ONE OF JACOB'S SONS
Richmond N. Stuart U.S.A.
FROM its inception, the Israel Movement has been almost exclusively preoccupied with the identification of the leading birthright tribes, the House of Joseph and the Sceptre of Judah in the House of David. This can be readily understood. Following the expiration of the "seven times" of Israel's chastisement and exile, the preponderance of history, both Biblical and secular, projects the leading tribes in Israel on to the world scene. However, it should never be overlooked that the Lord's Covenants, both old and new, are with the whole House of Israel and, notwithstanding the fact that during this present interim, responsibility for establishing the nucleus of the Kingdom of God rests upon the House of Joseph, and ultimately the whole house of Jacob-Israel will become the Kingdom of our Lord at His corning. Thus in fulfilling the commission to preach this Gospel of the Kingdom to all the nations, we must not fail our kinsmen who comprise whole nations and many segments of Israel who remain on the Continent of Europe.
The Lord God of hosts had declared through the prophet Amos:
"For, Lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth." - (Amos 9:9)
A study of the migrations will show that Israel's westward trek moved slowly across the continent with the main body of the captivity, those who travelled overland taking more than a thousand years to reach central Europe. In the wake of this "Great Migration," there were left behind pockets of people, racial influences and rear guards of liberty.
These people, the children of Israel, were not onlyto become "a company of nations" and "a great people," but were also to become "many nations" and, when "the seven times" were fulfilled, the Celto-Anglo-Saxon and kindred peoples established a number of sovereign states. In fact, wherever the inherent spirit of freedom and independence resists tyranny, there we find individuals and nations who make up the whole House of Israel.
History, both sacred and profane, records that all of the northern ten-tribed Kingdom of Israel and all except "the inhabitants of Jerusalem," of the southern two- tribed Kingdom of Judah, were taken into the land of the Medes south west of the Caspian Sea by the Assyrians who called them "Beth-Kuimbri and Beth-Sak." Here they were called Ga-els, "the people of the Lord" and "the sons of God." The Persians referred to them as Guta-Thiuda which meant "Great God's
The flight of Israel brought the tribes across the upper reaches of the Euphrates, through the Caucasus into the vast and barren plains of the Scythian Steppes:
"Those are the ten tribes, which were carried away prisoners out of their own land in the time of Osea the king, whom Salmanasar the king of Assyria led away captive, and he carried them over the waters, and so came they into another land. But they took this counsel among themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the heathen, and go forth into a further country, where never mankind dwelt, that they might keep their statutes, which they never kept in their own land. And they entered into Euphrates by the narrow passages of the river. For the most High then shewed signs for them, and held still the flood, till they were passed over. For through that country there was a great way to go, namely, of a year and a day: and the same region is called Arsareth. Then dwelt they there until the latter time." - (2 Esdras 13:40-46)
To this day, traces of the name "Ar-Sereth" are still found north of the Crimea and one of the streams flowing from the Carpathians into the Danube is the river Sereth. "Ar," in Hebrew, means City. From this region the tribes migrated into the northern wilds of Scythia to become known as the Norsemen (Northmen) and, while Rome was yet in ascendancy under the early Caesars, far beyond her northern frontiers, the Goths settled the coasts of the Baltic Sea called by the ancients, "Pelagus Scythicum."
Professor Rawlinson called these European Scythians a distinct people apart from the Scythians of Asia. Herodotus describes them as the former colonists of the Medes and Diodorus Siculus traces them to "two remarkable colonies that were drawn out of Assyria and Media." In this territory where Esdras in the Apocrypha and Josephus the historian placed the children of Israel, the Gimiri or Cimmerians, Sacai, Sacae, Getae, Massagetae and Scythians became the Goths, the Danes, Normans, Saxons and Angles, while in his great work, The Viking Age, M.Paul de Chaillu, traces these modern Anglo-Saxon-Celtic peoples back to the ancient Sacae, Cimmeri and Getae.
Jordanis states that Julius Caesar, "who conquered all kingdoms," was unable to prevail against the Getae.The best defence of their country lay in the valour of the Getae themselves, and the swamps, mountains and steppes with which they were surrounded. At no period of their history do they seem to have undertaken
aggressive campaigns. They were, however, distinctly a fighting race if driven to it and in their wars were deemed invincible.
