Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Nazi Germany and Finland, 1933-1939 : a waning relationship / Lawrence Sigmund Backlund.

Publication | Library Call Number: DD120.F5 B33 1983

This study examined the changes in German-Finnish relations between the Nazi Machtergreifung and the Winter War in order to clarify the historic process whereby German influence and interest in Finland waned to the degree that the Germans assigned Finland to the Soviet Union's sphere of influence in 1939, reversing a policy in place since 1918. Because German influence extended into nearly all aspects of ideological, diplomatic, political, economic, and cultural life, each of these areas came under scrutiny. Unpublished and published official documents, trade statistics, books, journals, and newspapers in Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Sweden, and the United States, were employed in this analysis, which revealed a four-staged process of growing divergence between Germany, where the Nazis steadily consolidated their power, and Finland, where a more democratic and anti-Nazi tendency emerged, despite the existence of influential pro-German and pro-Nazi elements. This process began in 1933, when the Nazi Machtergreifung gave birth to lines of divergence in Finland. A gradual alientation followed in 1934-1936, when German diplomacy and economic policy began to deviate significantly from Helsinki's and when Finland's domestic politics clearly represented a rejection of rightist and fascist elements. The process accelerated in 1936-1938, when in light of the Nazis' aggressive foreign policy, the Finns closed ranks with the Scandinavian states and, under Foreign Minister Rudolf Holsti, adopted a policy designed to eliminate Finland's problems with the Soviet Union and redefined Finland's neutrality, ending the isolation that had been the foundation of German influence in Finland and leading to Holsti's ouster as new Great Power alignments emerged after the Munich conference. Finally, in 1939, Eljas Erkko, Holsti's successor, resurrected Finland's benevolent neutrality, a policy encouraged by German Minister Wipert von Blucher but out of step with Berlin's aims and gainsaid by domestic politics in Finland. Thus, the study concluded that the Nazi Machtergreifung initiated the tendency culminating in Finland's abandonment.

Backlund, Lawrence Sigmund.
Record last modified: 2018-05-22 11:46:00
This page: