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The Second World War and the Baltic States

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Edited By James S. Corum, Olaf Mertelsmann and Kaarel Piirimäe

This volume places the history of the Second World War and the Baltic states into a multidisciplinary and international perspective. It includes contributions from the fields of diplomacy, strategy, military operations, intelligence and propaganda. It presents not only a multi-layered interpretation of a region affected by total war, but also reveals a great deal about the nature of that conflict. It discusses the attitudes of the great powers towards small states, the nature of military operations around the advent of mechanization and close air support, and techniques of population control and of steering opinion in the era of ideological regimes. Contributions on these topics add to our understanding of the Second World War as a pivotal event in the history of Europe in the 20 th century.
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Minister T.M. Kivimäki in the Center of Europe – for the Periphery of Europe

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Pauli Heikkilä

Toivo Mikael Kivimäki (1886–1968) was a long serving Finnish prime minister from December 1932 until October 1936. In August 1940 he was sent to Berlin as Finnish minister with the purpose of improving relations to Germany after the Finno–Soviet winter war. He acted as minister throughout the Finnish continuation war until diplomatic relations were interrupted in September 1944.

As minister Kivimäki’s primary obligation was to supervise and promote Finland’s interests, but in Berlin he also looked at international politics and German foreign policy with a broader scope. He was interested in the German attitude towards its smaller neighbors as a means of predicting what the likely Germans plans were for Finland. Furthermore, after Germany invaded France in June 1940 a general plan for reorganizing European international life, i.e. the New Europe (Neues Europa), was anticipated from the German leadership.1 The German policy in the occupied territories would provide hints for the practical manifestations of these plans.

This chapter focuses on Kivimäki’s reports from Berlin and his views on the concept of the New Europe. The chapter will analyze the information Kivimäki received from the Baltic states and how he gradually became aware of the widening gap between the promises of the Nazi propaganda and the reality in the occupied areas. Based on these contradictions, Kivimäki tried to draft his own proposals, first for Europe as a whole, and then specific proposals for Finland...

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