Primary Source

Prisoners Work on the White Sea-Baltic Sea Canal

  • Prisoners Work on the White Sea-Baltic Sea Canal

Annotation

Built between 1931 and 1933, the White Sea-Baltic Sea Canal was the first massive construction project of the Gulag. Over 100,000 prisoners dug a 141-mile canal with few tools other than simple pickaxes, shovels, and makeshift wheelbarrows in just 20 months. Initially viewed as a great success and celebrated in a volume published both in the Soviet Union and the United States, the canal turned out to be too narrow and too shallow to carry most sea vessels. Many prisoners died during construction.

Documentary film, Baltic to White Sea Water Way, 1932, Courtesy of the Central Russian Film and Photo Archive.

How to Cite This Source
Prisoners Work on the White Sea-Baltic Sea Canal in World History Commons,