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Full text of "Finland's dilemma / by Leonard Williams."



Finland's Dilemma 



by 



Leonard Williams 



Summary 

Finland's role as an active belligerent against Russia 
was inevitable. A history of a thousand years of hostility and 
bitter fighting between the Russians and the Finnish people 
has made it impossible that Finland and Russia should fight 
in common cause. Finnish armies will fight for -"ussia only 
when Russia has conquered Finland and conscripted her men, 

Finland's only purpose has been to proteot her independence 
and the lives of her citizens. Therefore we in this country 
should look at the Finnish problem with some tolerance least 
we condemn them hastily and without understanding. The Finns 
in their failing hour asked for aid from Germany the only 
great power who could give it only to save themselves from a 
fate abhorred by every Finnish citizen, life under a Russian 
government. We in this country cannot understand this hatred 
of Russia; but it is bred into every Finn and has Its foundation 
in a thousand years of defensive fighting against Russia. 
The citizens of the United States must not forget their pledge 
of justice to all peoples even though that should mean the 
thwarting of Russian ambitions. 



Leonard Williams 



Finland's Dilemma 

Finland stands today In a tragic position. She Is 
doomed to annihilation by the great powers of the world which 
are pledged to the preservation of democratic government every- 
where. The roots of Finland's sorrow are to be found In history, 
The antipathy which exists between the Bos si ana and the Finns 
has been made a thing which will never die by the twenty five 
major wars fought in the past eight hundred years on Finnish 
soil against the Russians. Throughout the wars of the earliest 
times the Finnish people relied strongly upon their alliance 
with Sweden for aid and support against the Buss ians . The 
union of the Swedes and the Finns in one nation, Sweden-Finland, 
proved Texy beneficial to the Finnish people. From the days 
of the middle ages this nation continued as a vital force In 
the north and remained a united nation until the times of the 
Napoleonic disturbances. It was then In the year 1809 that 
the Russians succeeded in annexing Finland after a war of 
conquest. The Finnish people never became reconciled to 
Russianization and at the first opportunity revolted. The 
opportunity came in 1918 more than one hundred years after 
the annexation when the Russian armies fighting Germany 
collapsed. The Finns rose in revolution determined to be free 
of Russian government forever. 

The revolution against fl ua ai a was followed by bloody 
fighting between Communistic elements supported from Russia and 
the White faotlons within Finland. The Whites were victorious 
but not without the a Id ©f a German army which intervened at a 



decisive hour to ensure the victory of the Whites who were 
failing in the fight against the Reds who were being supplied 
from Russia. The aid tendered by the G-ermais at this critical 
time was very Important in strengthening the ties between Finland 
and Germany. 

With the nation established the Finnish people went to 
work with great zeal and determination to make the Ir oount ry a 
fine place to live. They were determined to show the world 
that free men and women living under a democratic system of 
government conld make a better nation than the Russian system 
ever oould. With her limited resources, without coal, iron, 
or oil, and with only limited land of poor nuality i) r agricul- 
ture, the Finns made their nation one of the finest in Northern 
Europe in the short span of one generation in the y ars from 
1918 to 1941. The literacy rate in Finland is one of the highest 
in the world and higher education is shared by a greater propor- 
tion of the people than in any other country. The eagerness with 
which the Finns sent their most highly trained experts to countries 
all over the world to become familiar with the most reoent 
technological developments so that they might be applied without 
loss of time to the development of the Finnish nation and the 
attainment of the high standard of living which had already been 
reached in other parts of the world but had been denied to the 
Finnish people as part of the Russian Empire is an example of 
the alertness and breadth of vision of the Finnish government. 

The Finns were experiencing remarkable success with their 
newly launched nation when the great oonfliots between the ever 
expanding Germany and her neighbors caused reperous s iona in Finland. 



The .Russians suspecting that Finland was planning a war against 

her In collaboration with Germany suddenly made far reaching 

have 
demands upon Finland which would/ensured Finnish neutrality by 

placing strategic fortifications, absolutely essential to the 
defense of Finland against Kussian attack, in the control of 
Russian armies. Finland attempted to compromise but that proved 
to be impossible because Russia was confident that she could 
crush Finland if she resisted. The negotiations came to a halt 
with the Russian attack up Finland, ^he Russians were partly suc- 
cessful in the war in that Finland ceded one third of her terri- 
tory to Russia along with oertain important fortifications in the 
ii 

Aland islands. However the attitude of the Russians following 
their victorious war became increasingly more insufferable and 
it became obvious that their ultimate intention was the destruction 
of the Finnish republic. 

Within a year after the conclusion of the peaoe treaty 
Russia attacked Finland again. A few weeks later Germany attacked 
Russia with smashing blows and at the saae time Finland invited 
Germany to send her armies through Finland to bolster Finnish 
defenses which were crumbling under the sledge hammer attacks 
of numerically superior Russian forces, The result of the 
second war has been that Finland has regained all of her lost 
territory and some territory formerly Russian with more advantageous 
frontiers for defense. 

Throughout all the years of war, devastating with its effects 
on the nations manhood and the national eoonomy, Finlaid has 
fought only to maintain its integrity as a nation against Russian 
attaok, Finland accepted help from Germany only because the reject ion 



of that aid would hare meant that the Finns would have become 

one more of the so ores of peoples that have been s walla? ed 

up and soattered by the Russian giant in its mission of conquest. 

The United States is now at war with Germany and her 
allies. While the United States was neutral prior to the out- 
break of war the problem of Finnish-Amerioan relations wag 
difficult at beat; and it now seems to be reaching the breaking 
point. Many are to quick to say that any ally of Germany must 
necessarily be our enemy. The state departmait warns Finland 
that it must conclude a peace with Russia or suffer our dis- 
pleasure. Fortunately the state department understands that it 
is impossible for Finland to stop fighting because the only 
condition for peace is the equivalent of absolute surrender. 
It is possible that Russia's insistence upon a formal sever ance 
of relations and a declaration of war may yet become so strong 
that it cannot be sidestepped. 

At that time a decision must be made* The United Nations 
have no great love for Russia but all recognize the right of 
the Russians to their homeland which has been theirs for centuries ; 
but by the same token other peoples have the same right. Are we 
to permit this nation to become a party to a Russian aggression 
which is just as merciless as the wars of the Germans? This war 
will have been in vain if Russia is permitted to glut herself 
upon the flesh and blood of her smaller neighbors, ^'he world 
will have fought to throw out one set of aggressors only to make 
room for another* We must not become a party to a Russian 



domination baaed on conquest. We should give a sympathetic ear 
to the weary people of Finland, who have so many descendants on 
these shores, as they ory out to the world in their desperate 
and perhaps futile fight to make for themselves a nation to 
call their own. 



Leonard Williams