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The Continuation War, also known as Second Soviet-Finnish war, was a conflict fought by Finland and Nazi Germany, against the Soviet Union (USSR) from 1941 to 1944, as a part of World War II. In Soviet historiography, the war was called the Finnish Front of the Great Patriotic War. Germany regarded its operations in the region as part of its overall war efforts on the Eastern Front and provided Finland with critical material support and military assistance, including economic aid.
The Continuation War began 15 months after the end of the Winter War, also fought between Finland and the USSR. There have been numerous reasons proposed for the Finnish decision to invade, with regaining territory lost during the Winter War being regarded as the most common. Other justifications for the conflict included President Ryti's vision of a Greater Finland and Commander-in-Chief Mannerheim's desire to annex East Karelia. Plans for the attack were developed jointly between the Wehrmacht and a faction of Finnish political and military leaders with the rest of the government remaining ignorant. Despite the co-operation in this conflict, Finland never formally signed the Tripartite Pact, though they did sign the Anti-Comintern Pact. Finland's leadership justified their alliance with Germany as self-defence.
On 25 June 1941 the Soviet Union launched an air raid against Finnish cities, after which Finland declared war and also allowed German troops stationed in Finland to begin offensive warfare. By September 1941, Finland had regained its post–Winter War concessions to the Soviet Union: the Karelian Isthmus
and Ladoga Karelia
. However, the Finnish Army continued the offensive past the pre-1939 border with the conquest of East Karelia
, including Petrozavodsk
, as well as halting only around 30–32 km (19–20 mi) from the centre of Leningrad
, where they participated in besieging the city
by cutting its northern supply routes and digging in until 1944. In Lapland
, joint German–Finnish forces failed to capture Murmansk
or cut the Kirov (Murmansk) Railway, a transit route for lend-lease
equipment to the USSR. The conflict stabilised with only minor skirmishes until the tide of the war turned against the Germans and the Soviet Union's strategic Vyborg–Petrozavodsk Offensive
in June 1944. The attack drove the Finns from most of the territories they had gained during the war, but the Finnish Army halted the offensive in August 1944. (Full article...