Aki Solomos

Traveler, writer, reviewer, all-round observer. I like anything cool & fast, but occasionally sit at a cafe watching the world go by.

NEWS FLASH – March 12, 1940 – The Roving Reporter, Aki Solomos, Covering The News 75 Years Ago Today

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In honor of WWII and the courageous vets of the time, this is my reporting and take of the news, 75 years ago today

March 12, 1940

As trouble continues on land and sea throughout the world, your Roving Reporter brings you the news as it happens to give you folks at home the stories of the day…

‘Sweden’s Offer Too Late, While Finland Surrenders’

With an offer of a defensive alliance past the 11th hour, Sweden’s proposal to Finland came too late. Whether they gave in to public pressure, or French and British insistence, there’s no telling why Sweden waited this long. In another form of help that came too late, 20,000 British troops boarded transport ships in Scotland bound for Scandinavia and awaited further instructions; And French Prime Minister announced today that the Anglo-French expeditionary force is ready to help Finland.

Finnish President Kyösti Kallio visiting wounded soldiers in military hospital. Christmas 1939. Image from www.ww2incolor.com

Finnish President Kyösti Kallio visiting wounded soldiers in military hospital. Christmas 1939.
Image from http://www.ww2incolor.com

At 9:00 this morning, Finnish President Kyosti Kallio authorized Prime Minister Ryti and his delegates in Moscow to the peace terms with the Soviet government. In a statement he gave, President Kallio said, “This is the most awful document I have ever had to sign. May the hand wither which is forced to sign such a paper.”

After more failed attempts to negotiate the terms, and talks going on past midnight, the Winter War finally comes to an end with the loss of 25,000 Finnish and 200,000 Russian soldiers, along with 61 Finnish and approximately 800 Russian planes, 3 Finnish and approximately 1600 Russian tanks, and 637 Finnish civilians, in a 3-month period.

The agreed terms gives Russia 35,000 square miles of Finland territory, which is approximately 10% of the country and 12% of the population. Along with this, the Hanko Peninsula was to be leased to Russia as a military base for 30 years.

Finland and Russia signs peace agreement

Finland and Russia signs peace agreement

‘England Takes Precautions, U.S. Reviews Europe, While Germany Gives No Mercy’

Since the sinking of the British battleship Royal Oak and the loss of 833 crew members last year by a German submarine in the “impregnable” area of Scapa Flow, northern Scotland, England took precautions by having its home fleet return and strengthened its defenses.

U-47 receives a salute from the battlecruiser Scharnhorst after returning from sinking the British battleship HMS Royal Oak. October 14, 1939. Image from www.uboataces.com

U-47 receives a salute from the battlecruiser Scharnhorst after returning from sinking the British battleship HMS Royal Oak. October 14, 1939.
Image from http://www.uboataces.com

After his European tour in Rome, Berlin, Paris, and London meeting with Hitler, Mussolini, Chamberlain, and the Pope, U.S. Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles returns home from his fact-finding mission to give his report.

In other news, about 1,000 German Jews were force-marched to the Lublin Ghetto, and 72 died from the winter exposure.

U.S. Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles walking with Secretary of State Cordell Hull. Image from Library of Congress

U.S. Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles walking with Secretary of State Cordell Hull.
Image from Library of Congress

That’s it for now. Your Roving Reporter, Aki Solomos, signing off.

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