Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Stuff that happened in the past. They say if you fail to learn of it you’ll end up repeating it.

The Truth is badly photocopied.

October 17th, 2007 by Jarmo Puskala

US goverment document about nazi ufos?

Finland at War, part II

September 13th, 2007 by Timo Vuorensola

Captured soviet train

For pictures from the Finnish wars see this collection from Kev OS 4 Finnish Re-enactors.

Our researcher / history expert, Mikko Sillanpää, noticed the discussions going on in our forum and blog, and decided to write a short essay about Finland in World War II. He also ponders the reasons why Iron Sky, a film about Nazis, can actually add interesting viewpoint to the subject usually seen filmed by either USA or Germany. We’ve taken the liberty to add some links to an interesting collection of Finnish war photos peppered around the article. So here it goes, check it out. And the discussions are going on in our forum, feel free share your thoughts and questions over there.

“Now for my question. What exactly was Finland’s role in the Second World War? It just surprised me that Finland would make a movie dealing with WW2 since they considered themselves fighting 3 separate wars.”

Well, there are several points of view one could take in order to answer this question. Maybe I should start by pointing out, and I really don’t mean to sarcastic or anything like that, about the sentence after the actual question: it’s not Finland, but some Finns (and perhaps people of other nationalities too) who are making the movie. That’s of course very obvious, but in the same it’s an important point because in Finland, as in other countries too, there are differing opinions about the war.

That leads us into the question of contemporary experience. During the war undoutably some Finns have felt that they were not fighting alongside Germany, and some Finns have felt that they did exactly that. There were also some Finns who felt they were now fighting for real the war that was never officially fought during 1917-1921 period in Eastern Karelia, to liberate Karelians first from Russia’s control, then from Soviet control. It could be argued for example that Mannerheim felt this way when he issued his infamous general directive in the beginning of Continuation War, where he more or less said that he wouldn’t stop fighting until Karelia would be free again. Also there were Finns who felt that they were fighting against Soviet aggression all the time. And on top of it all, many common men probably were fighting to save their way of life against soviet way of life, or simply because they had fight.

Tuntematon SotilasSo what we are looking here is the very diverse political, ideological, historical, nationalistic and other views about what people thought why they were fighting. In literature there’s a fine description about war written by Väinö Linna, named as Tuntematon sotilas (Unknown Soldier), where people from different parts of Finland and from different social backgrounds are part of same unit during the war. The famous last words of the book are roughly translated as “What a shitty trip that was, but it’s over now” and that should reflect with some accuracy the general feeling Finns had about the war: it was something that they didn’t want, but they had no choice.

There’s evidently some duality about the Finnish attitude towards the war. On the other hand it’s evident that most Finns felt that they were fighting separate wars, but on the other hand, those wars would have not taken place without World War itself. And like they it or not, Finland did have a role to play in WW2 in general. Let’s look at the three wars more closely.

The Winter War during Winter of 1939-1940 was the first one. The background for it comes from Hitler’s wish to ally with Soviet Union in order to gain free hands against France and UK, that lead into the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop contract, that defined the spheres of influence for both Soviet Union and Germany, i.e. zones where each country could act freely without fear of armed intervention of another. Finland had the bad luck to be in the Soviet zone. Soviet Union didn’t hesitate too long to grab the promised zone under it’s control, but one could say with some justification that it did so in order to protect it’s own interests.

It really comes down into what is considered as justified actions in the sphere of international relations, and especially what is justified from different points of view. Thrillingly excellent book about this subject is written by J.K. Paasikivi, who was the main negotiator from Finland to Soviet Union from the Autumn 1939 throughout 1941. He is also, in my opinion, one greatest statemen Finland has ever had. In any case Paasikivi makes a point, that at the situation of 1939 it seems that superpowers simply cannot take into account the points of view of smaller nations, because of the aggressive other superpowers.

Paasikivi also speaks about Russian national character and also about the point of view of Soviet Union regarding the other superpowers. In short, the Western countries had made a good effort to prevent Soviet Union taking shape by sopporting White troops during and after WW1, and in the period between the wars made their best to ignore and isolate Soviet Union. Germany on the other hand was in the hands of very aggressive dictator, Hitler, and was probably making preparations against Soviet Union with approval of if not alliance from Japan, which had been aggressive towards gaining new land from Siberia. So, from Soviet point of view, just about whole world would be against them, and they really wanted to keep their options open by having Baltic Sea route secured, and especially keep their second largest city Leningrad (St. Petersburg) protected.

