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So you cannot trust who is more faithful to their Alliance by going on an offensive to bullied another war. Things starting to changed when the Russians were one of the first to start combat on the Eastern fronts lanes And wander up being outnumbered by the Germans by having 2 Russians army coming at you from two different direction. The German must shock and thought maybe they can get back at them by pushing back to the border. In the mean time the Russians General Samsonow, shot himself. With little hope of ever recovering from that loss. All this gave the Germans an opportunity to bring some troops backs with some success, but defenders had a hug advantage at there disposal. In the beginning the Russians had a army and had bad communication lines and technical supplies. So they cannot keep up with demand of the Russian Empire. The country was out of Food shortages, riot everywhere in the country and the people wanted Democracy from the Government. They was force to do something that would keep them out of war they had to come up with a plan to negotiate with Central Powers and the Russians were desperate at that time.
Who was the caused of the war on Russians? Why were Germans wanted to push the Russians back? What was the outcome between the Russians and the Germans war?
In early August 1914,
we know that Germany declares war on Russia
just as Russia is mobilizing troops
to get into a war
with the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Because the Austro-Hungarians
have declared war on Serbia,
and the Russians use protection of Serbia
as a pretext for getting into a war
with the Austrians.
The Germans have an alliance
with the Austrians, so they feel
the need to fight the Russians;
and because the Russians have an alliance
with the French,
to fight the French as well.
The first combat on the Eastern Front
actually happens with Russia
fighting on the offensive.
There a 2 Russian armies:
the Russian 1st Army
and the Russian 2nd Army
attacking the Germans in Eastern Prussia.
They were up against one German army:
the German 8th Army
and in theory, it should have been a rout
of the German 8th Army.
They had them outnumbered,
you had 2 Russian armies
coming from different directions,
but because of really bad coordination,
one could even argue: bad leadership,
and other tactical problems,
it was actually a rout the other way.
So World War 1 on the Eastern Front
starts very badly for the Russians.
You actually had a huge rout of them
at the Battle of Tannenberg.
Tannenberg is interesting,
because it did not actually
happen in Tannenberg.
Tannenberg is around here;
it wasn't far from the battle
but there were other cities
the battle could have been named for.
But since the Germans won the battle,
they named it Tannenberg
because there was an ancient battle
in mediaeval times, in the 1400's,
where the Slavic and Sub-Slavic peoples were able
to rout German Teutonic knights.
These were mediaeval battles with knights.
In order to redeem that,
they labeled this other war
of Germans against Slavic people
as the second Battle for Tannenberg.
So it helped to bring out German patriottism.
But this was a major rout for the Russians.
The 2nd Army in particular
got completely decimated.
The Russian 2nd Army went in to the battle
with an estimated 150,000 to 180,000 troops.
Roughly half were killed.
Only about 10,000 escaped the battle of Tannenberg.
It was such a humiliating defeat
for the Russian 2nd army
that its general,
general Samsonow, shot himself.
He commited suicide
he was so humiliated
and so embarassed by that defeat.
So the war did not begin well
for the Russians.
But by the end of 1914,
they were able to get back into gear
and they stayed on the offensive
and did have some victories
up here in Galicia
which at the time was part of
And they were able to capture
a good bit of territory.
Now as we enter into 1915
- and we already covered this
in the videos on the Western Front -
We know the Western Front
was entering into a stalemate,
- the Schlieffen plan did not happen
as quickly as possible -
but the defenders had a huge advantage.
This gave the Germans an opportunity
to bring some troops back
to the Eastern Front.
They also got better at
coordinating with the Austro-Hungarians.
And so in 1915, you have the Central Powers
going back on the offensive.
And they are able to drive
the Russians out of Russian Poland,
roughly to this border
that I have drawn over here.
We talk about Russian Poland.
The modern state of Poland,
- I am making this video in 2013 -
Poland was split between
as you see in this map
between the Russian Empire
and the German Empire.
The modern state of Poland
is roughly this region over here.
You see it is completely split,
almost in a Yin and Yang symbol,
between these two empires.
Through 1915, the Russians were pushed out
of Russian Poland,
roughly to this border.
To a large degree,
this was because Russia,
even though they had a huge army,
they had bad communication lines
and bad technical supplies.
