Page 3614

3614 UNIVFERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

the hard pressed Russians. Both French

and British were lacking in heavy artillery

and particularly in high-explosive shells,

while the Germans were so well equipped

with machine guns that mere infantry

attacks, without extensive artillery preparation, were practically suicidal. Furthermore, comparatively few of Kitchener's

new troops were as yet seasoned enough

to make them of much value in an offensive movement against such veterans as

the Germans. For months the French

and British were able to do little except

hold their own lines, while the Teutonic

forces marched farther and farther toward

the heart of Russia.

Soon after the capture of Lemberg,

the Germans began to make final preparations for a yet more ambitious effort

no less than the conquest of Poland and

the destruction of the Russian armies.

With the reconquest of Galicia and the

overrunning of Courland, Poland projected,

even more than at the beginning of the

war, in between territory held by its

enemies. By many military writers its

position was likened to a nut in the grasp

of a giant nutcracker, and it remained

to be seen whether or not the Germans

and Austrians were strong enough to close

the cracker and smash the nut.

In the Russian favor was the fact that

the threatened area was defended by

numerous powerful fortresses, such as

Ivangorod, Novo Georgievsk and Ossowetz,

while the various rivers offered certain

advantages in the way of defense. The

lack of rifles, shells and small arms ammunition was, however, growing more than

ever acute; while the losses suffered in

Galicia had not only weakened the army

in the way of numbers but somewhat

impaired its morale.

The weakness of the Russians in the

matter of munitions was due to a number

of causes. At the outbreak of the war

Russia had been reasonably well equipped

with such things, and she also possessed

large arsenals for the manufacture of

ammunition and other supplies. She was,

however, mainly an agricultural country

and lacked the great industrial factories

and workmen such as the Central Powers

had been able to turn to account in the

production of shells and other munitions

in quantities beyond anything of which

the world had ever before dreamed. The

Baltic Sea was, of course, closed by the

Germans, the Dardanelles had not been

opened, and supplies from the outside

world could come in only by way of the

Arctic and White Seas to Archangel,

from which there was only a narrow gauge, single-track railway, or to Vladivostok on the Pacific and thence many

thousands of miles by the Siberian Railroad.

Arrangements had been made with Japan

to furnish large quantities of war materials,

but the crisis in Chino-Japanese affairs

early in 1915 had caused the Japanese

to hold back such supplies in the thought

that they might perhaps need them for

their own use, and a considerable interval

elapsed before this source of supply became

fully available again. Furthermore, both

in obtaining supplies abroad and in manufacturing them at home, Russian officials

had been guilty of procrastination and

corruption, and even of treason, and the

result was disastrous to Russian military

interests. One result of the Galician disasters was the resignation of Secretary of

War Sukhomlinoff and sweeping changes in

the personnel of the war office generally,

while energetic steps were taken to remedy

other weaknesses, but time was required

to make these steps effective.

The Teutons gave their enemy little

time for recovery, and by the middle of

July, they had their campaign against

Warsaw and Poland well under way.

While General von Mackensen's forces

pushed in from the south and southwest,

Marshal von Hindenburg,s armies, with

a dash and determination they had not

displayed while the Galician campaign

was in full swing, hurled themselves upon

the Russian forces from the north and

northwest. The Russians held on desperately along the Narew River in the north

and about the great fortress of Ivangorod in

the south, but their position daily grew

more precarious.

The seriousness of the situation was well