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3483 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.

army was made up of the best troops;

the second was more heterogeneous in

its makeup and included some regiments

whose enthusiasm for the war was more

or less doubtful.

As has been said before, much depended

upon the speed with which Russia would

be able to mobilize. The Russian Empire,

it should be remembered, was a country

of vast extent and enormous distances,

even European Russia being ten times

as large as Germany. Furthermore, the

railway system of the country was much

less developed than was the case in either

of the Central Powers, while the organization of the army was generally supposed

to be somewhat cumbersome. Estimates

of the time required for mobilization ran

as high as forty-two days, and yet such

was Russian speed at this crisis that within

two weeks after the war began they were

ready for big movements. The average

mentality of the private soldiers that

composed the hosts thus gathered was

low, but in many previous wars the Russian

troops had shown themselves able to endure an immense amount of punishment;

while the fact that the country contained

an almost inexhaustible reservoir of men

enabled Russia to view with equanimity

losses that, if suffered by some powers,

would be fatal. In the Cossacks the

Russians had an enormous body of light

cavalry composed of the best horsemen

in the world. A word picture of mobilization of a Cossack village in one of the

Ural provinces follows:

"On July 31st the village awoke to

find a red flag waving before the Government building, the sign that a general

mobilization had been ordered. Immediately everything was in a state of uproar.

Nobody knew who was the enemy and

nobody cared. It was sufficient that