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Explain the failure of the German campaign in the West in 1914.

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Introduction

Explain the failure of the German campaign in the West in 1914 There had been a few reasons why the German campaign failed in 1914 in the Western front. However, the main reason why the campaign failed was the failure of the Schlieffen plan. The failure of the plan lead to other problems arising and bringing the German campaign to failure in 1914. Count Alfred Von Schlieffen originally designed the Schlieffen plan in 1894, however Helmuth Von Moltke later changed the plan in 1906. The plan was to attack France and then to attack Russia. Germany wanted to attack both countries because they felt under threat that France and Russia had an agreement to help each other and also the idea of encirclement. The plan was to have quick victories on both sides. This, unfortunately for Germany, did not happen. The Schlieffen plan failed because of many reasons. Schlieffen thought it would only take a maximum of two months to defeat France and he also thought that Russia would not be able to be ready for war by the time Germany had defeated France. ...read more.

Middle

By now, the German forces were not strong enough to defeat rapidly. The German campaign failed in the Western front in 1914 also because they did not think of the allied resistance. They did not think that Britain would help the Belgians. Britain also had an agreement since 1904 with France and another agreement with Russia since 1907. Britain and France had also planned a small force together. It was called the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and it consisted of 150000 highly trained and well-equipped professional soldiers. The force was set up in secret and would fight alongside the French at short notice. The BEF was a strong force that took Germany by shock, when the force met the advancing Germans at Mons. With all these joined forces and alliances, it made it extremely difficult for Germany to fight one country without bringing in another. 'From now on matters went from bad to worse. Wherever I looked right or left, were dead or wounded, quivering in convulsions, groaning terribly. Blood oozing from flesh wounds... We had to go back...A bad defeat, there could be no gainsaying it; in our first battle we had been beaten, and by the English.' ...read more.

Conclusion

Germany was now fighting a two front war, one in the west against France and Britain and one in the east against Russia. German generals realised that they could not break enemy lines. A new commander, Falkenhayn, now replaced Moltke. Falkenhayn decided to try to outflank the enemy's lines. This marked the race to the sea; the charge began on 12th October 1914. As the Germans charged west towards the sea, the British and French moved their troops to block them. They had to do this to make sure the Germans could not break through. Both sides moved troops quickly by using rail. At the Battle of Ypres from 16th-22nd November 1914 a deadlock or stalemate was established. Either of the sides could break the other's lines. Troops had to dig trenches yet again to protect themselves; these soon turned into long networks and led to trench warfare. This stalemate did not break until 1918, the end of the First World War. The German campaign failed in the west in 1914 because of the failure of the Schlieffen plan. The failure lead to the trench warfare, stalemate and also the Battle of Marne and Ypres. However Germany also suffered from allied resistance, which did not necessarily come about because of the failure of the Schlieffen plan. ...read more.

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