The German Command, in planning for a short and swift war, found themselves in a bind when the war started to prolong itself. From the very beginning, their plan started to fall apart, as Belgium, who they assumed would just let them march through to France, took up arms in resisting their approaches (Hull, 2005). The war would get longer and longer and seemed farther away from its conclusion as the months grew colder. As a result of this as well as their Prussian roots, they resorted to dangerously risky and destructive tactics, trying to bring the war to a quicker end while putting more of their resources in jeopardy, a move that eventually did not pay off and ended up leading to the German Empire’s demise (Hull, 2005).
The Schlieffen Plan was a German battle plan to fight a two front war devised in 1905 by Alfred von Schlieffen as the Chief of the General Staff for Germany. The plan called for the German army to apply overwhelming force in France to capture the capital of Paris within six weeks before changing focus to Russia. The plan intended to achieve a quick and decisive victory by sweeping a line of armies through neutral Belgium and into France. In actuality, Helmuth von Moltke made significant changes to Schlieffen’s original plan before and during World War I. Ultimately, the plan ended in failure when the German advance halted at the First Battle of the Marne (Limbach, 2014).
In February 1891 Count Alfred von Schlieffen was appointed Chief of the Prussian General Staff, a post which he held until the end of 1905. The most important responsibility of the General Staff was to produce the annual deployment plans, which stipulated how the German army was to be drawn up ready for battle in case of war. The initial pattern of deployment was the basis of the operational plan for the conduct of the war itself. The General Staff routinely tested these war plans in studies and exercises. During most of Schlieffen’s time as Chief of Staff, the essential strategic problem for Germany was indeed the likelihood that the next war would have to be fought against two enemies on widely separated fronts, the French in the west and the Russians in the east. Schlieffen never found a convincing solution to this problem. His suggestion was to deploy much greater forces on one of the fronts in order to defeat that enemy quickly and decisively, and then to use rail mobility to reinforce the other front and win a decisive victory there too. That sounded fine in theory, but when it was tested in exercises it proved hard to achieve. An initial victory on one front could not be fully exploited because of the need to switch forces promptly to the other front. Once that happened, the first enemy
When Germany declared war on Russia in 1914, they also had their own military plan, which called for a two front war with France and Russia. It was called The Schlieffen Plan and was developed by General Alfred von Schlieffen in 1903 but was revised in December of 1905. At this time, he was chief of the German General Staff, and Europe was separated into the Triple Alliance, which consisted of Germany, Austria, and Italy, on one side and the Triple Entente, which consisted of Great Britain, France, and Russia, on the other. Schlieffen was sought out by the Kaiser in order to construct an arrangement that would allow Germany to
Although critical for the German war plan, the Schlieffen-Moltke plan was kept a secret to the public, and even staff members of the German Imperial Army. Moltke kept the Schlieffen Plan a secret throughout his service in the army. Even close staff members, such as General Gerog Graf von Waldersee, admitted they had never actually seen the blueprints for the plan. (Ehlert, 90, PPed). A reason that Moltke wished to keep the Schlieffen-Moltke plan a secret was for the reason of altering it if needed without objection from his staff members. Other commander’s opinions may have helped find a better strategy, as well as counter-arguments to flawed areas of the plan. Surprisingly, Moltke did not tell Schlieffen about the changes he had made to his plan. However, Schlieffen found out about his changes and questioned Moltke’s leadership out of spite. (Ehlert, 97, pped).
The Schlieffen Plan was created by Alfred von Schlieffen, and he created it to avoid fighting both France and Russia at the same time. The problem was that France and Russia were on opposite sides of Europe. Which meant they would have to split their army in half. The Schlieffen Plan stated that Germany would defeat France while Russia would be mobilizing itś army. They assumed that Russia would take six weeks to mobilize,and that France was weak and Russia was strong. They didn´t think that GB would be fighting for France because of the treaty signed seventy - five years ago. The Schlieffen Plan had many flaws and assumptions.But instead of taking six weeks Russia took ten days, and started fighting when they weren't ready. Which made
This mission had to be carried out as quickly as possible. Schlieffen thought it would be much easier to conquer France by attacking it from the back rather than push their way through the heavily secured Franco-German border. Schlieffen took into account Britain’s position of protecting Belgium but ignored it. He was sure that the Belgian troops would be well defeated before British troops could cross the English Channel. Therefore the Schlieffen Plan was set. The German army would quickly move through Belgium, defeat France and turn it’s attention to
In the spring of 1918 the German army began an offensive to break through allied lines and ultimately end the war. The spring offensive was meant “to push the [British Expeditionary Force] off the continent and then deal with France separately before significant numbers of Americans could arrive in Europe and tip the manpower balance decisively in the Allies favor.” (Zebecki 43) In order to successfully accomplish this task Germany decided that it needed a diversion in the south in order to draw French reserves out of Flanders and weaken the Allies in the north. The original plan of the Germans was that of a limited attack of only 13 miles. The Germans “[were] certain that the French would panic and pull their reserves out of Flanders.” (Zebecki 43) When the Germans advanced 13 miles on May 27th, Pétain ordered 16 division to block
Schlieffen retired in 1906 and was replaced swiftly by Helmuth von Moltke whom was considered a more vigilant and audacious leader, preceding to his amendments of the original plan, “dooming the plan before it was ever launched” (L.C.F. Turner). Moltke disregarded the original plan of luring the French into Germany through Alsace-Lorraine, and instead diverted a portion of men from the upper right hook into Paris and to the defence of Alsace-Lorraine. Furthermore, Moltke made the decision to not travel through Holland and make use of their rail system. As a result, the German Army became bottlenecked and their “fighting power was practically numbed by physical exhaustion” due to their “supplies [failing] to keep pace” (Liddel-Hart). In turn, French strategy was heavily preoccupied with breaking German borders through Alsace-Lorraine, thus neglecting defence along the Belgian border, allowing Germany to penetrate these borders and advance closer towards Paris.