The invincibility of these ancient people of God has, time and again, seen its counterpart in history: From the plain of Jericho to the beaches of Normandy, from the defeat of the Armada to the miracle of Dunkirk, the overriding Providence of God has interceded on behalf of His People. Throughout the vast panorama of world events Israel's survival is the recurring theme of history with one chapter perhaps less notable than some because of its brief duration and diminutive scale among the epic conflicts of the great powers but, nonetheless, it deserves not to be forgotten.
"Sons of Issachar, stand and die, but let only scorched earth fall into the hands of the antichnsts." Field Marshal Mannerheim
For three and one half months from November 30, 1939, Finland fought the might of the Russian Army and amazed the world. How can the secular historian
account for the failure of the Russian "blitz" war and the survival of this tiny nation of four million, isolated and outnumbered fifty to one?
To appreciate fully the incredible nature of her salvation and the continuity of Finland as a sovereign state, certain circumstances wholly beyond the nation's control must be taken into account. That the conflict, mundanely called "the Winter War," was inevitable becomes all too plain. A power vacuum had developed in Europe
In the diminuendo of Great Britain's long and glorious history, there is no more painful chapter than that which covers the fifteen years beginning with Stanley Baldwin's rise to power in 1925. During that time a minority Labour Cabinet came briefly to office and what has been called a fictitious "national govemment" of
which Ramsay MacDonald was ostensibly Prime Minister, prevailed in Downing Street for some years. But Baldwin was the power behind the scenes.Before his advent for more than a century, British policy held three major objectives: to control the seas so that British trade would be safe throughout the world and the Isles immune to blockade or invasion; to ensure freedom of intercourse between the island empire and her dominions and colonies, and to maintain a balance of power in Europe so that Britain's influence would prove determining. Until Baldwin, Britain had consistently pursued those objectives. However, under Baldwin's baleful influence, the British character seemed to succumb to a malaise, a kind of amnesia that left the nation unmindful of those historical objectives.
Britain's headlong demobilization under Lloyd George following the first World War left the Allies impotent to enforce the provisions of the Versailles Treaty. But when the Nazis had taken control in Germany in 1933, it was Baldwin and his clique who were largely responsible for allowing Germany's rearmament.
During its inception when co-operation with a willing France could have checked the illegitimate German military, Baldwin denied that any rearming was going on. This, in the face of facts Winston Churchill laid before the British public.
Parenthetically, it must be acknowledged that the United States can hardly be called blameless in this collective default. The government turned a deaf ear to the warning of Colonel Charles A. Lindberg. America's most celebrated aeronaut, as the guest of Adolph Hitler, was personally escorted by der Fuehrer behind the scenes and permitted to preview the formidable German Luftwaffe. Immediately upon his return home, he made earnest attempts to expose these unpalatable revelations to the people and the government. For this largely vain effort, America's once revered air hero was castigated and vilified by the leftist, often pro-Communist media and branded a tool of the Nazi propagandists.
When the enormity of the Luftwaffe could no longer be denied, it was then realised that the German rearmament was an accomplished fact. And still Baldwin rejected all demands for security measures. His consensus was that the British voter would support only a party that promised minimum military, naval and air budgets.
Across the Channel, French public opinion and the French Navy were understandably incensed by the Anglo-German Naval Treaty of 1935. Notwithstanding the prohibitions of the treaty, it was no secret that new and powerful German submarines were being built. The superiority of Hitler's air power diminished the relative value of the British Navy, since, in narrow waters, naval vessels could readily be sunk by air attack. With Italy a German vassal, Britain could no longer count herself secure in the Mediterranean or in the Suez Canal, while Japan's growing ambitions in Asia rendered the British dominions and colonies in the far East vulnerable to attack at any time. Britannia's far-flung Empire, once dynamic and resourceful, was in eclipse.
A similar disorientation prevailed in France. The defensive psychologycreated by the Maginot Line had softened the national will to resist. The equilibrium between the Axis and Westem Powers, tenuously prolonged by a series of military alliances designed by Foreign Minister Louis Barthou, was allowed to rapidly crumble by his successor, Pierre Laval.The balance of power that Britain had maintained since the Napoleonic Wars was gone. And there was no collective security to replace it.
