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The population consists for the most part of Germans, Ru. thenes, Rumanians, and Poles. Among these are 21,000 Jews. and there are also a number of Armenians and gypsies. With all these diverse elements, therefore, the town presents a very varied appearance, and on market days the modern streets are crowded with peasants, attired in their national dress, who mingle with people turned out in the latest fashions of Paris and Vienna.
How violently the Russians assaulted Czernowitz is vividly described in a letter from a correspondent of a German news paper who was at Czernowitz during this attack.
"The attack began on June 11, 1916. Shells fell incessantly, mostly in the lower quarter of the town and the neighborhood of the station. They caused a terrible panic. Incendiary shells started many fires.
"Austrian artillery replied vigorously. The Russians during the night of June 12, 1916, attempted a surprise attack against the northeast corner defenses, launching a tremendous artillery fire against them and then sending storming columns forward. These were stopped, however, by the defenders, who prevented a crossing of the Pruth, inflicting severe losses upon the Russians.
“The Russian artillery attack on the morning of June 16, 1916, was terrific. It resembled a thousand volcanoes belching fire. The whole town shook. Austrian guns replied with equal intensity. The Russians advanced in sixteen waves and were mown down and defeated. Hundreds were drowned. Russian columns were continually pushed back from the Pruth beyond Sudagora.
Serious, though, this loss was to the Central Powers, they had one consolation left. Before the fall of Czernowitz the AustroHungarian forces were able to withdraw and only about 1,000 men fell into Russian captivity. In one respect then the Russians had not gained their point. The Austrian army in the Bukowina was still in the field.
Slowly but steadily the force of Von Hindenburg's offensive in the north increased. On the day on which Czernowitz fell attacks were delivered at many points along the 150-mile line be
tween Dvinsk in the north and Krevo in the south. Some local successes were gained by the Germans, but generally speaking this offensive movement failed in its chief purpose, namely, to lessen the strength of the Russian attack against the Austrian lines.
A more substantial gain was made by the combined German and Austro-Hungarian forces, opposing the Russians west of Lutsk, in order to stop their advance against Kovel. There the Germans drove back the center of General Brussilov's front and captured 3,500 men, 11 officers, some cannon, and 10 machine guns.
On the day of Czernowitz's fall the official English newspaper representative with the Russian armies of General Brussilov secured a highly interesting statement from this Russian general who, by his remarkable success, had so suddenly become one of the most famous figures of the great war.
“The sweeping successes attained by my armies are not the product of chance, or of Austrian weakness, but represent the application of all the lessons which we have learned in two years of bitter warfare against the Germans. In every movement, great or small, that we have made this winter, we have been studying the best methods of handling the new problems which modern warfare presents.
“At the beginning of the war, and especially last summer, we lacked the preparations which the Germans have been making for the past fifty years. Personally I was not discouraged, for my faith in Russian troops and Russian character is an enduring one. I was convinced that, given the munitions, we should do exactly as we have done in the past two weeks.
“The main element of our success was due to the absolute coordination of all the armies involved and the carefully planned harmony with which the various branches of the service supported each other.
"On our entire front the attack began at the same hour and it was impossible for the enemy to shift his troops from one quarter to another, as our attacks were being pressed equally at all points.
“The most important fighting has been in the sector between Rovno, and here we have made our greatest advances, which are striking more seriously at the strategy of the whole enemy front in the east.
"If we are able to take Kovel there is reason to believe that the whole eastern front will be obliged to fall back, as Kovel represents a railway center which has been extraordinarily useful for the intercommunications of the Germans and Austrians.
"That this menace is fully realized by the enemy is obvious from the fact that the Germans are supporting this sector with all the available troops that can be rushed up. Some are coming from the west and some from points on the eastern front to the north of us.
"In all of this fighting the Russian infantry has proved itself superb, with a morale which is superior even to that of 1914, when we were sweeping through Galicia for the first time. This is largely due to the fact that the army now represents the feeling of the whole people of Russia, who are united in their desire to carry the war to its final and successful conclusion.”
