By Olli Vehviläinen (auth.)
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Additional resources for Finland in the Second World War: Between Germany and Russia
That was the only way it could assure itself of protection against the Soviet Union. 8 Germany encountered another setback when Svinhufvud lost the presidential election in February 1937 to Kallio. K. Cajander, of the last-mentioned party. Holsti continued as foreign minister. Independent of the ﬂuctuation in relations between Finland and Germany, military contacts continued. They had their foundation in the traditions of the Jäger corps. Nearly all the leading ofﬁcers in the Finnish Army were Jägers who had received their military training in Germany during the First World War and many of them retained feelings of gratitude and sympathy for Germany.
18 The Finnish negotiation strategy was determined by Foreign Minister Erkko, who defended his unbending policy by appealing to the treaties that had been concluded between Finland and the USSR and to world opinion, which was behind Finland. He did not believe that the USSR would go to war. Rather, he thought that agreeing to the Soviet terms, particularly the surrender of a site for a naval base, would mean the end of Finland’s neutrality policy and its inclusion in the Soviet sphere of inﬂuence.
In accordance with the instructions they had received, the representatives of the USSR in Helsinki diligently reported anything that might substantiate these suspicions. Of particular interest were contacts between the military, like the visits made by Mannerheim to Germany, during which he met the German Minister of Aviation, Hermann Göring. When war broke out, the Russians expected the Germans to establish bases in the Åland Islands, to occupy the harbours of Finland and Estonia and, after blockading the Soviet Navy in the Gulf of Finland, to transport troops into Finland.