Winter War

World War II: Blitzkrieg

Europe 1940.0311

Winter War

World War II in Europe from the fall of Poland to Stalingrad (11 March 1940)

Historical Map of Europe & the Mediterranean

On September 17, the Soviet Union moved to occupy eastern Poland as had been agreed with Germany. The Soviets followed this by establishing influence over the Baltic states and attempting to invade Finland. Finnish defences were unexpectedly tough, however, and the Russians were forced to make do with territorial concessions.

Main Events

Soviet Invasion of Poland

In accordance with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the Soviet Union invaded Poland on 17 September, meeting the Germans invading from the west on 6 October. On 1 November, the Soviets annexed Eastern Poland, incorporating its territory into the Belarusian and Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republics.

Soviets establish influence over Baltic states

The Soviet Union demanded the establishment of bases in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. In exchange, the Soviet Union ceded the historically disputed city of Vilnius to Lithuania from what had been Poland.

Winter War

The Soviet Union invaded Finland with some 450,000 men, without declaring war and in violation of three non-aggression pacts. Despite numerical superiority, the Soviets suffered repeated setbacks until reinforcements allowed them to break through in January 1940. At the Moscow Peace Treaty, the Finns agreed to cede significant territory along the border of the two states, including the Karelian Isthmus.

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