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100 Years On – Vistula

In October, 1914, the Germans made the first of several attempts to take Warsaw, in what is today Poland.  The Russians had taken a defeat at Tannenberg, but had been able to soundly defeat the Austrians in Galicia.  In order to keep the Russians from exploiting their gains to the south and east, the Germans pushed two armies forward.

The clash between the combined German and Austrian forces and the Russian army pushed the Russians back almost to Warsaw.  The Germans got to the Vistula, but were forced back, and had returned to their original positions by the end of October.

Russia had taken what would have been a mortal blow to many other nations at Tannenberg and the Masurian Lakes.  It had been able to shove the Austrians back, however, and even after being attacked by superior German forces in front of Warsaw, were able to push them back as well.  The Eastern Front was one of more movement than the Western, but the situation was very much the same:  massive attacks against enemies, followed by counter-attacks, then a return to the status quo.

What we can learn from this is that so long as someone has the means to resist, they can still be in the fight.  Russia, by the standards of earlier wars, had no business in continuing the fight, but she kept at it.  Being able to soak up damage and then dish it out kept all of the powers in the Great War going for years.

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