Schlieffen plan: What it was, what happened and it's consequences.

Essay by postmanpat March 2004

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The plan was devised by Alfred von Schlieffen (hence the name) , when he devised it he was German Army Chief of Staff, in 1905, the plan was German which they would use to avoid a war on two fronts (Russia on the Eastern front, and Britain + France on the Western front). Schlieffen thought that France needed to be defeated as soon as possible in the event of a European War. If war did break out, Schlieffen knew that Russia and France would be unwilling to fight. Also, Schlieffen estimated that it would take Russia six weeks to mobilize her forces ready for war against Germany. He came to the conclusion that Germany would have six weeks in which to defeat France and get her to surrender.

The Schlieffen Plan used 90% of the German army in a massive offensive through the plains and lowlands of Belgium (which at the time was on neither side -neutral), Schlieffen thought Belgium would be unable to stop the German advance.

The plan for the German troops was to move in a scythe-like motion, encircling Paris, and taking her from behind.

On August 2nd, 1914, the Schlieffen Plan was put to action and the German Army began its advancing towards France through Belgium. The plan was upset with the early arrival of the B.E.F. (British Expeditionary Force) known by the Germans as the old contemptibles under Sir John French, a significant resistance by the Belgian Army, and the early arrival of Russian Forces in East Prussia.

What actually happened?

Belgium, Britain and France responded to the launching of the Schlieffen Plan in different ways.

The Germans did not expect resistance from Belgium, but the Belgian army fought courageously and hindered the German advance. Members of the British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F)...