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Why did the Schlieffen Plan fail?

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Introduction

Why did the Schlieffen Plan fail? The aim of the plan was to avoid having to fight two was at the same time (France and Russia). The plan was devised by Alfred Von Schlieffen. His plan was to attack France, not on the main border, which was strongly fortified, but to attack through Belgium and circle the Paris by going to the west of it, not east. He predicted this should take 6 weeks leaving enough time to go to the eastern front at Russia and fight there. The plan was very precise and accurate but when it was put into action there were changes, which led to the Germans failing to capture France. ...read more.

Middle

However, when Russia recovered unexpectedly in 10 days (not six weeks as the Germans expected) the German leaders worried and many troops were transported to the Eastern front, weakening the blow to France. By now they were very behind schedule. The consequences were bad for the Germans. France was sending troops to the frontier at the North and even more importantly, Britain had joined the war. They had promised to protect Belgium (because they were worried about being attacked on their coast) and also they did not want Germany to dominate Europe. Britain sent the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) under Sir John French. The army of 100,000 soldiers arrived in Belgium on the 17th August. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Germans had underestimated the power of France, and the two armies reached stalemate, dug trenches, and war raged for four years instead of the intended six weeks. I can conclude that the Schlieffen plan failed because of all the changes and delays. The calculations of the Russian recovery and travelling through Belgium were inaccurate. The Schlieffen plan was too ambitious and it attempted to do too much, too quickly. The plan also failed because it was based on a number of assumptions (like the British would not interfere) which were fatally flawed. In the end the Schlieffen plan ceased to exist and the Germans changed it to an entirely different plan of taking the Channel ports, which became a race to the sea and a war of attrition. Shanika Mehta History CNT 08/05/2007 ...read more.

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