The Germans, wasting valuable time and causing large numbers of troops to be left behind to counter continuing Belgian resistance, could not quickly seize strong Belgian forts or crush the Belgian army. As half the German army was caught up in Belgium, France put its plan into action. French attacks got nowhere, however, and French were in fact pushed back across their own border and deep into France very quickly. By pushing the French attackers back into France the Germans were, in fact, forcing the French army out of the trap into which Schlieffen had intended them to fall. The German troops who had fought through Belgium were exhausted and short of supplies. Their numbers had been reduced by Belgian resistance, a battle with the BEF and part of their force being diverted to the fast developing Eastern front. When this was combined with the French troops who were being rushed to defend Paris, the German army no longer possessed the resources to successfully capture Paris. General Moltke, therefore, ordered the German first and second armies to swing East of Paris in an attempt to catch the retreating French army between the Germans swing back from the West and those who had repelled the French invaders in the East. General Joffre had, however, prepared the French for this kind of move and thanks to aerial reconnaissance he knew exactly where the German armies were. The culmination of this huge change of events
Both the allied and central powers based their campaigns on rapid mobilization and aggressive movements against strategic objectives which was best demonstrated through the Schlieffen plan which was constructed by the German war ministry in 1897 and accounted for a large scale conflict fought simultaneously on two fronts namely with the French and Russians, this doctrine called for rapid mobilization of German forces and a direct assault and conquest of the French homeland effectively neutralizing them before the Russian army could muster its troops in a way that posed a threat to Germany itself. The Schlieffen plan depended upon the superiority of German equipment and logistical support which formed the basis and is one of the earliest demonstrations of the “blitzkrieg” style warfare that would be successfully utilized by Nazi Germany in later years and is still used as a model for the conduct of offensive campaigns by modern militaries. The French plan relied upon engaging the German forces along two fronts with one serving as a defensive which would tie up German resources and manpower while also mitigating their logistical superiority
Firstly, no matter the number of troops the Germans could deploy, there was only so much ground they could cover at a certain speed by marching, effectively limiting the plan. The troops were required to travel 30 miles per day to be able to successfully accomplish The Schlieffen Plan. However, the plan did not fully account for resistance; moving 30 miles per day while fighting an enemy is completely ludicrous. Additionally, within the later stages of the initial push, troops were kneeling over with fatigue, naturally slowing down, and one of the predominant reasons for this is that German troops ran out of food, ammunition, and fodder for their animals. Since the Schlieffen Plan did not incorporate plans for resupplies, the German infantry and cavalry had to wait days before resupplying.
Alfred von Schlieffen, Chief of the Imperial German General Staff, created The Schlieffen Plan for war against France and Russia. It was designed to avoid a two front war. Seven eighths of german troops were sent to surround the strong french defenses by going through Belgium and the Netherlands while a third were ready at Germany and France’s border to attack. After the success of the attack on France, they planned to send the rest of the troops to Russia. Germany had no plan for dealing with Russia once the troops got there.
The Schlieffen-Moltke Plan; which was drawn up originally by Alfred Von Schlieffen and reshaped by Helmuth Von Moltke the Younger, failed to achieve its objectives in September 1914 due to the alterations implemented by Moltke the Younger. The objective of the Schlieffen-Moltke plan; which was executed by the German Empire, was to advance through Belgium and enter France through the Northern border. Once Belgium was defeated, the Germans wished to quickly overtake the French and move quickly to fight the Russians before they could mobilise. However, the plan turned into a major disaster due to the alterations that Moltke made before the Schlieffen-Moltke plans execution, as well as the revisions made during the offensive. His changes allowed the Allies to counter the attack. An issue that Moltke and the German army encountered was that the Belgian army would not allow them to march through without resistance. Moltke attempted to persuade the Belgian King Albert to grant access through their country prior to the invasion. The Belgian King Albert declined, and did not allow the Germans to flow freely through their country. This led to a pre-emptive attack on Belgium, which brought Great Britain into the war. The resistance that the Belgian’s showed in the Battle of Liege delayed the German forces which caused critical problems for the Schlieffen Plan. Another issue with the Schlieffen-Moltke plan that occurred due to the Belgian resistance was the failure to defeat the French