Was the Schlieffen Plan Foredoomed to Failure?

1707 WordsApr 28, 20137 Pages
Was the Schlieffen Plan Foredoomed to Failure? To avoid the French fortress system, the Germans had developed a plan to surround Paris in a flanking maneuver to quickly conquer France. The plan was expected to be carried out in only 40 days, however, many important steps were not taken which cost the Germans the vital element of haste. The Schlieffen plan was not foredoomed to failure, yet it it did fail due to three factors: the reduction to the right wing on the Western Front, the choice to avoid the path through Holland, and the poor coordination and regulation of the German armies. Alfred von Schlieffen built this plan around the inevitable outcome of a two front war. It was inevitablele that Germany was going to have to face…show more content…
However, due to lack of regulation from the high command and disagreements between commanders, deviation from the original plan was inevitable. Alexander von Kluck, the commander of First Army, decided to swing his forces south towards Northern Paris to chase the the retreating French Fifth Army. By deviating away from the original plan, von Kluck opened up his right flank. The French learned about this vulnerability from air-surveillance and proceeded to advise the Sixth Army to move in to attack the flank. They widened the gap between the German First and Second Armies which allowed the French Fifth Army, reinforced by the British Expeditionary Force, to move into the opening. This push prompted an order to retreat from Moltke. After backtracking 40 miles, the German forces dug in north of the River of Aisne. The Schlieffen plan had now failed as the Germans did not overcome France with haste and the long years of war began. Poor coordination due to the lack of a nearby headquarters not only resulted in the failure of the Schlieffen plan, but also in the loss of many opportunities to win the war. The Oberste Heeresleitung, or OHL, was the commanding headquarters of the German army. It was located hundreds of miles behind the Western Front. This made coordination of the armies very difficult and the delays in communication cost the Germans many opportunities to inflict war-ending

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