Finland was part of Sweden from 1540 until 1809, when the Russians annexed the country. Attempts at ‘Russification’ were resisted. Following the Bolshevik revolution of November 1917, Finland made a unilateral declaration of independence on 6 December 1917. A civil war then followed, between White and Red forces. A victory for the Whites led to a republican constitution in July 1919. In November 1939 the country was invaded by the USSR, after rejection of its territorial demands. The ‘Winter War’ resulted in one third of Finnish territory being ceded to the USSR in 1940. In an attempt to regain this territory, Finland joined in with the attack by Nazi Germany on the USSR in the Summer of 1941. This was called the ‘Continuation War’. By June 1944, the USSR had repulsed the German attack and had started to invade Finland. An armistice was signed on 19 September 1944, in which Finland was obliged to clear its territory of retreating Nazis and concede the lost land. A formal peace treaty was signed in 1947. Finland adopted a policy of strict neutrality between the USSR , and its Western neighbours. The collapse of the USSR in 1991 has since allowed a more pro-Western approach to adopted.
[To be rewritten]