Paasikivi understood these points of view, but Finns generally didn’t felt too good about demands Soviet Union made in the negotiations, which is very understandable from Finnish point of view. One of the best agricultural areas, with one of largest city of Finland, Viipuri, and especially important forest-industry was situated in the area that Soviet Union demanded to be given to them for protection of Leningrad. Stalin, while being frustrated about the negotiations that weren’t going anywhere once excalated: “But for geography even Finns cannot do anything!” meaning, that whatever basis Finns had for their refusal, Soviet Union couldn’t give up demands for that simple reason.

Also a huge impact to the failure of the negotiations was the very negative attitude Finns in general had towards Russians and Soviet Union. The russification measures, that eventually lead into Finnish declaration of indepence and Russia’s / Soviet role in the following War of independence were too recent event, there just couldn’t be any sympathy towards Soviet Union, and very probably most Finns would have been delighted to see Soviet Union to get into trouble with Germany, while not sympathisizing with nazis in general. Note that Finns didn’t know about the secret addition to the Molotov-Ribbentrop contract and were sure that Germany would come to our aid should Soviet Union start a war! Also Finnish cabinet did not take Soviet demands too seriously and thought all the time that there would be more time for negotiations.

And thinking all this from Soviet point of view: they were in hurry of building their army and securing zone of influence, and since the negotiations weren’t seem to lead into anything positive, it was quite logical for Stalin to decide to take with force what the negotiations would not bring. There were good reasons for this decision. First of all Germany would most probably lift even a finger about it, and Red Army had twice as more tanks, planes and guns than the rest of world together had at that point. Even in the city of Leningrad there were more people living than in whole Finland. What an Earth a poor and very ill-equipped small country at the periphery of Europe could possibly do against Soviet Army? And even then Soviet Union played it safe by putting several hundreds of thousands of men, thousands of tanks and hundreds of airplanes against Finland, which could mobilize at maximum 20 airplanes, 20 tanks and some tens of thousands of men. Generally force relation 2:1 is considered as strategical advantage that leads more or less automatic victory, Soviet Union had in the start of the Winter War a general force relation about 4:1 in men, and something like 100:1 in the artillery, tanks and airplanes. One could even say that they very ridiculously well prepared. At the end of Winter War with Soviet reinforcements and Finnish losses, force relation was nearer to 20:1 at the crucial sectors of the front.

Finland marches to war

Finnish recruits in their civilian clothing.

It’s not needed to go details of the Winter War campaigns, suffice to say that at the beginning of it there weren’t enough uniforms for men, they had to fight in their civilian clothing, and at the end of it Finland had used almost all of it’s ammunition reserves. While Soviet Union had put over 1,5 million men in line with losses about 400 000 men. Stalin was in hurry to end the war, and terms of peace were more or less the same that Soviet Union had demanded in the negotiations during the Autumn, however with some heavy additional punishments on top of it.

The importance of Winter War for the general history of the WW2 is that Hitler came to underestimate Soviet strength, it was after all very embarrassing “win” for Red Army. Of importance is also that general judgement about peace terms in Finland was very negative, Finns felt after all that they had won at the battle field but lost at the negotiation table. Also the hesitation and sloth of Western powers was evident. They were not willing to help Finland until it was too late, and Finnish reading of this was that it was deliberate policy from France and UK to offer too little too late and therefore leave Finland alone in practice even while saying rosy things at the negotiation tables. The result of Winter War then was quite direct: the lust for revenge was born. For Soviet Union result was more or less embarrassing, altough the prime target had been achieved, Leningrad had now strategically much safer positon. Price was too high, but it was not Stalin’s habit of crying about spilt milk. However in Red Army some huge changes were taking place according to the lessons learned from Winter War. For Germany there was additional bonus besides of getting some new information about performance of Red Army and weakening it, Germany could be sure to have a warm support from Finland when the time would come to turn against Soviet Union.

The year or so between Winter War and Continuation War were for Finland time for practically total rebuild of military that was very much had been neglected during the leftist governments of 1930′s. As Western allies were hard-pressed to sell any equipment, they needed themselves too much, the only choice was Germany, but even from there not too much equipment could be bought since Hitler didn’t want to turn openly against Stalin. However some serious work was done in re-armament, and general feeling was positive towards it, after all many thought that as soon as international tensions would be lessened, Soviet Union would turn back to Finland and finish the job by capturing the rest of it too. There was no practical chance of any construction of relationships between Finland and Soviet Union.

