Areas ceded by Finland to the Soviet Union
|Signed||12 March 1940|
|Location||Moscow, Russian SFSR, USSR|
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The Moscow Peace Treaty was signed by Finland and the Soviet Union on 12 March 1940, and the ratifications were exchanged on 21 March.It marked the end of the 105-day Winter War, upon which Finland ceded border areas to the Soviet Union. The treaty was signed by Vyacheslav Molotov, Andrey Zhdanov and Aleksandr Vasilevsky for the Soviet Union, and Risto Ryti, Juho Kusti Paasikivi, Rudolf Walden and Väinö Voionmaa for Finland. The terms of the treaty were not reversed after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the Karelian question remains disputed.
The Finnish government received the first tentative peace conditions from the Soviet Union (through Stockholm) on 31 January 1940. By then, the Soviets made larger claims than they had before the war started. The demands were for Finland to cede the Karelian Isthmus, including the city of Viipuri, and Finland's shore of Lake Ladoga. The Hanko Peninsula was to be leased to the Soviet Union for 30 years.
Finland rejected the demands and intensified its pleas to Sweden, France and the United Kingdom for military support by regular troops. The reports from the front still held out hope for Finland, anticipating a League of Nations intervention. Positive signals, however inconstant, from France and Britain and more realistic expectations of troops from Sweden, for which plans and preparations had been made throughout the 1930s, were further reasons for Finland not to rush into peace negotiations. (See Winter War § Foreign support for more details.)
In February 1940, Finland's commander-in-chief, Marshal Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim expressed his pessimism about the military situation, which prompted the government to start peace talks on 29 February, the same day the Red Army started an attack on Viipuri (now Vyborg).
On 6 March, a Finnish delegation, led by Finnish Prime Minister Risto Ryti, travelled to Moscow.During the negotiations, the Red Army broke through the Finnish defence lines around Tali and were close to surrounding Viipuri.
The treaty was signed on the evening of 12 March, Moscow Time, or 1 hour on 13 March, Finnish time. The protocol appended to the treaty stipulated that the fighting should end at noon, Leningrad time (11:00 Finnish time),[ inconsistent ] and the fighting continued until then.
Finnish concessions and territorial losses exceeded those demanded by the Soviets before the war. Finland was forced to cede approximately half of Finnish Karelia (with Finland's industrial centre, including Vyborg/Viipuri (Finland's fourth-largest city) and Käkisalmi; Sortavala and Suojärvi and the whole of Viipuri Bay, with its islands; in total, nearly 10% of the territory) even though large parts were still held by the Finnish army. Military troops and remaining civilians were hastily evacuated to inside the new border; 422,000 Karelians, 12% of Finland's population, lost their homes.
There was also an area that the Russians captured during the war that remained in Finnish hands according to the treaty: Petsamo. The treaty also stipulated that Finland would grant free passage for Soviet civilians through Petsamo to Norway.
Finland also had to cede a part of the Salla area, the Finnish part of the Kalastajansaarento (Rybachi) Peninsula in the Barents Sea, and in the Gulf of Finland the islands of Suursaari, Tytärsaari, Lavansaari (now Moshchny Island о. Мощный), Peninsaari (now Maly Island, о. Малый) and Seiskari. Finally, the Hanko Peninsula was leased to the Soviet Union as a naval base for 30 years at an annual rent of 8 million marks.
Contrary to a common belief, the Soviet troops' transfer rights by railway to the Hanko base were not granted in the peace treaty, but they were demanded on 9 July, after Sweden had acknowledged the railway transit of Wehrmacht troops to occupied Norway.
Additional demands were the handing over any equipment and installations on the territories that were ceded. Thus Finland had to hand over 75 locomotives; 2,000 railroad cars and a number of cars, trucks and ships. The Enso industrial area, which was clearly on the Finnish side of the border, as it was drawn in the peace treaty, was also soon added to the Finnish losses of territory and equipment.
The new border was not arbitrary from the Soviet viewpoint:
The Finns were shocked by the harsh peace terms. It seemed as if more territory was lost in the peace than in the war, in many ways some of the highest-valued areas of Finland. The loss of territory was painful for Finland in several ways:
Sympathy from world opinion seemed to have been of little worth.[ citation needed ] A certain bitter disappointment became a common feature of the Finns' view of other nations, especially the Swedes, who had offered plenty of sympathy but did not fulfill their obligations of military support for Finland.[ citation needed ]
The harsh terms imposed on the Finns led them to seek support from Nazi Germany.[ citation needed ] The Winter War and the subsequent peace treaty were core factors in leading to what would become the Continuation War. In the end, that might have been a necessary condition for Finland's survival during war.
Only a year later, in June 1941, hostilities resumed during the Continuation War.
The Continuation War was a conflict fought by Finland and Nazi Germany, as co-belligerents, against the Soviet Union (USSR) from 1941 to 1944, during World War II. In Russian historiography, the war is called the Soviet–Finnish Front of the Great Patriotic War. Germany regarded its operations in the region as part of its overall war efforts on the Eastern Front and provided Finland with critical material support and military assistance.
The Winter War was a war between the Soviet Union (USSR) and Finland. It began with a Soviet invasion of Finland on 30 November 1939, three months after the outbreak of World War II, and ended three and a half months later with the Moscow Peace Treaty on 13 March 1940. Despite superior military strength, especially in tanks and aircraft, the Soviet Union suffered severe losses and initially made little headway. The League of Nations deemed the attack illegal and expelled the Soviet Union from the organisation.
The Karelian Isthmus is the approximately 45–110 km(30–70 mi) wide stretch of land, situated between the Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladoga in northwestern Russia, to the north of the River Neva. Its northwestern boundary is a line from the Bay of Vyborg to the westernmost point of Lake Ladoga, Pekonlahti. If the Karelian Isthmus is defined as the entire territory of present-day Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast to the north of the Neva and also a tiny part of the Republic of Karelia, the isthmus' area covers about 15,000 km2(6,000 sq mi).
The Karelo-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic, also called Soviet Karelia or simply known as Karelia, was a republic of the Soviet Union. It existed from 1940 until it was made part of the Russian SFSR in 1956 as the Karelian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. The latter became the Republic of Karelia, a federal subject of Russia, on 13 November 1991.
Karelia is an historical province of Finland which Finland partly ceded to Russia after the Winter War of 1939–40. The Finnish Karelians include the present-day inhabitants of North and South Karelia and the still-surviving evacuees from the ceded territories. Present-day Finnish Karelia has 315,000 inhabitants. The more than 400,000 evacuees from the ceded territories re-settled in various parts of Finland.
The Finnish Democratic Republic was a short-lived puppet government created and recognised only by the Soviet Union. Headed by Finnish-born politician Otto Wille Kuusinen, the Finnish Democratic Republic was Joseph Stalin's planned means to conquer Finland. It nominally operated in the parts of Finnish Karelia that were occupied by the Soviet Union during the Winter War.
Karelia, the land of the Karelian people, is an area in Northern Europe of historical significance for Finland, Russia, USSR and Sweden. It is currently divided among the northwestern Russian Federation and Finland.
Finland participated in the Second World War initially as an independent country battling the Soviet Union, followed by another battle with the Soviet Union as a co-belligerent with Nazi Germany and then finally switching sides to the Allies against Nazi Germany. As relations with the Soviet Union changed during the war, Finland was placed in the unusual situation of being for, then against and then for the overall interests of the Allied powers.
The Karelian question or Karelian issue is a dispute in Finnish politics over whether to try to regain control over Finnish Karelia and other territories ceded to the Soviet Union in the Winter War and the Continuation War. Despite the name "Karelian question", the term may refer also to the return of Petsamo, ceded parts of Salla and Kuusamo, and four islands in the Gulf of Finland. Sometimes the phrase "debate on the return of the ceded territories" is used. The Karelian question remains a matter of public debate rather than a political issue.
