[ eBook ] White Death: Russia's War on Finland 1939-40Author Robert Edwards – Hometrainer-tests.de

The Russian invasion of Finland in Novemberwas a critical turning point in world history Only now, with the opening of the Russian archives can this extraordinary story be told in full Two months after his cynical alliance with Hitler and their joint invasion of Poland, Stalin ordered the Red Army to crush the Finns Everybody expected a walk over the odds were in Stalin s favour But the Finns fought bravely, and the Red Army its high command decimated by Stalin s purges fumbled to defeat after defeat Tens of thousands of Russian soldiers died in the snow Only after four months and the massing of over a million men and thousands of guns did the Russians break through and force the Finns to accept terms The Winter War revealed Stalin s army to be as badly led as it was poorly equipped Hitler s generals, previously so nervous about their leader s plan to invade Russia that they contemplated a coup d etat to remove him, were now convinced they could win Stalin s blunder in Finland led directly to the Nazi invasion of Russia the following year In Britain and France, the spectacle of Russia invading a neutral neighbour shattered the left wing political parties although the DAILY WORKER s headline on the opening day of the invasion was HEROIC RED ARMY SMASHES MARAUDING FINNS Attlee expelled one pro Russian MP and cleared the way for a coalition with the Conservatives Paradoxically, the Winter War also saved the Red Army and Stalin With the results of the purges all too clear, Stalin promoted outspoken technocrats like Zhukov and accepted reforms that would enable the Russians to survive the German assault inand ultimately stop them at Stalingrad finlands fight against soviet invasion whilst eventually having to cede territory to the soviets finlands forces inflected massive loses on the soviet army,shows how lack of international support weakened finland indeed the biggest supplier of arms were soviet losses.very intersting This is a very enjoyable and interesting book, however, it does have a flaw The standard of sentence construction is not good and it is frankly surprising that such an august publisher as Wiedenfeld and Nicolson did not insist upon thorough editing The history fairly bowls along but you find yourself tripping on overly long sentences that contain multiple commas and parentheses Edwards also has recourse to throwaway comments that often make no obvious sense Notwithstanding this criticism, for which I have reduced my rating by one star, this is an excellent book on this neglected subject Books on battles or campaigns can often be tedious but Edwards takes us rapidly from one political centre in Europe to another and in so doing charts the activities of the key political personalities involved There are many interesting character references which help to give depth to the narrative The actual battles are related with pace and avoid tedious explanation of every tactical move so that the reader may easily appreciate the overall progress and conduct of the war.Few leaders of the western democracies come out well in this book The craven mental contortions of the Left in accommodating the Ribbentrop Molotov Pact and then the unprovoked invasion of neutral Finland by the USSR are enlightening, and often ignored elsewhere.Judging from the source notes Edwards has generally relied upon secondary sources, this is not a work of great academic research, but this should not dissuade the reader as he will struggle to find a enjoyable and accessible book on this neglected theatre of war. This detailed volume covers the interesting story of the Russian invasion of Finland in November of 1939 Sometimes known as the Winter War , this was a short, savage and little understood war that could easily have led to Stalin s military and political defeat and a totally different outcome a few years later.At the time, the Russian Army had a reputation for being one of the best in the world as well as having air superiority and advanced technical equipment it also outnumbered its opponents at the rate of 4 to1 Despite offers of help from both France and Britain, due to Finland s location, this was not possible and the Finn s were alone Everyone therefore expected a complete walkover and the Finns to be annihilated , however this brave and proud nation fought well and gave the Russians a run for their money and brought the invader to a complete stop It was only after a total of four months savage fighting and the massacre of over a million troops did the mightier army push through.Covering just about everything one would need to know about this campaign during a crucial period in history, this splendid volume includes highly detailed notes to compliment the text and an excellent bibliography for those who wish to carry out further and related reading There are some interesting photographs and the appendix includes a copy of the transcript of the Russio Finnish treaty too.This is a serious book that will be of interest to specialist military historians and students of international