The Continuation War actually started by Soviet Union declaring war. The Finns themselves were hesitant to start it, but it could be said with a justification that it was only matter of time, once Germany would have made impressive progress against Soviet Union, Finland would have declared war. At the first pace of Continuation War Finnish troops gained some very impressive areas, but were unable to inflict strategic losses to the Soviet troops. Pre-Winter War borders were crossed at some points, but generally only to shorten the front. When it came to the prime reason for Hitler to try to get Finland as his ally, capture of Leningrad, all Finnish leading politicians and military men were against it. Mannerheim simply noted in some discussion, that even while Germany might win this war, Russians would forever be Russians and never forgive Finns if we were to capture Leningrad. So Finnish offensive was halted at the gates of Leningrad. This did not please Germany at all, but in the same German offensive was going on so well, that it seemed more or less irrelevant, Germany was sure to capture the city by its own. It is theorhetical question that would it been possible for Finnish army to capture Leningrad. General consensus seems to be that it would have been, altough urban area fighting later in Stalingrad was proved to be very difficult for attacker.

Milking a cow.

Everyday life at the front line.

In any case at the Autumn of 1941 the Finnish front froze into positions that were to last more or less the same until 1944. Finns neither made any attempts to attack Kola peninsula and towards Murmansk harbour that was very vital for Soviet Union. That is the reason Hitler sent his Northern Army to Lapland, but battles there proved to be very difficult, and the German troops didn’t make much progress. The importance of Leningrad was not central for the operations in the German Eastern front. The war in the East was decided in other fronts, especially at Moscow front and the Southern Front. However Finnish troops did tie down some Soviet Troops and freed Germany’s troops for operations in some other areas. It is very probable that Soviet Union would have conquered Finland to gain better access to the Baltic Sea and thus to the soft back of Germany, so war between Finland and Soviet Union was inevitable when Germany attacked into Soviet Union because Finns would have never freely given Soviet access to the Finnish naval bases.

It is to be noted that Finland never was allied with Germany during the war, thus it was never part of the Axis, altough fighting against common enemy and recieving military support from Germany especially. During Continuation War Finland recieved some very important weapon shipments from Germany, altough only a fraction from what was promised. When the war in the East was clearly not succesful, Hitler started to demand official contract to be signed between Finland and Germany. For some time Finland was able to put up excuses but eventually Germany stopped weapon shipments to Finland to put real pressure on the issue. Then Finnish president R. Ryti gave his solemn word to Hitler that Finland would not make separate peace with Soviet Union behind Hitler’s back. Hitler thus recieved clear enough declaration from Finland and weapon shipments continued, while Finns legally weren’t tied by any contract. It was deliberate sham from the president R. Ryti. When the German situation was evidently doomed and Germany irrationally decided of making no peace negotiations with Soviet Union, Finland was forced to seek peace with Soviet Union. President R. Ryti resigned his office, thus making it clear that his word was no longer binding Finnish cabinet and peace negotiations were started. At first the negotiations were slow, but after suffering horrendous losses in the Soviet attack of 1944, Finland had to accept even harsher peace terms that after Winter War. But even in this defeat Finns were lucky. No other nation recieved a possibility to keep it’s independence after war against Soviet Union. Stalin was in hurry to free his forces from Finnish front to the race towards Berlin, but it could also be hypotized that Stalin felt genuine respect towards Finns and especially towards Mannerheim, whom was practically only one of the leading Finns to keep his freedom after the war.

Village burning

Finnish ski troops pictured during Winter War have nothing to do with burning Rovaniemi.

Soviet Union also made a demand of Finland actually driving away German troops by fighting from Lapland, even while Finnish and German troops had made gentleman’s agreement that German troops would withdraw and Finnish troops would follow without actual fighting. Finns were then made to brake this agreement and start actual fighting in Lapland, which was to become the third war during the WW2 for Finns. Germans practically burned every city and town in Lapland as revenge, but the German troops were expelled in time.

For Germany the Finnish peace with Soviet Union and consequently the war in Lapland had no real meaning anymore. Germany was hopelessly lost the war already in 1942-1943 Eastern Front fighting. For Soviet Union it meant freeing some forces against already beaten Germany. For Finland it meant keeping of the independence rather than losing it by fighting too long after the defeat had already happened. For world history it would have some meaning in that the 1944-1945 first steps were taken in the new chapter of Finnish-Russian relations which proved during the cold war, that communistic and capitalistic states could live in peace with each other.

