On this day in 1917 Finland declared independence from Russia. My grandparents emigrated from Finland in 1903 so they never lived in an independent Finland. Their stories may have been the source of my mothers hatred of Russia and her concern about me when I was travelling there for oilfield business in 1991.
22 years later, Finland would celebrate this day by fighting a Russian invasion of the Karelian Peninsula. This was the Winter War (Talvisota in Finnish). It was the Finns that developed the Molotov Cocktail as an anti tank weapon. It was this was that developed the worlds top sniper, Simo Hayha. It was in this war that the Finns gained a reputation as excellent ski troops. Even though they fought the Russians to a standstill, they had to give up Karelia in the treaty. And it was the Finns performance against the Russians that helped to convince Hitler to invade Russia.