Laurier Military Speaker Series, 2019
Wilson T. Bell, Jan. 9,
“Stalin’s Gulag at War”
What was the Gulag’s role in Soviet victory in the Second World War? In his talk, Bell will trace the history of Stalin’s notorious prison camps during a time when prisoners died at extraordinarily high rates. He will discuss the myriad responses of both prisoners and personnel to the war, the ways in which the state mobilized labour, and the illicit and condoned interactions between prisoners and non-prisoners. Ultimately, prisoners played a tangible role in Soviet mobilization, but at an incredibly high cost––a cost that highlights the tragedy of the Stalinist system at the moment of its greatest triumph.
Wilson T. Bell is an assistant professor of history and politics at Thompson Rivers University (PhD, UofT, 2011). He is the author of numerous articles on the Gulag, and his first book, Stalin’s Gulag at War, was published in 2018 with the University of Toronto Press.