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TIL that of all the European countries fighting in WWII, only 3 never had their capital cities occupied: the UK, USSR, and Finland.

75 comments
93% Upvoted
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level 1
63 points · 2 days ago

With the USSR, it was a close call.

level 2

Somewhat definitely, but Stalin made it clear that he would let every single person in Moscow die and burn the city to the ground before the Germans took it over and used it as a base. So most likely the nazis would’ve showed up to a ghost town with no infrastructure.

level 3

What a sacrifice Stalin was willing to make there!

level 4
12 points · 1 day ago

The man made fun of his own son for attempting suicide. I appreciate Stalin winning the European front for us, but he definitely is responsible for more deaths than hitler overall and a pretty awful guy.

level 5

Winning the European front was a team effort. I cannot stand how people argue one side won the war for everyone, it’s shit. Every country contributed.

level 6
1 point · 1 day ago · edited 1 day ago

The US lost a lot of people taking Europe from the west. especially in the Ardennes. US/British/Canadian Troops did an amazing service for the world, but Russia dealing with the German offensive and then invading from the east and having to take Berlin was a completely different animal. The soviets lost 8 million soldiers (counting civilians it would be 20 million +). And that was fighting in only ONE theatre of the war, they never actually got to fight the Japanese. The US lost 416,000 for the entire war, and we fought in the pacific, France ,Belgium, North Africa, Germany, and Italy . I don’t even know if the US would’ve been able to withstand losses like the Russians and keep fighting.

level 7

The us provided necessary equipment to the Russians while the UK supplied intel. Without any one of these nations the war would not have been won so quickly.

level 8

There is a theory that the main reason Japan surrendered mainly because Russia had just declared war on them in 1945 and the Japanese knew they couldn’t fight the Russians and Americans at once. Some say the atomic bombs really didn’t have much effect on their decision because japan had already lost hundreds of thousands of civilians to fire bombs dropped by the US. This is just a theory though, but still very interesting to me.

level 2
10 points · 2 days ago

Was it tho?

Moscow wasn’t a strategic target, only one to boost morale/look good in papers if captured.

level 3
30 points · 2 days ago · edited 1 day ago

Moscow was a major transportation hub and command center. Capturing the city would have been a huge blow against the Soviets.

Edit: It seems we’re forgetting a few salient facts here:

  • German forces were less than 20 miles from the Kremlin. In fact officers could make out the onion domes through their binoculars.

  • The ideological nature of the war and the grotesque hatred animating the Nazis.

  • The capture of Moscow would have been a major propaganda victory that would have amplified strategic and tactical benefits gained.

level 4

To some degree, but the German generals driving toward Moscow wanted above all the prestige of capturing the city - the resources wasted in the attempt would have been put to better use if given to Army Group South in their attempt to take the Baku oilfields, the seizure of which would likely have proven far more important to the outcome of the war than capturing Moscow.

level 5
9 points · 2 days ago

Capturing the Baku oil fields is the original reason why Germany invaded the USSR. So I agree, they're very important.

level 6

Blitzkrieg gonna get dat oil

level 2
Comment deleted2 days ago(2 children)
level 3
5 points · 2 days ago

Wait, so the man who died 101 years before the USSR was created and 118 years before WWII started was able to capture the capital of the USSR, during WWII? Impressive.

level 3

But this is about WWII, so why would anyone consider the Russian state prior to WWII?

level 1
33 points · 2 days ago

During the WW2 Finland was also at war with the UK, USSR, and Germany at one point or another.

level 2

So was Italy

level 3
3 points · 2 days ago

Well how did that work out for them?

level 4

They won

level 5

Nice

level 1
26 points · 2 days ago · edited 2 days ago

The Finnish Winter War is one of my favorite parts(to study)of ww2. They fought the ussr with very little and kept them away. Also had one of the best snipers in history.

level 2

That has more to do with Stalin killing off all the offices more then anything else though I believe. Relying on people never learning isn't a sustainable strategy though.

level 3

Only 3.7–7.7% of Soviet officers were ever purged, and most of these weren't fired or killed, they were simply expelled from the political party. 30% of officers purged were allowed to return to service.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Purge#Purge_of_the_army

level 3

That was a part of it, but the Soviets engaged in the sort of campaign they were not logistically prepared for because they were concerned with looking militarily impressive to the rest of the world, particularly given Stalin did not want to be outdone by Hitler's campaign in Poland. If they had just concentrated their forces and driven towards Helsinki to begin with they would have been able to force their demands to be met much sooner than they were and without losing nearly as many men. There was no actual need to invade across the entire Finnish border.

level 4

Russia's goal was to annex Finland, not capture Helsinki. The war would have continued without the capital.

level 5

Their goal wasn't to annex all of Finland, just to obtain territorial concessions. Once they concentrated their forces and broke through the Finnish lines on the Karelian Isthmus the Finnish government gave the desired concessions and more.

level 6

The idea that the Soviet Union only wanted Finland to cede territory is false:

The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact between USSR and Germany split Europe in two. The USSR considered Finland their property.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molotov%E2%80%93Ribbentrop_Pact#The_secret_protocol

The plans for invading Finland were drawn up in 1938, with massing of Soviet forces. The Finnish people were to be deported.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aftermath_of_the_Winter_War#Possible_Sovietisation_and_Resettlement

The part of Karelia they wanted had the strongest Finnish defensive lines (Hitler did the same in Czechoslovakia in 1938).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mannerheim_Line

Stalin created a puppet government (Terijoki Government) that was called the "real" government of Finland in Soviet propaganda.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finnish_Democratic_Republic

The only way to open Baltic Sea access was by controlling both sides of the Gulf of Finland.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/19/Baltic_Sea_map2.png

