• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Failure of the Schlieffen Plan - How it was meant to happen.

Extracts from this document...


The Failure of the Schlieffen Plan How it was meant to happen Germany's Schlieffen plan was to send forces through Belgium to invade and defeat France in six weeks. Schlieffen knew that the French were desperate to regain the two provinces of Alsace and Lorraine (lost to Germany 1870-71), so he planned to deliberately keep the German forces guarding these provinces weak. He hoped this would encourage an attack there from the French, allowing Germany to launch a surprise attack from the north (coming through Belgium). But going to war with France also meant going to war with Russia as the two countries had built up a strong friendship. For the plan to succeed, Germany needed to defeat the French before Russia could mobilise their troops. ...read more.


How it failed * Schlieffen died in 1913 and General von Moltke, the new chief of staff, took over his plan. * The Germans were held up at Liege, (Belgium) which only surrendered after an 11-day siege. * German troops advanced too quickly. Their supplies could not keep up and the men were exhausted. * The BEF slowed down the Germans in battle at Mons and Le Cateau. The British rifle fire at Mons was so fast and accurate that the Germans thought they were being machine-gunned. * The Russian army mobilised in just six weeks instead of the expected twelve, therefore General von Moltke was forced to send 100 000 men to hold them back. ...read more.


If the German army could get round the Allied troops, it could surround them and trap them. If the Allied armies could get round the German troops, they would be surrounded and trapped. Both sides tried to do this. They raced through northern France towards the Channel, fighting a series of battles as they tried to outflank each other. This is known as 'The Race to the Sea'. The most bloody fighting was around Ypres, which was eventually held by British and French forces. By November 1914, of the original 160,000 members of the BEF, 90,000 had become casualties and 250,000French and 130,000 German soldiers had been either killed or wounded. Neither side managed to outflank the other. Each side dug trenches to defend themselves and to stop the other side advancing. A line of trenches stretched form the Belgian coastline to the Swiss Frontier. It was stalemate. Kay Wilson 12/9/2003 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE International relations 1900-1939 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE International relations 1900-1939 essays

  1. How Important was the Role of the BEF in the Failure of the Schlieffen ...

    however they thought about sending the BEF into a flexible and strategic position on the left of the French army. All three sides expected a short war with a few decisive battles that would be over by Christmas. How wrong they all were...

  2. Explain How The Schlieffen Plan Was Meant To Work

    Paris was the major city in France; main railway and communication networks ran through the city. If Paris were to be captured, it would damage the French morale immensely and none the less damage their overall fight for the war.

  1. Explain how the Schlieffen Plan was meant to work?

    the attack side as it gave the offensive side a defensive mentality. When Britain did attack, they faced many problems. As the allies went "up and over", German snipers were ready to shoot the allies whilst the Germany shells were continually being fired.

  2. Explain how Moltke modified the Schlieffen Plan.

    Source F is better and clearer but still quite basic. If it didn't say 'a photograph of British troops retreating in 1914', then we wouldn't really know much about than that they were men on horses travelling, but by saying that they are retreating tells you where they are plotted

  1. Failure of the Schlieffen Plan.

    In saving Paris from capture by pushing the Germans back some 72km (45 miles), the First Battle of the Marne was a great strategic victory, as it enabled the French to continue the war. However, the Germans succeeded in capturing a large part of the industrial north east of France, a serious blow.

  2. Explain how the Schlieffen Plan was meant to work.

    Despite this, Von Moltke suggested that 34 divisions should invade France with 8 divisions defending from Russia. Germany were still confident success would be achieved and following Franz Ferdinand's assassination and the beginning of a war between Austria-Hungary and Serbia, German troops marched on into Belgium.

  1. Explain How the Schlieffen Plan was meant to work

    Army 8 was led by Von Prittwitz, and was stationed in East Prussia just to watch the Russian in case of an early mobilisation. It only involved one army however as the Germans hoped their alliance with Austro-Hungary (1879) still stood strong and could also help to watch the Russians

  2. Schlieffen Plan

    The plan involved attacking Belgium and then proceeding south in France. Unfortunately for Germany, the Belgium's didn't simply step aside for the Germans but they fought back making it much harder for Germany to carry out the Schlieffen plan. Aside from these war plans Germany also tried to stop countries

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work