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The Finnish War And The Soviet Union Essay

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The Russo-Finnish War, or Winter War, began on 30 November 1939 when the Soviet Union invaded Finland. The objectives of the Red Army were simply, conquer and subjugate all of Finland and re-establish the borders that existed prior to the First World War. The Soviet Union held the advantage in manpower, equipment, and resources, but the Finnish Army inflicted casualties on the Red Army that far exceeded their own. Not a single Red Army unit reached its initial objectives and Stalin was forced to come to the negotiation table and make a peace that left Finland as a sovereign state. The Finnish military was successful because the Red Army lacked competent leadership, didn’t have the proper equipment to fight in subzero temperatures, and the Finnish Army was able to adapt to a changing environment and use their smaller numbers to their advantage. The gaping holes in Soviet military capabilities helped fuel Hitler’s willingness to initiate Operation Barbarossa. Additionally, by invading Finland the Soviet Union turned a disinterested and essentially neutral into an enemy that had the capabilities to strike into the heart of Russia. The winter of 1939-1940 was abnormally cold, the temperature rose above freezing only ten times during the entire campaign. Many Russian soldiers lacked basic winter gear and suffered astonishingly high levels of frostbite, some 132,213 of the 900,000 soldiers involved. While some soldiers were issued felt boots or valenki, the vast majority
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