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Was the failure of the Schlieffen plan the main reason for Germanys failure of the First World War?

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Introduction

Was the failure of the Schlieffen plan the main reason for Germany's failure of the First World War? In 1914, Germany believed that war with Russia was extremely likely. If war broke out, Germany assumed that France would also attack as she was an ally of Russia. Germany wanted to avoid a war on two fronts at all costs so created the Schlieffen Plan. Germany planned to defeat France rapidly using their highly successful blitzkrieg tactic and then turn the eastern front for a major offensive on Russia. Schlieffen planned to attack France through Belgium and Luxembourg and use 90% of their forces to deliver a knock out blow to France. Germany would then use their remaining forces to defend the eastern border from Russia. On the 2nd August 1914 the German army invaded Luxembourg and Belgium, however they were held up by the BEF (British Expeditionary Force). The Russian army also managed to mobilise in 10 days and Germany was forced to withdraw troops to protect the eastern border. They failed at invading Paris and were held up by the battle of the Marne. ...read more.

Middle

For the Germans, however, it was a huge psychological blow. This was because Russia had just been forced out of the war only to be replaced by one of the strongest countries in the world. American troops and supplies also played an important role in the final offensive on the western front in 1918. The entry of the USA into the First World War meant that Germany's morale was weakened as they had just managed to defeat another large, strong enemy, Russia, only to be replaced by another. A new fighter aircraft was introduced, the Sopwith Camel, which proved to be the most successful fighter aircraft of WWI, and gave the allies control of the skies over the western front by 1918. This meant that the allies final land offensive could go ahead without interference from German air attacks. This was not a more important cause for Germany's defeat than the schlieffen plan but it played a part in weakening Germany which eventually lead to their defeat British control of the seas and the failure of the German U-boat campaign of unrestricted warfare in 1917 was a vital factor in the Allied victory in 1918. ...read more.

Conclusion

Germany's war effort therefore relied mainly on her own strength and, although this was considerable, the odds against her by the end of the war were overwhelming - she was at ware with a total of 27 countries by 1918. This meant that Germany was extremely weak during World War One, spending precious money and supplies to support her allies instead of being spent on the war. In conclusion, I believe that the most important factor for Germany's failure in World War I was not the Schlieffen plan but rather the combined power of the Allied forces. This was due to various reasons. Firstly, the wealth of Britain helped the allies withstand the vast expense of war. Britain also had many power allies, such as Russia, which left in 1917, and France, who were determined and had vast amounts of troops. The large numbers of Allied troops were also vital in a war of attrition as casualty rates were very high. In contrast Germany's allies- Austria-Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria were very weak and needed aid from Germany, which meant that Germany was on her own. This made it impossible for German to win the war, as she was at war with a total of 27 countries by 1918. ...read more.

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