These fifteen years of Britain's erosion witnessed a gloomy parallel in the historyof France's Third Republic. The national interest became subordinated to individual
and party interests in a maze of gross corruption, political scandal and petty partisan chicanery. Foreign Minister Pierre Etienne Flandin was no match for Hitler in France's first major confrontation with the expanding Third Reich. When Germany occupied the Rhineland in flagrant violation of the Versailles Treaty, Flandin
excused his failure to act on the grounds that he could expect no help from Britain. But can one conceive of a Clemenceau, a Poincare, or even a Mitterand fearing
to take unilateral action when the safety of France was at stake?
The fatal malaise from which Britain and France were suffering was contagious and the ignominious role of the major powers in the face of Axis aggression left the small countries increasingly fearful. When it became all too evident they could expect no help from the West, Nazi pressure upon Rumania, Hungary, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria made them unwilling to resist the economic and political expansion of the Third Reich. Czechoslovakia still clung to her faith in France, but Poland was in the last stages of the deplorable Pilsudski dictatorship. Finland stood alone, a virile and sovereign republic.
THE LAST KNIGHT
The survival of the infant republic and the person of Marshal Mannerheim are inseparable. No Joshua of Israel's ancient past can surpass the role of this soldier- statesman in the history of God's people. Cast in the heroic mould, he was in the forefront of Finland's struggles, military and political, for the thirty most momentous years of her history.
Baron von Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim has been called by historians: "The last Knight of Europe." The single common virtue he shared with his countrymen was a highly developed individualism. He was born in 1876 on the family's estate at Louhisaari of Swedish descent. The product of his heritage, he was a little of the tycoon, a little of the scientist and a great deal of the rebel. His mother wrote to a friend: "I can feel secure about all of the rest of my children, but what in heaven's name is going to become of Gustaf?" The verdict of destiny was soon apparent.
At 14, he was sent to cadet school and soon after to the Nickolaev Cavalry School in St. Petersburg. In two years he transferred as a second lieutenant to the Czar's Chevalier Guard. With no money or family connections in Russia and, at the outset, unable to speak the language, his advancement was amazing. His superb
horsemanship and brilliant grasp of battle tactics could not, alone, have set him apart from the hard-riding Cossacks and the highly trained Russian Officer Corps. It
was the inherent Saacson quality of command that must account for his meteoric rise in the Court of the Czar.
His combat experience began in Russia's most disastrous rout of the Russo-Japanese War where his prize mount was shot from under him at Mukden but, despite the fact that his entire campaign covered retreats, his fame as a horseman and his military reputation were only enhanced and he returned to Russia, a Colonel with three decorations.
The concept of defence and strategic withdrawal that. would one day become the world famous "Mannerheim Line" came out of his experience during the Russian retreat, and the "scorched earth" tactic of Finland's heroic defenders was acquired, first hand, during his subsequent assignment. In recognition of his unique quality of leadership and spectacular record in the field, he was appointed to head a most extraordinary reconnaissance expedition across Asia to Peking. His purpose was twofold: to assess the results of the Czar's Uhlan bodyguard.
In 1913, at the outbreak of war, he was a Major General. Never one to bow to authority, his reputation as an individualist was frequently put to the test. When the division of which his brigade was a part was attacked by strong Austro-German forces, Field Marshal Delsal ordered him to cover the right flank. Major General Mannerhenin retired to the left, guarded the only road of retreat and saved the division. For this, he received the Order of St. George and a special citation for insubordination!
The March 1917 revolution in Russia and the declaration of Finland's independence was a signal to shift allegiance. Mannerheim's long service to the Czar ended and, when the Bolshevik Revolution broke out in November, he had already started home. How he reached there is part of the legend. According to some reports "suffering from a broken ankle," and according to others, "conveniently developing a sprained foot," he left the front. One version states that he wore his
full-dress uniform and commandeered a train. Another reports that the Russian troops were so awed by his commanding presence, they allowed him to pass
But there is no explaining how he survived the revolutionists.This, we must concede, was in the hands of Providence.
