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Finnish Wartime Photograph Archive
April 29, 2013 6:33 AM   Subscribe

The Finnish Defence Forces have put their archive of 170,000 WWII photographs online.
Some "night fighters".
Some American prisoners, probably from the ill-fated Convoy PQ 17

The browsing system is not very intuitive and you can only download the high-resolution photos from the photo preview which cannot be linked to so it's a bit awkward. The descriptions are the original Finnish ones but the UI is available in english.
posted by Authorized User (20 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 


And it's not Flash, so it works on my iPad. I research images all day long and am so glad to find this site!
posted by Ideefixe at 7:33 AM on April 29, 2013


And it's not Flash, so it works on my iPad.

I am just glad it is not 170,000 sequential pages.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:37 AM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


where did Hitler get the raw materials to continue to supply his war machine for so long?
Finland
posted by robbyrobs at 7:48 AM on April 29, 2013


The downloadable photographs from the Wartime Photograph Archive can be used by anyone. When you publish a photograph from the archive, mention "SA-kuva" as the source. You may not use the photographs to mislead people. You may not use the photographs for unlawful or inappropriate purposes.

SA-kuva, yourself.

// Using photos to mislead people? Never happens on the internet...

// Love the photos. I've tired of seeing the same photos over and over. It would be lovely if someone would go through the 170,000 photos and suggest a couple of hundred great ones. That will probably never happen. Perhaps a favorites button would let people occasionally find compelling ones and bring them to greater attention.
posted by notmtwain at 7:52 AM on April 29, 2013


The breakfast doesn't seem worth fighting for.
posted by three blind mice at 8:10 AM on April 29, 2013


Nazi bomber crewman waves hello.
posted by notmtwain at 8:23 AM on April 29, 2013


It's not fair to single out Finland for supplying materials to Nazi Germany, for one, it was Swedish iron ore that was crucial, as well as ball bearings, and Sweden was their largest trading partner.

The Iberian peninsula and Southern Europe / Balkans were also critical, not least for fossil fuel energy sources
posted by C.A.S. at 8:25 AM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nazi bomber crewman waves hello.
Actually, I'm pretty sure that's a Finnish aircraft. Finland used the swastika within a white circle on their aircraft in WW2, I think.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:29 AM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Swedish count Eric von Rosen gave the Finnish White government its second aircraft, a Thulin Typ D.[4] Its pilot, Lieutenant Nils Kindberg, flew the aircraft to Vaasa on 6 March 1918, carrying von Rosen as a passenger.

Von Rosen had painted his personal good luck charm on the Thulin Typ D aircraft. This charm – a blue swastika, the ancient symbol of the sun and good luck – was adopted as the insignia of the Finnish Air Force.

From Wikipedia.
posted by zeikka at 8:46 AM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Air Forces still use their swastika in unit symbols, irrespective to southern pissantry. See e.g. Air Force Command emblem and Training Wing.
posted by Free word order! at 8:57 AM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


To add to the above, here is a brief note on the symbols in WW2 planes.

To tell German planes in photos from WW2, you'd want to look for a differetn type of cross (Balkenkreuz) used as the insignia. See the article on Luftwaffe for examples.

Apart from the color being blue, the Finnish Air Force's old swastika symbol is also oriented differently from the Nazi Party swastika. The latter stands on its corner, but the FAF symbol has horizontal and vertical edges (arms).

(Also, that breakfast is a daily ration. It says so in the caption.)
posted by tykky at 9:07 AM on April 29, 2013


Nazi bomber crewman waves hello.
Actually, I'm pretty sure that's a Finnish aircraft. Finland used the swastika within a white circle on their aircraft in WW2, I think.


Here's another image from the same group: Aircraft with swastika The descriptive image says it's a Bristol Blenheim, which was a British bomber. (You suggest the Finns used swastikas on their own. I thought it meant that the Nazis were using a captured aircraft. I find it hard to believe that the Finns wouldn't have immediately changed their painting to avoid tragedy but I admit I don't know. )
posted by notmtwain at 9:10 AM on April 29, 2013


notmtwain: whose side do you think the Finns were on in WW II?
posted by Rumple at 10:05 AM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Finns emphatically did not like the Nazis, and turned on them viciously the first chance they got - once it looked like they would be able to hold off the Red Army at the end of the Continuation War, and got an armistice they believed the Russians would honor this time.

