Study Guide

Gulag: A History - Part 3, Chapter 21: Amnesty–and Afterward—Summary Summary & Analysis

Anne Applebaum
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Part 3, Chapter 21: Amnesty-and Afterward—Summary

Immediately following the outbreak of WWII, authorities began issuing amnesties for healthy men of fighting age. Nearly a million prisoners were released during the first three years of the war, though these prisoners did not include professional criminals or political prisoners. Amnesty did not mean survival for the released. Some have speculated that prisoners released from the Gulag were assigned the most deadly positions on the front lines. Surprisingly, few prisoners seemed to object to fighting for Stalin and many distinguished themselves in the war. Within the Gulag, prisoners were also swept into Soviet patriotism and the camps certainly made an industrial contribution to the war effort.

Authorities also released a number of Poles, after the Polish state was re-formed, to join the Polish army and fight against Germany. This, however, only applied to ethnic...

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This section contains 500 words
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