The Winter War:

The Soviet Attack on Finland

(Nov. 30, 1939-March 1, 1940)

Winter War

Soviet Tanks in Finnish Snow


The Winter War: Soviet Attack on Finland (November 30, 1939-March 1, 1940)--Following the German invasion of Poland in September of 1939, the Soviet Union also invaded Poland from the east, seizing Polish territory, and, in effect, establishing a buffer zone between Soviet territory and Germany. As a means of further protecting itself from Germany at the expense of their neighbors, the Soviets also took over the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The Soviets also sought territory from Finland, and the right to establish military bases on Finnish islands, as well as on the Finnish mainland.

Finland rejected the Soviet demand for Finnish land, and, on November 30, 1939, without a formal declaration of war, the Soviet air force launched aerial bombardment of the Finnish capital of Helsinki as well as the city of Viipuri. That same day, Soviet armies totaling nearly a 1,000,000 men invaded Finland. The Finnish military forces facing the Soviet border only totaled 300,000, and nearly 80 percent of that force was made up of Finnish reservists.




Links and Resources on the Soviet-Finland Winter War:

Kohn, George C. Dictionary of Wars. New York: Facts On File Publications. 1986.

The Battles of the Winter War

The Winter War 1939-1940: Telegrams From Each Day of the Winter War

The Finnish Winter War 1939-1940

Fire and Ice: The Winter War of Finland and Russia--From PBS

Winter War Timeline

The Mannerheim Line





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