. 11. Department of State, 1974. Google Books.)
The King's Proclamation concerning the Swedish colony of the island of St. Barthélemy in the West Indies, dated September
7, 1785. An overview to the history of the Swedish era.
His Royal Majesty's Gracious Proclamation about the fall of Sveaborg
Fortress to the hands of the enemy. May 6, 1808.
History of Finland - Russian rule 1809-1917
secret treaty between Napoleon and Alexander at Tilsit June 7, 1807. Countries, as Sweden, which did not participate in the Continental System (a commercial blockade against the British), were declared their enemies. A convention of British economic support in the eventuality of Sweden being attacked by allies of France, Feb. 8, 1808. The Russian declaration of war on Sweden, Feb. 10, 1808. The declaration of the Russian commander-in-chief, Count von Buxhoevden, to Finns, to give up resistance, on the day Russian troops crossed the border on February 22, 1808. The convention of the commander of the fortress of Sveaborg, Vice Admiral Cronstedt, with Russian General de Suchtelen to surrender Sveaborg without fight, April 6, 1808. The armistice at Olkijoki in the north of Finland on November 7/19, 1808, between Swedish and Russian troops after they already had taken the major part of Finland.
Aleksanteri I. (1777-1825)
Emperor of Russia.
Painting, beginning of the 19th cent.,
to W.L. Borowikowski (1757-1825)
Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin
Solemn Assurance of the Sovereign given by the Emperor Alexander I on 27 March 1809 to respect all constitutional rights of citizens in the newly acquired Grand Duchy of
Finland. In Russian.
The Peace Treaty between Russia and Sweden on 17 September 1809. Sweden accepted throught this treaty the de facto situation of having already lost Finland to Russia. Original in French. The text in Russian (Khronos). A map of the 1809 borderline against Sweden (The National Library of Finland).
of Finland was established in Turku as Exchange, Loan and
Deposit Office of the Grand Duchy of Finland by an Imperial decree (in
Finnish and Swedish) of November 20, 1811. The decree in Russian.
His Imperial Majesty's Manifesto on December 11, 1811 concerning the reunification of the Vyborg Governmental District (guberniya) with Finland (in German). Naturalized Germans, although a small minority, had during the Russian rule established a considerable foothold in the administration of the city of Viipuri (Vyborg). Eine kurze Geschichte (in
German) der Stadt Wiburg.
A Yearbook of Government and Public Institutions and Officeholders (State Calender) for the Leap-Year 1812.
The border convention concerning Lapland between Russia and Sweden-Norway (in French). May 14, 1826. Fixing of the borderline between Russia and Norway, and checking the old border between Norway and Grand Duchy of Finland in 1826-27. (In French).
A statistical overview of the Russian Empire by Finnish statistician and scholar Gabriel Rein in 1838. Main geographical features, government institutions, fundamental laws and
remuneration of the Imperial family, commerce, natural resources etc. (in Swedish).
A Yearbook of Government and Public Institutions and Officeholders (State Calender) for the Leap-Year 1840.
A letter of thanks by the world-famous professor and linguist Jacob Grimm, for the honorary diploma granted to him by the Finnish Literature Society. December 19, 1845.
Sveaborg and the Crimean War 1854-55. Optical telegraphy
in Russia and Finland. The Paris Peace Treaty of March 18/30, 1856, ending the Crimean war in Russian (Biblioteka elektronnykh resursov).
The The Kalmberg military topographical map 1855-56. Southern parts of Finland. Largescale sample maps of Helsinki, Turku, Tampere and Viipuri area. Original scale 1:100000.
The original demilitarization convention and later agreements and documents of the years 1856-1994 concerning the Åland islands. (Ålands kulturstiftelse r.s.). The 1856 treaty in
Russian. (Moscow State University)
and the speech from the throne by Alexander II, Emperor of Russia and Grand Duke of Finland, at the opening of the second Finnish Diet, on Sept. 18, 1863.
A detailed Railway and Travel Map of Finland. A special prize was awarded a year later to land
surveyor I.J. Inberg for this excellent map of 1875.
La Convention métrique internationale (The International Convention of 1875 Respecting Weights and Measures). Russia and thus Finland joined the Convention. The metric system was made mandatory in 1887 with a transition period up till 1891.
Imperial Majesty's Gracious Rescript to the Governor General of Finland
(in Russian) concerning public anxiety aroused by certain measures taken to increaseuniformity between the Grand Duchy and other parts of Russian Empire. February 28, 1891.
Finland. An article in Harper's Magazine N:o 489, February, 1891.
Manifesto (see № 17) of Nicholas II, Emperor of Russia and Grand Duke of Finland, to uphold the rights and laws of the Grand Duchy of Finland (tarefer.ru). All his predecessors had given a similar assurance when ascending the throne. November 6 (October 25), 1894.
An extensive photographic
tour through Finland by I.K. Inha. 1896. (link,
pdf, 275 MB, National Library of Finland).
Text in Swedish, Finnish, Russian, French, German, and English.
G.W. Edlund: Helsinki Album.
34 views from Helsinki.
A Reference Map of Finland 1898 by I. Uschakoff (in Finnish only). The indexes and accurate maps include, in addition to standard contents, sites for industrial enterprises, prominent farms etc.
of Alexander Federley
of early 20th century Finland.
Imperial Majesty's Gracious Manifesto concerning the Fundamental Rules to be complied with preparation, inspection and promulgation of laws of the Empire, the Grand Duchy of Finland therein included. February 3, 1899.
