History Coursework - The First World War.
Explain how the Schlieffen plan was meant to work.
The Schlieffen plan was the strategy Germany planned to adopt in the event of a war in 1914. It was intended to bring a fast, effective victory for Germany, and was devised by Count Alfred von Schlieffen who was the Chief of the General Staff of the German Army.
If a war broke out, Germany would be faced with a war in the west against France, and a war on the east against Russia. German generals knew that they could not sustain this war on both fronts, and the Schlieffen plan was devised to deal with this.
It was calculated that if a war started, Russia would take a long time to mobilize, and therefore Germany planned to defeat France before Russia had enough time to mount an invasion. They would do this by sending the majority of the German forces to attack France, leaving the eastern boarder vulnerable to attack.
This was a risky strategy, as if Russia mobilized quickly, than Germany could be easily invaded.
As a result of the Franco-Prussian war, ending in 1871, France had built strong defences around the French-German boarder to prevent another German invasion. Rather than invading through the heavily defended boarder at Alsace-Lorraine, the German army was to attack France through neutral Belgium. By using overwhelming force, it was planned that the German army would surround Paris within six weeks, thus causing France to surrender. Afterwards, the German army could be turned around back to Germany and concentrate their force on the Russian army to the East.
The Schlieffen Plan was a huge gamble on the German behalf, as for it to work several assumptions would have to remain correct.
It was predicted that Belgium would...