National Memorial to the Winter War - Atlas Obscura

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National Memorial to the Winter War

Dedicated to the outnumbered Finnish forces who pushed back Soviet forces during the conflict.  

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In November 1939, the Soviet Union attacked Finland along the border from the Arctic Sea to the Gulf of Finland. The assault began without a proper declaration of war—the Soviet Union seemingly hoped their invasion of Finland would be as easy as those in the nearby Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. This was the start of the Winter War.

Although the Soviet Union forces greatly outnumbered them, the Finns actually successfully managed to repel the Soviet Union forces and then retained most of its territory when the Moscow Peace Treaty was signed in 1940.

This sculpture stands in front of the army headquarters in Helsinki as a national memorial to the Winter War. It is the creation of Pekka Kauhanen, and has stood at Kasarmitori in Kaartinkaupunki since November 2017.  President Martti Ahtisaari unveiled the sculpture on the 78th anniversary of the Winter War.The spherical base of the sculpture contains 105 photographs that highlight the events of the Winter War.  The visibility of the images, however, is not always what was initially imagined. Since the unveiling, it has been plagued by moisture, which condenses on the inside of the circular windows and impairs the visibility of the photographs inside.

The memorial is an expression of appreciation for the valuable input of veterans and everyone else who participated in the war efforts from the Finnish people. The memorial was designed to commemorate the more than 25,000 Finns who gave their lives for their country during the Winter War.

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August 18, 2023

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