Belligerents hold prisoners of war in custody for a range of legitimate and illegitimate reasons, such as isolating them from enemy combatants still in the field (releasing and repatriating them in an orderly manner after hostilities), demonstrating military victory, punishing them, prosecuting them for war crimes, exploiting them for their labour, recruiting or even conscripting them as their own combatants, collecting military and political intelligence from them, or indoctrinating them in new political or religious beliefs.
For most of human history, depending on the culture of the victors, enemy combatants on the losing side in a battle who had surrendered and been taken as a prisoner of war could expect to be either slaughtered or enslaved.
However, after reorganization and adoption of different tactics, the renewed Soviet offensive overcame Finnish defenses at the borders.
Finland then had no choice but to agree to cede more territory than originally demanded by the Soviet Union in 1939; the Soviets accepted this offer.
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The earliest recorded usage of the phrase "prisoner of war" dates to 1660.
was a military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland in 1939–1940.
It began with the Soviet invasion of Finland on 30 November 1939 (three months after the outbreak of World War II), and it ended with the signing of the Moscow Peace Treaty on 13 March 1940.
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