Deputation to the Czar, March 8-13, 1899. An address consisting of more than 520,000 names was collected all over Finland in two weeks. A deputation of 471 persons representing 484 Finnish municipalities travelled to St. Petersburg and tried to hand this appeal to restore the fundamental rights of the Finnish people to the Emperor. Nicholas II refused to receive them an audience. A
contemporary book of the photos of the deputation members
arranged according to provinces and municipalities (Ulrika
June 26-July 2, 1899. A deputation representing 1,050 European learned men and
prominent people tried to leave to the Czar addresses
supporting Finland's campaign to preserve her assured constitutional rights. A report
of July 5, 1899 to the signers.
June 8, 1899. Imperial Majesty's Gracious
Rescript to the Governor General of Finland, concerning public anxiety caused by the forthcoming change in the Conscription Act of the Grand Duchy of Finland and promulgation of the Manifesto given on the 3rd of February.
The Gracious Manifesto of the Imperial Majesty on June 20, 1900, concerning the gradual transition of language into Russian in principal administrative establishments of the Grand Duchy
Joint declaration by Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Russia on April 23, 1908, concerning the full execution of their sovereign rights on their respective territories.
Russian military topographical maps of the Helsinki area 1902..1911
Law, passed by the Russian State Council and the State Duma, concerning the procedure to be complied with introducing bills and decrees of all-Empire significance given on 17 (30)th of June 1910. This act de facto abrogated the Constitution of Finland. It was enacted without the Finnish Diet's consent. The Governor-General F.A. Seyn 1909..1917.
A picture postcard: Helsinki (near Market Square) in the beginning of the 1910's. The tram seen in the historical picture is one of the new type cars ordered by Helsinki Tramlines & Omnibuses Ltd. from ASEA in 1908. The same site in 1997. The traditional yellow-green colours were then still preserved.
The Finnish born Colonel of the Russian Army C.G.E. Mannerheim published an ethnographic report "A Visit to the Sarö and Shera Yögurs" in English in the Journal of the Finnish Ugrian Society (Société Finno-Ougrienne) nr. 27, in Helsinki (Helsingfors) 1911.
Colonel G.G.E. Mannerheim made, in the service of the imperial Russian Army, an intelligence gathering journey in the years 1906-1908 starting from the Russian side of Turkestan, across the western borderlands of China, through the Hexi Corridor between Mongolia and Tibet and finally to Beijing (in the book Peking). The journey was in the beginning led by the French linguist and scientist Paul Pelliot. In China Pelliot's and Mannerheim's paths departed. Mannerheim made also ethnographic studies along with this trip, partly to disguise its military aspect, but it did not prevent him doing pioneering scientific research among some small ethnic groups there. This particular leg of the journey, resulting in the printed report, he started at Jinta (Chin-t'a) on December 13, 1907. The town is situated in the province of Gansu (Kansu), in Jiuquan Prefecture and a city with presently over one million inhabitants. It now includes both Suzhou (Suchow) and Jinta.
The Insurance Year-Book of Finland for the year 1912. Finnish and foreign companies. Joint tariff companies
Later Mannerheim was promoted to Lieutenant General in the Russian Army and after the Finnish independence in 1917, he returned to Finland and became Marshal and the Supreme Commander of the Finnish defence forces during the Finnish war years of 1939-1944.
The declaration of a state of war
in the Grand Duchy of Finland, July 31, 1914. In Russian. Gracious Manifesto about declaring a state of war between Russia and Germany, Aug. 2, 1914. In Russian.
And between Austria-Hungary,
Aug. 8, 1914. This in
Russian. And Turkey
on Nov. 2, 1914 (in Russian).
And Bulgaria Oct. 18, 1915. In Russian.(Collection of decrees with respect to Finland)
Encircling of Helsinki with fortifications 1914-17. (John Lagerstedt and Markku Saari)
The decision of the Prussian Minister of War to enlarge military training of Finnish independence fighters to 2,000 men on Aug. 26, 1915. Background.
Der Beschluss des preussischen Kriegsministers die Militärausbildung den finnischen Selbstständigkeitskämpfern auf 2000 Männer zu erhöhen den 26.8.1915. Hintergrund.
Sweden and Russia made in July 2-3, 1916 an agreement of constructing a railway bridge over the River Tornio at their border between Tornio (in Finland) and Haparanda (in Sweden). The line over the bridge consisted of two tracks, one with the Russian and the other with Swedish gauge.
Emperor Nicholas II's Abdication Manifesto of March 2/15, 1917, manifesto of Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich. Proclamation of the acting Governor General of Finland. Abdication manifesto in Russian. The grave
of Anna Vyrubova (née Taneeva, 1884-1964), Empress Alexandra's lady-in-waiting in the Helsinki Orthodox cemetary. She succeeded in fleeing to Finland after the revolution broke out.
A Manifesto by the Provisional Government of Russia, March 7/20, 1917, on restoration and full reinstatement of the Constitution of Finland . The original text of the Manifesto (in Russian). A memoir of the hectic days in Helsinki and (St.) Petersburg by Professor Edv. Hjelt. Governor-General Seyn's arrest. Kerenski in the Finnish Parliament April 13, 1917.
Maps of Finnish cities in 1902.
Nice pictures by Alexander Federley from early 20th century Finland.
