THE WAR IN LAPLAND
The Moscow armistice and interim peace treaties signed in Moscow in autumn 1944 stipulated that the 200 000 strong German troops had to leave Finland by 15.9.1944.
The Germans had received already in 1943 from their high command an order to prepare for the possible Finnish disengagement and military countermeasures. According to the orders the mountain army had constructed two strong lines of defence in the northernmost part of Finland.
The German troops started their withdrawal from Finland in September 1944, but the time schedule of the evacuation could not be upheld. The Germans had in northern Finland huge material depots which could not be rapidly discharged. The Finns and the Germans tacitly agreed on the schedule and manner of withdrawal. This did not satisfy the Soviets who insisted on military action threatening otherwise to deploy their own troops in Finland. The unsuccessful German amphibious attack against Hogland and the pressure by the Soviet leadership led to open hostilities against the German troops. Since Finland had already started demobilization troops consisting of younger age groups were directed towards the north. Strong enemy, poor road network and winter conditions delayed the advance of Finnish troops. The last German troops left Finland only at the end of April 1945. For Finland the Second World War was over.