Russians did not realize how much establishing the Finnish language to be the priority language of the Finnish people and govt (and the jaegers/military officers — very important) became a strength to allow a seemingly meek and poor people to sever themselves from the regime. Of course, it was a bloody civil war, but not knowing Finnish was a blow to the Russians. And, they had the same problem in 1939 again. Side story: Russian soldiers easily surrendered so they could get into the Finnish prisons since they were starving and didn’t have proper clothes … some never went back home after WW2. I was told by a relative: “to win a war, you need food (supply lines) and lots of money, that’s really it.”
To this day, Finnish is one of the hardest languages to learn. There are 13 cases and no regular verbs … words change meaning by just adding a few other words to it — some as long as 24 letters! I did meet a Brooklyn guy who is a professor in Helsinki (married to a Finn) who speaks fluent Finnish with a Brooklyn accent!
Finns don’t really care if people don’t want to learn their language (not related to Germanic or Latin languages whatsoever) but they are eager (and required in school) to learn other languages. By the time I was 8, I added English (learned by watching a lot of American TV) to Finnish and Swedish. French and Spanish I learned around 12, and, I have tried to start another language for fun. Side issue: This is also, my own opinion why Finnish kids do so well on the Pisa test (although not as good these last 2 years) every year … the fact that it is normal to know 2-4 languages by age 14.
Although there are some words in Finnish that are similar to Swedish/English, it is still so few for anyone to see a connection — Icelandic, weirdly, has more similarities as far as words. And, despite that it is called a Finno-Ugric language, I don’t see the connection with Hungarian. And, on top of that, half my family (Swedish & ethnic Finnish) are Karelian, so there were words or dialect introduced in addition to mainstream Finnish — enough to confuse a kid even today.
Although, I marvel at the few children of immigrants from Asia or Africa who are fluent in Finnish today, it is still a country of mostly Finns. There are immigrants, but Finland presciently, did not allow the development of ghetto-like housing in the outskirts of cities — immigrants are scattered across metropolitan areas. Needless to say, Finland, because of the climate, and the difficult language, is not a favorite to emigrate to. You can get by with English, but you will not be in the inner circle unless your spouse is Finnish speaking, or you make a concerted effort to learn the language. And, the overwhelming reticence (and need for privacy) of the Finnish people can make for a lonely existence there … summers are nice.
“Lagertha“, commenting on Steve Sailer’s “Freeman Dyson on Human Biological and Cultural Diversity” at The Unz Review, 2015-02-05.
July 31, 2016
July 29, 2016
Published on 28 Jul 2016
2 years. It has been 2 years since Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia which led to a downwards spiral that we now remember as World War 1. And this week 100 years ago, the three biggest battles in human history are being fought simultaneously: The Battle of Verdun, the Battle of the Somme, the Brusilov Offensive. Happy Birthday.
July 9, 2016
Published on 7 Jul 2016
Check out Epic History TV’s video about the first day of the Somme: http://bit.ly/SommeEpicTV
After months of preparations and a week long artillery bombardment, the Battle of the Somme is unleashed on the Western Front. The great British and French offensive, brainchild of General Sir Douglas Haig, which is supposed to crush the Germans on the Western Front once and for all. But the initial infantry attack is a disaster. And on the Eastern Front, General Alexei Brusilov realises that his northern flank support is not worth the name.
July 1, 2016
Published on 30 Jun 2016
This week 100 years ago, the British Army starts their preparations for the Battle of the Somme with a week long artillery bombardment which fails to weaken the German defenses considerably. At the same time the Brusilov Offensive in the East implodes as Russian General Evert fails with his offensive against the Germans even with superior numbers.
June 17, 2016
Published on 16 Jun 2016
This week 100 years ago the whole war hangs in the balance, the Germans are about to break through the lines at Verdun, the Russians actually break through the Austro-Hungarian lines but fail to seize the opportunity further north. It all boils down to the lack of communication between Erich von Falkenhayn and Conrad von Hötzendorf which created a situation in which Falkenhayn has to save Conrad’s Army and loses his momentum at Verdun.
June 14, 2016
Published on 13 Jun 2016
The region of Armenia was a play ball between the interests of Russia and the Ottoman Empire long before World War 1. But the Armenian people were striving for self determination like the peoples all across Europe were doing too. In our special episode we take a look at the struggle of the Armenians beyond the Armenian Genocide.
