Perhaps one of the lesser known theater of operations was Finland versus Russia. Few people outside of Finland knew that the Finns, while not part of the Axis Powers, allied with them to fight against the Soviet Union in 1939-45. It remains just as controversial; not all Finns were Nazis, but they nevertheless rallied behind their leader: Marshal Mannheim. Eventually, when the tides of war were shifting, the Finns were “forced” to switch sides.
Brett asks: Why did Finland fight with Germany in WW2?
I am not qualified to answer this question. I just barely started reading Henrik Lunde’s book Finland’s War of Choice. To answer this question, I turn to my brother who is a Finnophile and has studied this matter. This is his short answer.
- Short answer: Everyone sent “thoughts and prayers” while the Germans sent troops and materiel.
- Long answer: WW2 in Finland is split over 3 wars: The Winter War, Continuation War, Lapland War. The Winter War started with Soviet invasion of Finnish Karelia in 1939, which ended in 1940 with Soviet gains, but most of Finland intact. While the Soviet invasion was universally condemned by all, US, Britain, France were hesitant to send troops into a conflict against their ally, leaving Germany the only nation willing to fight the Soviets. In 1941, the Finns started the Continuation War to retake Karelia, coordinating with their new German allies, using new equipment (namely tanks) that the Germans had brought. After the Moscow Armistice in 1944, Finland had to simultaneously disarm and expel German troops from Lapland by a certain date. The Lapland War was to expel German troops from Lapland (in northern Finland) using some shiny new German equipment that had not arrived in time for the Continuation War (namely more tanks).