Mannerheim reached Helsinki to find the riot-tom city and nation in a state of war. By a coup d'etat in January 1918, the Red Guard seized control by armed force to impose a "Peoples" government upon the country. White Guard, members of the Diet made Mannerheim Commander-in-Chief of the ill-equipped, undermanned and largely untrained Defence Corps. He outfitted this rag-tag army in discarded Russian uniforms, rushed a garrison to get arms and galvanized the resistance, until after months of bitter fighting, the Reds fled into Russia and on May16,1918, Mannerheim rode into Helsinki in triumph. The Finnish "Workers Republic" was ended
But the war's end found Finland on the brink of starvation and economic chaos. Mannerheim appealed for relief and diplomatic recognition in London and Paris and food relief ships were en route even before his return home. Funds to float the new government's economy were obtained from the United States.
From that day forward, Mannerheim was the man to whom Finland would turn in her hours of peril. In 1918, as Regent, he helped to forge his country's new
constitution and set the nation on the road to stable government. His task completed, he resigned to run for president, but was defeated. The people were tired of war and soldiers, and they were tired of Mannerheim's implacable hatred of everything Red, an attribute to which the nation, ironically, would one day owe its survival. Meanwhile, his first act as private citizen was to found the Mannerheim Institute for the Care of Children which, within a year, became one of the strongest stabilizing factors in the war-wrecked nation.
THE MANNERHEIM LINE
Mannerheim's most constructive and consistent effort as a private citizen was to bring his country to a state of war-preparedness. He wrote four textbooks on
defensive tactics, organized the Civic Guard of 100,000 as a permanent reserve and each year persuaded the government to increase its military appropriations. He
selected promising young officers in the army and had them sent to study military science in French and German war academies and was himself made president of the Council of Defence. Two years later, he became Finland's first Field Marshal. It is said he threatened to have nothing further to do with defence unless the government established conscription, which it did, and finally, under his direction, the famous "Mannerheim Line" was built against the day he alone saw coming.
Before that fortification was to give way, Marshal Mannerheim declared,
"We shall fight to the last old man and the last child. We shall burn our forests and houses, destroy our cities and industries, and what we yield will be cursed by the scourge of God."
THE PREY OF THE TERRIBLE
In the dark winter of 1939-40, the West, stunned by the Berlin-Moscow Non-Aggression Pact and the blitzkrieg conquest of Poland, witnessed an awesome example of heroism and endurance as the people of Finland defended their homeland against titanic forces arrayed against her.
On October 5, 1939, Helsinki received the first fateful note from Foreign Commissar Molotov inviting a delegate to come to Moscow to discuss "concrete political questions." Seven weeks of protracted negotiations followed. The Finnish commissioners made concession after concession to avoid the war which was virtually inevitable from the beginning. But on two issues the Finns refused to yield. They would not relinquish the port and peninsula of Hanko to the Russians or "grant to any foreign power military bases on Finland's own territory."
For a brief respite, Moscow was ominously silent. Then, taking its cue from Pravda, the Soviet press and radio unleashed a propaganda barrage against Finland's "warmongers" and pleaded for the "liberation" of Finland's proletariat. On the final Sunday afternoon in November, Moscow employed the ultimate hypocrisy: The Kremlin broadcast that Russian troops had been wantonly fired upon by Finnish artiliery. Continuing the fabrication, Premier Molotov accused the Finns of "provocative shelling" and summoned the Finnish Minister, Baron Yrjo-Koskinen to the Kremlin and demanded that Finland withdraw its forces twenty five kilometres from the Karelian Isthmus. The Finns flatly denied the monstrous allegation that Finnish guns had fired on Russians, but offered to withdraw from the frontier as many miles as the Russians would, but Soviet reaction was immediate and dire. The government controlled press and radio stepped up the tempo of threats against the "Finnish militarists." Moscow-orchestrated demonstrations by students and workers cIamoured for vengeance and the Russian "people" appealed to the masses in Finland to overthrow their government.
On November 27, a crescendo of invective by the Soviet media presaged by one day the cancellation of the Soviet Non-Aggression Pact with Finland. The
following night, the Finnish Parliament met in secret session and Premier Cajander resigned. A new coalition government was formed, but the Soviet Union would
not be placated. Inexorable forces were moving. The Red Army had orders to launch the invasion at dawn.
The world at large was in no condition to comprehend the news reports that were about to follow. Secular historians will never be able to explain what, to the student of HolyWrit, is patently plain: In all wars between the people of God and the enemies of God, His people, when they were true to the Lord God of Israel, were miraculously sustained and protected. Behind the conflicts of earthly kingdoms, there are unseen Heavenly powers by whom the issues of these conflicts are determined.
