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THE WAR: BLOCKADE AND COUNTER-BLOCKADE C. P. STACEY THE first winter of the Second World War brought few remarkable military developments. There was no outburst of activity on the Western Front, no bombing of seaports or other CIties. Only on the seas, and in the subsidiary war in Finland, was action fierce and continuous-unless, indeed, we include the constant activity of the diplomats, an activity in which even the United States, as represented by the enigmatic Mr Sumner Welles, finally took a hand. Then, in the spring, came that intensification of the conflict which had been so widely prophesied. It began with a sudden German assault on Scandinavia, the details of which are still uncertain at the moment of writing. Before these new developments, the most important single occurrence of 1940 had been the termination of the Finnish war by the treaty signed at Moscow on March 12. Three and a half months of warfare had greatly lowered the mtli tary prestige of the Soviet Union, but had also brought the heroic army of Finland almost to the end of its limited resources; and the terms which the Finns were forced to accept were more stringent than those which they had refused in the pre-war negotiations. Finland lost much tenitory; for the moment, at least, however, she saved her independence-though the surrender of the country's defences brought into many minds the unhappy precedent of Czechoslovakia. The possible further consequences of the Russian victory were anxiously canvassed . That it had been a severe diplomatic reverse for the AHies, who had sympathized with the Finns but had failed to contrive effective aid for them, was universally recognized. What this might mean in terms of increased Russo-German prestige, and its results in Scandinavia or in the Balkans, was a matter of deep concern. It was also pointed out that the cessation of the Finnish hostilities meant an enhanced possibility of effective Russian economic aid for Germany; and the events in Finland had tended to bring the two aggressors closer together. While it was dear that geography, seconded by strong German pressure on Norway and Sweden, had made help for Finland a most difficult matter, the result strengthened those critics in London and Paris who disliked their governments' conduct or the war. In the House of Commons at 270 THE WAR: BLOCKADE AND COUNTER-BLOCKADE C. P. STACEY THE first winter of the Second World War brought few remarkable military developments. There was no outburst of activity on the Western Front, no bombing of seaports or other CIties. Only on the seas, and in the subsidiary war in Finland, was action fierce and continuous-unless, indeed, we include the constant activity of the diplomats, an activity in which even the United States, as represented by the enigmatic Mr Sumner Welles, finally took a hand. Then, in the spring, came that intensification of the conflict which had been so widely prophesied. It began with a sudden German assault on Scandinavia, the details of which are still uncertain at the moment of writing. Before these new developments, the most important single occurrence of 1940 had been the termination of the Finnish war by the treaty signed at Moscow on March 12. Three and a half months of warfare had greatly lowered the mtli tary prestige of the Soviet Union, but had also brought the heroic army of Finland almost to the end of its limited resources; and the terms which the Finns were forced to accept were more stringent than those which they had refused in the pre-war negotiations. Finland lost much tenitory; for the moment, at least, however, she saved her independence-though the surrender of the country's defences brought into many minds the unhappy precedent of Czechoslovakia. The possible further consequences of the Russian victory were anxiously canvassed . That it had been a severe diplomatic reverse for the AHies, who had sympathized with the Finns but had failed to contrive effective aid for them, was universally recognized. What this might mean in terms of increased Russo-German prestige, and its results in Scandinavia or in the Balkans, was a matter of deep concern. It was also...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 270-281
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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