The Resolution of the Finnish
Senate on May 21, 1917 to remove
the portraits of the deposed emperor Nicholas II and his family
members, etc. from the office rooms.
||LIST OF NAMES of the political emigrants,
who have arrived at Russian [Finnish] border in Tornio in the train nr. 353. The arrival date is on April 2, 1917 (Old Style). Source: The National Archives of Finland. The Russian Gendarmery in Finland. Commandant for railway and water areas of Tornio station.
The manifesto of the Russian Provisional Government about dissolving the Finnish Diet, June 31,
The speech of People's Commissar I.V. Stalin at the conference of the Finnish Social-Democratic Party in Helsinki in Nov. 14 (27), 1917.
A communication of the Finnish Diet relating to instituting a new Government of Finland. November 27, 1917. In Russian.
History of Finland - Independence, Dec. 6, 1917.
engine nr. 293 in the Finland
Station, St. Petersburg. The Bolshevik leader
Lenin, disguised as stoker, returned to Russia
on Oct. 7, 1917, after hiding in Finland
to organize a coup to overthrow the
Kerenski government The railway line
from Finland to St. Petersburg
was part of the Finnish State Railways
in the Grand Duchy of Finland and run
by a Finnish staff. The engine was donated
to the Soviet government
by the Finnish government in 1957.
of Independence adopted by the Finnish Diet on Dec. 6, 1917. In Russian. Sixty years of independence: The Senate Square in Helsinki on Dec 6, 1977.
The recognition of Finland's
independence (in Russian) by the Soviet of People's Commissars and the All-Russian Executive Committee. 18/31 Dec. 1917 and 23 Dec/4 Jan. 1918. In English. Stalin on the independence of Finland, Dec. 22, 1917. A magazine article and a video clip about the meeting of Svinhufvud and Lenin at the Smolny Institute. Lenin comments the recognition of the Finnish independence at the VIII Party Congress, March 19, 1919.
A civil war broke out on January 28, 1918, when the Reds seized power in Helsinki and other cities and set up their rule in southern Finland. The legal government fled to Vaasa. A treaty of friendship (Heninen) was concluded between the revolutionary governments of Russia and Finland on March 1,
Government declaration of April 5, 1918 in Vaasa concerning German troops arriving in Hanko. The Brest-Litovsk
Peace Treaty (Brigham Young University Library)
between Russia and the Central Powers, March 3, 1918. The Peace Treaty between the government of Finland in Vaasa and Germany, March 7, 1918 (in
Documents of 1917-1920, relations between Finland and Russia and the Civil war
The Peace Treaty (in Russian) between Finland and the Federal Socialist Republic of Soviet Russia, Dorpat (Tartu), Oct. 14, 1920. Includes declarations of the Russian delegation concerning Eastern Carelia and Ingria. English translation. (The League of Nations Treaty Series).
Map of Finland
after the this peace treaty. (Suomen koulukartta = Map of
Finland for schools).
A miniature atlas of Finland
from 1929, published by
the National Survey of Finland
(pdf, 5 MB).
The Åland agreement in the Council of the League of Nations 1921. (Ålands kulturstiftelse)
The Act of the Finnish Diet clarifying the ownership of villas and farms in the Karelian Isthmus in Finland with their mainly Russian owners having disappeared and not claiming their property during the post-revolutionary years, 1922
The report of an enquiry, presented to the German envoy in Helsinki Herbert Hauschild by the Finnish foreign minister Setälä on July 5, 1926, about the assumed war material cargo of German vessels stuck in ice in Finnish territorial waters, and heading for the Soviet Union. The remarks by the German foreign ministry official Herbert von Dirksen to the State Secretary Carl von Schubert in the ministry on August 11, 1926 (Akten zur deutschen auswärtigen Politik 1918-1948, Band II.2).
League of Nations registered on Nov. 8, 1928, the exchange of notes between Finland and the USSR concerning appointing Frontier Commissars in the Karelian Isthmus and defining their duties, Sept. 24, 1928. (League of Nations, International treaties registry).
A short overview of the Finnish air traffic during the years 1924-1937. Published in the book Finland — The Outpost of the North by the National Union of Students of Finland in 1937. Part of a route map from 1936.
of Conciliation, June 7, 1928, and Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Consular Rights, February 13, 1934, between USA and Finland. (The League of Nations Treaty Series)
Convention for the definition of aggression. The convention, suggested by the Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Maksim Litvinov, confirmed equal rights to independence and inviolability of borders for all states and condemned all kinds of aggression. It was signed by the Soviet Union and seven other countries on July 3, 1933. Finland joined the agreement on Jan. 31, 1934. In Russian.
Treaty of Non-Aggression (original text in French) between the Soviet Union and Finland, January 21, 1932, and the protocol prolonging the treaty up to 1945, signed on April 7, 1934.
The letter, describing the budding conflict of interests in the Petsamo (Pechenga) area at the Arctic Ocean, by the Soviet Plenipotentiary Representative in Finland Eric Assmus to the People's Commissar of Foreign Affairs of the USSR M.M. Litvinov July 30, 1937.
Nordic declaration for similar rules of neutrality, May 27, 1938. (The League of Nations Treaty Series)
The report of the Finnish Minister in the U.S. Hjalmar Procopé to the Finnish foreign minister Eljas Erkko about the personal discussion between him and the President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 22 March 1939 (The archives of the Finnish Foreign Ministry, original in Finnish, the draft translation by Pauli Kruhse), the request on April 17, 1939, to the U.S. Secretary of State (Cordell Hull) to permit a special Finnish envoy, Colonel Paavo Talvela, to discuss with US military and other authorities about Finland's purchase of certain materials and commodities (U.S. Foreign Relations, 1939, Vol. I). The memoranda of June 12, 1939, of the US Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles and that of the Finnish Minister Procopé about the desire of the Finnish Goverment to purchase military supplies from the U.S. (Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library).
