Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Tannenberg. Village in East Prussia that gave its name to the great battle that led to Russia’s overwhelming defeat in late August, 1914. Although the battle was actually fought over a large area, encompassing many towns, the Germans named the battle after Tannenberg because Teutonic knights had suffered a historic defeat in this village at the hands of Polish-Lithuanian forces in 1410. The Russian army clashed with German forces at Tannenberg while marching on Berlin. (In 1945 Tannenberg was transferred to Poland and renamed Stebark.)


*Gumbinnen. German name for the Russian industrial city Gusev, where the Russians defeated a German army in the Battle of Gumbinnen about a week and a half before the Battle of Tannenberg. The novel points up how the Russian failure to capitalize on this initial victory led to their defeat in the later battle.


*Willenberg. East Prussian town that was the pivotal point of a Russian movement to encircle German forces. However, the main column of Russian relief troops was recalled, and the town became a pivot for German encirclement of Samsanov’s forces, which began running in panic.


*Neidenberg. Small town in East Prussia (now Nidzica, Poland) that became headquarters for Russian General Samsanov. Neidenberg was isolated from the major battles taking place and lacked the...

(The entire section is 479 words.)