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Winter War Story

February 23, 2022 at 5:00 a.m.

The massing of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border and the looming threat of an invasion has got me thinking about a bit of history that is not known to many.

Namely, the Winter War.

The Winter War was fought between the U.S.S.R. and Finland. It began when the Soviet Union invaded Finland on November 30th, 1939. The conflict was a particular theatre of the Second World War and lasted for three months.

The Finns were victorious and the invasion got the Soviet Union expelled form the League of Nations.

The Soviets invaded with approximately 760,000 soldiers, 6,500 tanks and 3,900 aircraft. The Finns defended with 340,000 soldiers 32 tanks, and 114 aircraft.

The Soviets lost nearly 168,000 soldiers, 3,500 tanks and 515 aircraft. The Finns lost nearly 26,000 soldiers, most of their tanks and about half their aircraft.

Those Soviet losses are pretty incredible, yes?

I don't know that it would play out the same way if Russia invaded Ukraine, but the story of Finland's trouncing the Russians when the odds were overwhelmingly against them has been on my mind lately.

Of course, it could go the other way. David doesn't always beat Goliath in these scenarios.

My point is this. If Russia invades Ukraine, there is at least one example from history to give the Ukrainians hope.

Earlier this week, the news made it sound like if there was going to be an invasion, this is the week it would happen. As of this writing on Thursday afternoon, no invasion has yet occurred.

Of course, that doesn't mean it couldn't happen any time before the end of the week or after this week.

The world is holding its breath.

But maybe the fact we're getting on towards the end of the week without an invasion means that the Russians are having second thoughts.

Or, more darkly, perhaps it means that Putin's ploy is working and the negotiations taking place because of his show of force are getting him what he wants.

I can only say this: Pray for peace and remember Finland.

Caleb Baumgardner is a local attorney. He can be reached at [email protected].

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