Page 3616

3616 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

likely to be of use to the enemy. Great

care was taken especially to remove all

copper, and even church bells were taken

down and shipped to the interior of Russia

in order to prevent the Teutons from

using them in their munition work.

The retreat was conducted with great

skill, but even so it was necessary to

sacrifice thousands of men to secure the

safety of the rest. A large garrison was

left behind in the great fortress of Novo

Georgievsk, at the junction of the Bug

and Vistula, northwest of Warsaw, to prevent the enemy from using these rivers in

the pursuit.

Warsaw was occupied by the victors on

August 5, Ivangorod the next day, and

Novo Georgievsk fell before the battering

of the German "brummers" on the 20th.

At the last mentioned place the Germans

captured more men and cannons than at

any other in the course of the campaign.

During these weeks there was almost

continuous rejoicing throughout the domains of the Central Powers. Every

few days the bells were ringing, the flags

flying, and schools were being dismissed

to celebrate some new victory. There

was reason for these manifestations of

Teutonic exultation, and yet after all,

what had been accomplished was not

decisive. Poland was overrun, but the

Russian armies, which were infinitely

more important than mere territory, remained in being. Throughout these trying

days, the Grand Duke Nicholas and his

generals had managed the retreat with

consummate skill and with eyes fixed upon

the future. It was their policy to sacrifice men rather than guns, for of men

Russia had great abundance, but guns

were scarce and hard to replace. When

a position became insecure, the artillery

was hurried to the rear and the task of

delaying the pursuit was entrusted almost

wholly to infantry and machine guns. And

though the Russian losses were enormous,

the price paid by the victors was by no

means a light one.

It was expected by many observers

that the Russians would make a stand

on a line running north and south through

Brest-Litovsk, Ossowetz and Kovno. But

after heavy bombardment, Kovno was

taken by storm, with many prisoners

and much booty, in the middle of August,

and the breaking of the Russian line at

this point exposed their armies to the

danger of being rolled up from the north,

so that the Great Retreat, the greatest

in all history, had once more to be continued. 'Ossowetz, a fortress that had

withstood repeated attacks in the course

of the war, was abandoned on the 22d and

Brest-Litovsk four days later. Once more

the Teutons endeavored to envelop their

enemies, but once more the Slavic armies

escaped the net.

It was universally conceded that, considering the Teutonic superiority in numbers and the Russian weakness in artillery

and shells, the Grand Duke Nicholas had

conducted the campaign with remarkable

skill; but, on the 8th of September, the

Grand Duke was transferred to the Caucasus, and the Czar announced that he

himself had assumed supreme command.

One reason for the change seems to have

been that it was believed that the morale

of the army would be improved by the

step; while the announcement also constituted a defiant answer to German stories

that Russia would desert her allies and

make a separate peace.

Military critics were inclined to doubt

the wisdom of the step, and some expected

that great disasters would follow. But

the Czar's command was merely a nominal

one, the real leader being the new Chief

of Staff, General Alexieff, who, as Chief

of Staff to General Ivanoff had had a

prominent part in the earlier Galician

victories and later had had direct management of the retreat from Warsaw. As a

matter of fact, the announcement that

"the Little Father" was at their head

aroused great enthusiasm among the Russian troops. An offensive movement had

already been launched by General Ivanoff

in Galicia and elsewhere along the Southern

Front. The Teutonic cause received a severe setback, and the Russians, tasting once

more of victory, captured during October

and November many thousands of prisoners.