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Continuation War
Part of Eastern Front of World War II
StuG III Ausf. G.jpg
Finnish StuG III Ausf. G assault guns.
Date 25 June 1941 – 19 September 1944
Location Finland, Karelia and Murmansk
Result Soviet victory; Moscow Armistice
Nazi Germany Germany
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946) Italy[1]
 Soviet Union
United Kingdom United Kingdom[Notes 1]
Finland C.G.E. Mannerheim Soviet Union Kirill Meretskov
Soviet Union Leonid Govorov
530,000 Finns[Notes 2][3]

220,000 Germans (Finnish Lapland)[Notes 3]

Casualties and losses
63,204 dead or missing [Notes 4][5]
158,000 wounded
939 civilians in air raids[5]
190 civilians by Soviet partisans[5]
2,377–3,500 captured[Notes 5][6]

14,000 dead or missing
37,000 wounded[3][4]

200,000 dead or missing
385,000 wounded
190,000 hospitalized due to sickness
64,000 captured[4]

4,000–7,000 civilian deaths

The Continuation War[Notes 6] (25 June 1941 – 19 September 1944) was the second of two wars fought between Finland and the Soviet Union during World War II.

At the time of the war, the Finnish side used the name to make clear its perceived relationship to the preceding Winter War.[7] The Soviet Union saw the war as a part of its struggle against Germany and its allies, the Great Patriotic War.[8][9] Germany saw its operations in the region as a part of its overall war efforts of World War II. It provided critical material support and military cooperation to Finland. The United Kingdom declared war on Finland on 6 December 1941, followed by its dominions shortly afterwards. The British declaration of war on Finland during the Continuation War is a rare case of democracies declaring war on other democracies, although the British forces were not a major belligerent. The United States did not fight or declare war against either party, but sent substantial matériel to the Soviet Union for use in the war effort against Germany and its allies.

Open warfare began with a Soviet air offensive in June 1941. Subsequent Finnish operations undid its post-Winter War cessations on the Karelian Isthmus and Ladoga Karelia and captured East Karelia by September 1941. A two and a half year standstill followed, during which Finland refused to actively participate in the siege of Leningrad and to cut the Murmansk railway while Soviet air forces conducted bombings of Helsinki. The Soviet strategic offensive in the summer of 1944 ended in stalemate, leading to Moscow Armistice in September. The war was formally concluded by the ratification of the Paris peace treaty in 1947. Finland ceded a number of territories, including the Karelian regions, and paid reparations of $300,000,000 equalling half of its annual gross domestic product in 1939 while the nation retained its independence.



Before World War II

Although East Karelia has never been part of a modern Finnish state, a significant part of its inhabitants were Finnic-speaking Karelians. After the Finnish declaration of independence, voices arose advocating the annexation of East Karelia to "rescue it from oppression." This led to a few incursions to the area (Viena expedition and Aunus expedition), but these were unsuccessful. Finland unsuccessfully raised the question of East Karelia several times in the League of Nations.

In non-leftist circles, Imperial Germany's role in the "White" government's victory over rebellious Socialists during the Finnish Civil War was celebrated, although most preferred British or Scandinavian support over that of Germany. The security policy of an independent Finland turned first towards a cordon sanitaire, whereby the newly independent nations of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland would form a defensive alliance against the USSR, but after negotiations collapsed, Finland turned to the League of Nations for security. Contacts with the Scandinavian countries also met with little success. In 1932, Finland and the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact, but even contemporary analysts considered it worthless.

The 1920 peace agreement was broken by the Soviet Union in 1937 when it stopped Finnish ships traveling between Lake Ladoga and the Gulf of Finland via the Neva River. The free use of this route for merchant vessels had been one of the articles in the agreement.

Winter war

Finnish ski troops in Northern Finland on 12 January 1940

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in 1939 enabled the Soviet Union to threaten to invade Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland without German interference. The three Baltic countries soon were annexed to the Soviet Union. Demands were then made to Finland to cede territory north of Leningrad, lease Hanko peninsula and to give transit rights to Soviet troops in exchange for Soviet land from East Karelia. Finnish counter-proposal would have doubled the distance between Leningrad and Finnish border, but it was not enough for the Soviets. As Soviet part demanded to the end breach of the Mannerheim Line, Hanko and the transit rights, Finland refused and as a result, on 30 November 1939, the Soviet Union attacked. Condemnation by the League of Nations and by countries all over the world had no effect on Soviet policy. International help to Finland was planned, but very little actual help materialized.

The Moscow Peace Treaty, which was signed on 12 March 1940, ended the Winter War. The Treaty was severe for Finland. A fifth of the country's industry and 11% of agricultural land were lost, as was Viipuri, the country's second largest city. Some 12% of Finland's population had to be moved to its side of the border. Hanko was leased to the Soviet Union as a military base. However, Finland had avoided having the Soviet Union annex the whole country.

Interim peace

The Moscow Peace Treaty, in 1940, was a shock to the Finns. It was perceived as the ultimate failure of Finland's foreign policy, which had been based on multilateral guarantees for support. Binding bilateral treaties were now sought and formerly frosty relations, such as with the Soviet Union and the Third Reich, had to be eased. Public opinion in Finland longed for the re-acquisition of Finnish Karelia, and put its hope in the peace conference that was assumed would follow World War II. The term Välirauha ("Interim Peace") became popular after the harsh peace was announced.

Although the peace treaty was signed, the state of war and censorship was not revoked because of the widening world war, the difficult food supply situation, and the poor shape of the Finnish military. This made it possible for president Kyösti Kallio to ask Field Marshal Mannerheim to remain commander-in-chief and supervise rearmament and fortification work. During 1940, Finland received material purchased and donated during and immediately after the Winter War. Military expenditures rose in 1940 to 45% of Finland's state budget. A war trade treaty with Britain had little effect due to Germany's occupation of Norway and Denmark on 9 April 1940 (Operation Weserübung).[10] These occupations left Finland and Sweden encircled by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. From May 1940, Finland pursued a campaign to reestablish good relations with Germany. Finnish media not only refrained from criticism of Nazi Germany, but also took an active part in this campaign. Dissent was censored. After the fall of France, the campaign was stepped up.

On the other hand, the relations between Finland and the Soviet Union remained sour. The implementation of the Moscow Peace Treaty created a number of problems. The forced return of evacuated machinery, locomotives, and rail cars, disagreement on a number of issues created by the new border, such as fishing rights and the usage of the Saimaa Canal, heightened the distrust.

