Between East and West was first published in 1986. In the summer of 1944 the forces of the German Third Reich were in retreat on both eastern and western fronts. The Soviet Union again invaded Finland, seeking to terminate the latter’s association with Germany. For Finland the handwriting was clear; led by Marshal Mannerheim, it extricated itself from the German grip and signed an armistice agreement in Moscow in September 1944. A new phase of war began, as Finland found itself forced to remove German troops from its soil. Thus began a critical period for Finland, which ended with the signing of the peace treaty in Paris in 1947. The development of the remarkable coexistence between Finland and the USSR began to take shape in 1944. When the last member of the Allied Control Commission left Helsinki in 1947, Finland, under its president Paasikivi, emerged from the tumult of the war years as one of the peacemakers’ few successes, and was on the road to a prosperous independence. Not occupied by an Allied power, its regime unchanged by war and its aftermath, and never a member of NATO or the Warsaw Pact, Finland has a recent history that is distinctly different from that of other European countries, and one that is difficult to analyze. Tuomo Polvinen has managed, however, to do just that by examining this period in terms of Soviet, British, and American roles, in addition to Finland’s own political and military moves. He has drawn from a wide range of archival material to give a clear exposition of Finnish history in a much larger framework.
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