New Zealand has been at war with rather a lot of nations over the years. Most of them declared war on us, not the other way around (we’re the good guys). But there are a few that New Zealand took on. Including – wait for it – wait for it.
It was part of a job lot, in fact, in which New Zealand also declared war on Romania and Bulgaria:
What happened? Russia attacked Finland in November 1939 and the Allies were a bit tardy getting help to the Finns, with the result that the Finns aligned themselves with Nazi Germany, gaining German help in the ‘continuation war’ of 1941 that won back the territories Stalin had taken. In December that year, when Germany organised the Tripartite Pact with Romania (‘Roumania’ in 1941) and Bulgaria, Britain declared war on Romania, Bulgaria and Finland as a job lot. New Zealand, a Self-Governing Dominion, didn’t have to follow suit, but of course we did, two days later. Hence the Cabinet Paper.
It wasn’t personal. I mean, honestly, what does anybody in New Zealand have against the Finns? Apart from the fact that Nokia own my Dad’s electronics patents, which means I don’t get a cent for them (one of them was a patent on ways of obtaining stereo sound reproduction via optical media).
Other than that Finland is a great country, one of the top democracies in the world and home to many great rally drivers. They also have the highest per-capita level of metal bands on the planet, apparently between 50 and 70 bands per 100,000, and apart from Father Christmas have also given the world:
- Also Nightwish, who deserve at least three mentions
So what happened with that war in 1941? The Finnish alliance with Germany was an arrangement of convenience, and the Finns otherwise opposed the Nazis. They negotiated a separate peace with the Soviets in August 1944, and between September 1944 and April 1945 were at war with Germany, mostly in Llapland.
So now you know. There’s only one thing. I haven’t found the document in which New Zealand un-declared war, and of course there’s that little matter of my Dad’s electronics patents…
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2022