Winter War ended up being too short for all the plans to come to fruition but the Hungarians weren't the only ones to form larger units. The Swedes were supposed to form a division but SFK was roughly the size of a brigade in March 1940.the Hungarians stand out by virtue of being one of the few nationalities sufficiently numerous to form a battalion.
Hungarians were to form a 4 (or 5, there's some confusion about it) company battalion but without heavy weapons. Due to German opposition, they had to travel by train through Italy, France and England to end up in Scotland, where they took Finnish-chartered Norwegian-sailed ships into Bergen, Norway, and then back to trains for the last leg of Oslo-Stockholm-Tornio. Hungarian authorities were skeptical of this route and only allowed the first company to depart. They wanted to make sure those men made it safely into Finland before sending further volunteers.
The British contingent that arrived a day after armistice was merely the vanguard and there were about 800 more volunteers that hadn't yet departed UK but had signed contracts and gone through medical examinations and interviews by the esteemed gentlemen of the Finnish Aid Bureau - FAB consisted of a dozen upper class Britons, all with connections to Westminster, Whitehall and the military branches.
Recruitment of volunteers had also (finally) been approved of in Norway and Denmark on a large scale, and Finns were cautiously optimistic that those countries would eventually provide several thousand volunteers to match Sweden - SFK was over 8000 strong by the end of the Winter War and the Swedish government had approved it to be reinforced to 10,000 men and would probably have increased the size more if asked.
Your instincts are sound, these are the reasons. The remote affinity wasn't quite so remote, as there had been a revival of such genetic and linguistic ties in the 1930s. Several conferences had been organized in Finland, Estonia and Hungary where academic scholars went over their research regarding these ties and that knowledge had spilled over into the public consciousness in a big way. Pretty much everyone in those three countries considered the others to be "brothers" in the nationalistic sense that was so popular in the late 19th and early 20th century.What was their particular primary motivation? Two possibilities occur to me: (1) Remote racial and linguistic affinity, and/or (2) Anti-Bolshevism as a result of the Bela Kun soviet twenty years before.
And of course we cannot discount the role of anti-Bolshevism, which was a strong force across Europe at the time.
Yes. This is a major point I'm making in my thesis, the somewhat hypocritical attitude of European countries towards Finland when compared to their attitude towards Spain. Just like the British government was willing and eager to allow volunteers to go to Finland, so was the Hungarian government eager and supportive. High-level politicians recruited volunteers and/or gave their blessings to them.Did it have any official support?
I don't know. At least the Finnish Foreign Ministry did not know of such things.Was there any connection or continuity with the "Ragged Guard"
Parallel evolution. I am still going through the military archives so I can't say anything definite now but from what I have seen so far, the Finnish Army was not prepared for the arrival of large numbers of volunteers, and plans had to be drummed up quickly. Original idea was to create a Foreign Legion of sorts, but this was abandoned later and replaced with what I wrote about above.Did the Finns draw any lessons from the use of the International Brigades in Spain over 1936-38 that were applicable in their own situation, or was it a case of parallel evolution??
Not necessarily so. The Army Foreign Office, responsible for gathering intelligence about foreign powers, made continuous studies of the Soviet Union and published booklets about Soviet doctrine, organization, training, and equipment. These would also include recommendations that the Finns could adopt for themselves. Whether these recommendations were accepted or not, I do not know, but they existed.It would have been, for want of a better term, a brave Finnish army officer who'd suggest following a communist model. The phrase career suicide springs to mind.
Most famously Ratsumestari von Haartman, later a captain in the Spanish Army, returned to Finland and became a war hero in the Winter War as well. Aside from him, Finnish authorities (Valtiollinen Poliisi) were just as suspicious of Finns serving the Nationalists (Fascists) as they were of Finns serving the Republicans (Communists).that there were 14 Finnish volunteers with the Nationals