"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels" (Revelation 12:7).
In the defeat of Sisera:
"They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera" (Judges 5: 20).
Daniel 10 lifts the veil which conceals the heavenly combatants in earthly conflicts. The description of the man clothed in white who appeared to Daniel is revealed as The Christ who appeared to John on the Isle ofPatmos (Revelation 1:13-18).When the King of Syria warred against Israel, invisible hosts of heaven defended the city where Elisha prayed to the Lord,
"And, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha" (2 Kings 6:13-17).
For "the angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivered them" (Psalm 34: 7).
When the Lord reduced Gideon's army to three companies, each with one hundred men, and sent them against the Midianites, the Amalekites and the children of the East, He set every man's sword against his fellow throughout all the enemy hosts and the men of Israel pursued them and slew their princes at the rock of Oreb (Judges 7).
When all the Kingsof the Amorites were gathered before Joshua at Gibeon, the Lord delivered them into his hand and slew them in a great slaughter. And as they fled from before Israel, the Lord cast down great stones from heaven and more died from the hailstones than the children of Israel slew with the sword.
Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel:
"Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies .. so the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel" (Joshua 10: 12-14)
When Phillip II of Spain sent an "Invincible Armada" of ships to destroy Britain in the Isles, "God blew His winds and they were scattered" Again, when the armies of France under Napoleon prepared to invade the Isles, a terrific wind which blew incessantly for weeks, stayed the ships of Napoleon until the British fleet could arrive.
By Angelic interventions at Mons and Ypres in The Great War, He saved the British Expeditionary Forces
from annihilation by overwhelming German armies. Again, at Dunkirk in the Second World War, He stilled the waters of the English Channel and lowered a curtain of clouds to shield the flotilla of small craft from
the German Luftwaffe and shore batteries. During this phenomenon, unknown in previous history, the Channel remained in unprecedented calmness for a week while the 365,000 men of the British Expeditionary Forces were safely evacuated to England.
Now it was Finland's fateful hour. She faced imminent invasion by forty-five Soviet infantry divisions reinforced with air power, artillery, separate mechanized detachments and 3,000 tanks. Behind this initial force was the whole Red Army which, apart from the troops in the Far East, numbered 110 divisions, plus 5,000 to 6,000 tanks.
How could this small republic of four million people, isolated and outnumbered fifty-to-one, defend herself against the Russian colossus? The answer is found in the words of the prophet Isaiah:
"Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save" (Isaiah 59:1).
Rockets, like green shooting stars, illuminated the pre-dawn darkness all along the frontier heralding the invasion. Masses of Russian troops advanced under cover of artillery. Soviet planes dropped death from the sky. Once again, the Lord God of Israel honoured His Word:
"When the enemy shall come in like a flood, he shall not overwhelm thee."
During the long night of December 2, snow began to fall softly like a blessing. A white blanket covered the cities and countryside like a protective camouflage. And reports from the battlefront told of a blinding blizzard raging through the forests. The hearts of the Finns lifted with gratitude.
Flames from Finn-lit fires greeted the invading Russians. Every village building and farmhouse that might give the enemy shelter from the icy blasts of winter was set on fire. Ill-shod, ill-clothed Red infantrymen froze in their tracks. Finns on skis swooped down the steep slopes to recapture towns, took hordes of prisoners and isolated 10,000 Russians on the Salla sector of the central front.
Russian warships disgorged reinforcements in landing craft in the harbours. The defenders dynamited the cliffs of the fjords sending great rocks hurtling down to capsize and drown the Reds in the freezing water. When reinforcements, better equipped and in greater numbers, threatened to overwhelm the defenders, they fell back leaving the enemy only the bitter fruits of a scorched earth in an icy hell. They conserved their limited manpower and gave ground, slowly exacting a terrible toll in Russian casualties as they moved back to the Mannerheim Line.
At Petsamo in the far north there were only some eight hundred Finnish soldiers. Women and children on reindeer sleds and skis crossed the ice-coated border into Norway. Armed with "machine pistols" in squads of six, the Finns deployed themselves behind granite boulders and tree trunks and shot down whole companies of Russians in the forests. Sharpshooters "wing-shot" Red paratroops in such numbers, the strategy was soon abandoned. Over fifty "invincible" Russian tanks were destroyed in five days. Russian forces in the Arctic were immobilized.
