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Was the German Defeat on the Western Front Caused by the Failure of the Schlieffen Plan?

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Introduction

Was the German Defeat on the Western Front Caused by the Failure of the Schlieffen Plan? The German defeat on the western front was not due entirely to the failure of the Schlieffen plan, although had it succeeded they would have won. The aim of the Schlieffen Plan was to avoid having a war on two fronts, against France and Russia. It was devised by Graf Von Schlieffen in 1906. It was a daring plan to knock out France in one swift blow so that they could then focus all efforts on defeating Russia. They chose to wipe out France first as France would be quicker to mobilise than the Russians and the Russians would be the easiest to hold back. They would achieve this by sweeping through Belgium, down through France between the English Channel and Paris then back through into Germany at the French boarder. This was a daring plan, with the main drawback being that invading Belgium would bring England into the war, this was because all Europe had agreed not to invade Belgium. ...read more.

Middle

To attack you had to cross no mans land, this was covered in barbed wire and often treacherously muddy and churned up by shells which had tried in vain to cut through the wire. Sending messages to organize an attack was very difficult, runners were often killed and field telephone lines were often destroyed. There were no flanks so all attacks were frontal, which would always result in a great loss of life. In 1916 there was no war winning weapon, not enough shells and no reliable or effective tanks. Kitchener's army was only half trained and there were no brilliant Generals, though some were competent. Both sides were rich with high morale so no one was going to give in. Gas was used for the first time in Ypres in 1915 and perhaps presented the Germans with their first chance of winning the war since the Schlieffen plan had failed. The Germans were unaware of just how effective gas would be, it caught the allies totally off guard and unprepared. If Germany had realized what gas would do they could have used it more to their advantage and broken through and at this vital stage of the war it could have been fatal for the allies. ...read more.

Conclusion

It looked for a while as though it might work, with the introduction of storm troopers they advanced many miles into enemy territory and had the allies on the back foot and reeling from the speed and power of the German attack, but the attack petered out as the moved so fast that their own supplies could not keep up with them. They were also demoralized by what they captured, they discovered that the British had far higher living standards and better equipment, they came across cellars full of wine and other luxurious items which they had been denied throughout the war. The Allies regrouped and with the aid of the USA drove the Germans back and defeated them to win the war. The Germans lost the war because they missed too many good opportunities. They had chances to win it, and yes one of them was the Schlieffen Plan but the failure of this plan isn't the reason that they lost. They failed every chance they had, many of which were as good as the Schlieffen Plan. If they weren't going to win the war from these opportunities then they were was obviously destined to lose. ...read more.

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