Unbeknownst to Finland, Adolf Hitler had started to plan an invasion of the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa). The German military had not been interested in Finland before the Winter War, but now they saw its value as a base of operations, and perhaps also the military value of the Finnish army.[citation needed] In the first weeks of August, German concerns of a likely immediate Soviet attack on Finland caused Hitler to lift the arms embargo.[citation needed] Negotiations were initiated concerning German troop transfer rights in Finland in exchange for arms and other material. For the Third Reich, this was a breach of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, as well a breach of the Moscow Peace Treaty for Finland. Soviet negotiators had insisted that the troop transfer agreement (to Hanko) should not be published making it easy for the Finns to keep a troop transfer agreement with the Germans secret until the first German troops arrived.[citation needed]

Despite the Soviet leadership having promised the Finns during the signing of the Moscow Peace treaty that it would not intervene in Finnish domestic policy,[citation needed] the reality of the interim peace period showed the opposite. After the ceasefire, the Soviets demanded the Finnish industrial town of Enso, which was on the Finnish side of the peace treaty border;[citation needed] the Finns accepted and handed over the town. The Soviet involvement in Finnish domestic politics continued with open Soviet support for the extreme left wing organization SNS Friendship Union Soviet-Finland, which was campaigning for Finland to join the Soviet Union. The Soviets also successfully demanded that the Finnish minister Väinö Tanner resign and that, during the Finnish presidential election of 1940, neither Mannerheim, Kivimäki, Tanner nor Svinhufvud were to be candidates. On a meeting with Mannerheim in 1940, Hitler claimed, that the Soviet foreign minister Molotov had asked Hitler for a free hand to 'solve the Finnish question', during one of his visits to Berlin.[11]

Negotiations over Petsamo nickel mining rights had dragged on for six months when the Soviet Foreign Ministry announced in January 1941 that the negotiations had to be concluded quickly. On the same day, the Soviet Union interrupted its grain deliveries to Finland. Soviet ambassador Zotov was recalled home 18 January and Soviet radio broadcasts began an anti-Finnish campaign. Germans in northern Norway reported on 1 February that the Soviet Union had collected 500 fishing ships in Murmansk, capable of transporting a division. Hitler ordered troops in Norway to occupy Petsamo (Operation Renntier) immediately if the Soviet Union started attacking Finland.

Finland offered half of the mine to the Soviet Union in exchange for a guarantee that no anti-government agitation would be done in the mines. This was not enough for Soviets and when Mannerheim declared that any additional concessions would endanger the defence of the country and threatened to resign if those were done, the Finnish side decided to let the negotiations lapse when there was no movement from the Soviet positions.[citation needed]

After the failure of the nickel negotiations, diplomatic activities were halted for a few months.

Path to war

Finnish-German agreements

By May 1941, German troops surrounded Finland's northern frontier and were inside the country by virtue of a transit agreement. Furthermore, Finland had become economically dependent on Germany. Finland became a willing partner as its inner circle of leaders banked on a German victory, and did not consider any alternative policy.[12]

In the spring of 1941, joint military plans were discussed with Germany. In May 1941, the Finns learned about Germany's planned attack of the Soviet Union.[13] Between 3 and 6 June, details of military co-operation were discussed in Helsinki as were issues regarding communications and securing sea lanes. It was also agreed that the Finnish Army would start mobilisation on 15 June.[13] The Finnish military leaders made following prerequisites: a guarantee of Finnish independence, at least the pre-Winter War borders, continuous grain deliveries, and that Finnish troops would not cross the border before a Soviet incursion. The Finnish commanders were willing to enter into a 'war of compensation' as co-belligerents of Germany.[14] The Barbarossa plan envisaged a subordinate military role for Finland, and the Germans assumed that Finland would play that role when the time came.[14] The Finnish leadership hoped to acquire a sizable share of the northern territory of the Soviet Union.[14]

The Finnish government was informed of the negotiations for the first time on 9 June.[13] Eleven days later, the authorities ordered the evacuation of 45,000 civilians from the Soviet border region. On 21 June 1941, Germany informed the Chief of General Staff of Finland of the beginning attack. By then, the Finnish Defence Forces were 400,000 strong, much larger and better equipped for war than it had been in 1939.[12]


Relative strengths of Finnish, German and Soviet troops at the start of the Continuation War in June 1941. Finnish borders before the Moscow Peace Treaty shown in light colour

The arrival of German troops for the attack of the Soviet Union begun 7 June 1941 when the German 6th SS Mountain Division Nord in Norway crossed the border on 7 June. Two more German divisions were shipped from Southern Norway and Stettin. The troops were transported to by trains to Rovaniemi. The 40,600 German troops started to advance eastwards to Salla on 18 June. The Luftwaffe landed its air divisions in Rovaniemi, Luonetjärvi and Utti.

Operation Barbarossa had already commenced in the northern Baltic by the late hours of 21 June 1941, when German minelayers, which had been hiding in the Archipelago Sea, laid two large minefields across the Gulf of Finland.[15][16] Later the same night, German bombers flew along the Gulf of Finland to Leningrad and mined the harbour and the river Neva. On the return trip, these bombers landed for refuelling on an airfield in Utti. Finland was concerned that the Soviet Union would occupy Åland, so Operation Kilpapurjehdus ("Regatta") was launched in the early hours of 22 June to militarise the islands instead. Soviet bombers launched attacks against Finnish ships during the operation inflicting no damage. Finnish submarines laid six small minefields between Suursaari and the Estonian coast according to prewar defensive plans of Finland and Estonia.[17]

On 21 June, Finnish units began to concentrate at the Finnish-Soviet border, where they were arranged into defensive formations. Finland mobilised 16 infantry divisions, one cavalry brigade, and two jäger brigades, which were standard infantry brigades, except for an armoured battalion in the 1st Jäger Brigade. There were separate battalions, mostly formed from border guard units and used mainly for reconnaissance. Soviet military plans estimated that Finland would be able to mobilise only 10 infantry divisions, as it had done in the Winter War, but they failed to take into account of the material Finland had purchased between the wars and its training of all available men. Two German mountain divisions were stationed at Petsamo and two infantry divisions at Salla. On the morning of 22 June, the German Mountain Corps Norway began its advance from northern Norway to Petsamo. Finland did not allow direct German attacks from its soil to the Soviet Union. On the same day, another German infantry division was moved in from Oslo to face Ladoga Karelia.

The Soviet mobilisation had been underway since 18 June. The Karelian Isthmus was covered by the 23rd Army. Ladoga Karelia was defended by the 7th Army. In the MurmanskSalla region, there was the 14th Army with the 42nd Corps. The Red Army also had around 40 battalions of separate regiments and fortification units present. Leningrad was garrisoned by three infantry divisions and one mechanized corps.As the initial devastating German strike against the Soviet Air Force had not affected air units located near Finland, the Soviets deployed 700 planes as well as some aircraft from the Navy against 300 Finnish planes.[18]

Campaign of 1941

In the morning of 25 June, the Soviet Union launched an air offensive of 460 fighter bombers against 18 Finnish cities.[18] The Soviet Union claimed the attack was directed against German targets, especially airfields, in Finland.[19] However, the British embassy verified that only Finnish targets, mainly civilian ones, were hit while no German targets were met. At the same time, Soviet artillery stationed in the Hanko base began to shell Finnish targets, and a minor Soviet infantry attack was launched over the Finnish side of the border in Parikkala.

A meeting of the Finnish parliament was scheduled for 25 June, where Prime Minister Rangell had intended to present a notice about neutrality, but the bombings led him to observe instead, that Finland was at a continuation war with the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union's war against Germany did not go as well as pre-war Soviet war games had envisioned, and soon the Soviet High Command had to call all available units to the rapidly deteriorating front line. Because of this, the initial air offensive against Finland could not be followed by a supporting land offensive, in the scale originally planned.[20] Moreover, the 10th Mechanized Corps and the 237th Infantry Division were withdrawn from Ladoga Karelia, thus stripping reserves from defending units.

Reconquest of Ladoga Karelia

The furthest advance of Finnish units in the Continuation War.

