“Through Labor – Freedom!” read a sign above the entrance to Solovetsky, just one of the 476 camps that comprised the Soviet gulag system.
College freshmen have no personal knowledge of the Cold War. Born after the Berlin Wall’s fall and the Soviet Union’s collapse, the threat of nuclear Armageddon seems far removed from their experiences, a relic of a bygone age. Yet, today, more countries than ever hold weapons whose scale of destruction can dwarf that of every bomb used in World War II.
On the evening of June 24, 1941, Prime Minister of Great Britain Winston Churchill came on the radio. He declared: “Any person belonging to a country fighting against fascism will receive British aid.” He went on to say that he will give Russia and its people all the help that the British government can offer.
During World War II the United States shipped an enormous amount of aid to the Soviet Union through the Lend-Lease program. The significance of this aid to the Soviet war effort has long been debated.
Order 227 called for dramatically expanding the number of penal battalions. Penal battalions were sent to the most dangerous sections of the front to perform semi-suicidal missions such as frontal assaults on the enemy or walking across minefields.