Large scale military exercises on the Karelian Isthmus on August 7-12. 1939. A pictorial report of the Schutzkorps weekly Hakkapeliitta: a double-page spread, page 2, page 3. The speech of Prime Minister Cajander on 12 August 1939 (in Finnish) to the command of the exercises, Swedish defence minister, military representatives of the Nordic countries, foreign military attachés and Field Marshall Mannerheim (Hakkapeliitta nro 34/1939, 22.8.1939; Cajander's speech: Annikki Kalela, Isäni A. K.Cajander, Kirjayhtymä 1985, pp. 458-462.).
Translations of the German-Soviet non-aggression pact of Aug. 23, 1939, and its secret additional protocol (Ibiblio). In the secret protocol Finland and the Baltic countries were included in the Russian side of spheres of interest in the event of a territorial and political rearrangement in the areas belonging to these countries. The Pact and the Secret Additional Protocol in Russian. Der Originaltext des
Vertrags und des geheimen Zusatzprokolls (in
German). The front page of Pravda
on Aug. 24, 1939. Molotov's speech (& English, German translation) at the Supreme Soviet on Aug. 31, 1939. Völkischer Beobachter reports about legislation changes for strengthening of the Soviet Red Army approved simultaneously by the Supreme Soviet on Aug. 31, 1939. (in German). A joint parade of German and Soviet troops in Brest-Litovsk - then in Poland - Sept. 22, 1939. The assessment of the Pact by the Congress of People's Deputies, Moscow 24 Dec. 1989. See also Finland in Great Power politics 1939-1940
The planned Olympic Games of 1940 in Helsinki: Schedule and venues for the 20th of July to the 4th of August, 1940 (The Finnish National Library). Newspaper
commentary on 3 September 1939: No
Stop to the 1940 Olympic Games Preparations. The radio transmitted appeal (in English and French) of the Organizing Committee of the XII Olympic Games to the world's athletes and sportsmen, Dec. 24, 1939. (National Archives of Finland)
German and Soviet diplomacy from September, 1939, until January, 1942, as reflected by the documents of the German and Soviet Foreign Offices.
The Winter War
The Soviet territorial demands in the memorandum handed over to Finnish negotiators in Moscow, October 14, 1939. Finnish reply to this October 23, 1939. The Soviets tell on the same day that their demands are minimalistic.
Molotov makes the Soviet territorial demands public in his address at the extraordinary sitting of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on Oct. 31, 1939. The United Press news agency reports about the venue:
*] Moscow, 31.10. (UP) The Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union assembled for an extraordinary sitting at 7:30 PM in the St. Andrew Hall at the Kremlin. The Supreme Soviet had confirmed the following agenda:
More than a thousand delegates were present, among them 173 from western Ukraine. The Russians wore for the occasion their colorful national dresses. All attendees applauded Stalin with a 10-minute standing ovation. He entered the hall with Molotov, Voroshilov, Kalinin, Kaganovich and other high-ranking Soviet statesmen. The sitting took place at the old throne room of the Tsars. Also the previous foreign minister Litvinov as well as Dimitrov joined the applause of the delegates. The whole diplomatic corps of Moscow, both from countries waging war and the neutral ones, were present at the sitting. Also the members of the German trade delegation were invited. (Translation from the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat on Nov. 1, 1939).
The statement by the Finnish Foreign ministry about the unexpected disclosure by Molotov of Soviet territorial demands amidst still ongoing negotiations between Finland and the Soviet Union. The New York Times tells about the reactions of Finns after hearing about Molotov's public speech, Nov. 1, 1939.
address by Prime Minister A. K. Cajander in Helsinki November 23, 1939, concerning territorial demands by the
Soviet Union and Finland's willingness to negotiate all kinds of solutions without surrendering Finland's vital interests. An article in Pravda: "A Buffoon Holding the Post of Prime Minister" on November 26, 1939, as an answer to Prime Minister Cajander's speech. Finland in the Soviet foreign policy of 1939-1940. Diplomatic and other documents in Russian and English. With document résumés.
- 1. Report on the Soviet Foreign Policy;
- 2. Presentations by the delegates from Western Ukraine and Belorussia.
A brief summary to the propagandists of the Red Army describing the situation in Finland, November 1939 (Propagandist RKKA).
The local commander report to the Leningrad Military District commander on the planned offensive against Finland, November 25, 1939.
Molotov's note of the alleged shelling of Soviet territory at Mainila village on November 26 and subsequent diplomatic correspondence on Nov. 27-29. Molotov's radio speech on November 29, 1939, on the Soviet unilateral denouncement of the non-aggression pact. The war broke out Nov. 30, 1939. A pictorial report of American journalist H.B. Elliston leaving the border area the very day of the Soviet invasion ("Finland Fights", Boston, 1940). New York Times on Russian miscalculation and Mainila, on December 17,1939.
The order of 2nd rank NKVD commissar Godlidze to allocate troops to secure the safety and services for the Kuusinen puppet government at Terijoki, Nov. 29. 1939.
Pravda and Izvestiya published on November 30, 1939, a statement by Stalin in which he accuses
France and England of attacking on Germany, and of turning down Germany's previous peace proposals, supported by the Soviet Union, and thus taking the responsibility for the continuation of the war in Europe.
Accredited foreign correspondents during the Winter War.