The Allies wanted control over Swedish iron mines. Finland was in the way.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish_iron-ore_mining_during_World_War_II

The USSR also specifically wanted the largest nickel deposits in Europe - located in Finland.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nickel_deposits_of_Finland

The USSR composed a suite to play for when Soviet troops were to hold their victory parade in Helsinki (first Soviet troops reportedly had parade uniforms with them as well). How would there be a Soviet parade in Helsinki if the country wasn't occupied?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suite_on_Finnish_Themes)

The Soviets made the same demands against Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. These countries gave in and were occupied a year later (all the way up until 1991!).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_occupation_of_the_Baltic_states_(1940)

In an approved document from 1939 Zhdanov, Molotov, and Kuusinen concluded that the Finnish political system was meant to be changed after the Soviet occupation by establishing a people's republic and capturing "enemies of the state".

And Stalin said in the beginning of the Winter War: "We shall have to resettle the Finns... the population of Finland is smaller than that of Leningrad, they can be resettled." i.e. the same fate that many Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians were subjected to.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aftermath_of_the_Winter_War#Possible_Sovietisation_and_resettlement

TL;DR: Saying that the Soviet Union accomplished their goals is a lie. Finland fought to defend their independence and the very existence of Finnish people and succeeded in doing so. The motive behind downplaying Finland's accomplishment ranges from ignorance to downright information warfare.

level 2

Their sniper's name is Simo Häyhä.

This badass killed more than 500 soldiers in less than 100 days at the time of the year with very few daylight hours. What makes this more impresive is that he used iron sights as opposed to telescopic sights.

level 2

The best* sniper

level 2
-8 points · 2 days ago(0 children)
level 2
-5 points · 2 days ago(0 children)
level 1

Switzerland, Sweden?

Edit, never mind, overlooked the 'fighting in WW2' part.

level 1

Vat is your name.

DON’T TELL HIM PIKE!

level 1
1 point · 1 day ago · edited 1 day ago

*Allies

I'm fairly certain all the Axis countries had theirs occupied, too.

level 2
5 points · 1 day ago

Finland fought with the Axis.

level 3
2 points · 1 day ago

Oh. Really? TIL.

They should have also included Germany at the least.

level 4
3 points · 1 day ago

Did you read the topic correctly?

level 5
2 points · 1 day ago

Oh.

Welp.

level 1

so?! we had an entire country not occupied.

(Alaska doesn't count. It was a territory at the time.)

level 2
Original Poster3 points · 1 day ago

European countries.

level 1
Comment deleted2 days ago(1 child)
level 2

The UK. Northern Ireland included.

Even some from the Republic of Ireland (which was neutral) joined the UK armed forces to fight.

level 1
0 points · 1 day ago

Technically Istanbul

level 1
-6 points · 2 days ago(4 children)
level 2

I’d say it’s an absolutely colossal improvement. Didn’t surrender. Never gave up, kept calm and carried on. And no one reached British shores. If London had been occupied it would have meant that Britain was lost.

level 3

Depends how you define "British shores". They occupied the Channel Islands.

level 4

Technically (although dumb), the channel islands would be in the British Isles/Great Britain. However saying Great British shores is such clunky language who gives a shit

level 3
2 points · 2 days ago

fair enough

level 1

Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast?

level 1
-8 points · 2 days ago(8 children)
level 2

“UK”

level 3
-7 points · 2 days ago(0 children)
level 4

Scotland and Wales are under the UK.

Good lord.

level 5
-6 points · 2 days ago(0 children)
level 6

Blame the OP for mistitling this post. UK is not a country, but the capital of the United Kingdom of Great Britain is London. As such, neither Edinburgh nor Cardif is the capital of the United Kingdom. London is.

By all technicalities, of course.

level 6
-1 points · 2 days ago

They're technically countries, but not practically so. Nobody calls them countries. Same as nobody calls the US states countries, and the same as how in 50 years nobody will call the EU states countries.

level 7

I don't know why you're getting downvoted. History has taught us you are likely correct about EU "member countries" in 50 years. I'm still amazed at how much authority the states allowed the feds to take from them.

level 8
2 points · 1 day ago

Europe still has a relatively strong antifederalist movement for some reason, same as pre-Constitution America

level 1
-12 points · 2 days ago(5 children)
level 2

That is literally what the title says?

level 2
Original Poster8 points · 2 days ago

I mentioned the UK in the title.

level 3

Hahahaha oh fuck I'm sorry, I totally missed the "never" part...


*shuffles off in shame

Finland surprises me though, not sure why.


level 4

You must have done well in history class thinking only the USSR UK and Finland had occupied capitals

level 5

I miss-read dip-shit, I didn't think anything.

level 1
-27 points · 2 days ago(4 children)
level 2

Moscow is definitely in Europe.

level 2

Someone didn't take their geography lessons.

level 2

Russia is definitely in Europe. Part of it is in Asia, but the bulk of their population lives in the European part.

level 2

And Eurovision.

level 1

I didn't see European at first and I was really confused as to why you thought somebody occupied DC lol.

level 1
-6 points · 2 days ago(1 child)
level 2
Original Poster6 points · 1 day ago

Switzerland never fought in WWII.

level 1
-6 points · 2 days ago(0 children)
level 2
Original Poster9 points · 2 days ago

Spain was officially neutral.

level 3

I swear earlier this week I read Spain was sympathetic to Axis but eventually declared war toward the very end against them when it was clear the Allied would defeat the Axis but now I fee like it's fake news I dreamed up because I can no longer confirm it.

level 3

Lovely, but the discussion here is about "countries fighting in WWII".

Spain sent the Blue Division to fight in Russia.

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