relations and politics. I have read numerous books on THE WINTER WAR in preparation for a class I am teaching This is a good read and a good introduction book to the war It is light on details of the battles but gives a good overview of events and the interaction of all countries involved, directly or indirectly, through diplomacy and scheming The maps are clear and easy to understand The author s style of writing is direct with a degree of subtle humor when appropriate I was quoting bits and pieces to a friend and we were laughing at the author s insights on some of the major players He was interested enough to do research when he got home. I rather liked this when I understood that this book was due for publication I recall thinking that this will be at least attract some extreme opinion, and judging by the two contributions already posted, I was right As a straightforward narrative of the manouevrings surrounding the Winter War it is first rate, but where it is lacking is perhaps in the area of personal reminiscence of the presumably very aged by now participants While it is certainly true that many people on the periphery of this unique event have been reticent in their memoirs, I think the author has done a first rate job in stringing together enough primary sources Russian archives are at best unreliable, particularly with regard to information not to the USSR s advantage to produce a picture of the simple importance of this conflict The end is a bit sudden, so to speak, but personally I look forward to perhaps a volume 2, covering Finland s role in the larger war from 1941 Like others, I have read much on this matter, and have generally found the material naturally partisan read Kosygin Read Maisky But I particularly marked the author s clear distress at the plight of the Red Army in this uniquely bungled adventure, as we are invited to compare the very purposes of two very different armies.I imagine that lefties will not like this The Soviet invasion of Finland in 1939 was world news at the time, as Finland and its poorly armed 3 million people stood off the 105 millions of the mighty Soviet Union for than three months, inflicting numerous defeats on the powerful Soviet army In doing so, the Finns gained the admiration of the world for their ruggedness and determination The fact that the Soviet military proved so incompetent in winter weather, despite Russian history and climate and Stalinist propaganda, was also astonishing to the world.In the end, Goliath prevailed, but only after Stalin sacked numerous commanders, his men suffered many defeats, and Soviet commanders sent in reinforcements and changed operational arts and tactics The peace the Soviets extracted from the Finns was not as harsh as expected, and Finland was able to rebound and attempt to regain its lost land as an ally of Hitler in 1941, a policy that led to folly and tragedy, and is not the subject of this book.However, the subject of White Death is riveting, as is the writing Mr Edwards has produced many contemporary accounts of the fighting and politics of the war, from both sides, including a large number of human interest nuggets One hilarious example is the Soviet use of highly inaccurate propaganda leaflets to tell the Finns how they were being enslaved by their own government The Finns did not even put these fliers to the usual use of frontline soldiers the paper quality was far below that of Finland s native paper industry.A sadder nugget comes from how the Soviet Union marked the morning the war ended by engaging in vicious and violent barrages of shellfire of Finnish positions, solely to inflict as much suffering as possible before the cease fire.He also covers the foreign response to Finland s plight, which ranged from Italy supporting the Finns to the League of Nations last outburst, expelling the Soviet Union It also notes the cynicism of the British and French, who planned to use the concept of supporting the Finns to actually occupy neutral Sweden and Norway s iron mines and transportation routes, to discomfit the German economy The Soviets learned from the war, and fought better against the German invaders of 1941 and thereafter, particularly in winter weather.Very little has been written recently about the Russo Finland War, and most accounts are from the Finnish point of view Mannerheim s memoirs are detailed, but a trudge , and the only Soviet accounts were weighted down by propaganda hailing or blaming Stalin and the Mannerheim Line, in that order 75 years later, the Russo Finland War is forgotten by nearly all save the Finns, which is tragic, given the horrors it caused All that seems left of that war in the public memory is the term Molotov Cocktails for gasoline filled bottles used as bombs, which may actually date back to the previous Spanish Civil War.Mr Edwards writing style is fluid and literate, his research formidable, and the book is a valuable addition to any World War II library Highly recommended. I needed this for my A Level history coursework and have read it cover to cover several times because the winter war period is very very interesting