Reconquest of the Karelian Isthmus

Conquest of East Karelia

Operation Silver Fox

The operational border between Finnish and German forces was located southeast from Lake Oulujärvi to the border, and then straight to the east. The Finnish 14.D controlled the southern part of the border, while the northern part was in the responsibility of AOK Norwegen (Col. Gen. von Falkenhorst). The Finnish III Corps (Maj. Gen. Siilasvuo) was southernmost, German XXXVI Corps (Gen. Feige) next and German Mountain Corps (Gen. Dietl) northernmost at Petsamo. Together, they had three infantry, two mountain and one SS ("Nord") divisions and two armoured battalions. Additionally, an infantry regiment and an artillery battalion from the German 163rd division were diverted there. Opposing them were the Soviet 14th Army (Lt. Gen. Frolov) at Murmansk, part of the 7th infantry division, together with the 6th infantry division, one armoured division, and another division strengthening the fortified area.

As the Finns had not allowed the Germans to attack across the Finnish border before 25 June, Soviet side had ample warning and used the available days to fortify the border region. Also, the concentration of the German forces to the border took longer than anticipated, so the start of the offensive was delayed until 29 June, a week later than the start of Operation Barbarossa, thus giving the Soviets more time to prepare their fortifications.

The Mountain Corps broke through the Soviet forces in the early hours of 29 June and managed to advance almost 30 km to the Litsa River, where the offensive was stopped by supply problems on 2 July. When the attack was continued a week later, the Soviets had managed to bring in reinforcements and prepare defensive positions, so the attack failed to gain ground.

Radio operator of Finnish long-range patrol

The XXXVI Corps attacked along the RovaniemiKandalaksha railroad on 1 July, but after only a day, the SS division "Nord" had lost its fighting capability and it took a week before the German 169th division and Finnish 6th division managed to capture Salla, and only two days later, the whole offensive was halted by a new Soviet fortified line.

Soviet infiltrator being shot during the Continuation War.

The Germans had used all their forces in the offensive and did not have any reserves left, so these had to be transported from Germany and Norway. This caused a delay in operations, which the Soviets used effectively to reinforce their positions and improve their fortifications. OKW was only able to send two infantry regiments to von Falkenhorst, and their willingness to micromanage their usage lead to disagreements between OKW and von Falkenhorst, which hampered their effective usage. Because of this, the renewed offensive failed to gain any ground on 8 September at Litsa River, after which OKW ordered its forces to switch to the defensive.

At Salla, XXXVI Corps fared better from 19 August, as the Finnish 6th division had cut Soviet supply routes, forcing the Soviet 104th and 122nd divisions to abandon their fortified positions and heavy equipment on 27 August. This was followed by advancing the operation along the railroad until, after almost 50 km, the attack was stopped on 19 September. Von Falkenhorst had requested reinforcements from Germany twice to continue his offensive immediately, while Soviet forces were still disorganized, but he was denied.

The Finnish III Corps operated under the German AOK Norwegen and was located in the KuusamoSuomussalmi region. It was a very weak formation with only the 3rd Infantry Division and two separate battalions. It was commanded by Major Gen. Hjalmar Siilasvuo. Defending against them were the Soviet 54th Infantry Division, commanded by Major. Gen. I. V. Panin, reinforced by the 88th Infantry Division (Major Gen. A. I. Zelentsov) and the 1087th Infantry Regiment in August, and by the 186th Infantry Division and one border guard regiment in November.

The Finnish corps was ordered to attack towards Uhtua (now Kalevala) and Kiestinki (now Kestenga). When the offensive began on 1 July, the attack was slowed by a Soviet delaying defence and it took eight days to reach the Soviet defences at the Vuonnisenjoki River in the south, and 12 more days to reach the Sohjananjoki River in the north. In the south, the attack continued on 11 July with a flanking attack across lake Ylä-Kuittijärvi, but the Soviet defence was so successful that the attack was broken off in early September without reaching Uhtua, which was still 10 km away, as the attacking forces had to relocate two battalions to the northern group.

The northern group was reinforced with one infantry regiment from SS Division "Nord", and the attack continued on 30 July. A week later, Kiestinki was captured, and the attack continued along the road and railroad eastward. The Finnish 53rd infantry regiment advanced much faster along the railroad than other forces, which moved along the road. The commander of the newly arrived Soviet 88th infantry division recognized an opportunity, and the Soviet 758th infantry division attacked across the forest behind the Finnish infantry regiment, managing to encircle it on 20 August, making the 53rd infantry regiment the largest Finnish unit the Soviets managed to encircle during the war. Arne Somersalo, an important Finnish commander, was killed in the fighting.

The Finns managed to open a path through the forest next day, but the supply route via the railroad remained closed, so the 53rd infantry regiment retreated through the forest on 2 September, after destroying abandoned material. Finnish forces were reinforced with the 2nd infantry regiment from SS-Division "Nord", and the Soviet counterattack was haulted 10–15 km east of Kiestinki.

During October, the German–Finnish forces were supplied, rested and reinforced with the rest of the SS Division "Nord". Von Falkenhorst and Siilasvuo planned to start a new attack in November, but the OKW ordered the AOK Norwegen not to attack, but prepare for defence. However, von Falkenhorst and Siilasvuo started their offensive on 1 November anyway. The Finns managed to break through the Soviet defences and one Soviet infantry regiment was encircled between the Finns and Germans. The situation was threatening to the Soviets and they started to transfer the new 186th Infantry Division from Murmansk to Kiestinki. Mannerheim contacted Siilasvuo and ordered him to stop the attack, as it endangered Finland's relations with the United States. Also, OKW repeated its order to von Falkenhorst to stop the offensive, release the SS Division "Nord" and transfer it to Germany. When the order to move to defensive operations was given on 17 November, the last attempt to reach the Murmansk railroad had failed.

Naval campaign

After the Winter War and the Soviet occupation of the Baltic states, the Soviet Navy entered the war from a strong position; the Red Banner Baltic fleet (KBF) was the largest navy on the Baltic sea (two battleships, two light cruisers, 19 destroyers, 68 submarines, and a naval air arm comprising 709 aircraft). With a Soviet naval base at Hanko in southern Finland and Soviet control of the Baltic states, the Finnish concern was that it would be easy for the Soviet Union to blockade Finland, and the long Finnish coast would be vulnerable to Soviet amphibious assaults.

The Finnish Navy (Merivoimat) was divided into two branches, coastal artillery and the navy. A string of fixed coastal artillery forts had been built by the Russians before World War I (Peter the Great's Naval Fortress) and was maintained later as well. The navy consisted of two coastal defense ships, five submarines and a number of small craft. The German Navy could provide only a small part of its naval force as it was tied up in the battle of the Atlantic. Germany's main concern in the Baltic sea was to protect the routes through the Archipelago Sea which supplied its war industry with vital iron ore imported from Sweden.

Cooperation between Germany and Finland was closest in the Baltic Sea theatre. Before the war, both sides had agreed to use the naval tactics from World War I. Both navies would use mine warfare in order to neutralize the superiority of the Soviet navy and let the land forces seek the victory. The naval base at Hanko was to be besieged. Hours prior to Operation Barbarossa, the Finnish and German navies began to lay mine belts in the Baltic and in the Gulf of Finland. Already on the second day of the war, the Soviet navy lost its first destroyer to a mine. Because of this tactic, the Soviets were unable to make use of their superior navy and its losses increased over the summer of 1941.

