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Was the Schlieffen plan the cause of Germany's defeat?

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Was the Schlieffen plan the cause of Germany's defeat? One cause of Germany's defeat was the failure of the Schlieffen plan. There were a number of causes of the failure of the Schlieffen plan. One cause of failure was that the German army was held because of the Belgian resistance. Although the Belgian army was only a tenth of the size of the German army it still held the Germans up for nearly a whole month as the fortresses and cities were defended by the Belgians. The Germans used their artillery to destroy Belgian forts in Li�ge, Namur and Antwerp, but the Belgians still fought back, putting pressure on the Germans. The German attack on neutral Belgium turned public opinion in many neutral countries against Germany. The city was under siege between the 5 August and the 16 August, when finally the fort surrendered. Another cause of the failure of the Schlieffen plan was the inability of the Germans to outflank the French army. The French railway system helped with this because it was much quicker than having to mobilize the French army through marching. The Germans greatly underestimated how well they would do this and by time they got into France the French were waiting for them. A third cause of the failure of the Schlieffen plan was the speed of the Russian mobilization, the Russians moved faster than expected and surprised the Germans as they gained ground in Eastern Prussia. Although the advance of the Russians was not that much of a threat at the time, they were going to get very close to Berlin, which caused the Germans to pull even more men from their main force in an attempt to reinforce the Eastern front. This was quite unnecessary because while the forces were moving from the Western front to the Eastern front Germany had won in Tannenburg in early September 1914, while the battles on the Western front was being lost for Germany. ...read more.


was sunk by a torpedo. The Lusitania was carrying arms and ammunition and also contained civilians, 128 of the 2000 that died were American and as a result of this the Americans protested against the use of submarines which caused the submarine campaign to tone down which as a consequence made it less effective. A cause of the failure of unrestricted German submarine warfare was the organization of convoys after 1917. The Germans attempted to sink every enemy and neutral merchant ship that crossed the Atlantic in the hope that Britain and France would be starved into surrendering . The Germans were almost successful as a total of 430 ships were lost and the corn supply was bought down. Lloyd George insisted that the ships should adopt the convoy system, which meant that a large number of merchant ships would sail together whilst they were being protected by escorting warships. This dramatically reduced the number of losses and meant that the German plan had failed. There were a number of consequences of German submarine warfare. One consequence was that Britain and France were still in the war. The submarine warfare was meant to knock Britain and France out of the war but the campaign was not very successful and didn't affect the allies much and instead it forced the USA into entering the war which Germany didn't want. Another cause of Germanys defeat is the entry of the USA into the war. One cause the entry of the USA is unrestricted submarine warfare. The submarines sunk the lusitania ship which killed 1,198 of the 1,959 people aboard 128 of which were American. This annoyed president Wilson and is one of the reasons why the USA entered the war. Also the Germans are financially involved in the war by selling weapons to the allies and giving them loans. This meant that if the allies lost, the USA could lose money. ...read more.


One consequence was the lack of supplies. Because Germany had lost all of her allies she was left to fend for herself and the allies were unable to give Germany any ammunition, weapons or food. Another consequence of Germany being let down by her allies was that Germany had to surrender. It was all of her enemies against her because all the concentration was on Germany. They realised they had no chance anymore and decided to surrender. As a conclusion the Schlieffen plan was certainly a cause of Germany's defeat, however I don't feel it is the main cause as there were many causes which contributed to why Germany lost the war. The Schlieffen plan was a long term cause for Germany's defeat because it took place in 1914. Allied sea power was also a long term cause because it mainly took place in 1914. Submarine warfare, allied leaders more competent and continuous strain of losses for Germany were also long term causes that contributed to why Germany lost the war. The short term causes for the defeat of Germany was the entry of the USA as although they entered the war in 1917 they didn't have a real impact until 1918. Enemy losses and the allied leaders being more competent were both long and short term because the allied leaders made decisions all throughout the war and the German army suffered losses all throughout the war, although the majority of these losses occurred in 1918. Germany being let down by her allies is short term because Austria and Bulgaria were defeated in 1918. There are many links between each cause of Germanys defeat, for example the unrestricted submarine warfare relates to the USA joining the war. Another link is between allied sea power, blockades and submarine warfare another link is the allied leaders were competent and the surrender of Germany. Also the Belgian resistance links to the British being able to land because without the Belgian resistance the British would not be able to land as the Channel ports would not be open. ...read more.

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