How the War With Finland Was the West’s Way of Probing the USSR’s Defences for Hitler’s Future Invasion

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


The website of the TV channel “Tvzvezda” has published a series of articles on the great Patriotic war of 1941-1945 by writer Leonid Maslovsky, based on his book “Russkaya Pravda”, published in 2011.

In his opinion articles, Maslovsky reveals “the myths of the imaginary foe, Russia, and the events of the great Patriotic war, showing the greatness of our Victory.” The author notes that in his articles he is going to “show the US’ unhelpful role in West Germany’s preparations for war with the USSR”.

In 1940 the USSR confidently kept second place in the world in terms of production from industrial and agricultural output, and was able to deflect the aggression of any country of the West.

In order for Germany to capture the territory of the USSR it needed to have an industrial potential and human resources surpassing the USSR.

To obtain a significant superiority over the USSR, Hitler began war against European countries in order to unite and force them to serve the interests of Germany. The ease with which Hitler’s Germany overcame one European country after another speaks rather about their readiness to serve Hitler than the inability to resist the aggressor.

France and England for many years invested huge money in the development of the military-industrial complex and the strengthening of their armed forces. The French “Maginot Line” passed from Montmédy to Belfort and represented a continuous zone of concrete fortifications and fortresses. In total even the population of the metropolises of France and England surpassed the population of Germany, and, taking into account the condition of their Armed Forces, they could quite resist the power of the Wehrmacht. Moreover, they had huge colonies that could provide them with everything necessary for waging a long war: England had colonies with a population of more than 500 million people, and France – about 70 million persons. But France shamefully quickly lost the war, and England hurried to take cover on its island.

Germany began the capture of France on May 10th, 1940, through Belgium and Holland. The offensive was conducted also through the “Maginot Line”, which was breached by German troops in several places. On June 14th the German troops entered Paris. On June 16th, France appealed to Germany for a truce. But Germany continued to push forward, and only on June 22nd in Compiègne was the truce signed. Two-thirds of the territory of France were occupied, and on one-third the pro-German government led by Pétain was created. In November, 1942, the Germans and Italians entered their troops also into the one-third of the remaining, not occupied territory of France.

In Russia and abroad the Soviet authorities are criticised, I.V. Stalin is being cursed, the Russian people are being humiliate for military defeats from the German army in the summer of 1941 and are silent about the fact that the French army with English expeditionary troops were totally crushed in one month, and that France had no hopes of being exempted from the German yoke, and England had no assurances that the fate of France wouldn’t take a hold of it.

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The shame of France, which in one month handed over the country to the enemy, and for us, who in 1941 didn’t lose our army and defended Moscow, it isn’t befitting to be ashamed of defeats from the strong, artful, and clever enemy. We stood our ground and won.

In the pre-war relationship between the USSR and Germany an aspiration to determine the force of the parties is obviously traced. U was such a test. The Soviet Union, for the purpose of ensuring its safety, asked Finland to edge back its border from Leningrad deep into of the Karelian Isthmus and proposed in exchange a territory twice as big. Finland answered with a military provocation with obvious support from Germany and warmongers.

In his memoirs K.A. Meretskov wrote: “on November 26th I received an extraordinary message in which it was reported that near the settlement of Mainila the Finns opened artillery fire on the Soviet border guards. Four persons were killed, nine were wounded. Having ordered to take the border to all its extent under control using forces of the military district, I immediately forwarded the report to Moscow. From there the instruction came to prepare for a counterattack. One week was given for preparation, but in practice we were obliged to reduce the term to four days because the Finnish groups in a number of places began to cross the border, wedging our territory and sending a group of saboteurs to the Soviet rear”.

Due to the specified events, on November 28th 1939 the government of the USSR denounced the Soviet-Finnish non-aggression pact and withdrew its diplomatic representatives from Finland. On November 30th, 1939, the troops of the Leningrad military district took the offensive on the Karelian Isthmus.

The falsifications generated by the enemies of Russia and their allies inside the country are boundless. Already the opinion that the USSR suffered a defeat in the war with Finland is inculcated in all of society.

In reality, on November 30th, 1939, only the troops of the Leningrad military district took the offensive on the Karelian Isthmus. There is nothing shameful for the Red Army and the USSR about the fact that they didn’t have enough forces for to breach the Mannerheim line.

The USSR had no time to gather more forces because the Finnish military units started crossing the border of the USSR and killing our soldiers, while there was a need to provide at all cost the safety of Leningrad and all the northwestern part of the USSR.

