Book Review: Finland's War of Choice: The Troubled German-Finnish Alliance in World War II


by Henrik Lunde

Philadelphia: Casemate Pub, 2011. Pp., xxiii, 409. Illus., maps, notes, index. $32.95. ISBN: 1935149482

There are a number of books in English on the Russo-Finnish “Winter War” of 1939-1940, but there is surprisingly little available on the “Continuation War” of 1941-1944. 

It is this curious oversight in the historiography of the Second World War that Lunde, author of Hitler's Pre-Emptive War: The Battle for Norway, 1940 (2009), attempts to correct, and does so very well.  Opening with a short discussion of the reasons for the lack of coverage, due primarily to embarrassment that democratic Finland voluntary allied itself with Nazi Germany, Lunde goes on to explain the “why” of that alliance.  He then plunges into a very detailed look at the conduct of the war.  This is “hard” military history, devoted primarily to strategy, organization, and operations, and so omits much mention of the home front or the depth of societal mobilization.  Lunde gives us a look at the reasons the Finns only feebly supported the German siege of Leningrad, and has some excellent coverage of many otherwise obscure operations near and above the Arctic Circle.  There are word portraits of many commanders and detailed accounts a good many desperate fights, including the brief Finno-German War after the collapse of the alliance. 

A valuable read for anyone interested in World War II in Europe, coalition politics, and small nations caught up in Superpower conflicts.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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