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Europe/Other : The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

 

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Guthrum
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24 Dec 2015
01:19:08pm
Finland found itself in an unenviable position in World War 2. Invaded by the USSR and eventually defeated after embarrassing the Red Army in the Winter War of 1939-40, it became a de facto ally of Nazi Germany and after the war suffered the ignominy of being lumped with Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania at the Paris Peace Treaties of 1947. They were all required to cede land, in Finland's case three slivers of territory to the Soviet Union.

In return these countries were permitted to join the UN, and all but Italy issued stamps to mark the fact (and perhaps to salve some dignity from the proceedings).

Finland's stamp depicts a peaceful, agricultural scene, symbolising the return to normality, does it not?

Well, I suggest there's more to it than that. Have a look at these two pictures: the stamp, and the map showing the land Finland ceded to the USSR.

Image Not Found Image Not Found
On right - Map of the areas ceded by Finland to the Soviet Union after the Winter War 1940.
Copyright© 2005 Jniemenmaa. Shared using
GNU Free Documentation License

The white horse - that Nordic symbol of doom - stamps in frustration, its mane flying, and bows its head in shame. The ploughman's harrow turns up three slivers of turf.

What are they, these pieces of Finnish soil, but Petsamo, Sala and Karelia?


(Modified by Moderator on 2016-01-17 12:00:29)
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BobbyBarnhart
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They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. -Benjamin Franklin

24 Dec 2015
04:31:19pm
re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

Excellent observations, Ian. While I reluctantly acquiesce to the necessity of climbing into bed with Stalin in '41, I have a difficult time accepting the concessions the western allies made to the Soviet's post war ambitions. The Finnish situation was especially poignant since they found themselves in a situation where they felt compelled to ally themselves with the equally despicable Hitler when invaded by the Soviets.

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michael78651
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24 Dec 2015
05:43:20pm
re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

Subtle, subtle. Very interesting.

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads

24 Dec 2015
07:18:37pm
re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

the Finns were NOT allied with Hitler except that they fought the Soviets. In fact, when Hitler was attacking St Petersburgh, he expected the Finns to attack; but they resisted going any further than reclaiming Finnish territory taken by Soviet forces earlier.

That said, there were odd bed fellows during the war, and even odder senses of integrity, the latter not shared by either Stalin nor Hitler.

Tis a pity that the secret Molotov Ribbentrop treaty would later engender the carving up of the innocents, as if the Soviets hadn't already taken plenty.

David

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Guthrum
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25 Dec 2015
07:45:48am
re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

I suppose, David, it all depends on what you mean by 'allied'.

Here is FDR, March 16, 1944:

"
It has always seemed odd to me and to the people of the United States to find Finland a partner of Nazi Germany, fighting side by side with the sworn enemies of our civilization.

The Finnish people now have a chance to withdraw from this hateful partnership. The longer they stay at Germany's side the more sorrow and suffering is bound to come to them. I think I can speak for all Americans when I say that we sincerely hope Finland will now take the opportunity to disassociate herself from Germany."



When I wrote 'de facto ally' I intended to mean that, although no formal political alliance took place, practically speaking Finnish troops fought alongside German troops in, for example, the unsuccessful attempt to take Murmansk. I appreciate that in most, if not all cases the Finnish military had little option, and that politically they negotiated the disassociation with Nazi Germany as expeditiously as possible.

I started my WW2 European collection under the headings 'Axis' and 'Allies' but soon found out that in reality that was a bit too simplistic! My Finnish stamps still occupy an album best filed under 'Miscellaneous'.


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ikeyPikey
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25 Dec 2015
10:05:35am
re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

"... I reluctantly acquiesce to the necessity of climbing into bed with Stalin in '41 ..."



This sort of inflammatory language coarsens more than it informs. What did we ever do for Stalin?

Yes, we gave tanks & trucks, but that was budget math: improving the lethality of the Red Army was a cheap way for us to kill Germans at a time when we had no good way of killing Germans.

