The Failure Of The Schlieffen Plan

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Introduction

The failure of the Schlieffen plan There are many reasons for the failure of the Schlieffen plan and in this essay I will look at three of the main reasons. The Schlieffen plan was devised by Count Von Schlieffen the plan was to advance through Belgium and around Paris forcing the French to retire as all the French supplies were in Belgium. Then the German army would move to the German border with Russia and fight the remains of the Russian army, as they had just come from a war on the other side of Russia. The aim of this plan was to prevent fighting a war on two fronts, which if it was carried out properly would have worked and the war would be "over by Christmas".

Middle

Perhaps the biggest mistake was that Schlieffen didn't expect Belgium to resist or Britain to get involved. The Belgian forces held the Germans up for ten days, this may sound like nothing, but as the plan was running on a very tight schedule it was too long, also the ten days gave Britain enough time to transport an army across the channel and into a defensive position. Secondly the German high command made vital mistakes during the plan. The main one is that they changed the plan half way through. If a band was singing a song and decided to change the words half way through it just wouldn't work.

Conclusion

The Belgians weren't expected to fight back as the Germans passed through their small country, but the small forces put up a reasonable fight. The British weren't expected to get involved as there treaty with Belgium dated back to 1839. Schlieffen did not expect this ancient treaty. And finally the Russians as they were able to mobilize incredibly quickly this caused the Germans to fight a war on two fronts and it ultimately destroyed the aim of the plan. In conclusion I think that Schlieffen's plan would have been a great success but he did not look at all the details and ask all the questions, and if he had done so the plan would have been a success. The war would have actually been over by Christmas!

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