As its naval bases at Riga and Liepaja were lost, the Soviet Navy withdrew to Tallinn. By the end of August, German troops surrounded Tallinn and the Soviets were preparing an evacuation by sea. As a countermeasure to this the German and the Finnish navy dropped 2400 mines, to add to the 600 mines already in the sea lanes outside Tallinn. German artillery was set up at Cape Juminda in the Estonian coast and a couple of Finnish and German torpedo boats were put on alert. The Soviet evacuation consisted of 160 ships, which evacuated 28,000 people (including the Communist leadership of Estonian SSR with their families, army and navy personnel, and 10,000 Estonian forced laborers) and 66,000 tons of matériel. The evacuation began on the night of 27 August, at the same time as the first German troops entered the city. During the embarkation, the Soviet navy was under constant attack by German bombers and artillery. At midnight, 28 August, the fleet ran into the minefield at Juminda while under a Finnish and German torpedo boat attack. There were heavy casualties: 65 ships were lost, and several more were damaged. 16,000 of the 28,000 evacuees perished. With very small means, the German and the Finnish navies had delivered a serious blow to the Baltic Fleet. It withdrew to the Kronstadt naval base outside of Leningrad, where its capital ships would remain until the autumn of 1944.[21][22][23]

Soviet troop transporter nearly sunk by German mines on 3 December 1941 in the Finnish Gulf during the Hanko evacuation

The Finnish navy suffered its heaviest loss on 13 September 1941, when the Finnish coastal defence ship Ilmarinen hit a mine and sank during Operation Nordwind, killing 271 Finnish sailors.

At the start of the war, Finnish ground troops isolated the Hanko base of 30,000 troops. The front remained static there with only some small scale naval and amphibious actions in the surrounding archipelago. By the end of the summer, the Finnish 17th Division making up the bulk of the defences had left the area to East Karelia. By the end of 1941 the base lost its importance, both due to the continuing blockade and the rapid German advance towards Leningrad, and was evacuated by December 1941. Evacuation was performed in several convoys which managed to transport roughly 23,000 troops to Leningrad. The fleet suffered casualties from Finnish minefields and coastal artillery losing 3 destroyers and 2 large transports (Andrei Zhdanov and Iosif Stalin) as well as several smaller vessels. Finnish troops entered the area and found it heavily mined. [24][25][26]

Political development

On 10 July, the Finnish army began a major offensive on the Karelian Isthmus and north of Lake Ladoga. Mannerheim's order of the day, the Sword scabbard declaration, clearly states that the Finnish involvement was an offensive one.[27] By the end of August 1941, Finnish troops had reached the prewar boundaries. The crossing of the prewar borders led to tensions in the army, the cabinet, the parties of the parliament, and domestic opinion. Military expansionism might have gained popularity, but its support was far from unanimous.

Hitler, Marshal Mannerheim (Finnish Army chief) and Finnish President Ryti meet, Immola — June 1942

International relations were also strained — notably with Britain and Sweden, whose governments were confidentially informed in May and June by Foreign Minister Witting that Finland had absolutely no plans for a military campaign coordinated with the Germans. Finland's preparations were said to be purely defensive.

Sweden's leading cabinet members had hoped to improve the relations with Nazi Germany through indirect support of Operation Barbarossa, mainly channeled through Finland.[citation needed] Prime Minister Hansson and Foreign Minister Günther found however, that the political support in the National Unity Government and within the Social Democratic organizations turned out to be insufficient, particularly after Mannerheim's Sword Scabbard Declaration, and even more so after Finland had begun a war of conquest two months after assuring Sweden of its defensive intentions. A tangible result was that Finland became still more dependent on food and munitions from Germany.

The Commonwealth of Nations put Finland under blockade and the British ambassador was withdrawn. On 31 July 1941, British Royal Navy carrier aircraft conducted an air raid against the northern Finnish port of Petsamo.[28] Damage was limited, since the harbour was almost empty of ships.

On 11 September, the US ambassador Arthur Schoenfeld was informed that the offensive on the Karelian Isthmus was halted at the pre-Winter War border (with a few "straightened curves" at the municipalities of Valkeasaari and Kirjasalo), and that under no conditions would Finland participate in an offensive against Leningrad, but would instead maintain a static defence and wait for a political resolution. Witting stressed to Schoenfeld that Germany, however, should not hear of this. Some scholars believe that Mannerheim's refusal to attack Leningrad ultimately saved the city, because a coordinated German-Finnish attack launched in September 1941 would have overwhelmed the Soviet defences.[29]

On 22 September, a British note was presented (by Norway's ambassador Michelet) demanding the expulsion of German troops from Finland's territory and Finland's withdrawal from East Karelia to positions behind the pre-Winter War borders. Finland was threatened by a British declaration of war unless the demands were met. Finland did not comply and Britain declared war on it on 6 December. The declaration delayed the state of war until 12:00 GMT, 7 December. This timing, with respect to Japanese naval movements toward southeast Asian colonies, indicates that British declaration of war against Finland was expected to encourage a Soviet declaration against Japan.[30]

In December 1941, the Finnish advance had reached the Svir River, which connects the southern ends of Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega and marks the southern border of East Karelia. By the end of 1941, the front stabilized, and Finland did not conduct major offensive operations for the following two and a half years. The fighting morale of the troops declined when it was realized that the war would not end soon, as initially expected. It has been suggested that the execution of the prominent pacifist Arndt Pekurinen in November 1941 was due to fear of army demoralization being exacerbated by such activism.

A major consequence of this move was that Finland's blockade significantly contributed to the complete encirclement and 900-day siege of Leningrad, which resulted in over a million civilian casualties, especially from starvation, in the 16-month period Sep 1941 - Jan 1943.[citation needed]

1942-1943: Trench Warfare

Diplomatic maneuvers

Operation Barbarossa was planned as a blitzkrieg intended to last a few weeks. British and US observers believed that the invasion would be concluded before August.[citation needed] In the autumn of 1941, this turned out to be wrong, and leading Finnish military officers started to doubt Germany's capability to finish the war quickly. German troops in Northern Finland faced circumstances they were not properly prepared for, and failed to reach their targets, most importantly Murmansk. Finland's strategy now changed. A separate peace with the Soviet Union was offered,[citation needed] but Germany's strength was too great. The idea that Finland had to continue the war while putting its own forces at the least possible danger gained increasing support, perhaps in the hopes that the Wehrmacht and the Red Army would wear each other down enough for negotiations to begin, or to at least get them out of the way of Finland's independent decisions. Some may also have continued to hope for an eventual victory by Germany.

Finland's participation in the war brought major benefits to Germany. The Soviet fleet was blockaded in the Gulf of Finland, so that the Baltic was freed for the training of German submarine crews as well as for German shipping, especially for the transport of the vital iron ore from northern Sweden, and nickel and rare metals needed in steel processing from the Petsamo area. The Finnish front secured the northern flank of the German Army Group North in the Baltic states. The sixteen Finnish divisions tied down numerous Soviet troops, put pressure on Leningrad (although Mannerheim refused to attack it directly) and threatened the Murmansk railway. Additionally, Sweden was further isolated and was increasingly pressured to comply with German and Finnish wishes, though with limited success.[citation needed]

Despite Finland's contributions to the German cause, the Western Allies had ambivalent feelings, torn between residual goodwill for Finland and the need to accommodate their vital ally, the Soviet Union. As a result, Britain declared war against Finland, but the United States did not. With few exceptions, there was no combat between these countries and Finland, but Finnish sailors were interned overseas. In the United States, Finland was denounced for naval attacks made on American Lend-Lease shipments, but received approval for continuing to make payments on its World War I debt throughout the inter-war period.

