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World War II Re-explored

Some New Millenium Studies in the History of the Global Conflict

Edited By Jarosław Suchoples, Stephanie James and Barbara Törnquist-Plewa

This volume is a collection of thirty papers written by authors from around the world. The writers focus on topics related to their own research interests. As a result, readers obtain a worldwide perspective on World War II from academics working on nearly every continent, proving that World War II was, probably, the first ever truly global experience for humanity. Present are many and different perspectives on the war. Eighty years after the end of World War II, these academics share their knowledge and reflections about a gruesome, but still not very remote time. In the new millennium, their studies should remind readers that the ‘end of history’ has been an impossible illusion and warn that peace and stability in international relations are not a given.

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The Storm Gathers in the North. Finland and the Soviet Union in 1938 and 1939

Extract



From the Soviet April Proposals to the Outbreak of the Winter War

Abstract: The politico-diplomatic crisis of 1938–1939 also enveloped Northern Europe. Immediately after the German Anschluss with Austria, the Soviet leadership maintained that security of the USSR required rearrangement in the borderlands adjacent to Leningrad. Therefore, Stalin proposed that Finland conclude an agreement which would assist the Soviet creation of a barrier in the Baltic Sea region against the expected German aggression against the USSR. The Finns, however, repeatedly rejected this kind of Soviet suggestion throughout 1938. The Finnish government was concerned that any agreement with the USSR would lead to Finland’s dependence on the will of the Kremlin. Instead, it believed that Finland’s security policy should rely on cooperation with Scandinavian countries (particularly Sweden). But, in 1939, it appeared that those hopes were unrealistic. In addition to the USSR, Germany, UK and France also recognized Finland as one of the Central European Baltic countries. In August 1939, Finland was mentioned in the secret protocol of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact dividing Central Europe into German and Soviet spheres of domination. In autumn, during negotiations in Moscow, the Soviets made territorial demands against Finland, threatening the country with a military invasion if their ultimatum was not accepted. However, the Finns did not capitulate, although they were aware that even under the best circumstances, their chance for successful defence was limited. On the 30th November the Red Army attacked, this initiated a duel between the Finnish David...

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