The U.S. recently negotiated the release of former Marine Trevor Reed in a prisoner exchange with Russia, continuing a delicate and often controversial practice employed by nations during wartime. The Onion looks back at some of the most famous prisoner exchanges throughout history.
2100 BCE: Egypt and Mesopotamia mix up captive serfs in combat, unintentionally conducting world’s first prisoner exchange.
1861: Union and Confederacy frequently exchange prisoners because they were suckers for seeing soldiers reunite with their families.
1942: In a move often criticized in hindsight, President Franklin D. Roosevelt exchanges captured German führer Adolf Hitler for three U.S. infantrymen.
1962: Soviet Union releases American spy Gary Powers in exchange for an executive producer credit on all future movies based on the event.
1985: At the height of the Cold War, Soviet Union president Mikhail Gorbachev made the controversial decision to trade a dozen U.S. Marines for four decent cabbages.
1987: Political prisoner Chris Allen exchanged for a gift card due to Iran’s return policy.
1999: Global economy enters mild recession after collateralization of prisoner default swaps leads to over-leveraging in foreign markets.
2014: Bowe Bergdahl exchanged for five Taliban soldiers amidst soaring inflation.
2021: U.S. sends Steven Seagal to Russia as a freebie.
2234: One million Earth Alliance soldiers controversially traded for one Thetacronian Brain Larvae in a last-ditch attempt to prevent the extinction of the human race.