Driving the Czarist Armies East
German troops after the successful storming of Gorlice
Unexpectedly in the summer of 1914, Russian armies had come pouring west, crossing the borders of East Prussia and Austria-Hungary in a seemingly unstoppable tide. German villages were destroyed and by winter, Russian troops had penetrated far into the high Carpathians, the border range of mountains protecting the Hungarian plain and Budapest from invasion. Though the great German victories at Tannenberg and the Mausurian Lakes halted the Russian advance, they were still encamped in German and Austrian territory and posed a grave threat to the Central Powers. This threat was heightened even more by the fall of the Austrian fortress city of Przemysl in March 1915. The Czar visited the city and declared it annexed forever to the Russian Empire.
The Central Powers had other thoughts and in the spring and summer of 1915, launched an offensive which, in short order cleared the last Russian units from the Carpathian passes, retook Przemysl, Lemberg and went on to push deep into Russian territory, clearing city after city and fortress after fortress of enemy forces. The Russians retreated, burning cities and towns behind them, wrecking railroads, factories, farms, bridges and oil-fields, laying the land to waste. When the great Russian fortress city of Brest-Litovsk fell, it lookd like the road to Moscow was open. Was this to be the offensive that would drive Russia out of the war and force her to make peace ?
Allied publications were understandably reluctant to make much of this advance, German and Austrian were exhuberant. They printed photo after photo, page after page of the triumphant march eastward. Below is a modest collection of both journalist texts and photos of the summer offensive on the Galician Front in 1915 from German and Allied magazines.
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