8. A Bitter Defeat
Torni’s superiors were impressed by his performance during the Winter War. In the conflict’s later stages, he was sent to officer training, and was commissioned a second lieutenant upon graduation. By then, however, the Soviets had gotten their act together. Once the Red Army brought its overwhelming superiority in arms, men, munitions, and materiel to bear, Finland’s defeat was inevitable. By the spring of 1940, the Finns had inflicted about 380,000 casualties upon the invaders, while suffering only 70,000 of their own. Unlike Finland, however, the Soviets could afford their losses.
The Finns were forced to sue for peace in March, 1940, and gave the Soviets what they had wanted. Having his country invaded by its giant communist neighbor left Torni with a serious dislike for the Soviets and for communism. The war’s outcome left him seething at his country’s unjust treatment, and itching for payback. In June, 1941, he traveled to Vienna to train with the Waffen-SS.