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The Global Travel Guide For Genuine Adventurers!

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The Republic of Finland is one of the Nordic countries. The country is inhabited of people with unique charm and guts that themself are a genuine tourist attraction.

Ghost soldiers from Finland combat the massive Sovjet War Machine in 1940!

On 26th November in 1939, Soviet Foreign Minister V.M. Molotov accused Finnish troops of firing at the Russians across the 800-mile (1,300-kilometer) border near the village of Mainila, in southeastern Finland. It was just a bluff and excuse to start the war against Finland, but due to Finns ghost soldiers the war didn`t end up as the Soviet rulers wanted.

Photo. Finnish soldiers during the Winter War (source: Wikimedia Commons). Finland was able to resist the Soviet Russia invasion for far longer than the Soviets expected.

Finns marked on Monday 30 November 2009 the 70th anniversary of the Winter War. The Soviet offensive started on 30 November 1939, three months after the start of World War II and the Soviet invasion of Poland, and ended on 13 March 1940 with the Moscow Peace Treaty.

Stalin and his fellow rulers thought it would be easy to occupy a small and unprepared country as Finland, but they underestimated completely the Finns` fighting spirit. People in Finland have "sisu", an invisible force that shocked the Russians. Also due to wrong tactic Stalin`s forces lost their opportunity to conquer Finland or a larger part of the country.

The Finns fought so hard for their beloved country. That was why they also were called the Finnish "Greatest Generation". Even not the Soviet Russians heaving bombing in the beginning of the war, didn`t killed the Finns amazing fighting spirit.

Ghost soldiers
Finns soldiers` brave and smart warfare during the Winter War in 1940 has become world famous. Military Academies around the world have including the Finns way to fight in their lessons.

Photo. Cover of the The Finnish movie "Winter War", Talvisota in Finnish.

Finland`s brave soldiers were camouflaged in white uniforms. It made it difficult for the Red Army to fight against an invisible enemy.

The Finns Soldiers emerged suddenly from the snow, looking like ghosts and frightened the enemy almost to death. They hold off Stalin's Red Army for 105 days with this tactic.


Powerful Soviet Russia not so powerful
The Soviet rulers planned to force Finland into accept peace within few weeks, but the Finns brave and smart fighting stunned them. Weaponed with molotovcoctail, white warm uniforms and ski, the Finns gave the Red Army a hell of a lesson they never will forget. Over 250,000 of Stalin`s soldiers lost their life. The Guerrilla war was fought in 40 degrees below zero. Therefore many soldiers also froze to death.

The war began after the Finns refused demands from Stalin to move its borders 25 kilometers back from Leningrad. Stalin feared that Hitler could launch an invasion of Soviet through Leningrad using Finland as a base for its attack.

The Soviet military fiasco forced Stalin to change his strategy. This leaded to a dialog with the government and military leaders in Finland and so the two countries signed a peace treaty on 12 March in 1940.

Russian provocation
The Finns have consistently denied firing the "Mainila Shots,". Russian historians admit now that the Red Army fired the shots and Stalin used the alleged incident as an excuse to invade Finland four days later.

Finland ceded 11 percent of its pre-war territory and 30 percent of its economic assets to the Soviet Union. The Soviet failed to conquer the total Finland. The Finns retained their sovereignty and improved their international reputation.

Through my many journeys in Finland I have seen monuments and sites from the Winter War. It reminds about a tragedy, but it also reminds about a people`s good spirit (sisu). It`s amazing how fast the Finnish recovered after  the Second World despite fighting both against Russians and Germans.

Stein Morten Lund, 1 December 2009

Additional information
The Finnish movie "Winter War", Talvisota in Finnish, is one of the best war movies ever. It`s about a reserve infantry unit in the war between Finland and Soviet Russia in 1939-40. The story is well told from start to beginning. The brutal battle scenes seem very authentic. Viewers can get a real impression what a hell war is. Another impressing aspect about the movie is the high historical accuracy. This film is a tribute to the Finnish "Greatest Generation" who saved their nation twice in 5 years from Soviet enslavement.

Read more about Finland on our global travelguide TravelExplorations.

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