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Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was becoming a dissident against the USSR and the restricting communist government after he was arrested for the first time He through his entire life was willing to sacrifice everything he had in order to point out that censorship was wrong and people should be able to speak their mind His childhood years were very rough Aleksandr pronounced Alexander was born in Kisovodsk Russia on December 11 1918 Academic American Encyclopedia Sno-Sz p 59 His father was an artillery officer in World War I and his mother was a typist and stenographer Aleksandr never knew his father because he died in a hunting accident before Aleksandr was born After his father died the Soviet government only allowed menial employment to his mother so his family lived in relative poverty Other than that Aleksandrs childhood was relatively normal He was a member of the Pioneers the Soviet equivalent to Boy Scouts and later joined the Communist Youth League At the age of nine he decided he wanted to be a writer and before he was eighteen he decided that he was going to write a novel about the Russian Revolution He said that during his childhood he bore this social tension - on one hand they used to tell me everything at home and on the other they used to work our minds at school And so this collision between two worlds gave birth to such social tension inside me that somehow defined the path I was to follow for the rest of my life Aleksandr had little literary education and read few western novels and later said he regretted it Major 20TH Century Writers p 2792-2793 After grade school Aleksandr went to the University of Rostov-on-Don and graduated in 1941 majoring in mathematics and physics Encarta 99 After he graduated he served as a captain of artillery in World War II from 1941 through 1945 World Book Encyclopedia So-Sz p 587
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