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Explain how the Schlieffen plan was meant to work.

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Samantha Bennett Modern World History Coursework Assignment 1 a) Explain how the Schlieffen plan was meant to work. The Schlieffen plan was a plan devised by General Schlieffen in order to avoid a war on two fronts. The General Schlieffen was sure that Germany would come to face a war on two fronts, a war against Russia in the east and France in the west. General Schlieffen knew that Germany would be defeated if forced to fight a war on two fronts. The Schlieffen Plan was to knock out France in six weeks. Schlieffen knew that Russia would probably mobilise slowly and take a few months to march to war, in this time Germans northern army could sweep down through Belgium into France. The success of the plan depended on three main things, firstly, the army in the north had to be large and it would need troops to guard Alsace-Lorraine from the southern army but Germany knew that Italian troops would help them to defend Alsace-Lorraine front against any French attack. Secondly the soldiers in the northern army would have to cover at least thirty-five kilometres a day this would take great experienced logistics who have the ability to keep troops in battle supplied with food, ammunition and other needs, thirdly Russia would have to take at least three months to get their army ready to fight. ...read more.


The Germans took Ostend and then captured Antwerp, despite the reinforcements of British marines. Ypres in Belgium was the recaptured by from the Germans and the other channel ports were al safely in allied hands. The race for the sea was over, Both sides 'dug in' for the winter in a line of trenches 470 kms long stretching from the north sea to the French-Swiss border. From the late 1914 to early 1918 there was a large stalemate on the Western front as the Germans and the allies were evenly matched, Commanders on both sides were committed to a war of attrition and each side was failing to cut through the enemies barbed wire and both warned the offending side of a impending attack there were waves of attacking infantry being mown down by the defending machine gunners but neither sides artillery or infantry could breach the enemies front line to let the Calvary through. Even the development of new tanks, gas and aircrafts could not break the stalemate and despite heavy losses neither side gained much ground. The governments were using means of propaganda as a way to build morale throughout the troops, conditions were terrible and soldiers discipline was extremely harsh as deserters could be shot. The only way it seemed that stalemate could be broken was if the Schlieffen plan had succeed, one of the German offences broke through the front line or if one or both sides were prepared to make peace. ...read more.


The worse period of the war was the summer of 1918 when sever food shortages coincided with the retreat of the main German armies. The German offensive 1918 was also an important contributor General Ludendorff was in charge of the great offensive and he planned to break the stalemate. Instead of an 'over the top' frontal assault by a wave of troops. He sent small groups of 'stormtroopers' to attack all along the western front line. It was a success and the Germans broke through the line and drove the allies back more then 60 kms, and once again the Germany army was in sight of Paris. But the German army became exhausted and could not reach Paris as the allies had fought hard to hole their positions and American troops were now joining them. Now it was the turn of the allies to push the Germans back and the new invented technology helped. The Germans eventually withdrew to the Hindenburg lines. All of these factors are sole contributors the reason why stalemate was broken on the western front as if American had not joint the war then the German offensive would have succeed even better and the allies may not have been able to push germane back which also need the invention on the new tanks and gas weapons. So I agree with the statement that they are all equally important reasons to why stalemate was finally broken on the Western front. ...read more.

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