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Encyclopedia > Schlieffen Plan
For the French counter-plan, see Plan XVII

The Schlieffen Plan was the German General Staff's early 20th century overall strategic plan for victory both on the Western Front against France and against Russia in the east, taking advantage of expected differences in the three countries' speed in preparing for war. In modified form, it was executed to near victory in the first month of World War I; however, a French counterattack on the outskirts of Paris, the Battle of the Marne, combined with surprisingly speedy Russian offensives, ended the German offensive and resulted in years of trench warfare. The plan has been the subject of intense debate among historians and military scholars ever since. The Schlieffen Plan was created by Alfred Graf von Schlieffen and modified by Helmuth von Moltke the Younger after Schlieffen's retirement. It was Moltke who actually put the plan into action. Alfred Graf von Schlieffen Alfred Graf von Schlieffen (February 28, 1833 - January 4, 1913), German field marshal and strategist, served as Chief of the German Imperial General Staff from 1891 to 1905. ... The offensive French military strategy in World War I known as Plan XVII was initially created by Ferdinand Foch. ... The German General Staff, (Großer Generalstab, literally, Great General Staff) was an institution whose rise and development gave the German military a decided advantage over its adversaries. ... Combatants Belgium British Empire Australia[1] Canada[2] India[3] Newfoundland[4] New Zealand[5] South Africa[6] United Kingdom France and French Overseas Empire Portugal[7] United States Germany Commanders No unified command until 1918, then Ferdinand Foch Moltke → Falkenhayn → Hindenburg and Ludendorff → Hindenburg and Groener Casualties ~4,800... “The Great War ” redirects here. ... This article is about the capital of France. ... Combatants France United Kingdom German Empire Commanders Joseph Joffre John French Helmuth von Moltke Karl von Bülow Alexander von Kluck Strength 1,071,000 1,485,000 Casualties Approximately 263,000: 250,000 French casualties (80,000 dead) 13,000 British casualties (1,700 dead) Approximately 250,000 total... {{subst:empty template|}} {{Copyviocore |url= |month = {{subst:CURRENTMONTHNAME}} |day = {{subst:CURRENTDAY}} |year = {{subst:CURRENTYEAR}} |time = {{subst:CURRENTTIME}} |timestamp = {{subst:CURRENTTIMESTAMP}}}} Trench warfare is a form of warfare where both combatants have fortified positions and fighting lines are static. ... For other uses, see Historian (disambiguation). ... A scholar is either a student or someone who has achieved a mastery of some academic discipline. ... Alfred Graf von Schlieffen Alfred Graf von Schlieffen (February 28, 1833 - January 4, 1913), German field marshal and strategist, served as Chief of the German Imperial General Staff from 1891 to 1905. ... Helmuth von Moltke Chief of the General Staff Helmuth Johann Ludwig von Moltke (May 25, 1848–June 18, 1916), also known as Moltke the Younger, was a nephew of Field Marshal Count Moltke and served as the Chief of the German General Staff from 1906 to 1914. ...

Contents

The plan

After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, the French province of Alsace-Lorraine, with a mixed population of both French and Germans, had been made part of the German Empire. The revanchist French Third Republic vowed to regain the territories they had possessed for nearly 200 years. Due to Bismarck's alliances, France was initially isolated, but after young Kaiser Wilhelm II took the throne in 1888 and gradually estranged Germany from Russia and Britain, fears about having to fight a future war on two fronts simultaneously grew among German leaders. Combatants Second French Empire North German Confederation allied with South German states (later German Empire) Commanders Napoleon III François Achille Bazaine Patrice de Mac-Mahon, duc de Magenta Otto von Bismarck Helmuth von Moltke the Elder Strength 400,000 at wars beginning 1,200,000 Casualties 150,000... 1870 (MDCCCLXX) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... Imperial Province of Elsaß-Lothringen Alsace-Lorraine (German: , generally Elsass-Lothringen) was a territorial entity created by the German Empire in 1871 after the annexation of most of Alsace and parts of Lorraine in the Franco-Prussian War. ... For German colonial territories, see German Colonial Empire. ... Revanchism (from French revanche, revenge) is a term used since the 1870s to describe political campaigns to reverse territorial losses incurred by a country during previous wars and strifes, sometimes quite distant in time. ... Motto Liberté, égalité, fraternité (Liberty, equality, brotherhood) Anthem La Marseillaise The French Third Republic, pre-World War I Capital Paris Language(s) French Religion Roman Catholicism, protestantism and judaism official religions (until 1905), None (from 1905 until 1940) (Law on the separation of Church and State of 1905) Government Republic... Alternate meanings: See Bismarck (disambiguation). ... Wilhelm II of Prussia and Germany, Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albert von Hohenzollern (January 27, 1859 - June 4, 1941) was the last German Emperor (Kaiser) and the last King (König) of Prussia from 1888 - 1918. ...


