Sunday, November 8, 2009

Day 70 November 9, 1939

The Finnish government responds to continued Soviet demands for land concessions and military bases by rescinding their offer to yield the Gulf of Finland islands. Their embarrassed delegates, Paasikivi and Tanner, still in Moscow, are left to communicate this. At 6 PM they meet Molotov and Stalin for the final time; “Finland cannot grant to a foreign state military bases on its own territory”. Before they leave, Stalin, incredulous, asks “Nothing doing”? At midnight, Molotov enquires whether Finland will sell the Hanko peninsula to get around this impasse. The Finns pack their bags for the last time. Nothing doing.

Hitler issues directive No. 9. German aircraft and submarines are directed to mine British sea lanes and to target attacks on British merchant shipping, ports and storage depots. His goal is to starve Britain out of the war, reflecting on the blockade that crippled Germany in the First World War.

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