The First World War
(a) Explain how the Schlieffen Plan was meant to work (7)
The Schlieffen plan was the strategy that was supposed to allow the German army a swift and deceive victory over France in a short space of time so that the German army could be rushed to the boarder to hold up the Russian 'Steamroller'
Germany had one of the best transport systems in the world and they were going to use their network to move their troops around quickly. The most crucial aspect of the Schlieffen plan was mobility, because if the German army did not keep up it's swift momentum it would get bogged down and they would not be able to stop the Russian army. The Germans knew that France was protected by fortresses that spanned across the French border so the Germans decided to invade France through neutral Belgium. Germany did not believe that Britain would go to war with Germany over the 1839 treaty with Belgium, they later referred to the treaty as a 'scrap of paper'.
The Kaiser also thought of the British Expeditionary Force as a 'contemptible little army' and thought that even if Britain did stand by their 1839 treaty Germany would have no reason to worry because the Kaiser believed that the British army was absolutely no match for the German one. German troops would then capture the coastal ports of Dunkirk and swing West of Paris and encircle it. The Germans believed that once Paris was overrun, the rest of France would effectively surrender and the German army could then be rushed to the boarder to stop the Russian army.
(b) Why did the stalemate develop along the western front? (8)
The stalemate developed because of two key factors; the failure of the Schlieffen plan and...