The Soviet invasion of Finland in November 1939 is strikingly similar to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Russia is now making many of the same mistakes as in its previous military failure. Finland had been under Swedish and Russian rule until 1918; Ukraine only broke away from the Soviet Union in 1991. Both countries had recently won their precious independence and were determined to fight for it.
The same tragic elements emerged in both wars: faulty Russian intelligence, mistaken expectations of a quick victory with few casualties, brutal invasion of a weaker country, bombing of cities, assaults on civilians, poor training, insufficient supplies , low morale, reluctance to fight, humiliating defeats, universal condemnation, lack of Allied intervention and exposure of military weakness. A brief account of the Finnish war sheds light on these parallels.