View Full Version : It happened 70 years ago.

Gunnar Damström
13-04-11, 17:26
In November 1940 Soviet foreign minister Molotov visited Berlin hoping to receive German sanctions for the Soviet plan to “bring to conclusion” the unfinished Finnish business of 1939-1940. The Soviet assault on Finland of November 30 1939 was sanctioned in the so called Ribbentrop Pact which defined Soviet and German spheres of interest. The German emissary, lieutenant colonel Veltjens informed Mannerheim that Hitler had refused the Soviet demands. December 18, 1940 the Reichkanzler signed Plan Barbarossa, Germany’s plan to attack the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941. A couple of hours later Field Marshal Mannerheim’s Berlin emissary General Talvela was granted an audience with Reich Marshal Hermann Göring. Göring briefed him on the German plan, explaining that Finland would play an important role as a likely allied in the coming war. It was important that Finland continue its cautious east policy. It was not in Germany’s interest that the war would start during the winter.

Earlier, in April of 1940 Germany had occupied Denmark and Norway and in May started the assault on the Benelux countries and France which soon led to their capitulation and occupation. This business completed, Hitler in July of 1940 started planning the assault on the Soviet Union. Since the armistice of March, 1940 Finland had been increasingly isolated and under tremendous political pressure from Moscow. The Finnish government and military command (Mannerheim) considered the situation so delicate that when Soviet warplanes shot down a Finnish passenger plane June 14, 1940 no protest was lodged. Therefore it came as a pleasant surprise when Hermann Göring’s secret emissary, lieutenant colonel Veltjens on August 18 1940 showed up in Helsinki for negotiations with Mannerheim. Over night Finland’s situation changed. An agreement was made by which German troupes would be permitted to transit over Finnish territory to northern Norway and Finland would be permitted to buy German arms for its army in great need……
Source: Meinander, Finlands Historia 4