In the south, the Finns threw back Russian troops on the Karelian Peninsula and 700 Reds were left dead on the ice of Suvanto. A savage battle raged at Aglae Jaervi where the large Russian force was virtually destroyed before it could surrender.
The Finns carried the war on to Soviet soil when they drove the enemy across the border toward Russia's vital railway to Murmansk and pressed deeper toward the
Soviet base at Repola. An entire Russian division was shattered on the ice of Lake Kianta and a second division rushing to its rescue was cut off from its supply
base and surrounded.
Stalin was developing a pathological hatred for the Finns. He recalled more than 100 officers of his top echelon command in disgrace. General K. A. Meretskoff was replaced by General Gregory M.Stern, hero of the Russo-Japanese War to command the Red Army in Finland. However, despite a terrific battering along the Mannerheim Line, the Finns stood firm. Trainloads of Russian wounded were filling the hospitals in Leningrad. December was a disaster for the Red Army.
"Brothers in Arms, Follow Me This last Time"
To Field Marshal Mannerheim's call to arms, a small but valiant nation had responded as one man. But on the threshold of the new year, the secular observer, blind to any higher will and purpose, could not escape certain harsh realities; the prestige, as well as the manpower and weapons of the Red Army, was badly mauled by the month-long heroic stand of Finland's diminutive forces. A quick and decisive end to Finnish resistance was mandatory. The Mannerheim Line could expect overwhelming pressure from vast reservoirs of Russian troops, artillery,armour and air power. Finland's 5th Division commanded by Colonel Isakson and the 7th Division led by Colonel Vihma were decimated by heavy casualties during December. Now there were no reserves to relieve the exhausted defenders at Viipuri
But winter, the coldest on record in Europe in decades, remained Finland's ally.
"Out of whose womb came the ice? And the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it?" (Job 38: 29).
Reports from the battlefields of frozen Russian armies sent shudders around the world.
Two entire Red Army divisions were trapped and destroyed in 45 degrees below zero weather in early January. By the month's end, the Finns had crushed a
Russian attempt to flank the Mannerheim Line.Toward the end of February, they wiped out still another Soviet division.
The Red High Command failed to realize that its troops, coming from the open steppes of Russia, even if they were accustomed to severe winters, could not cope with the wilderness of mountain lakes and forests, the like of which they had never seen. But in its final essence there was still another factor contributing to the Russian debacle. It was in the individual Finnish soldier that the Red Army met its nemesis.
When the lines were far-flung and the defenders few, single soldiers often dashed to break-through points. At a place called "killer hill," 4,000 Russians attacked a single Finnish platoon of 32 men. The once elite army of the Czarist's Army, now led by a poorly educated Officer Corps drawn from the ranks of the proletariat, performed badly. And the fatalistic submission which characterized the masses of the Russian infantry cost the Red Army severe losses.
In stark contrast, from Field Marshal Mannerheim to the private infantryman, the individual Finn possessed that inherent capacity to determine his own course of action which, from the inception of the Race, has distinguished Isaac's Sons from the generations of mankind.
The Finns have a word for this quality which has sustained them in all of the hardships of history and climate. They call it "sisu." Loosely translated, it means "guts." But it transcends dogged courage and patient endurance. It is something within that causes a man to do what he, himself, must - not because he has been told. "Sisu" combined with violence, which is the antithesis of the loving-kindness of the Finn, made him a dangerous adversary in war. When the invading Russians threatened to take over his country; he identified with the land so strongly he would rather die than lose it.
On January 5, 1940,the German press threatened Norway and Sweden that they risked becoming battlefields if allied aid reached Finland through their territory.The following day, the Soviet Army organ, The Red Star, accused Britain and France of trying to drag the Scandinavian countries into the war and warned Sweden and Norway to cease aiding the Finns. On January 17, Marshal Mannerheim countered with an appeal to the Allies that Finland could not hold out indefinitely.