June 12, 2016
Published on 11 Jun 2016
Indy sits in the Chair of Wisdom again and this week we talk about Cavalry on the Eastern Front, Cossacks and wolves.
June 10, 2016
Published on 9 Jun 2016
The Brusilov Offensive is unleashed on the Eastern Front this week 100 years ago. General Aleksei Brusilov wants to crush the Austro-Hungarian Army and uses a variety of new tactics for his plan. At the same time, the Germans take Fort Vaux during the Battle of Verdun and in the Middle East, the Arab Revolt is declared.
June 7, 2016
Published on 6 Jun 2016
Aleksei Brusilov was the mastermind of Russia’s finest moment in World War 1: The Brusilov Offensive. Although it didn’t achieve it’s planned objective, it broke the back of the Austro-Hungarian Army. The life of Aleksei Brusilov was an interesting one between the cultures and even after Imperial Russia was gone, his career was not over.
May 11, 2016
Published on 9 May 2016
Millions of men were captured during World War 1 and most of them spent years in prison camps as pawns of the nation that captured them. However, their experience was a taboo in the post war society. We take a look at the hardships of being a prisoner and how the world powers used the POWs as leverage.
May 3, 2016
Published on 2 May 2016
The winter 1916 ends with the invasion of Serbia and Montenegro and unrestricted submarine warfare. And the spring of 1916 starts with the Battle of Verdun at the Western Front and Russian successes in Anatolia. The British are in trouble in Ireland and in Mesopotamia but are still carving up the Middle East in the Sykes-Picot Agreement. The Eastern Front drowns in spring thaws while the Russian homefront is in disarray.
April 22, 2016
Published on 21 Apr 2016
With the spring in Russia and the Caucasus came the thaws on the Eastern Front and all the way down to Mesopotamia. The soldiers had to adapt to survive let alone fight. The Battle of Verdun still rages on though the French are not moving more airplanes to the area to break the German air superiority.
April 15, 2016
Published on 14 Apr 2016
The Russian offensive at Lake Naroch were an utter failure but the Russian General Aleksei Brusilov is already gearing up for the future mother of all offensives on the Eastern Front. At the same time the meat grinder at Verdun is sucking in German and French troops alive. Erich von Falkenhayn realised that his initial idea probably won’t work but he still tries to capture the Mort Homme and Cote 304. In far away Mesopotamia the siege of Kut is still going on even though the British and Indian soldiers are already killing the hunger with Opium pills.
April 3, 2016
I have said on a few occasions that, in my opinion, based on my reading of history, wars are, as often as not, caused by fear. Even Vladimir Putin’s naked aggression is, I think, a result of his fear of what is happening to Russia: a steady decline back into political and strategic irrelevance. It is not at all unreasonable to suppose that fear of the societal changes that very large scale migrations will bring cannot and will not provoke people into electing governments that will, out of fear of the unknown, attack their neighbours in a misguided effort to sauve qui peut in their own societies.
I think Sir Max [Hastings]’s “think-tank friend in Washington,” was (still is) wrong when he “observed last week: ‘Democracy only works where there is a broad consensus about the distribution of wealth and power.’ And it is because this consensus faces unprecedented stresses in consequence of migration in Europe, that he believes some factions may resort to violence, even outright war.” The “broad consensus” is not about wealth or power, it is about respecting the rules, living with and within the “institutions” which make democracy work. Those institutions are strong in e.g. Britain, the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries; they are weaker in e.g. France, which, for example, tossed out a democratic government and constitution in 1958 when the Algerian war went sour.; they are weaker still, in my opinion, in the entire “Southern tier” of Europe (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, and the Balkans and in the Eastern European states that only recently tossed off the yoke of Russian/communist rule. If trouble is going to start it will happen, I think, in those weaker states. A European war is likely to start when one of the countries with weaker institutions decides, our of fear, that it must break the rules that hold Europe together.
Ted Campbell, “Everyman’s Strategic Survey: Europe(2)”, Ted Campbell’s Point of View, 2016-03-22.
March 27, 2016
Published on 26 Mar 2016
More pictures from Flo’s Great Grandfather: https://imgur.com/a/R1T92
It’s chair of wisdom time again and this week we talk about the Russian Navy in the Baltic Sea, submarine warfare and trench mortars.