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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

February 17th, 1915 - The Second Battle of Masurian Lakes

Conflict: World War I

Combatants: Germans vs. Russians

Location: Poland

Outcome: German victory

After having driven off the Russian invaders in the fall of 1914, German Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg hoped to strike a blow against the Russians that would knock the tottering empire out of the war. In the winter of 1915, Hindenburg sent two of his armies to attack the Russian Tenth Army north of the Masurian Lakes in Poland.

German troop at the Second Battle of Masurian Lakes by an unknown photographer

From February 7th to the 21st of 1915, the German army conducted an offensive against Russian forces in that area. The Russian XX Corps surrendered on February 21st, but had delayed the German advance long enough to allow three other corps to avoid encirclement and destruction. The Russians lost nearly 200,000 men in the course of the campaign including 90,000 as prisoners of war.

Points of Interest:

  • Hindenburg was largely responsible for several impressive German victories against the Russian Empire in World War I. In March of 1918, he oversaw the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in which the former Russian Empire, now the Soviet Union, ceded vast territory in exchange for peace.

  • Hindenburg was elected president of Germany in 1925. Bowing to the demands of his advisors, he appointed Adolf Hitler Chancellor of Germany in 1933. He died less than one year later.

Paul von Hindenburg (1914) by Nicola Perscheid



Dupuy, Trevor N., Johnson, Curt, & Bongard, David L. (1992). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military Biography. New York: Castle Books (HarperCollins).

Dupuy, R. Ernest & Dupuy, Trevor N. (1993). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military History. New York: HarperCollins.

Eggenberger, David (1985). An Encyclopedia of Battles: Accounts of Over 1,560 Battles from 1479 B.C. to the Present. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.

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