They managed to retain their democracy throughout the war, and fought both the Russians and the Nazis - and won. Of all the capitals of the European nations fighting in the War, only London, Moscow and Helsinki were not under occupation at any point.

All the same, at the Paris Peace Conference, the Russians socked them with reparations demands the other Allies found appalling... but the Finns paid it off in advance in '52, and kicked out the Russian garrison at Porrkala.

The Russians took the hint and didn't mess with them during the Cold War, despite it being a free market democracy right next door that openly did weapons deals with rival powers.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:11 AM on April 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


In Advanced Squad Leader the Finns are the most bad ass of all nationalities. Apparently few enjoy playing against these supermen. If that reflects reality is a matter of debate, but ASL is probably the most obsessive community about these things.
posted by stbalbach at 10:15 AM on April 29, 2013


The Finns emphatically did not like the Nazis, and turned on them viciously the first chance they got - once it looked like they would be able to hold off the Red Army at the end of the Continuation War, and got an armistice they believed the Russians would honor this time.

They managed to retain their democracy throughout the war, and fought both the Russians and the Nazis - and won. Of all the capitals of the European nations fighting in the War, only London, Moscow and Helsinki were not under occupation at any point.


The Finns lost the Continuation War pretty badly- if it had continued Finland would not be an independent state today. Removing the Germans from their territory was a condition of the armistice that ended it, along with substantial reparations.

Granted, the Finns overall were more interested in securing what they probably rightly considered to be their territory from the USSR than in the Nazis' ideology, but Germany was a huge source of aid to the Finns and they seemed to get along fine while things were going well. There was a Finnish SS regiment, which Wikipedia tells me was officially endorsed by the Finnish government.
posted by monocyte at 1:03 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Finns lost the Continuation War pretty badly

They pretty much fought the Red Army to a standstill. Again. They weren't able to reverse the conquests of the Winter War as they had hoped after the Russian counteroffensive, but they remained an independent nation, unlike the Baltic states and most of Eastern Europe - Russia wanted Finland entire, either as a Soviet republic or as a puppet regime. They got neither.

There was a Finnish SS regiment, which Wikipedia tells me was officially endorsed by the Finnish government.

The Fins did not integrate their military with the rest of the Axis, and refused to adopt any of the Nazi's policies - not only did they not persecute the Jews, they had a field Synagogue for Jewish soldiers in the Finnish Army. The Finnisches Freiwilligen-Bataillon der Waffen-SS - the Finnish SS, made up of volunteer ex-pats - fought exclusively against the Soviets, and neither the unit nor its members so much as accused of a war crime.

The Finnish membership in the Axis is due entirely to the expansionist desires of Stalin and Molotov, and not to any ideological affinity with Hitler or Fascism.
posted by Slap*Happy at 1:38 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


They pretty much fought the Red Army to a standstill. Again. They weren't able to reverse the conquests of the Winter War as they had hoped after the Russian counteroffensive, but they remained an independent nation, unlike the Baltic states and most of Eastern Europe - Russia wanted Finland entire, either as a Soviet republic or as a puppet regime. They got neither.

Sure, to a standstill for a little while- my understanding of the Continuation War is that Finnish strategy was basically hold line, fall back, repeat. And I'm not saying that's not impressive against a USSR force that was far harder than that of the Winter War, what with most of World War II in between to stiffen them up- but this strategy eventually winds up with the USSR attacking a line somewhere past Helsinki, and it's still one dependent on continuous German aid. Finland lost territory and huge reparations out of the Continuation War and gave its name to Finlandization in its maintenance of its independence in the subsequent decades- hardly a triumph against the USSR, and for sure they didn't get Karelia back.