Moreover, the vast majority of the Red Army's equipment was of their own manufacture, and there is no grounds to suggest that Stalin's rule was endangered by Red Army battle casualties.

In Barbarossa, the Germans attacked with 120 divisions, the Russians defended with 150 divisions. In Overlord, three years later, the Western Allies invaded with less than 10 divisions (and, by May 1945, still had less than 60 divisions in-theater). Is that what Stalin wanted?

I do not see an intimate relationship with Stalin. The tactical cooperation was arms-length (we ship, you take), and the strategic cooperation was coincidental (we both needed to destroy Nazi Germany), and Stalin's survival was never our choice to make.

"... I have a difficult time accepting the concessions the western allies made to the Soviet's post war ambitions ..."



Concessions? As opposed to what?

The Western Allies had suffered one million dead in battle; that is, one million voting taxpayer-citizens, who were the sons & brothers of millions of other voting taxpayer-citizens.

It is not much of a concession if what you are conceding is something for which you are not prepared to fight, and we were not prepared to go to war over the political arrangements that would govern the former territories of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Yes, it was 1945, not 1919 ... but that's 26 years, which is nothing ... surely, you remember the 1980s like they were yesterday?

The people(s) who had been ruled by Franz Josef would now be ruled by Joseph Jughashvili. Big diff.

I don't think that we were in bed with Stalin, or that we 'gave' him anything we really cared about ... I will make an exception for Mr Churchill, who wanted those tanks for his own troops, but was also very good at math.

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey
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BobbyBarnhart
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25 Dec 2015
10:43:01am
re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

I stand by my post. I apologize for offending your sensibilities with my "inflammatory language," but I believe it is generally accepted that The US regularly supplied Russia through Murmansk and Archangel. It is also true that The US and the UK effectively handed eastern Europe to the USSR at Yalta and Casablanca.

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads

25 Dec 2015
11:43:27am
re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

start with Yalta, and, yes, the western Allies cede Eastern Europe to Stalin. THAT was the gift we gave.

In addition, Sicily and Italy were concessions to Stalin, who wanted a continental threat to Hitler, not something in the remote North African hinterlands.

As to tanks, planes, and such, while we gave them stuff we didn't want (M3 Grants, billions of duece and halfs, P39 aercobras) we expended immense shipping logistics to do, often at great transport and human cost. Some of the weapons WERE crap: the Grants were named coffins for 6 brothers and were obsolete before the war); others, like the P39s were very effective tank killers (Americans used them as fighters, Russians used them as ground support); and our jeeps and trucks meant they weren't spending factory time on them and making their T34s instead.

If the reason the war started was because POLAND was invaded, ceding it to Stalin seemed a poor bargain. Still, allied casualties were nothing compared to Soviet military and civilian deaths.

The allies do NOT win this war without the Soviets. Even if the Soviets remained neutral and passive (and that was never going to be the case), they tied up German Armies (not divisions) and often buried them. Yes, simple math puts us in bed with Stalin who, until Barbarosa, we hated with a passion that men like McCarthy rekindled only a few years later.

But, back to the Finns, which started this, they were ATTACKED by the Soviets and solely fought the Soviets. They were no more Axis than were the Poles.

They initially fought our enemy, the Soviets, which made them our ally; then, when our enemy turned into our ally, the Finns become de facto alligned with our enemy by virtue of fighting our ally, who had been our enemy. Nothing changed with the Finns, only the political landscape and who was gonna get pimped out by whom.

David

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Guthrum
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25 Dec 2015
02:29:52pm
re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

Drifting, gentlemen, drifting...

The thread should not, I think, be diverted into rival interpretations of the post-war arrangements of WW2 victors - which can evidently arouse aggressive feelings unrelated to the iconography of the Finland stamp, the original subject.


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ikeyPikey
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25 Dec 2015
02:44:43pm
re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

"... it is generally accepted that The US regularly supplied Russia through Murmansk and Archangel ..."



