Date of Graduation
In the summer of 1939, the Soviet Union signed a nonaggression pact with Nazi Germany, which not only reassured Stalin of Russia's security, but also sealed the fate of hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting inhabitants of Poland's eastern provinces who were subsequently deported to the Soviet interior between 1939 and 1941. Beginning with community leaders and their families, the arrests and deportations ultimately permeated the entire social hierarchy. The exact number of those deported will never be known, but the Polish survivors from the depths of the GULag do provide valuable information about the conditions under which they lived and died in the Soviet Union. Through their testimony it is possible to determine how this act affected those who were exiled, where were they sent, how were they treated, and who was permitted to return. This work is devoted to the study of Polish citizens deported to the Soviet Union during the Second World War. It examines Soviet motivations for the deportations, the conditions of life for imprisoned and exiled Poles, and the limited nature of the amnesty of ethnic Poles in 1941. This study is placed within the geopolitical context of these events and it examines their social consequences with the intent of presenting a different perspective from that of the previous literature. In particular, this research emphasizes the Soviet need for labor during the war as a primary factor in shaping the wartime experience of the majority of those deported. Rather than emphasizing the conquest and social transformation of the eastern Polish territories as the only motive behind the deportations, this research considers the deportations as part of a larger wartime mobilization. By doing so, the conclusions drawn are broader than and therefore different from previous discussions in both scope and interpretation.
Bingle, Jean C., "Labor for bread: The exploitation of Polish labor in the Soviet Union during World War II." (1999). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 8488.