Since the middle of the 16th century, Vilnius has been a convenient stop for marching foreign armies. The interests of East and West clashed most brutally here. In 1812, the city saw the undefeatable Emperor Napoleon and his Grande Armée and later closely watched as tragedy struck this army. In 1915, Vilnius felt the horror of the unprecedented World War: Russia quickly evacuated the city and the Germans occupied it. The war in Vilnius and for Vilnius lasted until 1920. In 1939, the city became one of the first victims of the war started by the Soviets and Nazis. The Soviets occupied the city in September, the Nazis occupied it in 1941, and then the Soviets came back in 1944. The occupier’s armed forces only left Vilnius in 1993.