Finland at War 1939-1945 multimedia project
What is Finland at War 1939-1945?
Finland at War 1939-1945 is academically valid and vivid presentation of those fateful years of recent Finnish history. In addition to the pilot version about the Battle of Vuosalmi, fought between Finland and the Soviet Union in summer 1944, the four-year project now contains completed sections that tell, in language versions (Finnish-Swedish-English), of the military operations of the Continuation War from the perspective of the General Head Quarters and the fronts. The multimedia package includes an extensive encyclopedia. The completed sections are available to the public on the computers of the special exhibition about the Continuation War at the Military Museum of Finland. These military operations are being supplemented by combat descriptions of the decisive battles. The entire production will be gathered together into a complete package at the end of 2003/beginning of 2004.
During the current work phase, representations of eight of the decisive battles of summer 1944 will be produced by the end of next year. Seventeen leading military history and international politics experts under the leadership of military historian Lieutenant Colonel Ari Raunio, M. Pol. Sc. are participating in the information network of this project. Unique multi-layer historical map materials are being digitized and produced as a basis of the presentation and to further increase clarity. The preparation of maps, for presenting both the military operations and the combat terrain, is also being carried out for the Winter War, in addition to the Continuation War. In due course these maps will be gathered into a book, which will accompany the product and explain the multimedia installation. The execution of the multimedia on the Winter War is planned for 2004, if the necessary funding is successfully acquired.
Funding granted by the European Union for the project has enabled extensive research in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Work undertaken at the Central Archives of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation at Podolsk and the Russian State Documentary Film and Photo Archive at Krasnogorsk is ongoing and has already produced many new findings. This new data will both deepen and clarify historical writing on Finland at War, and particularly the Continuation War. The leading Russian expert, professor Yuri Kilin of Petrozavodsk State University, commissioned by Kärkijoukkue, leads this work.
In addition, EU Interreg funding has enabled aerial and ground photography of the combat terrains, the acquisition of actual wartime aerial photographs, and interviews on the real sites of events with Finnish and Russian veterans who participated in the battles.
The Institute of Digital Media (DMI) at the Tampere University of Technology has developed two new programming tools with funding from Tekes and Finnish industry. These tools enable - in a unique and realistic manner - the combat terrain to be clearly modeled in 3D as it looked at the time, and allow the course of combat events to be followed on a day-by-day basis. Program users can freely choose their point of observation if they want to understand the influence of terrain, topography, and tactics on the final outcome of each battle. The finishing touches to these tools, and their addition to the user interface of the Finland at War program, is presently underway with the aid of funding granted by the foundations operating within the Finnish Defence Forces.
This still incomplete multimedia project is an invaluable national work, an academically valid historical piece set in the national memory of the history of the Second World War. The history is presented in a vivid manner, which also opens its application to new teaching opportunities. Teachers must now respond to the demands and challenges of the Internet generation. Traditional instruction is no longer sufficient.
When it is completed, the multimedia work will fulfill a long-standing need for a total popular presentation of Finland at War. Executed in multiple languages and taking advantage of the newest research, it will have multiple applications within the Finnish Defence forces and amongst specialists abroad interested in Finnish military history. It is to be hoped that the work would find its way to a broader community of experts, and to support the instruction of history, because finding quality source material on the Second World War from the widely scattered jungle of research material is arduous.
The project has been extensively presented in different forums throughout its different phases, most recently in July to the Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen, who regarded the completed sections of this non-commercial project as a significant cultural contribution. Earlier, the project had received positive responses from the Ministry of Education and organizations such as VTT (the Technical Research Centre of Finland), Tekes and the veterans of the wars.
Slightly over half of the project's entire funding has been utilized until this point in time. In addition to Finnish industry and company support, Tekes, the Kordelin Foundation, the support foundation of the Finnish Defence Forces and the Support Foundation for the National Defence have participated in the project. The executive board of the project is drawn from the leading figures of Finnish commercial life and the Defence Forces, with Jukka Viinanen, President, CEO of the Orion Group, serving as chairman. The board oversees the progress of the project and the expenditure of resources. Kärkijoukkue Oy, a non-profit project company with Lieutenant Colonel Leo Skogström as its managing director, was founded in 1997 to start and lead the Finland at War project.
3D and models
The Finnish Virtual Pilots Association cooperated in the project and helped the creators to receive large number of high quality 3d models, that are being used to create animated battle sequences.
Thanks to all who have helped and participated. Information and 3d models can be viewed elsewhere in this site.
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Last modified: 2004-04-12 11:46