The Winter War (30 November 1939 – 13 March 1940) began when the
Soviet Union (USSR) invaded Finland three months after the outbreak of
World War II. The USSR had sought to annex Finnish territory, including
land near Leningrad, 32 km (20 mi) from the border. After Finland
refused, the USSR attacked with more than twice as many soldiers, thirty
times as many aircraft, and a hundred times as many tanks as the
defending forces. The Red Army had been crippled by Joseph Stalin’s
Great Purge and the Finnish Defence Forces repelled the invasion in
temperatures down to −43 °C (−45 °F) for much longer than
expected. A reorganized Soviet offensive broke through in February 1940
and forced the Finns to seek peace. Finland ceded 11 percent of its
territory, but retained sovereignty. Soviet casualties have been
estimated at 321,000 to 381,000, compared to Finnish casualties of
70,000. The poor performance of the Red Army encouraged Adolf Hitler to
consider an attack on the USSR. After a 15-month lull called the Interim
Peace, the Continuation War and Operation Barbarossa began in June 1941.
Today’s selected anniversaries:
Astronomer and composer William Herschel discovered the planet
Uranus while in the garden of his house in Bath, Somerset, thinking it
was a comet.
German composer Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, one of the
most popular violin concertos of all time, received its world première
The Kapp Putsch briefly ousted the Weimar Republic government
Kitty Genovese was murdered in New York City, prompting
research into the bystander effect due to the false story that neighbors
witnessed the killing and did nothing to help her.
The Seikan Tunnel, the longest and deepest tunnel in the world
at the time, opened between the cities of Hakodate and Aomori, Japan.
Wiktionary’s word of the day:
1. (uncountable) Mischievous play, especially by children.
2. (uncountable) Deceitful tricks; trickery, games.
3. (countable) plural of shenanigan.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
War is a survival among us from savage times and affects now
chiefly the boyish and unthinking element of the nation. The wisest
realize that there are better ways for practicing heroism and other and
more certain ends of insuring the survival of the fittest. It is
something a people outgrow. But whether they consciously practice peace
or not, nature in its evolution eventually practices it for them, and
after enough of the inhabitants of a globe have killed each other off,
the remainder must find it more advantageous to work together for the
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