Marshal Timoshenko concentrated twenty five divisions, some 600,000 Soviet troops including crack Ukranian forces. Massed for the attack were enormous
concentrations of artillery lined up, hub to hub, to rain fire and steel on the Mannerheim Line. During a single twenty-four hours, 300,000 shells fell on the Summa
positions. The guns were so concentrated that the Russians simply increased and decreased their range in a "rolling barrage" in history's most massive cannonade since the German shelling of Verdun in World War 1. The volume of Red fire power was devastating. In a 1.3 mile wide sector alone, 104 Russian batteries with their 440 cannon pounded the Finns who had only 16 batteries of small calibre, short-range field pieces which were fast running out of ammunition.
The threat of being surrounded increased daily. But the division commander Antero Svenson never lost his nerve even in the face of murderous artillery fire. His
troops shared his unfailing optimism that the line would hold and that somehow help would come.
At Hatjalahti Lake and Muola Lake on a 16 mile front, the Russians attacked with six divisions and 500 aircraft. Enemy infantry under cover of smoke screens and supported by 28 and 45 ton tanks advanced in massive waves probing and sometimes penetrating the Finnish line. But the Finns continued to push them back in nightly counterattacks. Day after day Russian replacements passed through the carnage of entire divisions which had preceded them. Still, the main defence of the Mannerheim Line held. The Red Army, through sheer weight of numbers, sustained the offensive. The fact that the Red Command did not count its dead delayed the inevitable, but in Moscow the toll exacted by the Finns was becoming intolerable. Peace proposals were submitted by Russia through Sweden.
Finland's urgent appeals for assistance had been refused by Sweden who feared to endanger her neutrality. A last-minute offer of help from Britain and France came too late and Finland's acceptance would only have drawn her into the larger European War. Marshal Mannerheim advocated a truce while his army was still intact and the nation not yet destitute of bargaining power.
On March 6, a Finnish delegation left Helsinki for Moscow to discuss the Russian proposal. At 11:00a.m. on March 13, the guns were silenced. The Peace was no obituary for Finland nor the terms immoderate. "The Soviet Union does not intend to interfere in either domestic or foreign policy. That would, indeed, have been a demand we could not have accepted." The indomitable soul of the Finnish people remained unconquerable.
Baron Mannerheim saluted his soldiers in a classic farewell address thanking his army and declaring that Finland's 15,000 dead had made Russia pay dearly. He
"You did not want war. You love peace, work and progress; but you were forced into a struggle in which you have done great deeds, deeds that will shine for centuries in the pages of history but you have dealt hard blows and, if 200,000 of our enemies now lie on the snowdrifts, gazing with broken eyes at our sky, the fault is not yours, you did not hate them or wish them evil; you merely followed the stern rule of war: kill or be killed. Soldiers, I have fought on many battlefields, but never have I seen your like as warriors."
In the larger context of tiny Finland's role among the great nations of Israel, Baron Mannerheim's following words have a particularly poignant relevancy,
"Soldiers of the glorious Finnish Army: We are proudly conscious of the historic duty, which we shall continue to fulfil: The defence of Western Civilization which has been our heritage for centuries, but we also know we have paid to the very last penny any debt we may have owed to the West."
It was not given to Marshal Mannerheim to command victory, in a time of the breaking of nations, when titanic forces were unleashed in the world, yet the fact remains that Finland still lives, precariously, it is true, but with a greater independence than any other nation on the borders of the Soviet Union can boast.
Compared to the fate of the other buffer states, Finland has uncommon cause for rejoicing. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were "Sovietized," and thousands of their best citizens liquidated. Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Czechoslovakia are ruled by Communist govemments completely subservient to Russia. Finland, alone, remains free and politically independent.
Today, Finland lies precariously balanced between the East and the West. Issachar is still "the strong ass couching down between two burdens." But there is
no kowtowing or subservience in her relations with Russia or Germany.
Speaking of the quality of freedom, the London Times on April 27, 1951 stated in no Western European countries are the rights of citizens more extensive or more zealously preserved. "If political liberty were the only measure of a country's future, the Finns might well be the envy of the world."
In retrospect, contemplating the sad fate of Russia's satellites, Finland's defiance of Soviet aggression was the better part of discretion as well as valour in maintaining
her sovereignty. In the crucible of war, the Finns became more resilient and even more passionately devoted to independence. This is the hallmark of Jacob's sons.
Wherever that inner fire the Finns call "sisu" burns in the souls of freemen, there you will find Israel.
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