Why was Finland part of the Axis and not the Allies?
Finland had no choice. They were under attack by Russia and Germany invaded Russia. So they had to accept aid from Germany since the allies were too busy with their problems.
This is an interesting question and one that I have been troubling over for many years. It would seem that it is not as the previous correspondent put it that the Finns had no choice. It was infact a honour bound direction from the Finnish Parliament (the Duwnhwareah) which had passed a law in 1704 decreeing that "Twixt ourzelves and the Duke of Borneomshoire theras to be neither paece nar whare". At the time of WW2, the Duke of Borneomshoire could be more adequately described as the Duke of Bavaria or, at that time, the Chancellor of Germany. It was as a result of this Act of Parliament, that the Finns found themselves in WW2.
At least for me the previous correspondent had really a far fetched explanation (Duke of Bavaria etc ???).
As I see it, after the decision on not to bow on Russian ultimata (as baltian states had done) Russia attacked Finland. Finland requested desperatelly support from both upcoming axis and allies states. As always, most western European states where sympathetic, but that was the extent of their support. During winter war even Sweden and Norway declined of the usage of their territory for any military mobilisation activities for supporting Finland. In plain English, Finland was fighting the big communist soviet ALONE. And when one is fighting for survival, one tends to take any help available.
Deductions on who could be adequate partner become unrelevant when there really is just one choise available. But then again, after the end of ww2 (after the fierce and honourable contribution of American military) European allies were in position on having academic pep talk about the reason why a little nation that they themselfs apandoned was having any relations to Germany.
I Must confess that things get much more dizzy during contimium war. Officially Finland declared that it was fighting separate war against Soviet union to reclame the territories lost in winter war. Nevertheless German army was using Finnish territory for it's own offensive warfare agains soviet union. But again, even though Finland was further perpetrating it self as a axis state (at least in the eyes of allies), nobody else stood in for supporting Finland.
I tend also to think that the primary reason for the Finns to have any association (which was a shamefull association nevertheless) with nazi Germany was because Finland was alone. It was seen expendable by European allies states. When going got tough, Finland was fighting like hell agains a nation and idealism that the whole western Europe was dreading. In a sense Finland and it's nation (as ONE) was figting for self survival and for western democratic believes...
All in all Finland's role in whole ww2 scenario was a drop in the sea, but Finland succeeded where many failed. It was never occupied and it's army and nation remained steadfast all the way until the final peace treaty. She has remained her independence.
Some corrections on my previous message. During winterwar E.g. GB & France offered help, but Finland did not ever ask for it. It was not believed (by Finns), that they (allies) could win Soviets in the end. So at least there were sings of something else then just being sympathetic, I stand corrected.
Finns where given info (during winter war) by Germans to make peace unconditionally, rationale being that when German would attack Soviet, Finland could reclame their territories from Soviet Union -> Continium war. Well, that (reclaim) never happend.
This contributor is 1/4 Finnish descent. [Long Story. My Finnish fraternal grandmother tried to arrange a crib death for me at age three months, but with intervention by my mother and my guardian angel I am still here, obviously.]
- Despite my poisoned lineage, Finland has the most honest government in the world. And despite the fact that Finland aligned itself with the Axis, Finland was the only WW2 country to repay its war debt to the US.
- An explanation is complicated. During the Winter War, Nazi Germany and the USSR appeared to be friends, and Finland received help from countries which opposed Germany. Example: In USN and RAF hands the Brewster Buffalo fighter plane did poorly, but Finnish fighter pilots used it to deadly effect against the Soviet Air Force.
- Finland was caught between the Devil (Nazi Germany) and the Deep Blue Sea (Communist Soviet Union). They chose the Devil to recapture ground lost in the Winter War. The Finnish head-of-state (name unremembered) said that as a nation the only thing to be said against Finland was that as a country it was too small. More than two millennia earlier, the Athenian general Thucydides made a similar statement. The large countries do as they will, and the small countries accept what they must.
World War 2 was a generalized killfest ignited by Nazis where a country might be nominally labeled Axis or Allied, but really most were just chaotic fields of internecine lawlessness. Finland is probably the best example of this. Finland was just coming out of a brutal civil war, pitting reds against whites mirroring the Russian Revolution. Contrary to Russia, the whites prevailed establishing the government. The whites natural, longstanding ally was Germany (pre-Nazi). Attacked by Russia, so of course, they allied loosely as possible with Germany constrained by the fact that a significant portion of the populace ideologically tied to Russia. Constrained also by the fact that it was a offer could not turn down. A small country, couldn't afford to be attacked by two vastly superior military powers in all directions. So, nominally, Finland was considered Axis. But Mannheim, the leader, no Nazi sympathiser, knew the Allies were winning, and, of course, natural ideological partners were the Western Allies. So gradually severed ties with Germany. Last two years, Finland was fighting the Russians AND the Germans, trying to kick them both out. Finland only ideological goal was independence for itself, and, of course, didn't want to be tied with the loser Germany. Probably not really accurate to call them Axis or Allied and not fair to label Axis in the sense Finland was in any way a supporter of Nazism. It would almost be fairer to label some of the Allied countries Axis considering the vast and significant collaborationist activities occurring in them.