A statement by Stalin on the responsibility of France and England
for the continuation of war in Europe by neglecting German
peace offers, which also the Soviet Union supports
(Izvestiya November 30, 1939 page 3)
Pravda published on December 1, 1939, an appeal of the Central Committee of the Finnish Communist Party, operating on Russian soil, to workers of Finland. The transmission was "heard" from an unspecified location, and according to Pravda "intercepted and translated from Finnish into Russian" (heninen.net)
Declaration of the Peoples's Government of Finland, formed in the Soviet Union by emigré Finnish communists, led by Otto Kuusinen, 1 December 1939. The order of Soviet People's commissar L. Beriya on organizing reception points and camps for Finnish prisoners of war at six sites all around the Soviet Union, 1 December 1939.
Leningrad Military District exaggerated summary of advances of the Red Army on the Karelian Isthmus on Dec. 1, 1939. Included is a picture of the summary of Dec. 10, personally modified by Stalin, and a news on Dec. 28 in a Finnish local newspaper telling that Russians themselves considered the triumphant summaries being falsified.
A press statement by President Roosevelt of the United States, December 1, 1939. A telegram by K.A. Umanskii, the Soviet plenipotentiary to USA, December 2, 1939. Pact of Assistance and Friendship, which the Soviet Union signed with the "Democratic Government of Finland" Dec. 2, 1939, in Moscow (Andrew Heninen). Molotov's denial of civilian bombings, December 4, 1939. A propaganda leaflet dropped from Soviet airplanes during the first days of the Winter War.
The circular of the State Secretary of the German Foreign Ministry to all German Legations how to discuss about the Russo-Finnish conflict and to avoid anti-Russian tone in discussions. 2 December, 1939.
Contemporary press reports and news.
An article on December 2, 1939 in the newspaper Pravda about the meetings and rallies for the support of Kuusinen puppet Government (The "People's Government of Finland") in Leningrad. The article was titled "New era in the life of the people of Finland. A picture of page 2 in Pravda.
The editorial "Friendship and Peace" of the Red Army newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda on Dec. 4, 1939, about the already commenced Red Army assistance at the request of the Kuusinen government to suppress the troops of the bankrupt Helsingfors [sic!] government and to liberate Finland from its dirty claws.
The legation of Finland leaves Moscow on December 7, 1939. To the station to present their goodbyes had arrived the ambassadors of USA, Britain and France, Swedish minister, and diplomatic representatives of Norway, Belgium, Japan, Turkey ja Hungary.
The personal letter of the German envoy von Blücher in Helsinki to the State Secretary von Weizsäcker in the German Foreign Ministry, Dec. 7, 1939. Other German diplomatic messages preceding and during the Winter War.
The article Deutschland und die finnische Frage (Germany and the Finnish Question) was published on page 2 of the NSDAP organ Völkischer Beobachter on December 9, 1939.
The League of Nations examined, on the Finnish initiative, the measures of the Soviet and Finnish governments in the light of its own covenant, and international and bilateral treaties as well, and decided that Soviet Union had lost its membership on Dec. 14, 1939. The Times of Dec. 11, 1939, evaluates the possible outcome of this assembly. Pravda giving an "appraisal" on the decision (Moscow News, Dec. 18, 1939). The Times' leading article on Soviet commentary, on 18 Dec. 1939. Radio speech of Kyösti Kallio, President of Finland, on Dec. 17, 1939.
The top three telegrams by Hitler, von Ribbentrop and Kuusinen congratulating Stalin on his 60th birtday on Dec. 21, 1939 (in Russian, Pravda). Foreign state leaders (Hitler, von Ribbentrop, Kuusinen) congratulate Stalin: the Red Army newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda on Dec. 23, 1939. The Executive Committee of Comintern congratulates Comrade Stalin on December 30, 1939. Kuusinen congratulates Voroshilov for Red Army victories in Finland, 23 February 1940.
The U.S. President Roosevelt made pleads to the Soviet
government to respect the independence and vital
interests of Finland. His statements were rejected and
argued to be in violatation of the U.S. neutrality by the
Soviet government. The Soviet attack on Finland on
November 30 led to a large popular support and
pressure in the U.S. to help Finland. One of the leading
figures was former president Herbert Hoover.
General Johan Laidoner's, Commander's-in-Chief speech at the Officers' Club in Tallinn, Estonia. January 1, 1940.
The personal confidential letter of Foreign Minister Tanner on January 22, 1940, to the Finnish Minister in Berlin Aarne Wuorimaa telling that the Commander-in-Chief Marshall Mannerheim will not admit supporters of the present Government of Germany, i.e. Nazis, as volunteers in the Finnish Army. Jewish volunteers are not desirable either. (The Archives of the Finnish Foreign Ministry)
The Army Homeland Office began
to publish a newspaper for Russian prisoners
of war. It was called "Друг пленных" (Drug
plennykh, Friend of Prisoners).In the issue #2,
February 3, 1940, the article on Page One was
titled "How workers and peasants live
in Finland" (National Library of Finland)
President Roosevelt denounces Soviet attack on Finland on Feb. 10,1940: Newsreel clip (36s, mkv; Turner Cold War series, 1 (1996),YouTube).
The planned French and British (the Allies) military assistance to Finland:
Roosevelt's statement on March 13, 1940, as the Winter War ended.