Russian industry was unable
to keep up with the demands of the war
and was not able to supply
munitions and arms in proper quantities
to their troops.
As we enter into 1916,
the Russians were once again
able to get their footing back.
As you can see,
it is starting to become
a bit of a back-and-forth.
So Russian industry picks back up in 1916
and it puts Russia more on the offensive.
They were driven out of Russian Poland
but now by 1916 they are able
to keep the Central Powers
a bit more on the defensive.
But the boundaries of the front
roughly stay in line
with this line over here.
And by the end of 1916,
the Romanians join in
on the side of the Triple Entente
on the side of the Russians,
in order to fight the Central Powers.
Now, this might look like
it is going better for the Russians.
The Russian industry is finally picking up,
they are starting to put
the Central Powers more
on the defensive,
but the entire time we are
talking about this battle
the economic situation in the Russian Empire
is deteriorating dramatically.
By the time you get into 1917,
the Russian economy is falling apart.
There are food shortages, riots,
and in February of 1917,
you have the February Revolution,
the overthrow of the Romanov dynasty.
It has been in power for 300 years,
but in February and early March
Czar Nicholas II abdicates the throne.
This is him over here.
We will do more detailed videos
on the entire Russian Revolution
and what happens to his family
and all the rest.
An interim government takes place.
This is an interesting fact of history:
this interim government all of a sudden
becomes a democracy.
It is February 1917 and remember
the United States have not entered the war
at this point
And you may also remember
that in April, the United States
use the idea of fighting
on the side of Democracy
as a justification
for entering the war.
Which is very nice, because by April
all of the major powers
on the side of the Triple Entente
were all democracies:
the interim government of the Russians,
and the British Empire
- which obviously is a democracy
only for those who can vote.
And the United States
were the first country
to recognize the Interim Government
after the overthrow of Czar Nicholas II.
But we are not yet done with 1917.
1917 is one of those huge years
in the history of the world.
And especially in the history of Russia.
The situation continues to deteriorate
and it starts to deteriorate
as well for the Army.
The morale of the troops breaks down,
the Bolsheviks start to create unrest,
by September 1917
Germany is able to capture Riga,
which is a major city over here
on the Baltic,
which brings the Central Powers
very close to the Russian capital.
It contributes to the ongoing unrest.
And in November, on the 7th,
you have a coup d'état
of that ostensibly democratic
interim - or provisional - government
and the Communists - the Bolsheviks take power.
under the leadership
of Vladimir Lenin over here.
So November 7, 1917,
- a very famous date in history -
you have Lenin leading the Bolsheviks into power.
Now they had no interest to continue
fighting this battle with Germany.
They had their own civil war to worry about.
They were trying to consolidate power in Russia.
So in December,
they start to negotiate an armistice
with the Central Powers
and they do not have a lot of leverage
in this negotiation because
they really did not want to be in this war.
And so by March of 1918
you have the treaty between Russia
and the Central Powers,
the treaty of Brest-Litowsk.
The Russians, the Bolsheviks, were so desparate
to focus on the internal civil war
that had emerged in Russia,
that in order to consolidate power
they gave over a huge amount of territory
to the Central Powers.
A large part of Europe
that is not predominantly
of Russian ethnicity
went over to the Central Powers.
This treaty is important,
because it is essentially
the end of World War I for the Russians.
It was the end of the Eastern Front.
And it allowed the Germans
to re-focus on the Western Front.
It allowed the Germans
to start bringing troops
back over to the Western Front
and they are able to do
quite an aggressive spring offensive
on the Western Front.
And if it was not for the US
now being able to reinforce
the Western Front,
- remember they declared war in mid 1917 -
the German offensive
might have been successful
in the spring of 1918.
So the importance of Brest-Litowsk
is that it was the end of the Eastern Front,
it allowed the Germans
to do an offensive
on the Western Front
and it was a very strong offensive
but with the help of the Americans
it was not a successful one.
But the territorial gain
for the Central Powers
because of Brest-Litowsk,
were not that significant.
Because in November 1918,
you have the Central Powers
saying 'we are not able to win this war'
and you have what for a long time
was known as Armistice day:
on the 11th hour
of the 11th day
of the 11th month
you have an armistice
and the end of World War 1.
And the Allies win
and get to say
what happens to this territory.
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