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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unknown History!, 1 Jun 2011
SJ SMART "Smartie" (London) - See all my reviews
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This is a very good specialised and detailed history book of Finland's contribution to World War Two and their actions on the Eastern Front. The writer focuses a lot on the relationship between Finland and Germany, the background to their alliance during the war, the breakdown of this alliance and the aftermath.

I knew of Finland's alliance with Germany on the Eastern Front and their war against the Soviet Union in the Winter War but knew nothing of the difficult relationship that existed between Germany and Finland during the war, the many frustrations and problems before Finland's armistice with the USSR. This book explains this in some detail.

It shouldnt surprise many historians or those interested in World War two that Hitler was very keen on this alliance but made little effort to plan or organise anything, to look at the detail and to work out common goals. As a consequence Finland committed its self to operations it saw as useful but didnt always follow German policy or plans much to the frustration of the German Army who had committed 250,000 troops to this front which would have been very useful in other areas and in many cases did very little to help the situation on the Eastern Front or support their comrades on the main fronts.

The book also covers most of the main operations that Finland did fight such as the Siege of Leningrad and many they didnt like cutting the railway link to Murmansk despite a German plan to do this.

There is a lot of political history too focusing a lot on the German plans and the Soviets but has other details such as that the USA and Finland didnt declare war on each other despite being in opposing "camps" and that until quite late in the war the USA had consuls in Finland still operating.

A very interesting history of a very confused and challenging military relationship in World War 2.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Squeezed between Hitler and the Russian Bear, Finland's story of survival., 7 May 2013
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The title says it all, however "Finlands War of Survival" would have been more accurate. The "Choice" was about existance in the face of the Russian Bear and Hitlers facism. Its a complex story in which each battle is described in detail. Too much detail for those uneducated in the manoevers of war. Nevertheless, hardwon admiration for a nation on the edge is the result. Not only on the edge of politics but also nature. Schooled in the art of war in the barren Arctic, Finns earned both sides and the Allies, respect. Out of it came the modern State determined to be a worthwhile member of the European nations. A book worth reading if seeking to understand the seemingly impossible happened.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good story on a less well known subject, 9 April 2014
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I knew very little about the Finish view of World War 2 so it was a very interesting read to understand that area of operations. It was good on over all tactics and the political situation. Its was not down to the actual units of combat (esp the Finns) too often. That said it still was a very good book if you want an overview of the Finnish side of World War 2.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Christmas gift, 15 Jan 2014
Gisli Mar Gislason (Santa Barbara, USA) - See all my reviews
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It was a Christmas gift to my son, but he loved it. It is an addition in his history book collection on the 2nd WW.
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8 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Collaboration in WW2, 12 Oct 2012
Dr Barry Clayton (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Collaboration with the Nazis during the Second World War is a very sensitive issue. We are talking here of willing voluntary collaboration not collaboration under duress. Those states guilty of helping Hitler, in spite of knowing that he had embarked on a deliberate policy to exterminate Jews, gypsies,gays, and sick children, have gone to great lengths to hide their activities by lying, prevarication, feeble excuses and limiting the translation into English of key documents.

Since 1945, after a slow start, Germany has courageously admitted and apologised for the evils of Nazism. Other countries like Japan,France,the Ukraine,Latvia,Greece, the Netherlands, Poland and Finland have been much more tardy. In many of these countries there was no inconsistency between anti-German hostilities and delight and satisfaction when Jews were slaughtered. It is also worthy of note that many of these countries were, like Finland, democracies. In these countries the German ability to destroy would have been impossible without the widespread collaboration of civil servants,lawyers, doctors, police and in some cases the Church.

Henrik O Lunde's book is an attempt to describe and explain the coalition between Finland and Germany in WW2. Motives are examined on both sides. As the author says whatever the motives were many Finns would like to forget that they willingly collaborated with the Nazis. When teaching at university I occasionally encountered Finnish students. They were a delight to teach and very open to new ideas in international affairs until one mentioned the Second World War. With one exception, a young lady, they invariably went silent. This book explains why many Finns are of this persuasion even today.
Lunde is not the only author to shoot down in flames the excuse that the Finns had no choice or they collaborated because they hated the Russians for what happened in the 'Winter War'. Lunde demonstrates that helping the German was for many Finns an enjoyable choice.

While serving in the army and on the staff of the Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham, I met and became friendly with a serving Finnish Colonel.
Matti said to me on one occasion:'It is time we Finns showed penitence for what happened'. We have been waiting a long time.

The Finnish theatre became a blind ally for Germany. The German army in Finland made no significant contribution to the German war effort thanks to military incompetence on both sides of the coalition.

The author' previous book:'Hitler's Pre-emptive War' successfully filled some of the gaps in our knowledge about the battle for Norway. In this book he does us all a service in letting some light shine on the murky collaborative deals that were carried out during WW2. Further light no doubt will be shed when more Soviet documents are released in coming years. Historians of the period in question would be delighted if the Finns would translate more of their key documents into English. Let us hope this happens soon.
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