Finnish Prime Minister Aimo Cajander has refused to believe that USSR would attack Finland, relying instead on existing treaties, diplomacy and Finnish neutrality. In a speech to the nation, he makes an about face. He reviews Soviet actions in Poland and the Baltic nations, then again rebuffs Soviet demands for bases. He warns that each Finn “has his own guard post” and “must learn to plow carrying rifles”. Commander-in-Chief Field Marshall Mannerheim spreads the woefully under strength Finnish Army of 200,000 across the Karelian Isthmus (40 miles).
The Soviets, however, prepare to cross the entire Finish border and deploys 800,000 men from the Gulf of Finland to the Arctic Circle. Red Army supplements the supply of troops by sending press gangs out in St. Petersburg. One middle-aged man with no military training is ‘recruited” while out shopping for shoes for his wife. He still has her shoes in his kitbag when he is captured by the Finns weeks later.