It is accepted by us both - I wrote "Yes, we gave tanks & trucks" - but I dispute the idea that this was an endorsement of, or an intimate relationship with, Mr Stalin. Rather, it was just a cheap way for us to kill Germans. Nothing wrong with that, but love it ain't.

"... It is also true that The US and the UK effectively handed eastern Europe to the USSR at Yalta and Casablanca ..."



I do not see how we 'handed' them anything. They stole Eastern Europe, fair & square, by way of armed conquest or, perhaps more accurately, by consequence of armed conflict with someone else. It was not ours, it was not in our hands, and it was not ours to give.

If you think that we 'ceded' anything, it is fair to ask: What would 'not ceded' have looked like? NATO? Did that. Continued armed conflict? Passed that.

"... we gave them stuff we didn't want (M3 Grants, billions of duece and halfs, P39 aercobras ..."



We first delivered from inventory which was, by definition, what we had to give.

Yes, our newer stuff was better, but the production of the Shermans, for example, only began in 1942; the M3s were ready to ship, with their spare parts, and that task gave those troops something to do, eh? Later, the USSR would get the Shermans, too.

As I complete drafting this, I see your note, Guthrum. Fair enough. But the slippery relationships, and what constitutes friend & foe, and what we remember & forget, seems relevant to your topic ... note that the horse "stamps in frustration, its mane flying" ...

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey

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Rhinelander
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26 Dec 2015
11:20:28am
re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

"Finland's stamp depicts a peaceful, agricultural scene, symbolising the return to normality, does it not?"



According to Michel, the stamp shows the hero Ilmarinen plowing a field of vipers. The design is based on a fresco by Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865-1931).

Image Not Found



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AntoniusRa
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27 Dec 2015
05:58:37pm
re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

Although the stamp is reversed from that of the mural it looks pretty much the same. However there are only two vipers/slivers of land in the mural. So it seems reasonable that they represent the 3 pieces of land on the stamp. I would think that most Norwegians were familiar with the mural and what it depicted. Perhaps the designer of the stamp was trying to show that negative influences brought on by the war were being removed from their land. As far as the stamp depicting "a peaceful, agricultural scene", plowing vipers is not what I would envision.

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Guthrum
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28 Dec 2015
04:45:57pm
re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

Thanks, Mitch and Arno, for your replies - especially for the remarkable fresco.

However, I'm sure you both realised that my words, "Finland's stamp depicts a peaceful, agricultural scene, symbolising the return to normality, does it not?" were by way of a rhetorical Aunt Sally, a hypophora, rather than my own interpretation of the stamp. It is, perhaps, what an unobservant or casual glance might infer - no more.

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malcolm197

29 Dec 2015
11:44:25am
re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

I wonder if the three slivers in the stamp is actually a sly joke by the designer,as it is highly probable that, if not prompted as so cleverly done by Ian, not one in a thousand would take the point. If it had been a deliberate official act, and the Soviets had realised, the consequences could have been very grave indeed for Finland. Countries have gone to war for less - particularly Russia.

Things haven't changed very much. Our present fragile relations with Russia are partly because we are not backwards at coming forwards when criticising that country. It is not long ago that a diplomatic storm was current because it was implied,not very subtly that President Putin had ordered a Russian exile murdered on British soil. Sometimes it is necessary to engage brain before putting mouth in gear.It is OK to criticize a head of state for acts in their own country. You don't accuse the head of state of a foreign country of committing a crime in your own - particularly when the evidence is not overwhelming.

As the stamp is not a direct copy of the painting, it is possibly a bit of a leap to infer a political statement, but it is certainly possible. The slivers are near enough to the shape of the lost lands to be credible but different enough to be deniable !!

Malcolm

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smauggie
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03 Jan 2016
11:52:17am
re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

Is it just me or does the plowman look like a executioner with a hood.

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BobbyBarnhart
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03 Jan 2016
11:54:35am
re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

LOL! That was also my impression, Antonio.

