Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Professor Walker


Finland, Invasion, Soviets, Stalinist Era



CLEMENTE, RYAN The Finnish-Soviet Wars: Lessons from the North. History Department, June 2019.

Advisor: Dr. Mark Walker

The political vacuum left behind by the disintegration of the unified Russian state during the Bolshevik Revolution created an opportunity for the Finnish people to shake off almost a thousand years of foreign domination and colonization. However, in 1918 a Bolshevik backed coup d’état was led by Finnish communists, effectively overthrowing Finland’s new democratic government in Helsinki. It was only with the help of the military intervention of the German Empire that the anti-communist “White” Finns were able to defeat the “Red” (Bolshevik aligned) Finns, restore Finland's democratic institutions, and officially preserve Finnish territorial integrity in the Treaty of Tartu (Finnish-Soviet).

In 1939 the Soviets, unprovoked, invaded and attempted to annex Finland. Against all odds the Finns were successful in defending their country, albeit with the loss of significant territory in southern Finland. In the Fall of 1940 a second planned Soviet invasion of Finland was only prevented by the diplomatic intervention of the German government, which saw a strategic opportunity to ally with the Finns in a future war against the USSR. Finnish de facto participation in the overarching German Operation Barbarossa was sealed by German promises to return Finland’s lost territories and put a permanent end to the Russian threat to Finland. While the Finns did not meet this end, Finland would become the only nation to survive a Soviet invasion during the Stalinist era.



Rights Statement

No Known Copyright