France, having been beaten in a few weeks in 1870, was not considered as dangerous in the long run as the Russian Empire, which was expected to be hard to defeat if the Tsar was allowed the necessary time to mobilize his huge country to the fullest extent. After the Entente Cordiale of 1904 was signed between Britain and France, Kaiser Wilhelm asked Alfred Graf von Schlieffen to devise a plan which would allow Germany to fight a war on two fronts, and in December 1905 von Schlieffen began circulating it. The Entente Cordiale (cordial understanding) is a series of agreements signed on 8 April 1904 between the United Kingdom and France. ... Alfred Graf von Schlieffen Alfred Graf von Schlieffen (February 28, 1833 - January 4, 1913), German field marshal and strategist, served as Chief of the German Imperial General Staff from 1891 to 1905. ...


The idea of the plan was to win a two-front war by first quickly beating France again in the west – the plan scheduled 39 days for the fall of Paris and 42 for the capitulation of France – before the "Russian Steamroller" would be able to mobilize and descend upon East Prussia.[1] The plan depended on Germany's ability to invade France before France could fully mobilize its troops to defend itself, and then to turn on Russia, seen as the slowest of the three to mobilize, before the Russians were ready. This article is about the capital of France. ... The Russian Steamroller is a term used to describe Russian Armed Forces. ... East Prussia (German: Ostpreu en; Polish: Prusy Wschodnie; Russian: Восточная Пруссия — Vostochnaya Prussiya) was a province of Kingdom of Prussia, situated on the territory of former Ducal Prussia. ...


It envisioned a rapid German mobilization, disregard of the neutrality of Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands, and an overwhelming sweep of the powerful German right wing southwest through Belgium and Northern France, "letting the last man on the right, brush the Channel with his sleeve,"[2] in the words of Schlieffen, while maintaining only a defensive posture on the central and left wings, in Lorraine, the Vosges, and the Moselle. This article describes military mobilization. ... A neutral country takes no side in a war between other parties, and in return hopes to avoid being attacked by either of them. ... Motto: Je Maintiendrai (Dutch: Ik zal handhaven, English: I Shall Uphold) Anthem: Wilhelmus van Nassouwe Capital Amsterdam1 Largest city Amsterdam Official language(s) Dutch2 Government Parliamentary democracy Constitutional monarchy  - Queen Beatrix  - Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende Independence Eighty Years War   - Declared July 26, 1581   - Recognised January 30, 1648 (by Spain... Location Administration Capital Metz Regional President Jean-Pierre Masseret (PS) (since 2004) Départements Meurthe-et-Moselle Meuse Moselle Vosges Arrondissements 19 Cantons 157 Communes 2,337 Statistics Land area1 23,547 km² Population (Ranked 11th)  - January 1, 2005 est. ... Typical landscape in Vosges mountains (Chajoux valley, La Bresse, France) Waterfall in eastern Vosges mountains Glacial lake in Vosges mountains (Lac de Schiessrothried) The Vosges Mountains is a range in eastern France, stretching along the west side of the Rhine valley in a NNE direction, from Belfort to Saverne. ... This article is about the river in France, Luxembourg & Germany. ...


