Monday, July 7, 2014

Chapter 7 - On The Eastern Front: Part 1 - Introduction

Korzybski: A Biography (Free Online Edition)
Copyright © 2014 (2011) by Bruce I. Kodish 
All rights reserved. Copyright material may be quoted verbatim without need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder, provided that attribution is clearly given and that the material quoted is reasonably brief in extent.

The first stages of the war had not gone well for Russia. By the end of August an invasion of East Prussia by the First and Second Russian Armies had resulted in the encirclement and destruction of much of the Second Army, in the Battle of Tannenberg, near Grunwald, the place where Polish forces had defeated the Teutonic Knights centuries before. 

Korzybski did not participate in the East Prussian battles. However, while the Second Army was getting demolished, he had been sent by Terechoff to try and find the First Army under General Rennenkampf. He observed the terrible results:

I could not find Rennenkampf. [He] completely failed in attacking East Prussia. In the meantime, Grand Duke Nicholas was already bound to help the allies by attacking East Prussia and the 200,000 men of Rennenkampf were not there—especially prepared for that attack. So we put in our front some body, some sort of army, and the Second Army was sent to East Prussia, of course, complete disaster, complete. I was ordered there, but I came already after the disaster. I only saw the fleeing remnants, five men out of [every] 4,000. (1)
Battle of Tannenberg, East Prussia – 1914 
Initial efforts against the Austrians were more successful, with Russian armies in the south managing to capture Lwow, pushing their way into Galicia, and reaching the Carpathian mountains as autumn advanced into winter. Meanwhile, in Central Poland, where Korzybski’s work was focused, initial forays towards Warsaw by the Germans got foiled. However, by October German armies were starting to advance from Prussia southeastwards into Russian Poland toward Plock (west-northwest of Warsaw) and Warsaw, and from Germany proper eastwards toward Lodz.

You may download a pdf of all of the book's reference notes (including a note on primary source material and abbreviations used) from the link labeled Notes on the Contents page. The pdf of the Bibliography, linked on the Contents page contains full information on referenced books and articles. 
1. Korzybski 1947, p. 128. See John Sweetman’s Tannenberg 1914 for a historical account of the battle of Tannenberg. Aleksandr Solezhenitsyn’s well-researched novel August 1914 provides a compelling sense of what it must have felt like on the Russian side. One can imagine Korzybski as a minor character here, riding in on horseback and finding Russian Second Army stragglers after it was already too late and the battle lost.

No comments: