Winter War in popular culture
The influence of the Winter War in popular culture has been deep and wide, not only in Finnish culture, but also worldwide. The Finnish struggle against the Soviet Union has been seen as a classic David versus Goliath situation. The Winter War began three months after World War II started, and the war had full media attention as other European fronts had a calm period.
Movies and television
The 1940 play There Shall Be No Night by American playwright Robert E. Sherwood was inspired by a moving Christmas 1939 broadcast to America by war correspondent Bill White of CBS. The play was produced on Broadway in 1940, and won the 1941 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
The 1940 American film Ski Patrol features a Finnish reserve unit defending the border against Russians. The film took great historical liberties in its storyline and was photographed by the Hollywood master Milton Krasner.
In 1989, the Finnish movie Talvisota was released. This film tells the story of a Finnish platoon of reservists from Kauhava. The platoon belongs to the 23rd Infantry Regiment, which consists almost solely of men from Southern Ostrobothnia.
The 2006 documentary Fire and Ice: The Winter War of Finland and Russia shows how the Winter War influenced World War II and how Finland mobilized against the world's largest military power.
In 2011 Philip Kaufman began filming HBO's Hemingway & Gellhorn, which features Martha Gellhorn (played by Nicole Kidman) reporting from Finland during The Winter War. Steven Wiig portrays Simo Häyhä, leading a group of Finnish soldiers to shelter.
At the end and within a year after the Winter War – years 1940–1941 – much literature was published in the Soviet Union. Books were very narrow by their military history and operations, but they had a strong political in-line message. The overall campaign was disastrous, so literature found its pride in the details of battles and military heroes. For example the breakthrough of the Mannerheim Line was represented as "legendary" performance by the Red Army.
The 1940 boy's adventure story Biggles Sees It Through by W.E. Johns is set during the final stages of the war. Squadron Leader James Bigglesworth is allowed by the British government to go in a party of volunteers to help the Finns in their struggle against Soviet aggression. They fly reconnaissance raids from a base at Oskar in a Bristol Blenheim bomber, and encounter a Polish scientist with secret papers on new aircraft alloys, plus von Stalhein their old World War I enemy.
The 2007 novel The Burnt-out Town of Miracles by Roy Jacobsen (Author), Don Bartlett and Don Shaw (Translators) tells the story of the Winter War through the eyes of one man, Timo the woodcutter, and the small Finnish town of Suomussalmi where he lives.
Swedish heavy metal band Sabaton recorded the song "Talvisota", about the Winter War, on their 2008 album The Art of War, as well as the song "White Death", about Finnish sniper Simo Häyhä, on their 2010 album Coat of Arms.
In a 1992 column in Pelit, "Wexteen" (Jyrki J. J. Kasvi) lamented the difficulty of modelling the war in interactive entertainment. According to Wexteen, if the game mechanics are based on troop strengths, troops will march through Helsinki; if on historical events, through Moscow. The Winter War was featured in a scenario of the grand strategy game Hearts of Iron 2 and received dedicated games in the wargame Squad Battles: Winter War and the educational real-time strategy game Talvisota: Icy Hell.
Several commercial board ("map and counter") games have been published which cover the campaign:
"Winter War" – Simulations Publications, 1972 "Arctic Storm: The Russo-Finnish Winter War 1939–40" – GMT Games, 1992 "A Winter War" – Game Research/Design (Europa Series), 1994 "Molotov's War: Russo-Finish Conflict, 1939–40 " – Decision Games, 1995
The above are all out of print.
- "Ski Patrol (1940)". iMDB. Retrieved 2011-11-30.
- "Ennennäkemätön talvisotaelokuva Ski Patrol" [Never-before-seen Winter War film Ski Patrol] (in Finnish). Finnish Film Archive. Retrieved 2011-11-30.
- Antero Uitto (1999): "Talvisota puna-armeijan silmin" (in Finnish), p. 83