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Guthrum

24 Dec 2015
01:19:08pm

Finland found itself in an unenviable position in World War 2. Invaded by the USSR and eventually defeated after embarrassing the Red Army in the Winter War of 1939-40, it became a de facto ally of Nazi Germany and after the war suffered the ignominy of being lumped with Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania at the Paris Peace Treaties of 1947. They were all required to cede land, in Finland's case three slivers of territory to the Soviet Union.

In return these countries were permitted to join the UN, and all but Italy issued stamps to mark the fact (and perhaps to salve some dignity from the proceedings).

Finland's stamp depicts a peaceful, agricultural scene, symbolising the return to normality, does it not?

Well, I suggest there's more to it than that. Have a look at these two pictures: the stamp, and the map showing the land Finland ceded to the USSR.

Image Not Found Image Not Found
On right - Map of the areas ceded by Finland to the Soviet Union after the Winter War 1940.
Copyright© 2005 Jniemenmaa. Shared using
GNU Free Documentation License

The white horse - that Nordic symbol of doom - stamps in frustration, its mane flying, and bows its head in shame. The ploughman's harrow turns up three slivers of turf.

What are they, these pieces of Finnish soil, but Petsamo, Sala and Karelia?


(Modified by Moderator on 2016-01-17 12:00:29)

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They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. -Benjamin Franklin
24 Dec 2015
04:31:19pm

re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

Excellent observations, Ian. While I reluctantly acquiesce to the necessity of climbing into bed with Stalin in '41, I have a difficult time accepting the concessions the western allies made to the Soviet's post war ambitions. The Finnish situation was especially poignant since they found themselves in a situation where they felt compelled to ally themselves with the equally despicable Hitler when invaded by the Soviets.

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michael78651

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24 Dec 2015
05:43:20pm

re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

Subtle, subtle. Very interesting.

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amsd

Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
24 Dec 2015
07:18:37pm

re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

the Finns were NOT allied with Hitler except that they fought the Soviets. In fact, when Hitler was attacking St Petersburgh, he expected the Finns to attack; but they resisted going any further than reclaiming Finnish territory taken by Soviet forces earlier.

That said, there were odd bed fellows during the war, and even odder senses of integrity, the latter not shared by either Stalin nor Hitler.

Tis a pity that the secret Molotov Ribbentrop treaty would later engender the carving up of the innocents, as if the Soviets hadn't already taken plenty.

David

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Guthrum

25 Dec 2015
07:45:48am

re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

I suppose, David, it all depends on what you mean by 'allied'.

Here is FDR, March 16, 1944:

"
It has always seemed odd to me and to the people of the United States to find Finland a partner of Nazi Germany, fighting side by side with the sworn enemies of our civilization.

The Finnish people now have a chance to withdraw from this hateful partnership. The longer they stay at Germany's side the more sorrow and suffering is bound to come to them. I think I can speak for all Americans when I say that we sincerely hope Finland will now take the opportunity to disassociate herself from Germany."



When I wrote 'de facto ally' I intended to mean that, although no formal political alliance took place, practically speaking Finnish troops fought alongside German troops in, for example, the unsuccessful attempt to take Murmansk. I appreciate that in most, if not all cases the Finnish military had little option, and that politically they negotiated the disassociation with Nazi Germany as expeditiously as possible.

I started my WW2 European collection under the headings 'Axis' and 'Allies' but soon found out that in reality that was a bit too simplistic! My Finnish stamps still occupy an album best filed under 'Miscellaneous'.


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ikeyPikey

25 Dec 2015
10:05:35am

re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

"... I reluctantly acquiesce to the necessity of climbing into bed with Stalin in '41 ..."



This sort of inflammatory language coarsens more than it informs. What did we ever do for Stalin?

Yes, we gave tanks & trucks, but that was budget math: improving the lethality of the Red Army was a cheap way for us to kill Germans at a time when we had no good way of killing Germans.