When viewed against this background your question about making a movie related to WW2 theme by Finns hopefully shows first of diverse contemporary experience during and after war, but also that even while Finns generally felt fighting their own wars, those wars were tied tightly into the contexts of WW2 itself. This complicated legacy of the war perhaps gives Finns an unique perspective to the WW2, since for Finns there weren’t any great left vs. right ideological battles to be fought, rather than battles for survivor of Finnish independence and therefore Finnish culture. For most Finns Hitler and Stalin were equal crooks, but Hitler just happened to be our side, note that we weren’t on his side, while Western powers were conveniently neutral during our time of need. Things being as such I think Finns could give a very interesting contribution to the ever happening re-interpretation of WW2 legacy. What happens with this movie remains to be seen :-)

Written by Mikko Sillanpää

Update:
In the forum discussion there was also a link to an article about the situation of Jews in Finland during the wars. The “Jewish question” is something that’s very rarely discussed in Finland, so it’s an interesting read. Apparently, even though the departation of 8 Jews during the war is well remembered and still considered a stain in Finnish history, the whole story is very different, with Mannerheim openly defying the Nazis. Because of the unique situation, three Jews serving in the Finnish military were awarded the German Iron Cross during the war – they all refused to accept it.

So what did Finland do in the War?

September 12th, 2007 by Jarmo Puskala

englantilainenpiirrostankin.jpg

There’s a potentially very interesting thread starting on our message board about Finland in WWII.

Now for my question. What exactly was Finland’s role in the Second World War?

Now, often this question is followed by “weren’t you allied with the Nazis?”. This is usually followed by a short, unconfortable silence and “um, yeah, kinda, but we didn’t really like them…” and then the interesting discussion starts with several Finns posting very thorough lessons on Finnish military history – and it’s an interesting history I might add.

So this is where the thread is now. We’ve covered in short the Soviet agression leading to Winter War, the defencive victory and occupation of Russian terratories in the beginning of the continuation war and greed leading to getting our asses kicked and the the Lapland war, with Finland fighting the Nazis and the m burning down Rovaniemi

This is a good opportunity to get to know what Finland actually did in WWII and what kind of skeletons we might have in our national closet. For you foreigners it’s also a good primer to the Finnish mentality. Yeah, we kind of fought with the bad guys, but it was just because we didn’t have any choice. And that while we’re still very proud of what our grandparents accomplished with fighting those wars, we’re not proud of them having fought a war nor for killing their enemies. We’re proud, because without them we would have lived in a very different country – one that would not have been called Finland. We’re proud because they did what we Finns value over everything else “doing what must be done”.

That’s the key to our stubborness, we’re not very good at making pompous excuses, we just tend to do things because we think they have to be done. Like, say, make a movie in our living room for seven years, because, well, we wanted to make a movie.

And when we Finns want to really bang our drum on something we like to compare it to the Winter War…

And on a completely unrelated note:

The office has been without a decent net connection for a week (and still is) because we’re changing to a better broadband service. Our old connection has been disconnected, but the new one hasn’t been installed yet. So we might have been a bit quieter on the net front and it might be a bit slow to get replies to emails during the work hours.

Update: And as it were, we just got our connection hooked up and the office is back online!

”Jumalani, miksi annoit NEEKERILLE vapauden?”

May 19th, 2006 by Timo Vuorensola

D.W. Griffit: Kansakunnan syntyEnergian matka kohti seuraavan elokuvan tuotantoa on monivivahteinen, ja tärkeimpänä asiana Rautataivaan onnistumisessa itse näen kyvyn oppia ja omaksua uutta. Olenkin aloittanut sivistämään toimistoamme ja itseäni kasaamalla vinon pinon klassikkoelokuvia aivan 1900-luvun alkuvuosilta näihin päiviin asti, ja pari kertaa kuukaudessa järjestämme toimistolla työajan päätyttyä leffaillan, jossa käymme opintomielessä tutustumaan johonkin elokuvahistorian merkkiteoksista.