The other question is the USSR's goals. Were they wholesale incorporation? This has been debated, though I'm sure that if the USSR could get it easily it they'd take it. But the USSR seemed quite happy with their control of eastern Karelia, which provided a buffer zone to keep the Finns from closing off Leningrad as they did in WWII, as long as Finland kept its countenance mild. Post-Soviet opinion has swung towards the USSR having more modest territorial goals than was assumed in the West (of course, Poland would disagree), aimed more at buffering the Russian core of the USSR than of Domino-theory type conquest.
posted by monocyte at 2:35 PM on April 29, 2013


The Finns emphatically did not like the Nazis, and turned on them viciously the first chance they got - once it looked like they would be able to hold off the Red Army at the end of the Continuation War, and got an armistice they believed the Russians would honor this time.

The Finns turned on the Germans only because for the Russians required this as a condition for the armistice. There was nothing vicious about it, apart from some bad blood caused by the German use of scorched earth tactics (as they assumed the finnish forces would be closely followed by Russian ones). There was even a partially successful secret agreement with the Germans about the timetable for retreat. Furthermore the Finns took an armistice that they had to take, not the one they wanted and it was hoped more than known that it would be honored. In fact there was a wide-spread effort in the officer corps to prepare for a guerrilla war by stockpiling weapons.

All the same, at the Paris Peace Conference, the Russians socked them with reparations demands the other Allies found appalling... but the Finns paid it off in advance in '52, and kicked out the Russian garrison at Porrkala.

Porkkala was mostly useless and expensive to maintain and the Finns certainly didn't kick them out, as by that time Finland and USSR had quite friendly relations.

The Russians took the hint and didn't mess with them during the Cold War, despite it being a free market democracy right next door that openly did weapons deals with rival powers.

To the Russians Finland was a useful somewhat western ally. The Finnish political establishment bent over backwards to keep the Russians pleased. The term Finlandization was coined to describe this.

The Fins did not integrate their military with the rest of the Axis, and refused to adopt any of the Nazi's policies - not only did they not persecute the Jews, they had a field Synagogue for Jewish soldiers in the Finnish Army.

The defence of the entire Northern Finland was completely in the hands of the Germans. German air-units offered close-air support to Finnish ones in Karjala isthmus. (This is seen as absolutely crucial in the Russians not breaking through in the end.) Finnish intelligence shared all their information freely with the Germans.

Finland extradited Jewish refugees and transfered POWs to Germany when requested. It is not known how many of those POWs were jewish or otherwise considered undesirable by the Germans. As far as warcrimes go, Russian POWs in Finnish custody had quite high mortality rates and the lack of knowledge about any warcrimes against those POWs is probably mostly because lack of research and a willingness to sweep it under the rug.

The Finnish membership in the Axis is due entirely to the expansionist desires of Stalin and Molotov, and not to any ideological affinity with Hitler or Fascism.

Nonsense. The Anti-communist desires of the Finnish leadership was open and widespread and this was indeed the ideological cornerstone of fascism. Hell, Mannerheim wanted to attack Russia to free it from communism in 1919. What Mannerheim wasn't an autocrat, he could have easily enough seize full power for himself in a putz but didn't want to. Dude was a mensch in that regard at least.

Slap*Happy: As a Finn I do appreciate your effort to defend the actions of Finland, but your enthusiasm for conclusions overtakes your knowledge of facts.

The Finns lost the Continuation War pretty badly- if it had continued Finland would not be an independent state today.

Indeed. The only reason we did was the Russians wanted Berlin much more badly than they wanted Helsinki. In fact up until the aforementioned 1948 treaty was signed the Finnish position was very much up in the air and probably only the Finnish willingness to go along with all the conditions of the peace treaty, up to putting the former President in jail for instigating war, kept the USSR from occupying Finland. In Finland the war was generally seen as a pretty big loss, until the 1952 Helsinki Olympics which really signaled a return to normality in Finland and the realization that "Finland came in second" instead of outright losing.
posted by Authorized User at 1:30 AM on April 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


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