Helsinki, Finland, July 2017
Finland has had an interesting history. It was annexed by the Russian empire and became Grand Duchy of Finland in 1809, suffered through a civil war at the end of World War I, but emerged an independent republic. (Having never been a kingdom, there are no royal palaces in Finland). During World War II, Finland was a unique case: It was the only European country bordering the Soviet Union in 1939 which was still unoccupied by 1945. Of all the European countries fighting, only three European capitals were never occupied: Moscow, London and Helsinki. It was a country which sided with Germany, but in which native Jews and almost all refugees were safe from persecution. It was the only co-belligerent of Nazi Germany which maintained democracy throughout the war. It was also the only belligerent in mainland Europe to do so.
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