The paper examines German prisoner of war (POW) camps in the Soviet Union from 1941-1956. The Germans were the largest and longest held group of POWs of any of the victor nations of the Second World War. The key research question is why were they held for so long? The paper argues that the POWs were primarily held for economic reasons related to the mass destruction of the war. To support this argument, the paper heavily relies on GIS mapping of the POW camp locations in relation to Soviet infrastructure and environmental resources. The paper provides a detailed methodological breakdown of the mapping process in addition to analysis of the maps.
Susan Grunewald (CMU, Doctoral Student in History), with a response from John Walsh (French and Italian)