Finland and World War II Overall
During World War II, Finland was in many ways a unique case. It was the only European country bordering the Soviet Union in 1939 which was still unoccupied by 1945. Of all the European countries fighting, only three European capitals were never occupied: Moscow, London and Helsinki. It was a country which sided with Germany, but in which native Jews and almost all refugees were safe from persecution. It was the only co-belligerent of Nazi Germany which maintained democracy throughout the war. It was also the only belligerent in mainland Europe to do so.
Although Finland was never de jure member of Axis powers, as it never signed the Tripartite Pact, it was a companion of Germany from the beginning of Operation Barbarossa 1941 to separate peace with the Soviet Union in 1944. Finland, however, was never a strong supporter of Nazi Germany and felt that an alliance with Hitler would help ensure that the country would remain independent. Finland was led by its elected President and parliament during the whole 1939-1945 period. As a result, some political scientists name it as one of the few instances where a democratic country was engaged in a war against one or more other democratic countries, namely the democracies in the Allied forces. However, it is worth pointing out that nearly all Finnish military engagements in World War II were fought solely against an autocratic power, the Soviet Union, and the lack of direct conflicts specifically with other democratic countries leads others to exclude Finnish involvement in World War II as an example of a war between two or more democracies.
Famous quotes containing the words war and/or world:
“Of course in war all madnesses come out in a man, that is the fault of war not of a man or a nation.”
—Frieda Lawrence (18791956)
“No doubt Jews are most obnoxious creatures. Any competent historian or psychoanalyst can bring a mass of incontrovertible evidence to prove that it would have been better for the world if the Jews had never existed. But I, as an Irishman, can, with patriotic relish, demonstrate the same of the English. Also of the Irish.... We all live in glass houses. Is it wise to throw stones at the Jews? Is it wise to throw stones at all?”
—George Bernard Shaw (18561950)