To the question how he had bee: able to make such huge captures of prisoners the Russian gencral replied:
“The nature of modern trenches, which makes them with their deep tunnels and maze of communications, so difficult to destroy, renders them a menace to their own defenders once their position is taken in rear or flank, for it is impossible to escape quickly from these elaborate networks of defenses.
"Besides, we have for the first time had sufficient ammunition to enable us to use curtain fire for preventing the enemy from retiring from his positions, save through a scathing zone of shrapnel fire, which enders surrender imperative."
NOTHER very interesting account of conditions along the
southeastern front can be found in a letter from the Petrograd correspondent of a London daily newspaper, who spent considerable time in Tarnopol, a city which had been in the hands of the Russians ever since the early part of the war:
"We are in Austria here, but no one who was plumped down into Tarnopol, say from an aeroplane, would ever guess it. Not only are the streets full of Russian soldiers: all the names on the shop fronts are in Russian characters. The hotels have changed their styles and titles. The notices posted up in public places are Russian. Everywhere Russian (of a kind) is talked. German, the official language of Austria, is neither heard nor seen.
"It is true that this part of Galicia has been in the possession of Russia since the early days of the war. Even so, it is a surprise to find a population so accommodating.
“The people in this part of Austria are Poles, Ruthenes and Jews. Polish belongs to the same family of languages as Russian, and the Poles are Slavs. So are the Ruthenes, whose speech is almost identical with that of southwestern Russia. They are very like the 'Little' Russians, so called to distinguish them from the people of Great Russia on the north. They live in the same neat, thatched and whitewashed cottages. They have the same gayly colored national costumes still in wear, and the same fairy tales, the same merry lilting songs, so different from che melancholy strains of northern folk music. Almost the same religion.
“The finest churches in Tarnopol belong to the Poles, who are Roman Catholics. The Russian soldiers, many of them, seem to find the Roman mass quite as comforting as their Orthodox rite. They stand and listen to it humbly, crossing themselves in eastern fashion, only caring to know that God is being worshiped in more or less the same fashion as that to which they are accustomed. But in the Ruthenian churches they find exactly the same ritual as their own. With their blood relations they are upon family terms. There was an interesting exhibi- . tion in Petrograd last year illustrating the Russian racial traits in the Ruthenian population. Down here one recognizes these at once.
"No clearer proof could be found of the gentle, kindly character of the Russians than the attitude toward them of the Austrian Slavs generally. At a point close to the firing line, early this morning, I saw three Austrian prisoners who had been 'captured during the night. They had, in point of fact, given themselves up. They were Serbs from Bosnia, and they were quite happy to be in Russian hands. I saw them again later in the day on their way to the rear, sitting by the roadside smoking cigarettes which their escort had given them. Captives and guardians were on the best of terms.
“The only official evidences of occupation which I noticed are notices announcing that restaurants and cafés close at 11, and that there must be no loud talking or playing of instruments in hotels after 10—an edict for which I feel profoundly grateful. Signs of peaceful penetration are to be found everywhere. The samovar (urn for making tea) has become an institution in Galician hotels. The main street is pervaded by small boys selling Russian newspapers or making a good thing out of cleaning the high Russian military 'sapogee' (top boots). They get five cents for a penny paper and ninepence or a shilling for bootblacking, but considering the mud of Galicia (I have been up to my boot tops—that is, up to my knees—in it), the charge is not too heavy, especially if the unusual dearness of living be taken into account.
"Very gay this main street is of an afternoon, crowded with officers, who come in from the trenches to enjoy life. A very pleasant lot of young fellows they are, and very easily pleased. One I met invited me to midday tea in his bombproof shelter ini a forward trench. I accepted gratefully and found him a charmingly gay host. He took a childlike pleasure in showing me all