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The Great War
Prologue Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Timeline Maps & Battles The Shaping of the 21st Century Historians
Historians OverviewOrlando Figes

The Battle of Tannenberg
Orlando Figes
"The Russian commanders were trying to stop the German war machine simply by throwing at it a mountain of human bodies.

"The first major battle on the eastern front occurred when German forces surrounded and destroyed Alexander Samsonov's Russian army at the Battle of Tannenberg. This early 1914 engagement proved to be Germany's greatest victory of the war. And because of the total incompetence of the generals, nearly a quarter of a million Russians needlessly lost their lives. The French military attaché consoled with the Grand Duke Nicholai, the commander and chief, over these losses. And Nicholai's response was: 'It's an honor to make such a sacrifice for our allies.' To a certain extent the Russian losses had enabled the French to regroup at the Marne, and the Schlieffen Plan was defeated perhaps for that reason – but at what a price?"

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