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Explain How The Schlieffen Plan Was Meant To Work

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Introduction

Fourth Form History Coursework On The First World War. Explain How The Schlieffen Plan Was Meant To Work? This was a plan devised by Colonel Von Schlieffen in 1905. The plan was devised to help Germany to avoid a war on two fronts against Russia and France. Graf Von Schlieffen thought that Russia would be extremely slow to mobilise and that would give Germany time (approximately one and a half to two weeks) to attack France and hopefully capture Paris. It was thought that by the time they had captured France the Germans could leave a small token force in France and then go over to fight the Russians in the east. They believed that the whole capture of France would take only six weeks. One of the major parts of Graf von Schlieffen's plan was that Britain would not enter a war just over a piece of paper that she had signed eighty years previously. This piece of paper was the Treaty of London. It said that Belgium was neutral and that the countries signing it would defend Belgium's neutrality. In any case the Germans thought that if the British did enter the war as Britain had a 'contemptibly little army' they would not have any effect on the outcome. ...read more.

Middle

3. Exhaustion by 1914: Both sides had casualties in their millions by the end of 1914. The highly trained and well-equipped B.E .F, which was originally dispatched at the start of the war, was now nearly depleted. At the end of the battle of the Marne there were over two million dead soldiers and many different armies from both sides were beginning to feel these huge losses as they were a great deal smaller. Germany were around one million men less because they had to transfer some of them to the Eastern Front where Russia were attacking. The home front was now starting to feel the strain of keeping up with the ammunition and weapons that were being used by the soldiers at the front. And this meant that neither side could plan big offensive to make a breakthrough if they did not have the resources to do so. 4. Inexperience of modern warfare: Both sides had entered the war expecting the conflict to be won by tactics that had been used to win previous wars like cavalry charges and pitched battles. Many of the Generals e.g. Jofre, von Kluck and Haig in charge of the countries were previously in Cavalry divisions and thought that these were definitely the way forward, as it happens they were completely the opposite and were the ultimate way to lose men as they were shot down by enemy machine gun fire. ...read more.

Conclusion

Initially they managed to advance well through the Allied lines and made a gain of about forty miles. But soon they were struggling for supplies. The offensive had gone too fast, too far and some say too north. They had made so many advances in the few days that they had been attacking that they were out protruding with a salient bulging around them. The Allies then simply attacked from the sides to take back lost land. They could not get any supplies of food or weapons to the front line because the Allies mostly cut them off en route. Now a significant breakthrough had been made this left the gate open for another attack this caused a movement along the whole Western Front which ultimately ended the stalemate. After the Allies had counter attacked they started to push towards Germany, A small time later Allied troops could be seen crossing the Hindenberg Line. The factor that least contributed to the breaking of the stalemate was the invention of technology like the tank. Although this was successful the two sides did not learn how to make breakthroughs for a while when they adopted tactics such as the all arms attack. These technological advances did help to win battles but they did not signal the end of the breakthrough but once the breakthrough was made they were used well to push back the Germans. ...read more.

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