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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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What Shall We Do with the Finnish Sailors?

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The Attitude of Britain and Her Allies Towards Finnish Merchant Seamen and the Ships They Sailed on during World War II

Abstract: ‘What shall we do with the Finnish sailors?’ This was a question that the British had to ask at a number of key moments during WWII. After war broke out between Britain and Germany in 1939, many Finnish merchant seamen, despite the dangers they faced from U-boat attacks, continued to ply their trade bringing much needed goods to the United Kingdom, and her Allies and friends. During the first 5 months of 1941, a significant number of Finnish sailors approached the British Legation in Finland expressing a desire to join the British Merchant Navy. The British had to ask themselves, whether was this was a viable course of action? Was it even wise? In June 1941, Operation Barbarossa began, and yet again the relationship between the British and the Finnish merchant seamen and Finnish ship owners had to be re-examined. As a sop to the Soviet Union, Britain declared war on Finland in December 1941, and as the British seized Finnish merchant ships in prize the question arose: ‘What shall we do with the Finnish sailors?’ Should the sailors that had given such good service to the British be interned for the duration? The need for experienced seafarers was considerable, and it was tempting to make use of the Finns, but could they be trusted?

Keywords: Britain, Finland, America, Canada,...

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