Labour battalion
Labour battalions have been a form of alternative service
Alternative service
Alternative service is a form of national service performed in lieu of conscription for various reasons, such as conscientious objection, inadequate health, or political reasons. See "labour battalion" for examples of the latter case...

 or unfree labour
Unfree labour
Unfree labour includes all forms of slavery as well as all other related institutions .-Payment for unfree labour:If payment occurs, it may be in one or more of the following forms:...

 in various countries in lieu of or resembling regular military service
Military service
Military service, in its simplest sense, is service by an individual or group in an army or other militia, whether as a chosen job or as a result of an involuntary draft . Some nations require a specific amount of military service from every citizen...

. In some cases they were the result of some kind of discriminative
Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. It involves the actual behaviors towards groups such as excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to another group. The term began to be...

 segregation of the population, while in some others they have been a conscious choice.

Political reasons

In some countries labour battalions were created from part of population which for various reasons were not suitable for regular military service, often because this population was considered "undesirable" or "unreliable", e.g., political enemies, population of occupied territories or "lower races".

Examples include labour battalion
Labour battalion (Turkey)
Ottoman labour battalions was a form of unfree labour in the late Ottoman Empire. The term is associated with disarmament and murder of Ottoman Armenian soldiers during World War I, of Pontic and Anatolian Greeks during the Turkish War of Independence - Armenians in labour battalions :Armenians...

s in the late Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 and early Turkish Republic, labour service
Labour service (Hungary)
Labour service arose in Hungary during World War II as the required military substitution for Jewish men, who were no longer permitted to serve in the regular armed forces since the passing of the Hungarian anti-Jewish laws...

 in Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, as well as labour battalions in other territories held by Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 and its allies (see also "Hiwi
Hiwi (volunteer)
Hiwi is a German abbreviation. It has two meanings, "voluntary assistant" and "assistant scientist" .- :...


Alternative service

In some countries labour battalions are a form of alternative conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

 for people who cannot join military service for various reasons, e.g., due to bad health or being conscientious objector
Conscientious objector
A conscientious objector is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service" on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience, and/or religion....

s to any forms of violence.

Until the last days of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 with obligatory military duty in the state, men deemed unfit to regular military duty, as well as many able-bodied ones, were assigned to construction battalions (стройбаты) of the Soviet Army
Soviet Army
The Soviet Army is the name given to the main part of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union between 1946 and 1992. Previously, it had been known as the Red Army. Informally, Армия referred to all the MOD armed forces, except, in some cases, the Soviet Navy.This article covers the Soviet Ground...


See also

  • Labour army
    Labor army
    The notion of the Labor army was introduced in Soviet Russia during 1920. Initially the term was applied to regiments of Red Army transferred from military activity to labor activity, such as logging, coal mining, firewood stocking, etc.-Russian Civil War:The first labor army was created after...

  • Labour camp
    Labor camp
    A labor camp is a simplified detention facility where inmates are forced to engage in penal labor. Labor camps have many common aspects with slavery and with prisons...

  • Civilian Conservation Corps
    Civilian Conservation Corps
    The Civilian Conservation Corps was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families, ages 18–25. A part of the New Deal of President Franklin D...

  • Reichsarbeitsdienst
    The Reichsarbeitsdienst was an institution established by Nazi Germany as an agency to reduce unemployment, similar to the relief programs in other countries. During the Second World War it was an auxiliary formation which provided support for the Wehrmacht.The RAD was formed during July 1934 as...

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