Is finland losing the war a given thing from the start or is there any hope for them?
I guess that OP means with victory that Finland doesn't lost territories.Define "victory" in this context.
Considering Finland lost a relatively small amount of territory, and didn't end up as a Soviet puppet, that's not much of a loss, all told.
No, they just have to do what Vietnam did to China in 1979: do well enough that it's easier for the USSR to walk away and say "we showed them who's boss!" than it is to keep fighting. Then they'll end the war without losing any territory. It requires slightly better performance than Finland achieved in OTL, though (I'm not sure how much better Vietnam did in 1979).Is finland losing the war a given then thing from the start or is there any hope for them?
Something like this would be very, very difficult to achieve. Stalin would have always wanted something to show for the Red Army's effort, to save at least some face even if the ultimate goal of taking all of Finland for some reason failed. After a certain point, Finnish performance itself does not even matter: if Stalin really wants, he can always have the Red Army beat Finland with sheer brute force. IMHO, to get Finland out of the war even somewhat intact, you'll need outside intervention on Finland's behalf, or at least the threat of such. IOTL Finland could get away with minimal concessions because of the seemingly realistic and even imminent threat of Allied intervention against the Soviets. Conceivably, getting a white peace for Finland might have then needed to involve something like the real threat of, say, the Germans also ganging up on the USSR at the same time, giving wrapping up the war against Finland early the only avenue for Stalin to avoid such a major alliance going into a shooting war against the USSR.No, they just have to do what Vietnam did to China in 1979: do well enough that it's easier for the USSR to walk away and say "we showed them who's boss!" than it is to keep fighting. Then they'll end the war without losing any territory. It requires slightly better performance than Finland achieved in OTL, though (I'm not sure how much better Vietnam did in 1979).
The OTL Winter War is pretty much the best case scenario for Finland.
I agree with the combination of these two points.The only truly winning move was not to play. Best case would have been vigorous rearmament and a neutrality pact with Sweden pre-war.
Hardly even implausible if just there would be some more political will to do that and if countries would feel Nazis and Soviets being really big threat.
Well, Norway activly refused to entertain any thoughts of defending even itself, so getting them to jump for someone else (and for that to matter) will ake some doing.
I think that achieving active defence cooperation between Finland and Sweden would be "just" a matter of placing the right people and parties/interests in the right places at the same time. Practically, get together the people on both sides that could hammer out a deal that can satisfy both Finland and Sweden (and their idiosyncratic national defence needs) in the 1930s. The OTL events, I believe, are a story of lost opportunities in this regard. As for involving Norway in all this, that would be an added set of complications I am not so familiar with.