Browse Through a 160,000 Photo Archive of Finland During WWII


In the past, we’ve shared several online archives that give you access to a huge number of historical and historically significant photos online.

PhotosNormandie offered up 3,000+ CC photos from WWII, the NYC Department of Records compiled a database of over 870,000 photos of “the greatest city on earth,” and now the Finnish Defense Forces have put up an online archive of their own, showcasing almost 160,000 wartime photos from Finland during WWII.

First, a short history lesson. These aren’t technically photos from WWII, as much as photos taken during WWII. This is because the Finns consider WWII a continuation of their wars for independence. They fought three wars during this time period, all of which were driving or keeping someone out of their country: The Winter War, The Continuation War and the Lapland War. We won’t go into any more detail than that, but you can read up on Finnish WWII history here.

What this archive offers is a glimpse of Finland during these wars. Be it soldiers on the front lines or civilians making supplies on the home front, the archive is packed with a visual history of the country fighting for its independence:


Pakolaisia Pyhäjärveltä.

Kuitu Oy:llä konstuoitu IT-tykki.


Lakkien neulontaa.

Vänrikki Kahla tarkastelee konekivääreitään.

Miehitetty ampumahauta.

Lataaja ja ampuja kiinnittävät huomionsa vain tykin hoitelemiseen.

Kenraalimajuri Pajarin mailla. Pajari työhuoneessaan.

For obvious reasons, we could only show a tiny sampling of the massive archive, so if you want to see more from Finland fighting both alongside and against the Germans during the Winter, Continuation and Lapland wars, head over to The Finnish Defence Forces archive by clicking here.

(via MetaFilter)

Image credits: Photography courtesy of SA-kuva

  • Aaro Keipi

    As someone with a Finnish heritage, these are awesome! I just wish the site had better image layout for browsing.

  • Maria

    “These aren’t technically photos from WWII, as much as photos taken during WWII. This is because the Finns consider WWII a continuation of their wars for independence.”

    Not really, we consider WWII to be WWII and the wars that Finland fought were very much part of it (otherwise we wouldn’t have been in that mess). Of course they might be thought of as a some kind of continuation of the previous war(s), except that there never really was a war for independence, there was a civil war when Finland was already independent. And in any case, WWII in general was more or less a continuation of WWI.

    But because there were three of them and every war was different (during the Winter War Germany was the enemy, too, for example), it’s sensible that they all have different names, otherwise we wouldn’t know which one we are talking about. So yes, those pictures are mainly from WWII. Of course there are photos of civilians and even some taken during the peace time, but I guess they wouldn’t be called photos from WWII in any other country, either.