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The number of Finnish troops on the Karelian Isthmus totalled 130,000 people, Soviet – 169,000. A ratio of 1:1.3. There were 84 rifle battalions of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army versus 80 Finnish battalions leaning on long-term constructions. In a word, the forces of the parties on the Karelian Isthmus were almost equal, the difference was only that the Finns sat in concrete boxes, and the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army had a mass of tanks with bullet-proof armour.

In the secondary, minor in relation to the Karelian Isthmus direction, in an interval between the Ladoga and Onega lakes, a number of Soviet troops also didn’t provide a successful offensive. There was also the same ratio between the Armed Forces of Finland and the Soviet troops allocated for carrying out an operation in general. A.V. Isaev points out that the Finns had 170 battalion-equivalents. Respectively, 185 battalion-equivalents of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army resisted them.

After it became clear that there were no windows or doors in the “Mannerheim line”, and that in front of the Red Army there were strong long-term fortifications, and that the Finns put under the gun everyone who could be put under, the decision was made to stop the offensive.

The ratio of forces on February 12th, 1940, in comparison with December, 1939, began to correspond more to the classic ratio 1:3. The number of staff of the Soviet troops now totalled 460,000 people versus 150,000 people of the Finnish troops resisting them. After this the “Mannerheim” Line was breached with good speed.

By the way, on October 29th, 1941, the Finns stormed the Soviet Karelian fortified region, suffered huge losses, but weren’t able to breakthrough towards Leningrad from the North. The Karelian fortified region got in the way of the Finns as an unapproachable fortress during all the war.

War with Finland lasted 3 months and 12 days. Losses from the Soviet side totalled 131,476 people, and the losses of the Finnish army – 48,243 persons. Our losses exceed the Finnish ones almost threefold, but it is necessary to take into account that we stormed concrete fortresses and staged an offensive among the rocks, forests, and bogs in the most adverse terrain.

Having broken through the “Mannerheim Line”, the Soviet troops had the opportunity for a short period of time to occupy all of Finland, as the Finnish army was completely crushed, but we didn’t do it, and as soon as Finland asked, we signed a peace treaty with it. On March 12th, 1940, the agreement was signed. The Karelian Isthmus was transferred to the USSR, the northeastern coast of Lake Ladoga in the area of Kuoloyarvi, and a part of the Rybachy and Sredny peninsulas. Also the Finns agreed to lease the island of Hanko with its adjacent islands.

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During the Great Patriotic War the defenders of the Rybachy Peninsula deservedly became legendary heroes of the Polar region, about who poems and songs were written. They courageously defended our land, straits, and arctic convoys. It isn’t known if we could hold onto the Polar region and Murmansk without the mentioned peninsulas. It once again confirms that in the war against Finland our government sought only the safety of the people of the USSR.

By the way, the West not only provoked war between Finland and the USSR, but also delivered arms to it. Great Britain, France, and Sweden sent more than 500 planes to Finland alone. Arms came to Finland also from the US, Norway, Italy, and other countries of the West.

The war with Finland was a test by the West of the forces of the USSR. After the encirclement and defeat by Finns of our 44th rifle division, Churchill said on January 20th, 1940, in a speech on the radio that Finland “revealed the weakness of the Red Army to the whole world”. This statement was said for the purpose of accelerating the invasion by Germany of the USSR. The entire policy of the West was aimed at achieving one goal –  Germany’s invasion of the USSR.

The English historian F. Rothstein wrote that “starting with the pact of four (1934), the orientation of war to Hitler’s war against the USSR, to the occupation by Great Britain of a position of the ‘third rejoicing party’ was the firm continuation of the line of London”. And he further continued, having written the following: “Perhaps, in all the history of diplomacy (including political preparation of the people using internal propaganda), there was no such example of the long pushing of an aggressor (from 1935 to 1939) for the invasion of the State (the USSR), which was chosen by the ruling class of Great Britain as a target already long ago”.

Hitler continued to be persuaded of the need to invade the USSR even when he unleashed war in Europe. In particular, an official brochure appeared, written by the governor of Egypt with the preface of Lord Halifax, in which Hitler was reproached that he became a ‘perjurer’ without having invaded the USSR – “the enemy of the western civilisation”.

But, as a rule, neither in Russia or the West is this written about, but everybody brands with shame the actually competent, non-aggressive, aimed at providing the safety of the country actions of the government of the USSR and its Armed Forces in 1939-1940. The aggressive wars of Hitler’s Germany in Europe are also forgotten, but the USSR continues to be reproached that it didn’t voluntary put its head on the executioner’s block, but continued to care about its State and people.

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