This is how the Normandy landings affected Finland

Immediately on June 6, 1944, the intelligence of the headquarters prepared a situation report, in which it was reported that the landings of the Western Allies had begun. It was estimated that the landing would be important in the long run for the Finnish fronts as well.

– That’s how it happened. We are not fighting a war in a vacuum. The change in power relations during the Great War also affected the situation in Finland, assesses the assistant professor of military history Miko Karjalainen from the National Defense University.

The Normandy landings were a joint effort by the Allies. Already on the first day of the invasion, the United States, Britain, Canada, and Free France managed to move about 150,000 men to various bridges on the northern bank of German-occupied France. This hastened the fall of Nazi Germany in the spring of 1945. Germany surrendered after the Soviet Union captured Berlin. Adolf Hitler He committed suicide.

News of the landing reached Finns’ living rooms via newspapers and radio within 24 hours.

Khajat on the Karelian Peninsula

Three days later, on June 9, the Red Army launched its major offensive against the Finnish forces in the narrow area of ​​Valkesari on the Karelia border.

— At that time there was little else to be done at Micheli’s headquarters except to hope that the troops on the Isthmus would fight as efficiently as possible. Troop transfers from other fronts and German aircraft and other support would affect the situation in Karelia a few days later.

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In the spring of 1944, peace talks took place between Finland and the Soviet Union, but due to dire circumstances for Finland, were unsuccessful. According to Karjalainen, the Finnish military leadership knew that a major attack by the Soviet Union was imminent.

– In the spring of 1944, it became clear that the focus would be on the Karelian Peninsula. The attack was prepared, but the timing was unknown, Karjalainen estimated.

Finland fought a war against the Soviet Union and was de facto an ally of Germany. At a conference in Tehran in 1943 the Allies had already agreed that the landings would be carried out from the west, followed by a Soviet offensive against Germany from the east.

– In this way, they wanted to squeeze Germany more and more tightly into a two-front war, Karjalainen summarizes.

The Red Army’s goal was a quick victory and the occupation of at least southern Finland. A bombardment and artillery barrage began, followed by an infantry attack the next day. The thunder of the grenades could be heard as far as Mikkeli and Helsinki.

Despite the defensive struggle, the Soviets advanced over the summer. For Finland, the Battle of Tali-Ihantala in June–July north and northeast of Vyborg proved to be a decisive fighting victory, but heavy battles were also fought at Vyborg Bay, Irappa and Vusalmi.

Finally, an armistice was signed on September 4, 1944, and the actual peace treaty was signed a few weeks later on September 19.

Peace conditions were strict: Finland’s eastern border followed the boundary lines drawn in the Moscow Peace Treaty (1940); Finland lost Karjalangannas, the northern part of Ladoga, the Kusamo-Salla area and Petsamo, German soldiers were disarmed and expelled from Finland, US$300 million in war reparations and a 50-year lease of Porkalaniemi to the Soviet Union.

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