Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Today In History: Fire for effect.

On this day in 1939, some artillery shells may or may not have landed on or about the Russian village of Mainila.

What is nearly certain is that if shells did land there, they weren't Finnish shells, as their army didn't actually have any cannon cockers in, you know, range to shell the village in question.

Stalin's propaganda machine instantly whipped up a frenzy of panic, as the poor, tiny, defenseless peace-lovers of the USSR would be forced, forced! against their will to defend themselves against the slavering giant of Finnish aggression.

This played about as well in the court of world opinion as one would expect.

In the subsequent war, the Russians won (but only on points) and gained territorial concessions, mostly involving prime real estate and natural resources, which most folks considered unusual behavior from a "peace-loving people" who were "only trying to defend themselves".


Anonymous said...

See the movie, 'The Winter War', about the Finnish Home boys and the Karelian Peninsula defense.

It's the Finnish original sub-titled, and is IMO is easily in the top ranks of accurately done 'war' films. The first time I saw it, after the ending, I just sat there in my own state of video shellshock.

and speaking of little known films, look up a copy of "Dust". Ignore the idiot reviews. This is for folks with a sense of history, knowledge of the brutal late Ottoman Empire, and possibly a bit of early 20th Cen Macedonian his'try.

Oh, yeah, it helps if y'r not an A+ type for tidy story lines, sequential events, and amiguity. Not y'r pappy's Western, but a damn good evocation of that spirit.

OK, I'll shut up now. ;~`) It's a holiday coming up, and just hadda t'row some preachin' in there. Off to the furniture repairs, and Happy Day of Feasting.

John the Movie Critic

tom said...

Finns counted 25,000 dead, 55,000 wounded, and 450,000 homeless, a terrible price for a country of only four million people. However, even the Finns did not know the devastation that they had caused the Russians until years later. All this was at the hands of an army of less than 250,000 (mostly light infantry, home guard units) with hardly any anti-tank weapons (except Molotov cocktails) and 41 operational fighter aircraft.

One Russian general remarked, "We have won enough ground to bury our dead." Khrushchev wrote, "Even in these most favorable conditions it was only after great difficulty and enormous losses that we were finally able to win. A victory at such a cost was actually a moral defeat." According to Khrushchev, 1.5 million men were sent to Finland and one million of them were killed. 1000 aircraft, 2300 tanks and armored cars and an enormous amount of other war materials were lost.

More here.

Tommy Paine IX said...

The more things change...

ExistingThing said...

You don't fuck with Finland.

Oleg Volk said...