Page 3615

3615 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.

understood by the Russian people, and

in hundreds of places the church bells

clanged calls to prayer for victory. At

Petrograd, on July 21, in spite of the

great heat, the churches were packed.

Hour after hour the people stood wedged

together while the priests and choirs

chanted interminable litanies. Outside the

Kamian Cathedral an open air mass was

celebrated in the presence of a vast crowd.

But prayer was vain to stop the onrush

of the skillfully led Teutonic legions.

From the first it had been doubtful whether

the Russians would be able to hold Warsaw,

and soon it became doubtful whether the

Russian armies could escape destruction.

The great jaws of the gigantic nutcracker

were reaching for the railways leading to

the interior of Russia, and it was evidently

the Teutonic hope to cut these and envelop

and destroy the Muscovite hosts. Had

von Mackensen from the south been able to

push in as successfully as von Hindenburg

did from the north, this great object

might, partially at least, have been accomplished; but his armies were made up in the

main of less efficient Austrian troops, and

besides, in the week ending July 11,

his forces in the neighborhood of Lublin

had received a severe defeat, in which

the Russians had captured over twenty

thousand men. Von Hindenburg's successes in the north, however, so threatened

the Warsaw-Bialystok-Petrograd Railway

that the Grand Duke was forced to transfer troops from his southern front to defend

his northern line, and von Mackensen was

then able to push up against the fortress

of Ivangorod and the Ivangorod-Lublin-Chelm Railroad.

The Grand Duke Nicholas had already

seen that he must evacuate the Polish

salient, as he had evacuated Galicia, and

his problem was to do so with the smallest

possible loss of men and guns. For a

considerable time the world was in doubt

as to whether he would be able to avoid

a great disaster. But by striking here and

there and fighting delaying actions at

many points, he was able not only to

extricate most of his men and guns from

the trap but also to sweep Poland of articles