Because Finland joined the Anti-Comintern Pact and signed other agreements with Germany, Italy and Japan, the Allies characterized Finland as one of the Axis Powers, although the term used in Finland is "co-belligerence with Germany," emphasizing the lack of a formal military alliance treaty.

International volunteers and support

Like in the Winter War, Swedish volunteers were recruited. Until December, they were tasked with guarding the Soviet naval base at Hanko. When it was evacuated by sea in December 1941, the Swedish unit was officially disbanded. During the Continuation War, the volunteers signed for three to six months of service. In all, over 1,600 fought for Finland, though only about 60 remained by the summer of 1944. About a third of the volunteers had previously participated in the Winter War. Another significant group, about a quarter of the men, were Swedish officers on leave.

There was also an SS battalion of volunteers on the northern Finnish front from 1942 to 1944, that was recruited from Norway, then under German occupation, and similarly, some Danes. About 3,400 Estonian volunteers took part. On other occasions, the Finns received around 2,100 Soviet prisoners of war in return for those POWs they turned over to the Germans. These POWs were mainly Estonians and Karelians who were willing to join the Finnish army. These, as well as some volunteers from occupied Eastern Karelia, formed the Kinship Battalion (Finnish: "Heimopataljoona"). At the end of the war, the USSR requested members of the Kinship Battalion to be handed over. Some managed to escape before or during transport, but most of them were either sent to the labor camps or executed.

Finnish occupation policy

Finnish military personnel and non-Finnic people of East Karelia at a transfer camp in Petrozavodsk during the visit of a Swiss correspondent during the final phases of the war.[31]
Russian children at a formerly Finnish-run transfer camp in Petrozavodsk; photo taken by photographer Galina Sanko on 29 June 1944, one day after the Finns had left the area. The sign reads, in Finnish and Russian: "Transfer camp. Entry to the camp and conversations through the fence are forbidden under the penalty of death." [32]

A significant number of Soviet civilians were interred in concentration camps. These were Russian women, young children, and the elderly as almost all of the working age male and female population was either drafted or evacuated: only ⅓ of the original population of 470,000 remained in East Karelia when the Finnish army arrived, and a half of them were Karelians. About 30% (24,000) of the remaining Russian population were confined in camps, 6,000 of them were Soviet refugees captured when awaiting transportation over Lake Onega, and 3,000 from the southern side of the River Svir, allegedly to secure the area behind the front lines against partisan attacks. The first of the camps were set up on 24 October 1941 in Petrozavodsk. During the spring and summer of 1942, 3,500 detainees died of malnutrition. During the last half of 1942 the number of detainees dropped quickly to 15,000 as people were released to their homes or were resettled to the "safe" villages, and 500 more people died during the last two years of war, as the food shortages were alleviated.[3][33] During the following years, the Finnish authorities detained several thousand more civilians from areas with reported partisan activity, but as the releases continued the total number of detainees remained at 13,000–14,000. The total number of deaths among the camp inmates is estimated at 4,000–7,000, mostly from hunger during the spring and summer of 1942.[33][34]

Segregation in education and medical care between Karelians and Russians created resentment, and became one of the factors motivating many ethnic Russians to support partisan activity in the region.

Soviet partisans

Soviet partisans conducted a number of operations in Finland and in Eastern Karelia from 1941 to 1944. The major one failed when the 1st Partisan Brigade was destroyed in the beginning of August 1942 at lake Seesjärvi. Partisans distributed propaganda newspapers "Pravda" in Finnish and "Lenin's Banner" in Russian. One of the leaders of the partisan movement in Finland and Karelia was Yuri Andropov.[35]

Finnish sources state that partisan activity in East Karelia focused mainly on Finnish military supply and communication targets, but almost two thirds of the attacks on the Finnish side of the border targeted civilians,[36] killing 200 and injuring 50, including children and elderly.[37][38][39]

Jews in Finland

Finland refused to permit extensions of Nazi anti-Semitic practices within Finland. Finnish Jews served in the Finnish army and were generally tolerated in Finland. Most Jewish refugees were granted asylum (only 8 out of over 500 refugees were handed over to the Nazis).[40]

The field synagogue in Eastern Karelia was one of the very few functioning synagogues on the Axis side during the war. There were even several cases of Jewish officers of Finland's army awarded with the German Iron Cross, which they declined. Ironically, German soldiers were treated by Jewish medical officers who succeeded in saving their lives.[41][42][43][44]

Finland and Western Allies

The Continuation War represents the only case of a genuinely democratic state participating in World War II on the side of the Axis powers, albeit without being a signatory of the Tripartite Pact. The United Kingdom declared war on Finland on 6 December 1941, Finnish Independence Day, with Canada and New Zealand declaring war on Finland on 7 December, and Australia and South Africa declaring war on 8 December. The United States Secretary of State Cordell Hull did congratulate the Finnish envoy on 3 October 1941 for the liberation of Karelia but warned Finland not to go in to Soviet territory; furthermore the US did not declare war on Finland when they went to war with the Axis countries and, together with UK, approached Stalin in the Tehran Conference to acknowledge Finnish independence. However, the US government seized Finnish merchant ships in American ports and in the summer of 1944 shut down Finnish diplomatic and commercial offices in the US as a result of President Ryti's treaty with Germany. The US government later warned Finland about the consequences of continued adherence to the Axis.[45]

The best-known British action on Finnish soil was a Swordfish attack on German ships in the Finnish harbour of Petsamo on 31 July 1941.[2] This attack achieved little except the loss of three British aircraft, but it was intended as a demonstration of British support for its Soviet ally. Later in 1941, Hurricanes of No. 151 Wing RAF based at Murmansk provided local air cover for Soviet troops and fighter escorts for Soviet bombers.[46] The British contribution to the war was occasional but significant.

Finnish radio intelligence is said to have participated effectively in German actions against British convoys to Murmansk.[47] Throughout the war, German aircraft operating from airfields in northern Finland made attacks on British air and naval units based in Murmansk and Archangelsk.

1944: Soviet offensive

Destroyed IS-2 tank summer of 1944

Overtures for peace

Areas ceded by Finland to the Soviet Union following the Moscow Armistice

Finland began to actively seek a way out of the war after the disastrous German defeat at the Battle of Stalingrad in February 1943. Edwin Linkomies formed a new cabinet with peace as the top priority. Negotiations were conducted intermittently in 1943–44 between Finland and its representative, Juho Kusti Paasikivi, on the one side and the Western Allies and the Soviet Union on the other but no agreement was reached. Stalin decided to force Finland to surrender; a bombing campaign on Helsinki followed. The air campaign in February 1944 included three major air attacks involving a total of over 6000 sorties. Finnish anti-aircraft defences managed to repel the raids as only 5% of the dropped bombs hit their planned targets. Major air attacks also hit Oulu and Kotka but, because of radio intelligence and effective AA defences, the number of casualties was small.

Meanwhile, the lengthy German defence in Narva aided by Estonians denied a Soviet-occupied Estonia as a favorable base for amphibious invasions and air attacks against Helsinki and other Finnish cities. The tactical success of the army detachment "Narwa" from mid-February to April diminished the hopes of the Stavka to assault Finland and force it into capitulation from Estonia. Finland terminated the negotiations on 18 April 1944.[48][49][50][51][52][53][54]

Destroyed T-34 at the battle of Tali-Ihantala

On 9 June 1944, the Soviet Union opened a major offensive against Finnish positions on the Karelian Isthmus and in the area of Lake Ladoga (it was timed to accompany D-Day[citation needed]). On the 21.7 km wide breakthrough point the Red Army had concentrated 2,851 45-mm guns and 130 50-mm guns. In some places, the concentration of artillery pieces exceeded 200 guns for each kilometer of the front (one for each 5m). On that day, Soviet artillery fired over 80,000 rounds along the front on the Karelian Isthmus. On the second day of the offensive, Soviet forces broke through the Finnish lines, liberating Petrozavodsk on 28 June 1944.