Paris was not to be taken (in 1870, the Siege of Paris had lasted for months) but was to be passed by the right wing to the west of the city. The intent of the plan was not to conquer cities or industry in order to weaken the French war efforts, but to capture most of the French Army and to force France to surrender, in essence a repeat of the strategy used to defeat France during the Franco-Prussian War. The plan was that the French Army would be hemmed in around Paris and forced to fight a decisive envelopment battle. Combatants Prussia, Baden Bavaria, Württemberg (later German Empire) France Commanders Wilhelm I of Germany Helmuth von Moltke Louis Jules Trochu Joseph Vinoy Strength 240,000 regulars 200,000 regulars 200,000 militia and sailors Casualties 12,000 dead or wounded 24,000 dead or wounded 146,000 captured 47... The French Army, officially the Armée de Terre (Army of the land), is the land-based component of the French Armed Forces and the largest. ... Combatants Second French Empire North German Confederation allied with South German states (later German Empire) Commanders Napoleon III François Achille Bazaine Patrice de Mac-Mahon, duc de Magenta Otto von Bismarck Helmuth von Moltke the Elder Strength 400,000 at wars beginning 1,200,000 Casualties 150,000...


A seed of disaster lurked in the conception of the plan: both Schlieffen and the man who would eventually implement his plan, Helmuth von Moltke the Younger, were seduced by the possibility of the double envelopment of the entire French Army by the right wing coming from the north and west of France and the left wing coming from the east. The inspiration was the destruction of the Roman Army by Hannibal's forces at the Battle of Cannae in 216 BC, which was the object of meticulous study by Schlieffen. In essence, his plan was a very large scale strategic readdressing of Hannibal's tactics, capitalizing on the recent breakthroughs in communications and transport. A pincer movement whereby the blue force doubly envelops the red force. ... See: Structural history of the Roman military The branches of the Roman military at the highest level were the Roman army and the Roman navy. ... For other uses, see Hannibal (disambiguation). ... For the 11th century battle in the Byzantine conquest of the Mezzogiorno, see Battle of Cannae (1018). ... Centuries: 4th century BC - 3rd century BC - 2nd century BC Decades: 260s BC 250s BC 240s BC 230s BC 220s BC - 210s BC - 200s BC 190s BC 180s BC 170s BC 160s BC Years: 221 BC 220 BC 219 BC 218 BC 217 BC - 216 BC - 215 BC 214 BC... For other uses, see Hannibal (disambiguation). ...


Politically, one of the major drawbacks of the Schlieffen Plan was that it called for the invasion of neutral states in order to pass through German troops to France. As it turned out, at least formally, it was the decision to invade Belgium which led to war with Great Britain.


As noted previously, Russian mobilization would supposedly be extremely slow, due to its poor railway system. Following the speedy defeat of France, the German General Staff would switch German concentrations to the Eastern Front. The plan called for sending 91% of the German troops to France and 9% to Russia. His goal was to defeat France in six weeks, the time it took for Russia to mobilize its army, and turn back to the Eastern Front before Russia could react. Kaiser Wilhelm II is quoted as having said "Paris for lunch, dinner at St. Petersburg." The German General Staff, (Großer Generalstab, literally, Great General Staff) was an institution whose rise and development gave the German military a decided advantage over its adversaries. ... ‹ The template below (Expand) is being considered for deletion. ...

Map of the Schlieffen Plan and planned French counter-offensives
Map of the Schlieffen Plan and planned French counter-offensives

Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (969x751, 273 KB) Description: Schlieffen Plan Source: www. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (969x751, 273 KB) Description: Schlieffen Plan Source: www. ...