Ensimmäisessä Energian leffaillassa katsoimme yli kolmetuntisen mykkäelokuvan Amerikan sisällissodasta ja sen jälkeisistä vuosista, D.W. Griffithin vuonna 1915 valmistuneen (liekköhän kukaan oli tuolloin vielä kuullutkaantermiä ’ohjaaja’) eepoksen ’Birth of a Nation’, ’Kansakunnan synty’.

Elokuva on kenties maailmanhistorian ensimmäinen jättiraina, suurteos, joka esitteli elokuvamaailmalle liudan täysin uudenlaisia tekniikoita ja mahdollisuuksia. Kamera-ajo, ristiinleikkaus ja monet muut nykypäivän itsestäänselvyydet tekivät ensiesiintymisensä tässä massiivisessa eepoksessa.

Tarina alkaa sisällissodan aatosta, etenee läpi Yhdysvallat kahtia repivän sisällissodan, kohti uutta vuosisataa ja kansakunnan syntyä. D.W. Griffithin lähtöajatus on kaunis: sodat ovat turhia ja niiden vaikutukset huomattavasti moninaisemmat ja vaikeammin ennustettavat kuin vain miesmäärän menetykset. Myös käsittelykulma on ajalle tyypillinen: päähenkilöiksi asettuvat kaksi ystävyssykua, joiden nuoret miehet kutsutaan taistelemaan sotaan eri puolille.

Kansakunnan synnyn ensimmäinen puolisko käsittelee sotaa, sen mielettömyyttä ja tuhoja. D.W. Griffithin jättimäiset visiot sotakentistä ja hurjista taisteluista ovat nykypäivän Massiven turruttamille katsojille melkoista nähtävää. Myös kolmanneksen pienempi kuvien sekuntitahti ja ajalle ominainen jäntevä näyttelytapa tekevät toiminnasta aggressiivisempaa, räjähtävämpää ja väkivaltaisempaa kuin monikaan on tottunut näkemään näinä päivinä.

Luonnollisesti minä ja Jarmo – ainoat, jotka tällä kertaa uskaltautuivat paikalle – pelkäsimme, jaksammeko yli kolmea tuntia katsoa mustavalkoista mykkäelokuvaa, mutta hankalien alkumetrien jälkeen leffa alkoi rullata kevyesti. Tämän tyypin elokuvat alkavat olla nykyajan katsojalle hyvin erilaisia kokemuksia – ja siksi kokemuksena monia tämän päivän elokuvia huomattavasti vahvempia.

Kuitenkin, varsinainen hauskuus alkaa vasta toisessa näytöksessa, kun D.W. Griffith ottaa käsittelyyn sodan jälkiseuraamukset. Hän varoittaa vielä välitekstissä, että seuraavat tapahtumat eivät halvenna tarkoituksella ketään tai mitään tiettyä rotua, vaan ovat vain kylmä dokumentointi niistä tapahtumista, jotka sodan jälkeen tapahtuivat päähenkilöiden kotikaupungissa.

Olisi tavallaan väärin sanoa, että Birth of a Nation olisi rasistinen elokuva, ainakaan tarkoituksellisen rasistinen. Griffith suhtautuu tummaihoisiin – joista yhtään merkittävämmässä roolissa tässä elokuvassa olevia esittää tummiksi köyhästi maskeeratut vaaleaihoiset, joita vastedes kutsun NEEKEREIKSI – samalla tavalla luontevasti kun nykyään suhtaudumme pahoihin marsilaisiin. Mustat nyt vain ovat pahoja, eivät he sille mitään mahda – he tarvitsevat hyvän valkoisen esivallan pysyäkseen kontrollissa.

Elokuvan keskeisen kaupungin kuvernööriksi nousee paha MULATTI, sekarotuinen saastainen ilkeämielinen ja yksiulotteisesti naisia ja valtaa (sekä viinaa -Rigin huom.) himoitseva paha mies. Asemaan hän nousee, sillä Amerikan Yhdysvallat sallivat NEEKEREIDEN äänestävän, ja NEEKERITHÄN eivät sellaista osaa tehdä niin kuin pitää. Valkoiset käännytetään pois uurnilta, ja kaikki tapahtuu nopeasti: järkyttävät iskulauseet – etenkin vaatimus, että valkoisesti ja NEEKERIT saisivat mennä naimisiin keskenään. Sykähdyttävä ajatus!