Recapture of the Karelian Isthmus

Finland especially lacked modern anti-tank weaponry, which could stop Soviet heavy tanks, and German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop offered these in exchange for a guarantee that Finland would not seek a separate peace again. On 26 June, President Risto Ryti gave this guarantee as a personal undertaking, which he intended to last for the remainder of his presidency. In addition to material deliveries, Hitler sent some assault gun brigades and a Luftwaffe fighter-bomber unit to provide temporary support in the most threatened defence sectors.

With new supplies from Germany, the Finnish army was able to halt the Soviet advance in early July 1944. At this point, Finnish forces had retreated about one hundred kilometres bringing them to approximately the same line of defence they had held at the end of the Winter War. This line was known as the VKT-line (short for "Viipuri–Kuparsaari–Taipale", running from Viipuri to River Vuoksi, and along the river to Lake Ladoga at Taipale), where the Soviet offensive was eventually stopped in the Battle of Tali-Ihantala in spite of their numerical and material superiority.[55][56][57] By that time, Finland had already become a sideshow for the Soviet leadership, who now turned their attention to Poland and southeastern Europe. The Allies had already succeeded in their landing in France and were pushing towards Germany, and the Soviet leadership did not want to give them a free hand in Central Europe. The Finnish front stabilized once again, and the exhausted Finns wanted to get out of the war. A few major battles were fought in the later stages of the war. The last of them was the Battle of Ilomantsi, from July 26 to August 13, 1944.

Prisoners of war

Soviet prisoners of war in Finland

About 2,600–2,800 Soviet prisoners of war were handed over to the Germans in exchange for roughly 2200 Finnic prisoners of war. Most of the prisoners handed over to Germans (around 2,000) joined the Russian Liberation Army. Many of the rest were army officers and political officers, and based on their names, 74 of them were Jews, most of them dying in Nazi concentration camps. Sometimes these hand overs were demanded in return for arms or food.[58]

Food was especially scarce in 1942 in Finland due to a bad harvest. This was the primary reason for the dramatic rise in the number of deaths in Finnish concentration camps on occupied Soviet territory during this time. Punishment for escape attempts or serious violations of camp rules included solitary confinement and execution. Out of 64,188 Soviet POWs, 18,318 died in Finnish prisoner of war camps.[59]

After the war, based on the testimonies of the former prisoners of war, criminal charges were filed against 1,381 Finnish camp staff, resulting in 723 convictions and 658 acquittals. They were accused of 42 executions and 242 murders. There were 10 cases of death from torture, eight infringements of property rights, 280 official infringements and 86 other crimes.

Finnish prisoners of war in the Soviet Union

There are two views of the number of Finnish prisoners of war. The Soviet and Russian view is that of 2,377 Finnish prisoners of war who reached the prison camps 1,954 were returned after Moscow Armistice. The Finnish view is that of original ~3,500 prisoners of war only ~2,000 were returned (more than 40% perished). Difference can be at least partially explained by Soviet method of counting only the prisoners who survived to a prison camp.

Armistice and aftermath

Memorial at Lappeenranta to the dead of the Winter and Continuation Wars. The wall in the background carries the names of Finnish dead buried inside Karelia. The figures are cleaners carrying out a daily cleaning and tidying of the memorial. May 2000

Mannerheim had repeatedly reminded the Germans that in case their troops in Estonia retreated, Finland would be forced to make peace even on extremely unfavourable terms.[60] The territory of Estonia would have provided the Soviet army with a favourable base for amphibious invasions and air attacks against Finland's capital, Helsinki, and other strategic targets in Finland, and would have strangled Finnish access to the sea. The initial German reaction to Finland's announcement of ambitions for a separate peace was limited to only verbal opposition. However, the Germans arrested hundreds of sailors on Finnish merchant ships in Germany, Denmark and Norway.

President Ryti resigned, paving the way for a separate peace, and Finland's military leader and national hero, Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, was extraordinarily appointed president by the parliament, accepting responsibility for ending the war.

On 4 September, the cease-fire ended military actions on the Finnish side. The Soviet Union ended hostilities exactly 24 hours after the Finns. An armistice between the Soviet Union and Finland was signed in Moscow on 19 September. Finland had to make many concessions: the Soviet Union regained the borders of 1940, with the addition of the Petsamo area (now Pechengsky District, Russia); the Porkkala peninsula (adjacent to Helsinki) was leased to the USSR as a naval base for fifty years and transit rights were granted; Finland's army was to be demobilized with haste, and Finland was required to expel all German troops from its territory within 14 days. As the Germans did not leave Finland in time for the given deadline, the Finns fought their former allies in the Lapland War. Finland was also to clear the minefields in Karelia (including East Karelia) and in the Gulf of Finland. The demining was a long operation, especially in the sea areas, lasting until 1952. 100 Finnish army personnel were killed and over 200 wounded during this process, most of them in Lapland.

Nevertheless, in contrast to the rest of the Eastern front countries, where the war was fought to the end, a Soviet occupation of Finland did not occur and the country retained sovereignty. Neither did Communists rise to power as they had in the Eastern Bloc countries. A policy called the Paasikivi–Kekkonen line formed the basis of Finnish foreign policy towards the Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991.


353,240 Soviet personnel were awarded this medal for the defence of the Soviet Transarctic from 5 December 1944
Mannerheim Cross is the most distinguished Finnish military decoration and awarded to soldiers for extraordinary bravery; the achievement of extraordinarily important objectives by combat, or for especially well conducted operations.

Finland's main goal during World War II was, although it was nowhere openly stated, to survive the war as an independent democratic country, capable of maintaining its sovereignty in a politically hostile environment. Specifically for the Continuation War, Finland also aimed at reversing its territorial losses under the March 1940 Moscow Peace Treaty and by extending its territory further east, to have more non-Finnish land to defend before armies from the USSR could enter Finnish territories. Some small right-wing groups also supported a Greater Finland ideology. Finland's efforts during World War II were, as regards survival and with hindsight, successful, although the price was high in war casualties, reparation payments, territorial loss, bruised international reputation, and subsequent adaptation to Soviet international perspectives during the Cold War. The Finnish–German alliance was different from most of the other Axis relationships, an example of which is represented by the participation of Finnish Jews in the fight against the Soviet Union.[61] The Finns did not take any anti-Jewish measures in Finland, despite repeated requests from Nazi Germany.[62]. One remarkable thing in Finnish-German relationship was also that Finland never signed Tripartite Pact, which was signed by all de jure Axis countries.

Finland's supreme commander Field Marshal Mannerheim at his headquarters.

Finland adopted the concept of a "parallel war" whereby it sought to pursue its own objectives in concert with, but separate from, Nazi Germany.

