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Why did the Schlieffen Plan Fail?

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Richard Tandy 18.09.02 Why did the Schlieffen Plan Fail? Introduction The Germans hope of a quick victory in the war were based on a plan called the Schlieffen Plan, formulated and composed by Count Alfred Von Schlieffen, chief of the General Staff of the German Army. Firstly, Germany knew they had one of the finest railway systems in the World. They would use this to their advantage to transport troops to the front line. The first stage of attack was to invade through neutral Belgium, sending most of their troops through the central and northern parts instead of the wooded Ardennes region, which would save time. Germany would then have enough troops to attack the west side of Paris. Within six weeks German troops would have captured the city of Paris by encircling it. The next step was to then transport the troops by rail to face "the Russian steamroller" which the Germans anticipated to take six weeks to get prepared. The first sticking point for Germany was when they invaded Belgium in August 1914. ...read more.


Meanwhile, Germany had some success. Frances' Plan XVII failed completely and there were 300,000 French casualties. Germanys Western armies now marched into France, however, they were forced, because of their lack of soldiers, to sweep east of Paris rather than west and they failed to encircle and therefore capture the city. The French armies were inspired by General Joffre to resist the German advance, he rushed reserve troops to the front from Paris, using taxis when necessary. Over the four days of the 5th - 9th September at the Battle Of Marne, which turned out to be the turning point of the war, the exhausted Germans were thrown back from the Marne River. They began to dig trenches to defend themselves. The German commander Moltke lost control of his armies. Holding back his tears he called for a general retreat. The German casualty figures were so high that they were never published. By October 1914 the Germans had failed to capture Paris, and they had been stopped at the Battle Of The Marne. The Schlieffen Plan was failing and Germanys soldiers were exhausted. ...read more.


This caused the plan to fail because the army was now stuck in a battle of trench warfare and this bogged down their advance and meant that other countries including Rusia had more time to prepare. The second reason is the Russian army getting mobilized quickly. As a result Germany had to weaken their western armies to prevent Russia gaining ground. Now that Germany didn't have enough soldiers in the west they failed to capture France. If Germany still had their complete army in the west they would probably have been able to take France and the channel ports then go and fight Russia. Therefore, the Schlieffen Plan would have been a success. However, irrespective of Russia's immediacy I believe the Battle of The Marne was the ultimate failure of the Schlieffen Plan because it resulted in the German army getting bogged down in this battle of attrition in trench warfare and consequently bringing the war to a stalemate. Do not copy my essay in its exact form as it has been distributed between teachers as a benchmark and you would get caught out as a result - Richard Tandy (Look out for my name in the near future as a famous musician (guitarist) or scientist). 1 ...read more.

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