I'd like to know political Karelianist's work which assert the establishment of Greater Finland by annexation of Eastern Karelia.

Posted
13.8.2004

I'd like to know political Karelianist's work which assert the establishment of Greater Finland by annexation of Eastern Karelia.

Answer

Answered
17.8.2004
Last updated
17.8.2004

Karelianism is mostly understood to mean the powerful artistic movement, which prevailed at the turn of the century. At that time one of its aims was to bolster the nascent independence movement in Finland, which was still under Tsarist Russia. Finland was a Russian Grand Duchy until Lenin granted Finland independence in 1917. The reasons for Finland’s territorial expansionism are many and varied.

Despite the bitter political and emotional scars that resulted from the fierce civil war between the reds and the whites in 1917-1918, Finland was able to unite in the face of the common enemy and fought the Soviet army during the so-called Winter War in 1939-1940. Although the odds were overwhelming against the Finnish army, it was able to prevent the Soviet invasion. The ensuing peace treaty, which was later to be referred to as “interim peace” meant that Finland had to relinquish some of the eastern territories to the Soviets.

This was unacceptable to most Finns, especially those, who had to be evacuated from the said territories. When the Germans began their campaign against the Russians, Finland joint in the battle in what is known as the “continuation war”. Initially the aim was to regain the lost territories, but as the Soviet troops were engaged further south against the advancing German army, the Finnish army encountered little resistance, at least as compared to the Winter War. Had the Finnish army stopped once it reached the legitimate former border, much bloodshed and carnage would have been avoided. However, there were elements within the army as well as the political establishment, which demanded that Finland should liberate the Karelian kinsmen from their Russian/Soviet oppressors. Finns were able to push quite far into the Soviet territory.

However, once the Soviet army expelled the German aggressors, they diverted their energies against the Finnish army. In June 1944 the Soviet army launched a massive offensive first in the Karelian Isthmus and later on further north along the Karelian front. It is said that the Soviet attack on June 9th was perhaps the most concentrated artillery attack ever.

As to your question of whether Karelianism played any role in this campaign is hard to say.
For more detailed information, I would suggest that you contact the Department of History at the University of Helsinki. They will be able to recommend relevant reading material for you to study. Department’s website is:
http://www.helsinki.fi/historia/english/address.html

General works on modern Finnish history:
Jutikkala, Eino & Kauko Pirinen: A History of Finland. 1996/2003.
From Grand Duchy to a Modern State. By Osmo Jussila et al. 1999.

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