The Winter War

The Winter War between the Soviet Union and Finland endured for 105 freezing cold days beginning in the year 1939 and ending in 1940.

Many saw the war as already been won by the Soviets before it even began, but what came as a surprise to many was that Finland was actually able to put up a respectable fight. There were several points of successful military strategy throughout the war that led to the signing of the Moscow Treaty. However, the Winter War resulted in more than just a treaty. The Finnish army was able to perpetrate an extremely large number of losses onto the Red Army; more than anyone would have ever imagined possible for a country as small in numbers as Finland. Thus, proving to Germany alongside other countries around the world that it was indeed possible to defeat the “undefeatable” Russian Bear. ;xNLx;;xNLx;[Click here to watch actual footage from the Winter War](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuvmKSUjbtw)

1939-08-24 00:00:00

Russo–German Non-Aggression Pact Signed

The secret protocol written in this pact places the Baltic region and Finland within the Soviet Union's sphere of interest. In any case of political or territorial rearrangement, pre-determined boundaries are documented in the Russo-German non-aggression pact.

1939-10-05 00:00:00

Soviet-Latvian Mutual Assistance Treaty signed

The Soviet-Latvian Mutual Assistance treaty allowed both the Soviet Union and Latvia to respect the independence of each country. While the treaty was in practice, the Red Army was able to strategically place military bases inside of Latvian borders, which would be advantageous to them in future invasions.

1939-10-09 00:00:00

Military Mobilization in Finland

After refusing to comply to the Soviet Union's proposed negotiations on October 5, Finland orders gradual military mobilization camouflaged as "additional refresher training".

1939-10-11 00:00:00

Finnish Delegation Meets with Molotov and Stalin in Moscow

The Finnish delegations received demands of concessions from the Soviets. The Soviet Union is interested in the territory of the Karelian isthmus, the Rybachy Peninsula, islands in the Gulf of Finland, as well as the lease of a naval base at Hanko. In return, they would trade the municipalities of Repola and Porajarvi, which adds up to be almost twice as much land as what they demanded from Finland. The Finnish government is torn, but ultimately rejects the offer.

1939-10-23 00:00:00

The Finnish Government Makes a Counteroffer

Finland offers the Soviets a town called Terijoki, which equates to a much smaller amount of land than the original Soviet demands.

1939-10-31 00:00:00

Molotov Presents a Speech

The final demands and offers of the Soviets are announced publicly before the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union in a speech given by Molotov.

1939-11-13 00:00:00

The End of Negotiations

The Finnish delegation returns home to Finland. This represents the end of negotiations between Finland and the Soviet Union.

1939-11-26 00:00:00

The Shelling of Mainila

The Soviet Union stages a shelling in their own town of Mainila.

1939-11-28 00:00:00

The Withdraw

The Soviet Union withdraws from the non-aggression pact with Finland. Their staged attack on Mainila was used as an excuse to their actions.

1939-11-30 00:00:00

The Bombing of Helsinki

The Red Army crosses the border into Finland. Shortly after, Soviet planes unexpectedly drop bombs over Finland's capital, Helsinki. The Soviet Union denies the unannounced attack and claims to had been uninvolved in the bombing.

1939-12-01 00:00:00

The "Puppet Government"

The Finnish Democratic Republic is founded. This "puppet government" was led by former Finnish politician Otto Ville Kuusinen and only sanctioned by the Soviet Union. Joseph Stalin had plans to take power over Finland through the Finnish Democratic Republic. This short-lived form of government was only prevalent in areas of Finnish Karelia, which were conveniently occupied by the Soviets throughout the duration of the Winter War.

1939-12-03 00:00:00

Finland Makes Appeal for Intervention

Finland turns to the League of Nations for aid in stopping the Soviet Red Army's efforts to seize Finnish territories. They submit a letter to the League of Nations explaining that Finland has been nothing but a respectful and cooperative neighbor to the Soviet Union.

1939-12-07 00:00:00

The Battle of Suomussalmi

Finland ultimately experienced a great victory against vastly superior forces during the Battle of Suomussalmi. However, the battle did not begin in the Finns' favor. Suomussalmi was handily taken by the Soviets on December 7, shortly after the Finnish Army had demolished their own village to ensure the Red Army wouldn't have any shelter.

1939-12-07 07:10:28

Soviets Clash with Finnish Resistance

The Soviet Red Army reaches the main line of Finnish Resistance on the Karelian Isthmus. This event is arguably the most paramount turning point in the Winter War. Here, the Finns were able to withhold the advancement of the Red Army for two months, lending hope to the Finnish army and leaving the Soviet Red Army with the feeling of utter defeat.

1939-12-12 07:10:28

Finland's Victory at Tolvajärvi

Finland experiences their first major offensive victory at the Battle of Tolvajärvi. The Finnish army proves that less can be more when their mere 4,000 men manage to triumph against 20,000 Soviets.

1939-12-14 00:00:00

Finland's Pleas are Answered

The League of Nations responds to Finland's desperate pleas for assistance by expelling the Soviet Union. Across the globe, many saw no reason for the Soviets to invade Finland, and therefore sided with the League of Nations' decision.

1939-12-20 00:00:00

Sympathy for Finland

A great sympathy meeting for Finland was arranged in Madison Square Garden, New York City.

1940-01-01 00:00:00

The Battle of Raate Road

The Finnish Army attacked enemy troops along the Raate Road dividing Soviet forces into smaller and smaller pieces. The Finns had set up roadblocks intermittently along the road. The Red Army attempted to overcome these obstacles with armored tanks, but lost many in the frontal attacks and were unsuccessful.

1940-02-01 00:00:00

An All-out Offensive

The Soviet Red Army commences an all-out offensive strike on the Karelian Isthmus.

1940-02-05 00:00:00

Franco-British Intervention

British and French Allies made several offers to send troops in aid to Finland during the Winter War. Initial plans of this intervention involved sending the troops through neutral Norway and Sweden, but were deserted when the troops were denied permission to travel through the neutral land.

1940-02-11 00:00:00

Soviets Break Through the Mannerheim

The Soviet Red Army subsequently breaks through Finland's Mannerheim Line after ten days of the Soviet's ongoing all-out offensive attacks.

1940-02-12 00:00:00

Desperately Seeking Peace

The Finnish cabinet authorizes government to seek peace terms with the Soviet Union after an exhausting two months of struggling to suppress the invasion of the Red Army. Molotov decides to put an end to the puppet government that the Soviets had formerly set up.

1940-02-16 00:00:00

The Finns Fall Back

Finnish troops fully abandon the Mannerheim Line overnight, retreating to the V-line secondary defense.

1940-03-01 00:00:00

The Pursuit of Viipuri

The Finnish Army falls back from the V-line defense and into the city of Viipuri.

1940-03-09 00:00:00

Finns Fall Back Again

The Finnish Army retreats from their last remaining toeholds in the Gulf of Viipuri.

1940-03-12 00:00:00

Moscow Peace Treaty Signed

The signing of the Moscow Peace Treaty takes place in Moscow between the Soviet Union and Finland. This treaty marks the end of the 105-day Winter War. Although Finland had to surrender parts of its country to the Soviet Union, the treaty allowed the Finns to maintain their independence from the Soviets.

1940-03-13 00:00:00

Cease-fire!

A cease-fire goes into effect, marking the conclusion of the Winter War between the Soviet Union and Finland.

The Winter War

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