Elokuvan käännekohta on kohtaus, jossa päähenkilömme, ”pikku Eversti”, saapuu kauhistelemaan maailman tilaa ja äänettömän ilmeikkäällä näyttelytyöllä tuntuu heittävän tämän kirjoituksen otsikkona komeilevan kysymyksensä Jumalalle, kumpuilevien ruohomaiden laskeutuessa rauhoittavasti ympärillään. Sitten hänen katseensa osuu leikkiviin valkoisiin lapsiin, joita joukko NEEKEREIDEN kakaroita tulee kiusaamaan. NEEKERIlapset kuitenkin pelästyvät valkoista lakanaa. Eversti saa inspiraation, ja keksii perustaa yhdsvallat pelastavan järjestön: Klu Klux Klanin.

Näihin aikoihin paha, ilkeä ja kaikista julmista NEEKEREISTÄ himokkain, Gus, alkaa ahdistella Everstin pikkusiskoa. Hän yllättää tämän niityltä – mistäpä muualta – ja pyytää tätä naimisiin itsensä kanssa. Kunnon vaalea nainenhan ei moisiin ehdotteluihin suostu, ja seuraa takaa-ajokohtaus, joka huipentuu kallionkielekkeelle. Nainen tekee ainoan oikean ratkaisun – hyppää kalliolta kuolemaansa, ennemmin kuin antaa NEEKERIN viedä hänet väkivalloin alttarille.

Tästähän Everstimme riemastuu. Elokuva kiihtyy loppua kohden melkoiseksi tykitykseksi, ja valtavat kohtaukset joissa kuka ties kuinka monta sataa Klu Klux Klan –vormuihin sonnustautunutta hevosmiestiä ja hevosta keräävät joukkonsa, samalla kun NEEKERIarmeija ottaa vallan kaupungista. NEEKERIT esitetään toisiaankin tappavina sekopäisinä apinamaisina olentoina, ja ainoa hyvä NEEKERI on kuuliaisesti orjana pysyttelevä kodinhoitajatar.

Loppukohtauksessa valtavat NEEKERIlaumat riehuvat kaupungin kaduilla, ja Wagnerin Valkyrioiden ratastuksen pauhatessa taustalla valkoisena hohtavat Klu Klux Klan –armeijat saapuvat kaupunkiin ja ajavat NEEKERIT pakosalle, ottaen näin vallan jälleen omiin käsiinsä. Lopulta kaikki on hyvin, visiot valkoisesta maailmasta – pelastunut Arjalainen rakkaus, kuten välitekstikin tietää kertoa – voittaa, ja Yhdysvallat on yhtenäinen – nyt ja aina. (Ja seuraavissa vaaleissa NEEKERIT käännytetään jälleen vaaliuurnilta, tasa-arvo on palannut -Rigin huom.)

Kuten sanottu, elokuva ei ole rasistinen siinä mielessä, kuin maahanmuuttajia hakkavat kuulapäät. Se on – kuten jotkut asiaa kiertelevät ahdasmieliset tykkäävät sanoa – ’roturealistinen’. Tämä tarkoittaa sitä, että D.W. Griffith ei halua pahaa – hän jopa loukkaantui, kun elokuvaa väitettiin julkaisun jälkeen rasistiseksi – hän vain näkee asiat näin. Rasismi on samanlaista, kuin ihmisillä, jotka aloittavat lauseensa: ”minähän en ole rasisti, mutta…”, ja lisäävät loppuun kaikkein hirveintä rasistista roskaa, mitä ihminen voi suustaan päästää. Toisaalta, se on hyvä kurkkaus vuosisadan alan sielunmaisemiin, ja vasta liki sadan vuoden aikuistumisen jälkeen elokuvamaailma voi kuvitella hyväksyvänsä muutkin ihonvärit kuin omansa. Tällä saralla on kuitenkin vielä paljon tehtävää – edelleenkin, tummaihoiset ovat elokuvissa usein siitä syystä, että he ovat tummaihoisia, ei siitä, että he ovat ihmisiä.

Elokuvallisia ansioita on kuitenkin mahdoton kiistää. Birth of a Nation on massiivinen, visuaalisesti vaikuttava tykitys elokuva-alan uranuurtajalta ja suurelta nerolta. Nykypäivän katsojan silmissä se säilyttää edelleen arvonsa yhtenä niistä kymmenestä vakuuttavasta sotaelokuvista, ja jos jätetään rasistinen hölmöily vähemmälle huomiolle, tärkein tiivistyy: ainoa syy sotaelokuvan olemassaololle on, että se kertoo rauhasta.