Major events of World War II, and the tides of war in general, had a significant impact on the course of the Continuation War:

Soviet war goals are harder to assess due to the secretive nature of the Stalinist Soviet Union. Soviet sources maintain that Soviet policies up to the Continuation War were best explained as defensive measures by offensive means: the division of occupied Poland with Germany, the occupation of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, and the attempted invasion of Finland in the Winter War are described as elements in the construction of a security zone or buffer region between the perceived threat from the capitalist powers of Western Europe and the Communist Soviet Union – as some see the post-war establishment of Soviet satellite states in the Warsaw Pact countries and the Agreement of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance concluded with post-war Finland.[63][64][65] Western historians such as Norman Davies and John Lukacs dispute this view and describe the prewar Soviet policy as attempting to stay out of the war and regaining land lost after the fall of the Russian Empire.[66]

See also



  1. ^ Although the United Kingdom formally declared war on Finland on 6 December 1941, there was only one British attack on Finnish soil — an air raid at Petsamo[2] carried out on 31 July 1941.
  2. ^ Most of the Finns served during the Finnish offensive in 1941 (approx. 500,000 men) and the Soviet offensive in August 1944 (528,000 men). Army strength varied from 260,000 to 360,000, Air Force 8,000-22,000, Navy 14,000-40,000 and directly under the HQ command 15,000-36,000. In addition some people were obliged by law to provide supporting tasks, like 19,000 in labour groups and 25,000 men in air-raid defence (fire brigades, air-raid shelter maintenance etc.), and 43,000 women volunteers in various non-military tasks (clercks, radio-operators, air-observers, supply).
  3. ^ Germans were located in Finnish Lapland executing the Operation Silver Fox.
  4. ^ Finnish detailed death casualties: Dead, buried 33,565; Wounded, died of wounds 12,820; Dead, not buried later declared as dead 4,251; Missing, declared as dead 3,552; Died as prisoners of war 473; Other reasons (diseases, accidents, suicides) 7,932; Unknown 611
  5. ^ The official Soviet number was 2,377 POWs. Finnish researchers have estimated 3,500 POWs.
  6. ^ Finnish: jatkosota, Swedish: fortsättningskriget


  1. ^ On 17 May 1942 the International Naval Detachment K (with boats from Finland, Germany, and Italy) was deployed on Lake Ladoga. During its patrols, the Detachment interdicted the Leningrad supply route in the southern part of the lake, sinking one barge.
  2. ^ a b FAA archive: Raid on Petsamo
  3. ^ a b c Maanpuolustuskorkeakoulun historian laitos, Jatkosodan historia 1–6 ("The History of The Continuation War, 1-6"), 1994
  4. ^ a b c Manninen, Ohto, Molotovin cocktail- Hitlerin sateenvarjo, 1994, Painatuskeskus, ISBN 951-37-1495-0
  5. ^ a b c Kurenmaa, Pekka; Lentilä, Riitta (2005). "Sodan tappiot". in Leskinen, Jari; Juutilainen, Antti (in Finnish). Jatkosodan pikkujättiläinen (1st ed.). Werner Söderström Osakeyhtiö. pp. 1150–1162. ISBN 951-0-28690-7. 
  6. ^ Malmi, Timo (2005). "Jatkosodan suomalaiset sotavangit". in Leskinen, Jari; Juutilainen, Antti (in Finnish). Jatkosodan pikkujättiläinen (1st ed.). Werner Söderström Osakeyhtiö. pp. 1022–1032. ISBN 951-0-28690-7. 
  7. ^ Jason Edward Lavery. The history of Finland. Greenwood Press. p. 126. 
  8. ^ (Finnish) Jokipii, Mauno, Jatkosodan synty ("The Launching of the Continuation War"), page 607. 1987.
  9. ^ Great Soviet Encyclopedia, Finland, Moscow, 1974. ISBN 0-02-880010-9
  10. ^ Seppinen, Ilkka, Suomen ulkomaankaupan ehdot, 1939–1944, 1983, ISBN 951-9254-48-X
  11. ^ (Finnish) Transcript of secret taping of Hitler's conversation with Mannerheim
  12. ^ a b Kirby (2009), p.134
  13. ^ a b c Kirby (2006), p.221
  14. ^ a b c Kirby (2009), p.135
  15. ^ (Finnish) Nordberg, Erkki, Arvio ja ennuste Venäjän sotilaspolitiikasta Suomen suunnalla, 2003, ISBN 9518843627
  16. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Premium, 2006, Finland
  17. ^ (Finnish) Leskinen Jari. Veljien valtiosalaisuus. Suomen ja Viron salainen sotilaallinen yhteistyö Neuvostoliiton hyökkäyksen varalle vuosina 1918–1940 (Brothers' State Secret: Classified military cooperation of Finland and Estonia for the case of attack by the Soviet Union in 1918-1940). WSOY, Juva 1999.
  18. ^ a b Jokipii, Mauno, Jatkosodan synty, 1987, ISBN 951-1-08799-1
  19. ^ Platonov, S.P. (editor) (1964). Битва за Ленинград ("The Battle for Leningrad"). Voenizdat Ministerstva oborony SSSR. 
  20. ^ Manninen (2008), Miten Suomi valloitetaan: Puna-armeijan operaatiosuunnitelmat 1939-1944, Helsinki: Edita, 2008. ISBN 978-951-37-5278-1
  21. ^ "Finnish Navy in WW II — Mine warfare"
  22. ^ "Naval War in the Baltic Sea 1941–1945"
  23. ^ "Finnish navy in Continuation War, year 1941"
  24. ^ Kijanen, Kalervo (1968). "LIITE 8 - Hangon varuskunnan evakuointi". Suomen Laivasto 1918-1968 II. Helsinki: Meriupseeriyhdistys/Otava. 
  25. ^ Mannerheim, G (1952). Mannerheim, muistelmat, toinen osa. Helsinki: Otava. pp. 370 - 372. 
  26. ^ "Finnish navy in Continuation War, year 1941"
  27. ^ MANNERHEIM — Commander-in-Chief — The Order of the Day of the Sword Scabbard
  28. ^ Raid on Kirkenes and Petsamo, Fleet Air Arm and the invasion of Russia, 1941. Part of the Fleet Air Arm Archive 1939–1945
  29. ^ Robert Jackson, Battle of the Baltic, The wars 1918–1945, 2007, p.105, ISBN 184415422-x
  30. ^ Wuorinen 1948 p.135
  31. ^ See: Laine, Antti 1982: Suur-Suomen kahdet kasvot. Itä-Karjalan siviiliväestön asema suomalaisessa miehityshallinnossa 1941–1944, pp. 116, 346–348, & appendix with illustrations. Helsinki: Otava.
  32. ^ (Russian) Семейный Ковчег: "Военное детство нынче не в цене", April 2004
  33. ^ a b Laine, Antti, Suur-Suomen kahdet kasvot, 1982, ISBN 951-1-06947-0, Otava
  34. ^ (Russian)""Равнение на Победу" (Eyes toward victory), the Republic of Karelia" (in Russian). the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, National Delphi Council of Russia. Retrieved 2006-08-10. 
  35. ^ (Russian)Andropov Yuri Vladimirovich. Biography.
  36. ^ (Finnish) Eino Viheriävaara, Partisaanien jäljet 1941–1944. Oulun Kirjateollisuus Oy, 1982. ISBN 951-99396-6-0
  37. ^ Erkkilä, Veikko, Vaiettu sota ("The Silenced War"). Arator Oy. ISBN 952-9619-18-9
  38. ^ Lauri Hannikainen, (1992). Implementing Humanitarian Law Applicable in Armed Conflicts: The Case of Finland, Martinuss Nijoff Publishers, Dordrecht. ISBN 0-7923-1611-8.
  39. ^ (Finnish) Tyyne Martikainen, (2002). Partisaanisodan siviiliuhrit, PS-Paino Värisuora Oy. ISBN 952-91-4327-3.
  40. ^ (PDF) Finland, Yad Vashem, 
  41. ^ (Finnish) Rautkallio, Hannu, Suomen juutalaisten aseveljeys (Finnish Jews as German Brothers in Arms), Tammi, 1989
  42. ^ Tuulikki Vuonokari (2003), Jews in Finland During the Second World War, Finnish Institutions Student Paper: FAST Area Studies Program Department of Translation Studies, University of Tampere, Autumn 2003 [1], retrieved 2009-02-06
  43. ^ Poljakoff in Torvinen, Kadimah: Suomen juutalaisten historia 35 Smolar 155–57
  44. ^ Torvinen, Taimi, Kadimah: Suomen juutalaisten historia Helsinki: Otava, 1989 pages 117–167, retrieved 2009-02-06
  45. ^ World War II: Finland
  46. ^ The Royal Air Force in Russia :Hurricanes at Murmansk
  47. ^ Ahtokari, Reijo and Pale, Erkki: Suomen Radiotiedustelu 1927–1944 (Finnish radio intelligence 1927–1944), Helsinki, Hakapaino Oy, pp. 191–198, ISBN 952-90-9437-X
  48. ^ Chronology at the EIHC
  49. ^ Mart Laar (2006) (in Estonian). Sinimäed 1944: II maailmasõja lahingud Kirde-Eestis (Sinimäed Hills 1944: Battles of World War II in Northeast Estonia). Tallinn: Varrak. 
  50. ^ F.I.Paulman (1980). "Nachalo osvobozhdeniya Sovetskoy Estoniy" (in Russian). Ot Narvy do Syrve (From Narva to Sõrve). Tallinn: Eesti Raamat. pp. 7–119. 
  51. ^ В.Бешанов (2004). Десять сталинских ударов (Ten Shocks of Stalin). Харвест, Minsk. 
  52. ^ David M. Glantz (2002). The Battle for Leningrad: 1941-1944. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. 
  53. ^ Laar, Mart (2005). Estonia in World War II. Tallinn: Grenader. 
  54. ^ Steven H. Newton (1995). Retreat from Leningrad : Army Group North, 1944/1945. Atglen, Philadelphia: Schiffer Books. 
  55. ^
  56. ^
  57. ^
  58. ^ Helsingin Sanomat 8 November 2003: Wartime refugees made pawns in cruel diplomatic game.
  59. ^ Ylikangas, Heikki, Heikki Ylikankaan selvitys Valtioneuvoston kanslialle, Government of Finland
  60. ^ Howard D. Grier. Hitler, Dönitz, and the Baltic Sea, Naval Institute Press, 2007, ISBN 1591143454. p. 121
  61. ^ Tuulikki Vuonokari (2003-11-21). ""Jews in Finland During the Second World War"". University of Tampere. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  62. ^ Letter to the New York Times by Mark Cohen, Executive Director of Holocaust Publications in New York, 28 April, 1987
  63. ^ (Russian)The problem of ensuring the security of Leningrad from the north in light of Soviet war planning of 1932–1941 by V. N. Baryshnikov: The actual war with Finland began first of all due to unresolved issues in Leningrad's security from the north and Moscow's concerns for the perspective of Finland's politics. At the same time, a desire to claim better strategic positions in case of a war with Germany had surfaced within the Soviet leadership.
  64. ^ (Russian)Финская война. Взгляд "с той стороны" ("The Finnish war. A look from the "other side"") by A. I. Kozlov: After the rise of National Socialism to power in Germany, the geopolitical importance of the former "buffer states" had drastically changed. Both the Soviet Union and Germany vied for the inclusion of these states into their spheres of influence. Soviet politicians and military considered it likely, that in case of an aggression against the USSR, German armed forces will use the territory of the Baltic states and Finland as staging areas for invasion — by either conquering or coercing these countries. None of the states of the Baltic region, excluding Poland, had sufficient military power to resist a German invasion.
  65. ^ (Russian) Stalin's Missed Chance, by Mikhail Meltyukhov:The English–French influence in the Baltics, characteristic for the '20s – early '30s was increasingly limited by the growth of German influence. Due to the strategic importance of the region, the Soviet leadership also aimed to increase its influence there, using both diplomatic means as well as active social propaganda. By the end of the '30s, the main contenders for influence in the Baltics were Germany and the Soviet Union. Being a buffer zone between Germany and the USSR, the Baltic states were bound to them by a system of economic and non-aggression treaties of 1926, 1932 and 1939
  66. ^ Norman Davies, No simple victory, 2007, ISBN 978-0-670-01832-1


