Was The German Defeat On The Western Front Caused By the Failure Of The Schlieffen Plan?

Essay by josh14High School, 10th grade July 2004

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Germany's defeat on the Western Front was not caused by the failure of the Schlieffen Plan, the plan failed on September 11th 1914 and the war dragged on for another four years until Germany was defeated on November 11th 1918. The failure of the plan led to many causes such as a war of movement had become a war of attrition (a stalemate). There were long-term and short-term reasons for Germany's defeat as a consequence of the Schlieffen plans failure. However, at the time that the Germans had chosen to put this plan into action, it was Moltke who was in charge. Moltke was not fully happy with the Schlieffen plan, and so because of this he made a few adjustments of his own. It is disputed whether the changes that Moltke made were for the better or for the worse, but despite these changes I feel that the plan still would have failed because there were many underestimations, not least the Russian and Belgium forces.

There were many consequences that brewed from the failure of the Schlieffen plan such as; Germany now had to fight a war on two fronts, one in the west between Britain, France and the other Allied (or entente) powers and a war in the east against Russia this was caused by the assumption that Russia would not be able to mobilize their troops quick enough but Germany were wrong and the Russian troops mobilized quicker than expected, Also another assumption that did not go in their favour was that Germany did not expect Britain to follow the treaty of London which stated neutrality towards Belgium and if needed Britain, France and Germany would protect it from any threat, Which led to Britain joining the war and slowing down the German detour through Belgium...