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

Why did the Schlieffen Plan fail?

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

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. Why did the Schlieffen Plan fail?

    but they also managed to sabotage their rail system, thus delaying the Germans for even longer. Moltke, the chief executor of the plan, was aware of these problems. He made some changes to the Schlieffen plan to take into account some of these complexities.

  2. Why did the Schlieffen Plan Fail?

    prevent the Germans capturing vital Channel Ports such as Calais and Boulonge. However, the British had arrived just in time. Helped by the Belgians who delayed the Germans by flooding their land, the British recaptured Ypres in Belgium from the Germans and ensured that the other Channel Ports were in safe Allied hands.

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

    Whilst Britain had the feared Dreadnought, Germany had a plentiful supply of U-boats. These were submarines that could do extensive damage and were certainly used effectively in retaliation against the British blockade. The Battle of Jutland was fought in May 1916 off the east coast of Denmark.

  2. Failure of the Schlieffen Plan.

    By 11 September the Germans were in full retreat. This remarkable change in fortunes was caused partially by the exhaustion of many of the German forces: some had marched more than 240km (150 miles), fighting frequently. The German advance was also hampered by demolished bridges and railways, constricting their supply lines, and they had underestimated the resilience of the French.

  1. Schlieffen Plan

    The plan was used for the invasion of France and also for individual conflicts. One of the key points of this plan was that it was absolutely necessary to put all possible force behind the invasion of France and not to hold any soldiers back in reserve.

  2. Why did the Germans fail to achieve victory in the West in 1914? Source ...

    was nicknamed the "old contemptibles" 3) Sources E and F can be very useful to historians of the First World War because they show that there was racial diversity in among the British troops, with Scotsmen wearing kilts, cavalry charges were used against the enemy, and there were big, heavy guns - the British had no light machine guns.

  1. Why did the Schlieffen Plan fail?

    line of advance. The German supply difficulties increased as their communications lengthened and the German right wing drew together as gaps opened up.. Joffre intended that a retreat should stop a counter offensive to be launched. Kluck switched most of his troops from near Grand Morin river to a position facing his 6th

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

    It was a complete failure. 200,000 Frenchmen, including some of France's best soldiers died in 12 days, slaughtered by the German defences. At the time, it seemed the Schlieffen Plan was working fantastically. France's Plan XIV had failed, although this was one of the contributing factors of the failure of the Schlieffen plan.

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