Eteläkarjalainen maisema

Eteläkarjalainen maisema
Tässä blogissa on sekä kuvia että tarinoita upean Etelä-Karjalan luonnosta, ihmisistä ja kulttuurista. Kuvassa syyskuinen näkymä Saimaan kanavan varrelta.

sunnuntai 12. maaliskuuta 2017

Winter War, the Finnish Relief Fund and the Midwestern town of Lead, South Dakota

Well-known artist Jon Corbino presenting a check to former President Herbert Hoover for the Hoover Committee for Finnish Relief 1940. Photo sourced from
Lead Daily Call, January 25, 1940
Tomorrow, on 13th March, 2017, 77 years have passed since the end of the Winter War. Almost everywhere a small countrys battle against the much larger aggressor aroused compassion and plenty of volunteer activities. This happened also all over in the USA. Most active were, of course, Finnish Americans and people with other Scandinavian background. The Finns, however, were supported in every level in the U.S. society. There was only one exception, Communists.

 Lead Daily Call, January 29, 1940
A number of organizations were created in the USA to help the Finns. The most significant of them was The Finnish Relief Fund. It was a humanitarian aid organization initiated by former United States President Herbert Hoover in December 1939, after Soviet Union had invaded Finland on 30th November, 1939. The war ended with the Moscow Peace Treaty on 13th  March, 1940. The League of Nations deemed the attack
The local Finnish Sauna supported Finnish Relief Fund, too.
Lead Daily Call, December 13, 1939
illegal and expelled the Soviet Union from the League on 14 December 1939. The Soviet Union had intended to conquer all of Finland and established a puppet Finnish Communist government in Terijoki, Carelia.  Despite of the fact, that the Soviets possessed more than three times as many soldiers as the Finns, thirty times as many aircraft, and a hundred times as many tanks, they failed. 

President Herbert Hoover himself wrote later, how his initiative started (An American Epic, Volume IV)
 Lead Daily Call, January 10, 1940

On December 3, the Finnish Minister to the United States, Hjalmar J. Procope, through my old associate, Lewis L. Strauss, asked if our group would undertake to organize relief for Finland as we were already doing for Poland. Before replying, I again, as in the case of Poland, urged Norman Davis, Chairman of the American Red Cross, that this relief be undertaken by that organization. I proposed that our group would serve under him if he wished. He decided the Red Cross would limit its services to medical aid and would collect garments through its chapters. However, Finland's most critical need was food.

Lead daily Call, January 10, 1940
Our old colleagues incorporated the Finnish Relief Fund, Inc., under the laws of Delaware on December 6, 1939. Except for part of the clerical help, this American organization consisted entirely of volunteers. The following officers were elected: Herbert Hoover, Chairman; Edgar Richard, President; Lewis L. Strauss, Vice-President; John Jay Hopkins, Vice-Chairman and Director of Organization. Additional Directors: Perrin C. Galpin, Frank C. Page, Raymond Sawtelle, Edwin P. Shattuck, John L. Simpson, H. Alexander Smith, Clare M. Torrey...

On December 7, I made the following address on Finnish relief:
Lead Daily Call, March 25, 1940
Lead Daily Call, December 18, 1939
America has a duty to do its part in the relief of the hideous suffering of the Finnish people. Our people should have an outlet in which to express their individual and practical sympathy. I have consented to organize a nation-wide Finnish Relief Fund for this purpose. I appeal to the American people for its support. Finland is not a rich country. The people have little reserve for emergency. They are making a heroic defense. Air attacks have compelled the evacuation of civilians from their towns and cities. Hundreds of thousands of women and children have been driven from their homes in the middle of northern winter...Others are without adequate shelter, clothing, and food. This Fund is for the purpose of serving these broad needs. The American Red Cross has appealed for funds to furnish medicines, hospital supplies, and many garments will be provided through their chapters. They should be supported. The two funds will cooperate fully...
By March 1940, The Finnish Relief Fund had raised 2.5 million US dollars. Altogether the sum was over 3,5 million dollars.
President Hoover sent a telegram to the publishers of America's leading newspapers, asking whether they would receive contributions, report the donors in their columns, and remit the money to the Relief Fund. Hoover's campaign was advertised in 1,400 newspapers across the United States. The largest contributions came from private donors ($1.9 million), newspaper ads ($652,869), industrial companies ($318,188) and labor unions ($27,294).

The Finnish Relief Fund was very active in the Black Hills area, too. The local newspaper, Lead Daily Call, gave plenty of column inches to Relief Funds notifications, events and collections. The City of Lead in South Dakota, were a few hundred Finns
Lead Daily Call, January 30, 1940
lived, proclaimed a Finnish Relief Fund week in December. In the end of January, 1940, Lead had contributed already $2402 to the Finnish Relief Fund.

I gathered the attached newspaper clippings to find out how this small Midwestern town supported the Finns in their battle against overwhelming aggressor.

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