  • Kirby, D. G. (2009). Finland in the Twentieth Century: A History and an Interpretation. University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0-81-6658021. 
  • Kirby, D. G. (2006). A concise history of Finland. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-52-183225X. 
  • Leskinen, Jari; Juutilainen, Antti (ed.) (2005) (in Finnish). Jatkosodan pikkujättiläinen (1st ed.). WSOY. ISBN 951-0-28690-7. 
  • Raunio, Ari (ed.); Maanpuolustuskorkeakoulun Historian laitos (1994) (in Finnish). Jatkosodan historia 1–6 (1st ed.). WSOY. 

Further reading

  • Vehviläinen, Olli (2002). Finland in the Second World War: Between Germany and Russia. New York: Palgrave. ISBN 0-333-80149-0. 
  • Wuorinen, John H. (editor) (1948). Finland and World War II 1939–1944. The Ronald Press Company. 
  • Schwartz, Andrew J. (1960). America and the Russo-Finnish War. Washington, D.C.: Public Affairs Press. 


  • Finnish National Archive Luovutukset: Research on prisoner-of-war deaths, extraditions and deportations from Finland between 1939–55, Research project, See
  • Jokipii, Mauno (1987). Jatkosodan synty. Otava. ISBN 951-1-08799-1. 
  • Polvinen, Tuomo I. (1979). Suomi kansainvälisessä politiikassa 1941-1947, osa 1: 1941-1943: Barbarossasta Teheraniin. WSOY. 
  • Polvinen, Tuomo I. (1980). Suomi kansainvälisessä politiikassa 1941-1947, osa 2: 1944: Teheranista Jaltaan. WSOY. 
  • Polvinen, Tuomo I. (1981). Suomi kansainvälisessä politiikassa 1941-1947, osa 3: 1945-1947: Jaltasta Pariisin rauhaan. WSOY. 
  • Sana, Elina (1994). Luovutetut/ The Extradited: Finland's Extraditions to the Gestapo. WSOY. ISBN 951-0-27975-7. 
  • Seppinen, Ilkka (1983). Suomen Ulkomaankaupan ehdot 1939–1944. ISBN 951-9254-48-X. 


  • Platonov, S.P. (editor) (1964). Битва за Ленинград. Voenizdat Ministerstva oborony SSSR. 
  • Хельге Сеппяля Финляндия как оккупант в 1941–1944 годах Журнал "Север" ISSN 0131-6222, 1995. See

Simple English

Continuation war was a war between Finland and Soviet Union. It was fought between June 25 1941 and September 19 1944. The ceasefire started in September 4 at 7.00 am in the Finnish side. Soviet Union's ceasefire started September 5. The first peace treaty was signed in September 19 and the final one in February 10 1947 in Paris.

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