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r/HistoryWhatIf
r/HistoryWhatIf
32
Posted by3 months ago

What if Sweden, Denmark and Norway joined the Winter war, on Finland's behalf?

6 comments
91% Upvoted
level 1

On one hand, this could do exactly what Scandinavian countries would want: force the Soviets to stop the war and accept either a white peace or potentially a larger series of treaties, ending the war. Stalin was, for his many faults, wary of starting a war he could lose. And with a Scandinavian Pact, he's now facing triple or more forces in this war.

Objectively, the Soviet Union could prevail--she has many more men than all of Scandinavia at once. But the Soviets are not prepared for massive mobilization. And it's probably untenable for the UK/France to just let Scandinavia die anyhow.

There's a lot pushing for Stalin to accept a diplomatic outcome. It's probably the most likely scenario.

///

What if Stalin doesn't sue for terms as the war has escalated? Well...

The key question is how much does Stalin commit to Scandinavia?

Hitler would love nothing more than to have half the Red Army in Sweden and Norway while seizing Leningrad. Alternatively, Scandinavia would at least recognize that taking Leningrad would potentially mean a victorious peace--Stalin must fear defeat, as defeat means weakness, and weakness leads to death in Russia.

Scandinavia potentially has both the Western Allies and the Axis Powers as backers against the Soviets. IRL, Germany attacked Denmark and Norway, while allying Finland. That doesn't work here, and it foils the plans of both Hitler and Churchill. With WW2 in the background, they can't work together even if they have the common goal of keeping the Soviets out of Scandinavia. So, I suspect Scandinavia emerges as a pious neutral bloc as the war continues.

It is entirely possible that Scandinavia keeps the war going until Hitler backstabs Stalin in Barbarossa. Whether the war ends with Scandinavia holding Leningrad or the dire threat of the same, I could see the Soviets pulling out of Kola and Karelia, being given Leningrad back (minus, perhaps, some sorts that are quite happy to flee the Soviet Union.

The delicate dance between the Axis and Allies continues. Deprived of Murmansk as a shipping port and having taken many more losses, the Soviets are weaker, while the Axis are slightly stronger. This rerolls WW2 a bit, but the Soviet Union never completely loses Moscow. A 1946 V-E day, with Allied nuclear weapons and an Allied advance to the Vistula ends WW2.

And while the Scandinavian Pact might initially resist joining NATO wholesale, there is still the threat that the Soviets will demand what they've lost in the past. Along the time where a rebuilt Germany joins something like NATO, Scandinavia does as well.

29
level 1
[deleted]
· 3 mo. ago

Continuation war would still be coming. I doubt it would have changed much in winter war.

8
level 1

This is basically what Britain and France were begging the Scandinavians to do so that they could open a new front against the Soviet Union and Germany. Remember that the Winter War happened after the German invasion of Poland, after the start WWII (Britain/France/Poland v. Germany), and while the Germans and Soviets were acting like allies. It is important to keep in mind that they did not have our benefit of hindsight, or perhaps it would be better to say that they were not wearing our Barbarossa-shaped blinders. We know that Hitler attacked Stalin in 1941 so we tend to see the German-Soviet alliance as inevitably temporary and doomed. We thus imagine Germany as basically being on Finland's side in 1939-40. This was not the case, though! Finland was more like an aspiring member of the Anglo-French alliance, frustrated by geography.

It was in part for this reason that the Scandinavians demurred on the Allied request: they realized that once they were in any war, they were in the world war. Given the international situation, there was no way to let the British and French use their territory without attracting attention from Germany. So while they might have liked to stand up for Finland, it was not worth it.

If the Scandinavians had come in, then I think you'd see a reconfigured WWII in which the Germans and Soviets are aligned and actually work together until they defeat Britain and France, if that ever happens. Sure, that's a weird alliance, but so is the historical anti-German alliance of the democratic and communist states.

7
level 1

Germany was importing iron and coal from neutral Sweden, which was one thing that led to German occupation of Denmark and Norway. If Sweden had seen the Winter War as a threat to Sweden, they could have joined the allies, which would shift the Western Front to Scandinavia.

7
level 1

Honestly, If anything, it'd make it worse. It'd complicate the already fragile situation for the Finns, and I doubt any of the Scandinavians, except maybe Sweden, could make a huge difference

4
level 1

It would double or triple the army the soviets were already struggling with. So probably the war in the north would continue until operation Barbarossa would start and USSR would really be in a great deal of trouble.

1