- The 50th (in 1940) British War Cabinet meeting on February 23, 1940 about the policy in delivering military assistance to Finland through Norway and Petsamo at the Arctic Ocean. The conditions of peace for Finland as told by the Soviet ambassador Ivan Maisky in the UK. The French General Gamelin's memorandum about details needed for landing to assist Finland (British National Archives)
- The note of French and British legations to the Swedish and Norwegian Governments about the urgent need to render military assistance to Finland by crossing Norwegian and Swedish territories (Handlingar rörande Sveriges politik under andra världskriget; Förspelet till det tyska angreppet på Danmark och Norge den 9 april 1940, Ruotsin UM 1947)
- The British Chiefs of Staff Committee report "Assistance to Finland" on March 7, 1940, pointing out that sending aircraft to Finland is detrimental to the Home Front and lessens support for the British troops in France (British National Archives)
- The report on March 8, 1940 to the British Government by the Chiefs of Staff Committee for the appreciation of the principal military factors when considering the effect of Allied hostilities with Russia in 1940, in relation to the Allied main object in this war, the defeat of Germany. An aerial attack on Baku, which was suggested to Gen. Ling also by Marshal Mannerheim is included in these considerations (British National Archives)
- The note of French General Gamelin, the head of the French Military, about the combined operations of French-British troops in Finland was published as German war booty in 1941. (in French)
Sound samples: Tiltu, a Finnish language version of Axis Sally in Radio Moscow during the Russo-Finnish wars of Nov. 30, 1939-March 13, 1940 and June 26, 1941-Sept. 4, 1944. The sign-on tune of Radio Moscow's Finnish language broadcasts in the 1970's.
Finland in Great Power politics 1939-1941. Documents and statements: German documents
(transl.) | Deutsche
Dokumente | Swedish (transl.) | Svenska
diplomatic documents | U.S.
foreign relation documents . Contemporary worldwide politics as reflected by German diplomatic messages. Source: Documents on German Foreign Policy, Series D, Volumes VIII-XIII (Sept. 4, 1939-Dec. 11, 1941). Annotated list of documents in each volume.
Finland in the Soviet foreign policy of 1939-1940. Diplomatic and other documents in Russian and English. With document résumés.
The peace delegation to Moscow. Notes taken in shorthand in the session of the Finnish government on March 9, 1940 (four days before the end of the war).
The Moscow Peace Treaty of March 12, 1940 (Heninen). The Russian texts as published in "Izvestiya" on March 14, 1940.
"Pravda's" leading article on March 13, 1940 about the Peace Treaty. Picture of "Pravda's" Page One on March 13.
The New York Times editorial on March 13, 1940. The editorial of the Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung on March 14, 1940 (in German and English).
The organ of the National Socialist Party of Germany, "Völkischer Beobachter", comments the peace treaty between the Soviet Union and Finland, on March 14, 1940.
The Commander-in-Chief's Order of the Day March 14, 1940. Field Marshal C.G.E. Mannerheim gave this order a day after the Winter War was ended. Order of the Soviet Military Council of the North-Western front on March 14, 1940. Urho Kekkonen's, MP, later President of Finland 1956-1981, speech in the Finnish Parliament, March 15, 1940.
British parliamentary announcements and debates on the Winter War: The Prime Minister, Mr. Chamberlain, informed the House of Commons on Nov. 30, 1939, members of the Parliament seeked support to Finland (e.g. Dec. 13, 1939 and Feb. 1, 1940). When the war ended on March. 13, 1940, the Prime Minister, Mr. Chamberlain, gave a statement in the House of Commons and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Viscount Halifax, in the House of Lords. (Hansard, the Official Report of Debates in the British Parliament).
The speech by the Crown Prince of Sweden about the aid needed by Finland to reconstruct the country after the Winter War. March 23, 1940.
Marshall Mannerheim's thanks as the order of the day to foreign volunteers in the Winter War. March 24, 1940.
German Minister in Helsinki Wipert von Blücher sent a critical assessment of the peace treaty to German Foreign Ministry, March 13, 1940. The Germans started internally soon after this peace treaty thinking about developing commercial relations with Finland, who presently had only very limited opportunities for export trade, March 28, 1940.
A Report by V.M. Molotov, People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, at the VI session of the Supreme Soviet on the good relationship between Germany and the Soviet Union, hostile attitudes of the British and French governments, and the Winter War. March 29, 1940.
The exchange of letters between Aleksi Lehtonen, Bishop of Tampere, and the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Halifax, on April 1 and 10, 1940 (British National Archives)
How the provocative violation of Norwegian neutrality by Britain launched the war on Nordic coasts according to the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of Sweden, April 9, 1940. The memorandum of the German Ambassador von Schulenburg to the State Secretary von Weizsäcker: The Soviet leadership is very relieved to learn about the German invasion of Norway 11.4.1940. Förspelet till det tyska angreppet på Danmark och Norge den 9 april 1940. A selection of documents concerning Allied initiative to help Finland by crossing Swedish territory (in Swedish, in English, in French). (Swedish Foreign Office; 1947)
The order and salutation of Kliment Voroshilov, People's Commissar for Defense of the Soviet Union to the staff of the Red Army on the occasion of the celebrations of May 1, 1940.
The farsighted and clever politics of our government under the leadership of Stalin saved us from the war in the West, with which the Anglo-French imperialists tried to tangle us. The war of this block against Germany is accelarating and will step by step draw within it new countries and nations. The Anglo-French imperialists made Finland to provoke a war against the Soviet Union. The Mannerheim Line, equal to the Maginot and Siegfried Lines, with hundreds of enforced concrete citadels joined by underground passages and shielded by anti-tank obstacles were broken by the Red Army troops, who in addition to high morale and unyielding will had the skills to operate military technology in all tasks needed in the modern warfare.
