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Video transcript
The Eastern and Western fronts, even though they were fronts of the same war, were very different in character. And a lot of it came out of the fact of who was fighting it and especially how big the actual fronts were. So the Western Front, which was generally this region right over here, was a much smaller front than the Eastern Front. The Eastern Front was essentially this entire region right over there. And because of that, trench warfare did not become as major of a factor on the Eastern Front. In fact, was fairly useless on the Eastern Front. If you imagine trying to dig a bunch of trenches. So if you're trying to dig a bunch of trenches, trenches are huge advantage for the defending army as long as you can block off the entire region with trenches. So over here, you can't go around the trenches, you essentially, if you want to make some ground, an attacking army has to cross the trenches. And because you have now machine guns and the defending soldiers could essentially sit behind the trenches, they could essentially mow down the attacking army very easily. And that's what caused the Western Front, especially after the Schlieffen Plan was not able to be executed on as quickly as possible, it turned into just a stalemate. So you just had a stalemate, a hugely defensive stalemate. Because both parties had their trenches, it was very, it was hugely advantageous for the defending side. On the Eastern Front, you had this huge front. It was very hard. You couldn't have. They didn't have enough people to dig trenches across this entire front. And so you could imagine if you tried to dig a trench, but you weren't able to cover the entire front, then the attacking army doesn't have to storm your trench. They don't have to do that anymore. They could just go around your trench. And because trench warfare was not as significant of a factor on the, or wasn't as anywhere near as much of a factor on the Eastern Front, it was a much more fluid front. You had offensives and counter-offensives between the Germans, Austrians on one side and the Russians on the other. Now the other factor-- and this was mainly with Russia as a variable-- the other factor was just what was going on in Russia. So Russia had several things going for it. The main thing is, it had a huge army. It had a huge standing army, even before the war. And it was able to amass even more. So it had a huge army. But what was going against it-- and this is why it eventually had to get into a very unfavorable treaty with the Central Powers near the end of the war-- is it had huge internal problems. And I'm not just talking about the military. I was talking about, I'm talking about the entire empire. And it arguably was due to the war, due to the economic and the human cost of the war. But as we enter into 1917, you first have the February Revolution. Tsar Nicholas II has to abdicate the throne because of the riots that are going on, because of the unhappiness, the unease with people literally going hungry. People, obviously, the morale of the troops going down. And then on top of that, the Russian military, even though it had a huge army in the beginning of the war, the Russian industry wasn't ready to fully supply that army in as good of a way as, say, the German army was. And on top of that, it had communication problems. And even in the beginning phases of the Eastern Front, it even had issues in terms of coordinating its actual armies. And so what we'll see, and we'll cover this in much more depth in a future video, but what we'll see is, Western Front. Schlieffen Plan not executed as fast as possible. Ends up in a stalemate. This did allow the Germans to bring some of their troops back to the Eastern Front to fight the Russians. This goes back and forth as we'll see. But once you enter into 1917, you have a revolution in Russia. First, you have the February Revolution. Tsar Nicholas II has to abdicate. And then later that year, you have the Bolsheviks overthrow the interim government. And you now have Communist Russia. The Bolsheviks were in no mood to continue to fight the Germans. The military was in no mood to continue to fight the Germans and the and Austria-Hungary. And so they, essentially, get into a treaty with them and kind of take themselves out of the war. So we'll cover that in a little bit more detail in a future video.