The siege of Leningrad

I’m reading a really good novel called “City Of Thieves” which is set in Leningrad in January 1942 at the time of the prolonged siege of the Russian city by the Germans.

Doing a bit of background checking, I found out something I never knew: the Finnish were also involved in the siege in support of the Germans.


  • Russ

    Great Book! I just finished it, Roger.

    It really made me hungry!

  • Roger Darlington

    I agree, Russ.

    I’ve finished it now and reviewed it here.

  • Dan Filson

    “the Finnish were also involved in the siege in support of the Germans” – yes and no. Mannerheim played a very crafty game of not committing Finnish forces to supporting officially the Germans, so he could not stop and did not really try to prevent some Finns joining up what were turned into Waffen SS forces, but held back the official Finnish army from actually fighting against the Soviet Union ON THIS FRONT (as opposed to in defence of Finland, a tricky distinction in itself).

    It suited the Allies after 1940 not to castigate Finland too much for their slightly devious role, rather like Spain’s, of keeping out of the world war. From the Soviet perspective, they were trying to create a defensive cordon sanitaire by seizing the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, in which they succeeded until June 1941 when Barbarossa began, and Finland where they were held out in the 1939-1940 winter war.

    In effect Stalin was trying to do by military means (and the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact which partitioned Poland) what the West tried to do by appeasement – keep the Germans as far away from them as possible. Both failed, as we know.

    But towards the end of the war Stalin resumed the fight against Finland to push back the frontier to its present line, giving a smidgin of breathing defensive space. Finland could do nothing but go along with this, but as a result also of their post-war foreign policy, they managed not to get sucked into the Eastern bloc in the way all else on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain did.


XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>