The People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs V.M. Molotov's telegram on June 14, 1940, to Soviet plenipotentiaries in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland about the anti-Soviet attitudes and military measures of the three Baltic countries.
enacted by the Finnish Parliament, concerning compensation for property left in the areas ceded to the Soviet Union. August 9, 1940. The total area lost was 35,000 sq.km (ab. 9 per cent of the Finnish territory). The entire population, consisting of 422,000 people, was resettled elsewhere in Finland and compensated, in means available, for their losses by this law.
Pravda, August 23, 1940: Anniversary of the Soviet-German non-aggression pact.
The agreement between Germany and Finland to allow the transit of German troops through Finnish ports of Vaasa and Oulu to Kirkenes in Norway, 12 September 1940 (Finnish National Archives). Similar agreement between Sweden and Germany on 8 August 1940 to allow German troops from Norway to go through Sweden (in Swedish & German). The proposal of the Soviet government on 9 July 1940 to allow Soviet troops to use Finnish railways for their traffic from the recent new border to their naval base in the Hanko Peninsula. German Minister in Helsinki reports on 11 September 1940 about the final Finnish-Soviet agreement, done five days earlier, to the German Foreign Office.
The whole autumn 1940 consisted intensive diplomatic discussions about the transit of German troops through Finland to Norway and the fate of Petsamo nickel concession, currently administered by a British-Canadian company.
The Soviet Foreign Commissar Molotov visited Berlin in November 1940 and met Hitler, von Ribbentrop and other German dignitaries. The Soviets were satisfied about the implementation of the August 1939 secret protocol. Only the final fate of Finland, belonging to the Soviet sphere of interest, remained unsatisfactorily solved, complaints Molotov. The German illustrated magazine Signal made a pictorial report on this visit. The German Foreign Ministry and Soviet People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs made their internal memorandums of the meeting.
The leased territories of Hanko and Porkkala in 1940-41 ja 1944-56.
Foreign military attachés followed the Independence Day
parade on Dec. 6, 1940 at the Senate Square in Helsinki
discussing vividly with other spectators. In the picture
from the left: German attaché capt. Gottfried Körner, (in front)
colonel Horst Rössing and rear admiral Reimar von Bonin.
Soviet representatives were (one step up) colonel
Ivan Smirnov and major Ivan Bevz
discussing with von Bonin.
The farewell visit of J.K.Paasikivi, the envoy of Finland in Moscow, at the US ambassador in Moscow, Laurence Steinhardt, on May 27, 1941 (Foreign Relations of the United States, Diplomatic Papers, 1941. Volume I. General, The Soviet Union, no. 41. United States Government Printing Office, Washington)
Soviet intelligence report from June 11 from inside the Finnish Cabinet about the government discussion, on June 9, of the Finnish position amidst German preparations for war against the Soviet Union.
The declarations of Great Britain and the British Commonwealth and governments-in-exile of occupied European countries to continue struggle against Germany and her associates until victory is won (June 12, 1941). The Atlantic Charter, the joint declaration of the President of the United States and Prime Minister of Britain (August 14, 1941). The commitment of the Soviet Union and nine governments-in-exile to the Atlantic Charter and expressing their adherances to the principle that they desire to see no territorial changes that do not accord with the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned (September 24, 1941). The joint declaration of 26 nations against the members of the Tripartite Pact and its adherents (January 1, 1942). Атлантическая хартия (Atlantic Charter in Russian, history site: hrono.ru) .
Messages of the Swedish military attaché Curt Kempff from Helsinki to Stockholm: Notes about discussion with the Finnish HQ operational chief, Lt. General Airo on 13 June 1941, report of the arrival of the Chief Supply Officer of the Luftwaffe General Lorentz [General z.b.V. des Oberkommandos der Luftwaffe Generalmajor Walter Lorenz] at Helsinki on 13 June 1941, observations in Helsinki on the day of the German attack on the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941 (The Military Archives, Stockholm)
Mannerheim declares in his Order of the Day -command that the day he promised in 1918 to liberate East Karelia will now come true with the help of Providence, July 1941.
Stalin's correspondence with Churchill in July-August, 1941 and later in November 1941. Stalin's message to Roosevelt, 4 August 1941.
Minister of Commerce and Industry, CEO of Elanto, Helsinki Metropolitan area co-operative retail operative Väinö Tanner gave a radio reply on 28 October 1941 to a message by R.A. Palmer, General Secretary of the British Co-operative Union relayed through BBC Finnish service on 23 October 1941 (Archives of Finnish Labour Movement)
Herbert Hoover protests US pressure on Finland, Nov. 4, 1941.
Documents concerning the relations between Finland, Great Britain and The United States of America during the autumn of 1941. (The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, 1942)
The British Prime Minister Churchill's telegram of Nov. 29, 1941 to Field Marshal Mannerheim. His reply on Dec. 4, 1941. Both relayed through the American minister in Helsinki.
Commander-in-chief, Field Marshal Mannerheim's Order of the Day no. 35 to Swedish volunteers, who took part in taking back the Soviet naval base at Hanko Peninsula, Southern Finland, on 7 December 1941. | Lt.Col. Hans Berggren's, Commander of the Swedish Hanko Front Voluntary Battalion, Order of the Day when the Battalion was dissolved on 18 December 1941 (Military Archives, Stockholm)
Columnist Pekka Peitsi (Urho Kekkonen, later President of Finland 1956-1981) of Suomen Kuvalehti Magazine about the effect of Soviet and British radio propaganda on listeners in Finland, Jan. 8, 1942. In Finnish.
