The Gulags

In the USSR


Joseph Stalin played an important key role in the Gulags.

Joseph Stalin (1878-1953) was the dictator of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) from 1929 to 1953.

Under Stalin, the Soviet Union was transformed from a peasant society into an industrial and military superpower.

However, he ruled by terror, and millions of his own citizens died during his brutal reign.

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The term Gulag refers primarily to the system of forced labor camps.

Stalin tried to industrialize quickly, he used forced labor.

He controlled all aspects of society’s life.

Life for ordinary people was harsh.

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Through out the Soviet Union mostly in the west region.

The largest camp were from the Artic North to Siberia East.

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It occurred from the 1930’s until the mid 1950’s.

Why or How

The Gulag played a key role during the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin as both a source of labor for the Soviet Union’s industrialization drive, and a means of removing from society those deemed undesirable by the Soviet state.

Stalin used the concentration camps to punish political opponents and provide a massive slave labor force.

The conditions were horrendous. Millions starved or froze to death, or shot inside and outside the labor camps.