Moreover, the vast majority of the Red Army's equipment was of their own manufacture, and there is no grounds to suggest that Stalin's rule was endangered by Red Army battle casualties.

In Barbarossa, the Germans attacked with 120 divisions, the Russians defended with 150 divisions. In Overlord, three years later, the Western Allies invaded with less than 10 divisions (and, by May 1945, still had less than 60 divisions in-theater). Is that what Stalin wanted?

I do not see an intimate relationship with Stalin. The tactical cooperation was arms-length (we ship, you take), and the strategic cooperation was coincidental (we both needed to destroy Nazi Germany), and Stalin's survival was never our choice to make.

"... I have a difficult time accepting the concessions the western allies made to the Soviet's post war ambitions ..."



Concessions? As opposed to what?

The Western Allies had suffered one million dead in battle; that is, one million voting taxpayer-citizens, who were the sons & brothers of millions of other voting taxpayer-citizens.

It is not much of a concession if what you are conceding is something for which you are not prepared to fight, and we were not prepared to go to war over the political arrangements that would govern the former territories of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Yes, it was 1945, not 1919 ... but that's 26 years, which is nothing ... surely, you remember the 1980s like they were yesterday?

The people(s) who had been ruled by Franz Josef would now be ruled by Joseph Jughashvili. Big diff.

I don't think that we were in bed with Stalin, or that we 'gave' him anything we really cared about ... I will make an exception for Mr Churchill, who wanted those tanks for his own troops, but was also very good at math.

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey
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25 Dec 2015
10:43:01am

re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

I stand by my post. I apologize for offending your sensibilities with my "inflammatory language," but I believe it is generally accepted that The US regularly supplied Russia through Murmansk and Archangel. It is also true that The US and the UK effectively handed eastern Europe to the USSR at Yalta and Casablanca.

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amsd

Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
25 Dec 2015
11:43:27am

re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

start with Yalta, and, yes, the western Allies cede Eastern Europe to Stalin. THAT was the gift we gave.

In addition, Sicily and Italy were concessions to Stalin, who wanted a continental threat to Hitler, not something in the remote North African hinterlands.

As to tanks, planes, and such, while we gave them stuff we didn't want (M3 Grants, billions of duece and halfs, P39 aercobras) we expended immense shipping logistics to do, often at great transport and human cost. Some of the weapons WERE crap: the Grants were named coffins for 6 brothers and were obsolete before the war); others, like the P39s were very effective tank killers (Americans used them as fighters, Russians used them as ground support); and our jeeps and trucks meant they weren't spending factory time on them and making their T34s instead.

If the reason the war started was because POLAND was invaded, ceding it to Stalin seemed a poor bargain. Still, allied casualties were nothing compared to Soviet military and civilian deaths.

The allies do NOT win this war without the Soviets. Even if the Soviets remained neutral and passive (and that was never going to be the case), they tied up German Armies (not divisions) and often buried them. Yes, simple math puts us in bed with Stalin who, until Barbarosa, we hated with a passion that men like McCarthy rekindled only a few years later.

But, back to the Finns, which started this, they were ATTACKED by the Soviets and solely fought the Soviets. They were no more Axis than were the Poles.

They initially fought our enemy, the Soviets, which made them our ally; then, when our enemy turned into our ally, the Finns become de facto alligned with our enemy by virtue of fighting our ally, who had been our enemy. Nothing changed with the Finns, only the political landscape and who was gonna get pimped out by whom.

David

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Guthrum

25 Dec 2015
02:29:52pm

re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

Drifting, gentlemen, drifting...

The thread should not, I think, be diverted into rival interpretations of the post-war arrangements of WW2 victors - which can evidently arouse aggressive feelings unrelated to the iconography of the Finland stamp, the original subject.


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ikeyPikey

25 Dec 2015
02:44:43pm

re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

"... it is generally accepted that The US regularly supplied Russia through Murmansk and Archangel ..."



