The Winter War, the Baltic Republics and Bessarabia

A.) The Winter War

On Nov. 30th 1939, Soviet Forces invaded Finland (the WINTER WAR). Against expectations, the Finns stopped the invading troops and inflicted heavy losses. As the war dragged on, the world media reported, and sympathy for the Finns grew. International volunteers signed up, Britain and France contemplated to come to Finland's assistance. In March 1940, Stalin, fearing that Russia, like Germany, might face a war against the democratic nations of Europe, offered the Finns to negotiate. The PEACE OF MOSCOW was signed on March 12th 1940; the Finns had to cede EASTERN KARELIA.

B.) The Baltic Republics

Germany signed a border and friensship treaty with the USSR (Sept. 28th 1939), waiving it's claim on Lithuania for Central Poland. In June 1940, Marechal H.P. Petain had just signed France's surrender to Germany, Stalin demanded the governments of the 3 Baltic republics to permit the stationing of Soviet troops on their soil. He then demanded that the respective countries' communist parties would be given participation in government. The coomunists soon took over government entirely, transformed the Republics into Socialist Soviet Republics and applied to be admitted into the USSR. Estonia's and Latvia's German minority, in accordance to the Russo-German treaty, was repatriated to Germany.

C.) Bessarabia and the Northern Bukovina

Diplomatic pressure was put on Rumania by Germany and Russia to cede BESSARABIA and the NORTHERN BUKOVINA to the USSR, Northern Transylvania to Hungary and the Southern Dobruja to Bulgaria. Rumania complied, aware that it's traditional ally, France, had collapsed and resistance was meaningless.

Between September 1939 and June 1940, Stalin had regained much of the territory for the USSR the Russian Empire had lost at the end of World War I - everything in Europe except Finland and Central Poland. Stalin even had gone for more, had demanded that Sweden cede the island of Gotland for the reason that it was located too close to Leningrad, a demand the Swedes adamantly refused.
He had achieved this expansion in the shadow of German expansion; because of Germany's invasion of Poland, Britain and France had declared war on Germany. Nobody had declared war on Russia when it invaded Poland 3 weeks later.

Lessons of the Winter War, by Thomas Ries, from Virtual Finland
The Finnish-Russian Winter War, by Neil Mattson
An Introduction to the Winter War and Kollaa will hold, from the Kollaa Campaign Page
The Russian Invasion of Finland, from Delius
Those Burly Finns, from History House
Encyclopedic description from infoplease
History of Fighter Squadron 21 : the Winter War, by J. Lindberg
DOCUMENTS Address by Finnish Prime Minister A.J. Cajander held on Nov. 23rd 1939, from clinet
Pravda, 26. 11. 39 : A Buffoon holding the Post of Prime Minister, from clinet
Russian Prppaganda Leaflet, from clinet
President Roosevelt's Press Statement, Dec. 1st 1939, from clinet
Telegram by K.A. Umanskij, Soviet Plenipotentiary to the USA, to the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs, Dec. 2nd 1939, from clinet
President Roosevelt's Press Statement, March 13th 1940, from clinet
VIDEOS Sisu. A Spirit Rebellious. The Finnish-Russian Winter War, 1939-40.
Talvisota, 1989, (link to IMDb)

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on November 8th 2004

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