The War Illustrated No 31 Vol 2 April 5th 1940

322 The TT«r Illustrated April oth, 1940 Ringing Down the Curtain on the Finnish War Following the conclusion o f the treaty between Finland and Russia, many thou sands o f Finnish people proceeded to leave their homes and infields the ceded territories and moved back into the Finnish interior. Discounting the lavish promises o f the Reds, they preferred the rule o f their own democratic commonwealth. W iik then Reel Army invaded Fin­land a t the end of November 1939 it was with the professed object of liberating the Finnish people from the“ M annerheim-Tanner clique of White murderers ”who were supposed to hold them in subjection. When, however, four months later the Rod troops proceeded to occupy those portions of Finland ceded to them under the treaty concluded in the Kremlin on March 13, it was difficult to find a single Finn who preferred Russian rule to that to which he had been accustomed. As the Russian troops advanced there went before them avast host of Finnish people who, rather than live, in the Bolshevik paradise, were pre­pared to seek new homes in what was still Finland. Empty shells of towns and villages burned and blackened by their incendiary fury were all th a twas left to the “liberating” Reds. Only a few days were allowed for the evacuation of the ceded territories in the Lake Ladoga region the withdrawal had to be completed between March 19 and 26, while Hango had to be ready for Russian occupation by March 23. On the other hand, in the far north, where it was still deep winter, the Russians were given until April 10 for the completion of their withdrawal within their own frontier in the Pctsamo region. The evacuation, one of the greatest in all history, was directed by the Finnish Government from Helsinki. As a first step the Ministry of the Interior com­mandeered transport of every kind within fifteen miles of the new frontier Mr. Vaino Tanner (left), the Finnish Foreign Russo-Finnish Peace Treaty right, President Kali same medium the necessity for accepting the unexpectedly harsh terms dictated by the Russians. It is impossible to grasp what the Russo-Finnish peace treaty means to the Finns, but this photo­graph of flags flying at half-mast in Helsinki suggests the mood of public opinion when the terms were announced. Although the air-raid shelter sign seen in the upper part of the photo is no longer needed, that is hardly reason for joy. Photos, Associated Press even horses and carts and sledges were ordered to beat the disposal of the eva­cuation authorities. Arrived in the zone to be evacuated the trains and lorries and cars were packed with refugees and their belongings, which they carried to just within the new Finnish frontier then they hurriedly returned for more. In the Lake Ladoga region alone it was estimated that there were more than 100,000 people requiring to be moved and the total of those who preferred to lose their homes rather than to becomc Russian citizens was estimated to be not far short of half a million persons, oran eighth of the entire pre-war population. In addition to the human refugees there were some 60,000 cattle requiring to be moved. Then, too, there were 200.000 troops who retreated side by side with the civilians—troops who were so ex­hausted by the war and the weather together that they were unable to cover more than a few miles a day. Nor should Ave forget to mentioit the wounded, who to the number of 5,000 were evacuated from Finnish hospitals in the region of Lake Ladoga. Piled into ambulances and lorries they were driven along the crowded and all but impassable roads, and it is not surprising that some of them died in the process. Bitter but not altogether despairing, the Finnish peasants and townsfolk poured along the roads and tracks which led to the west. Mothers pushed their crying chil­dren in handcarts or dragged their house­hold goods piled high on sledges. Here
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