It is accepted by us both - I wrote "Yes, we gave tanks & trucks" - but I dispute the idea that this was an endorsement of, or an intimate relationship with, Mr Stalin. Rather, it was just a cheap way for us to kill Germans. Nothing wrong with that, but love it ain't.

"... It is also true that The US and the UK effectively handed eastern Europe to the USSR at Yalta and Casablanca ..."



I do not see how we 'handed' them anything. They stole Eastern Europe, fair & square, by way of armed conquest or, perhaps more accurately, by consequence of armed conflict with someone else. It was not ours, it was not in our hands, and it was not ours to give.

If you think that we 'ceded' anything, it is fair to ask: What would 'not ceded' have looked like? NATO? Did that. Continued armed conflict? Passed that.

"... we gave them stuff we didn't want (M3 Grants, billions of duece and halfs, P39 aercobras ..."



We first delivered from inventory which was, by definition, what we had to give.

Yes, our newer stuff was better, but the production of the Shermans, for example, only began in 1942; the M3s were ready to ship, with their spare parts, and that task gave those troops something to do, eh? Later, the USSR would get the Shermans, too.

As I complete drafting this, I see your note, Guthrum. Fair enough. But the slippery relationships, and what constitutes friend & foe, and what we remember & forget, seems relevant to your topic ... note that the horse "stamps in frustration, its mane flying" ...

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey

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Rhinelander

Support the Hobby -- Join the American Philatelic Society
26 Dec 2015
11:20:28am

re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

"Finland's stamp depicts a peaceful, agricultural scene, symbolising the return to normality, does it not?"



According to Michel, the stamp shows the hero Ilmarinen plowing a field of vipers. The design is based on a fresco by Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865-1931).

Image Not Found



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AntoniusRa

The truth is within and only you can reveal it
27 Dec 2015
05:58:37pm

re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

Although the stamp is reversed from that of the mural it looks pretty much the same. However there are only two vipers/slivers of land in the mural. So it seems reasonable that they represent the 3 pieces of land on the stamp. I would think that most Norwegians were familiar with the mural and what it depicted. Perhaps the designer of the stamp was trying to show that negative influences brought on by the war were being removed from their land. As far as the stamp depicting "a peaceful, agricultural scene", plowing vipers is not what I would envision.

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Guthrum

28 Dec 2015
04:45:57pm

re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

Thanks, Mitch and Arno, for your replies - especially for the remarkable fresco.

However, I'm sure you both realised that my words, "Finland's stamp depicts a peaceful, agricultural scene, symbolising the return to normality, does it not?" were by way of a rhetorical Aunt Sally, a hypophora, rather than my own interpretation of the stamp. It is, perhaps, what an unobservant or casual glance might infer - no more.

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malcolm197

29 Dec 2015
11:44:25am

re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

I wonder if the three slivers in the stamp is actually a sly joke by the designer,as it is highly probable that, if not prompted as so cleverly done by Ian, not one in a thousand would take the point. If it had been a deliberate official act, and the Soviets had realised, the consequences could have been very grave indeed for Finland. Countries have gone to war for less - particularly Russia.

Things haven't changed very much. Our present fragile relations with Russia are partly because we are not backwards at coming forwards when criticising that country. It is not long ago that a diplomatic storm was current because it was implied,not very subtly that President Putin had ordered a Russian exile murdered on British soil. Sometimes it is necessary to engage brain before putting mouth in gear.It is OK to criticize a head of state for acts in their own country. You don't accuse the head of state of a foreign country of committing a crime in your own - particularly when the evidence is not overwhelming.

As the stamp is not a direct copy of the painting, it is possibly a bit of a leap to infer a political statement, but it is certainly possible. The slivers are near enough to the shape of the lost lands to be credible but different enough to be deniable !!

Malcolm

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smauggie

03 Jan 2016
11:52:17am

re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

Is it just me or does the plowman look like a executioner with a hood.

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03 Jan 2016
11:54:35am

re: The Finland Peace stamp - anything to spot there?

LOL! That was also my impression, Antonio.

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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. -Edmund Burke"

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