The Interim Peace was a short period in the history of Finland during the Second World War. The term is used for the time between the Winter War and the Continuation War, lasting a little over a year, from 13 March 1940 to 24 June 1941. The Moscow Peace Treaty was signed by Finland and the Soviet Union on 12 March 1940 and it ended the 105-day Winter War.
The Vyborg–Petrozavodsk Offensive or Karelian offensive was a strategic operation by the Soviet Leningrad and Karelian Fronts against Finland on the Karelian Isthmus and East Karelia fronts of the Continuation War, on the Eastern Front of World War II. The Soviet forces captured East Karelia and Viborg/Viipuri. After that, however, the fighting reached a stalemate.
The Moscow Armistice was signed between Finland on one side and the Soviet Union and United Kingdom on the other side on September 19, 1944, ending the Continuation War. The Armistice restored the Moscow Peace Treaty of 1940, with a number of modifications.
The History of Karelia is about the cultural and geopolitical region of Karelia, in present-day eastern Finland and northwestern Russia in northern Europe. The Karelian people's presence can be dated back to the 7th millennium BC—6th millennium BC.
Vyborgsky District is an administrative and municipal district (raion), one of the seventeen in Leningrad Oblast, Russia. It is located in the northwest of the oblast on the Karelian Isthmus and borders with Priozersky District in the northeast, Vsevolozhsky District in the east, Kurortny District of the federal city of St. Petersburg in the south, Kymenlaakso and South Karelia regions of Finland in the northwest, and Lakhdenpokhsky District of the Republic of Karelia in the north. From the southwest, the district is limited by the Gulf of Finland. The area of the district is 7,475.472 square kilometers (2,886.296 sq mi). Its administrative center is the town of Vyborg. Population : 120,446 (2010 Census); 113,748 ; 108,571 (1989 Census).
The old Karelian railroad between Viipuri (Viborg) and Joensuu is a railway with 1,524 mm broad gauge, which used to link Joensuu, Sortavala, Hiitola, Antrea and Viipuri (Vyborg). Originally built in 1892-1894 by Finnish State Railways in the Grand Duchy of Finland, in the 1940s most of the railway up to Niirala was ceded by Finland to the Soviet Union in the Moscow Peace Treaty, Moscow Armistice and Paris Peace Treaty as a result of the Winter War and Continuation War. Now the track is located in Leningrad Oblast, Republic of Karelia and North Karelia. The Sortavala – Joensuu link across the border was abolished after the Continuation War, but was since restored and is currently in use for cargo traffic.
The Finnish invasion of the Karelian Isthmus refers to a military campaign carried out by Finland in 1941. It was part of what is commonly referred to as the Continuation War. Early in the war Finnish forces liberated the Karelian Isthmus. It had been ceded to the Soviet Union on 13 March 1940, in the Moscow Peace Treaty, which marked the end of the Winter War. Later, in the summer of 1944, the Soviet Union reconquered the southern part of the isthmus in the Vyborg–Petrozavodsk Offensive.
The Viipuri Province was a province of Finland from 1812 to 1945.
Vyborg is a town in, and the administrative center of, Vyborgsky District in Leningrad Oblast, Russia. It lies on the Karelian Isthmus near the head of the Vyborg Bay, 130 km to the northwest of St. Petersburg and 38 km south of Russia's border with Finland, where the Saimaa Canal enters the Gulf of Finland. The population of Vyborg is as follows: 79,962 (2010 Census); 79,224 (2002 Census); 80,924 (1989 Census).
The timeline of the Winter War is a chronology of events leading up to, culminating in, and resulting from the Winter War. The war began when the Soviet Union attacked Finland on 30 November 1939 and it ended 13 March 1940.
The Battle of Porlampi, also known as the Battle of Porlammi, was a military engagement fought between the Finnish Army and Red Army from 30 August to 1 September 1941 on the Karelian Isthmus. The battle was fought near the town of Porlampi during the second month of the Continuation War. The battle was a Finnish victory and effectively ended the reconquest of Karelia.