The speech of the President of Finland,
Risto Ryti, at the the opening session of the parliamentary year of 1942. In Finnish and in Swedish as in the Finnish parliamentary records of the year 1942.
After Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the German declaration of war on the U.S. the State Department sent, on February 4, an inquiry to the Finnish Government asking Finland's position in the war and about the German troops on Finnish soil. The Finnish Government gave the reply to this on 16 February. American diplomatic correspondence concerning Finland from February 2 to February 16 (U.S. Foreign Relations, 1942, Volume II)
Confidential hand-written private letter of President Ryti to Field Marshal Mannerheim about the political aspects in military strategies for advances of Finnish troops in Russian Karelia, 25 March 1942. (National Archives of Finland)
A double-page spread about Finnish athletes in military service in the English edition of the German twice a month propaganda magazine "Signal", nr. 13, July 1942.
Correspondence concerning mainly Russian but also Finnish prisoners of war with the International Red Cross. Machine translations of documents into English.
A wartime song Äänisen aallot (Waves of Onega)
1942. Includes a mp3 file, time 3:02.
There were no restrictions during the war time
in listening to foreign radio stations.
Even lists of their wavelengths were published.
Clip from the weekly magazine
Radiokuuntelija (Radio Listener) of August 9, 1942.
The report of the U.S. chargé d'affaires in Helsinki to the Secretary of State Cordell Hull about his discussion with the Finnish President Risto Ryti: how the Finnish political leadership saw the ongoing war with the Soviet Union as Finland being a co-belligerent with Germany, Jan. 21, 1943.
German theoretical physicist Max Planck (1858-1947), the Nobel Prize winner of 1918 in physics, gave on May 27, 1943, at Helsinki University, a presentation about quantum physics. The 85 years old professor flew to Helsinki via Stockholm. In his presentation he gave an interesting overview of the world of quantum physics. Then unexpectedly, in front of a large audience (probably including diplomats from the local American legation), he diverged from the handouts and spoke about the possibility of constructing the atomic bomb, Uranmaschine, with an enormous devastating power. The visit got due publicity in Finnish local newspapers, as "Helsingin Sanomat" or "Hufvudstadsbladet". However, the Uranmaschine divergence was not reported in any newspapers or elsewhere. Pope Pius XII had in his address (citation) in Vatican three months earlier mentioned the same worries professor Planck now explained in the venue of his Helsinki presentation.
Taavi Pohjanpalo, chargé d'affaires of the Finnish legation in Lisbon discussed on 28 of June the military situation in Finland with Lt. Col. Robert A. Solborg, the assistant US military attaché in Lisbon. According to Pohjanpalo's report to the Finnish Foreign Ministry, Mr. Solborg said ".. presently the most important task of Finland is to maintain a strong army and good relations to the US. As the Allied will land in Norway, Finland's time has come." The Finns started discussions about a possible, and by the Finns pleasurably welcomed Allied landing in northern Norway. The US supreme military command rejected any of these plans. US diplomatic dispatches on the matter.
News published by the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter about the confidential letter of 33 well-known Finnish politicians and M.P.'s to President Ryti to restore the well-established good relations with the United States, and now, when Finland has already advanced to her pre-war borders, to drop out of Great Power conflicts and to seek a way to conclude a separate peace treaty [with the Soviet Union], August 21-22, 1943. The complete text (here as translated into English) was published a few days later, on August 27, in Helsingin Sanomat - a newspaper with the largest circulation in Finland.
Hitler's order for the 20th Mountain Army stationed in Northern Norway and Finland to plan preparations for the case Finland collapses or pulls out of the war. (Web publication: Hitlers Weisungen für die Kriegführung 1939-1945. Dokumenten des Oberkommandos der Wehrmacht, based on Bernard & Graeffe earlier publication of 1962)
The draft prepared by the Voroshilov commission, set on Oct. 13, 1943 in the secretariat of the Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union, for Finland's unconditional surrender (The digitized Archives of Russian Foreign Ministry)
The Allied Conferences at Tehran. An excerpt, concerning Finland, of the discussion between Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill on Dec. 1, 1943 (Foreign Relations of the United States: Diplomatic Papers, The Conferences at Cairo and Tehran, 1943, US Department of State)
Memorial of Red Army prisoners of war
died in the POW camp in
Juuka, Northern Karelia, Finland
Soviet air raids on Helsinki in Feb. 1944
The ex-president of the USA Herbert Hoover explains his view and opinion about the reasons why Finland is siding Germany in the ongoing war, 25 March, 1944.
Declaration by the governments of Great Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States, addressed to Germany's satellites Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Finland. Published in British and Soviet newspapers, May 13, 1944 (heninen.net)
The discussion between the US Ambassador to the Soviet Union W. Averell Harriman and Stalin about any good services the United States could render Stalin to part Finland from the war, June 26, 1944. (Wilson Center Digital Archive)
The letter of Field Marshal, President C.G. Mannerheim to the German Reichskanzler Adolf Hitler about Finland's parting from the war, Sept. 2, 1944 (The Memoirs of Marshal Mannerheim)
Armistice Agreement between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, on the one hand, and Finland on the other, Sept. 19, 1944 (heninen.net)
Russia agrees to pay compensation to Canadian-British mining companies for the loss of their businesses in Petsamo, Oct. 8, 1944
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