Modifications to the Plan, 1906

Following the retirement of Schlieffen in 1906, Helmuth von Moltke became the German chief of staff. He disagreed with at least some of the Schlieffen Plan, thinking it to be too risky. The Plan, however, having been devised in 1905, was now too much a part of German military thinking to abandon it completely, so all Moltke could do was modify it. Moltke decided to pull significant numbers of troops away from the main force entering France from the north, in order to fortify the forces in Alsace-Lorraine, and the forces at the Russian border. The other significant change he made was not to enter through the Netherlands, instead sending troops through Belgium alone. These changes have been the subject of much debate. L.C.F Turner in 1970 described von Moltke's changes as "a substantial modification in the Schlieffen Plan and one which probably doomed the German campaign in the west before it was ever launched." Turner claims that by weakening the main German offensive, they did not have a real chance of defeating the French army quickly enough, hence they became stranded in a two-front-war. He also says that not going through the Netherlands not only created a bottleneck at the German-Belgian border, but also that not having the Dutch railways at their disposal created a huge supply problem, a problem which outweighed the benefits they gained by still having access to the Dutch ports. Year 1906 (MCMVI) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Sunday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Imperial Province of Elsaß-Lothringen Alsace-Lorraine (German: , generally Elsass-Lothringen) was a territorial entity created by the German Empire in 1871 after the annexation of most of Alsace and parts of Lorraine in the Franco-Prussian War. ... Motto: Je Maintiendrai (Dutch: Ik zal handhaven, English: I Shall Uphold) Anthem: Wilhelmus van Nassouwe Capital Amsterdam1 Largest city Amsterdam Official language(s) Dutch2 Government Parliamentary democracy Constitutional monarchy  - Queen Beatrix  - Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende Independence Eighty Years War   - Declared July 26, 1581   - Recognised January 30, 1648 (by Spain...


However, in 1977 Martin van Creveld, analyzing the role of logistics in the plan, felt that the effects of Moltke's alteration to avoid invading Dutch neutrality were more apparent than real, since two corps of troops which had been allocated to contain the 90,000-strong Dutch Army could instead be used for the invasion of France. Further, van Creveld points out that while Schlieffen had assigned five corps for the investment of Antwerp, Moltke made do with only two. "Though it is therefore quite true that Moltke's right wing was not as strong as Schlieffen had planned to make it, this loss was more than compensated for by the economies effected in [Moltke's] version of the plan."[3] Martin van Creveld (1946- ) is an Israeli military historian and theorist. ... For other uses, see Antwerp (disambiguation). ...


Early in the war, according to the directives of Plan XVII, the French mobilized and hurled their forces towards the German border in an ill-fated attempt to recapture Alsace-Lorraine. This played exactly into Schlieffen's conception of a trap through double envelopment, which called for a loose defense of the border, and actually for retreats by which the French forces would have been lured further away from the main thrust of the German advance. However, Moltke's weakening of the German right, the defense of Alsace-Lorraine, and the transfer of three army corps and one cavalry division from the western front to help contain the Russian advance into East Prussia, all contributed to the failure of the German army to break through the Allied forces at the Marne. Without that breakthrough, the plan was destroyed. The offensive French military strategy in World War I known as Plan XVII was initially created by Ferdinand Foch. ... Imperial Province of Elsaß-Lothringen Alsace-Lorraine (German: , generally Elsass-Lothringen) was a territorial entity created by the German Empire in 1871 after the annexation of most of Alsace and parts of Lorraine in the Franco-Prussian War. ... Helmuth von Moltke Chief of the General Staff Helmuth Johann Ludwig von Moltke (May 25, 1848–June 18, 1916), also known as Moltke the Younger, was a nephew of Field Marshal Count Moltke and served as the Chief of the German General Staff from 1906 to 1914. ... In general, allies are people or groups that have joined an alliance and are working together to achieve some common purpose. ...


Activation, and subsequent failure

Though debate continues about the merits of the Schlieffen Plan and even on whether the Schlieffen Plan was ever truly executed, ultimately the German invasion failed for six major reasons:

A British postcard reflecting Belgium's determination to retain sovereignty.
  • Belgian resistance: Although the Belgian army was only a tenth the size of the German army, it still delayed the Germans for nearly a month, defending fortresses and cities. The Germans used their "Big Bertha" artillery to destroy Belgian forts in Liège, Namur and Antwerp, but the Belgians still fought back, creating a constant threat on German supply lines in the North. In addition, the German attack on neutral Belgium and reports and propaganda about atrocities turned public opinion in many neutral countries against Germany and Kaiser Wilhelm.
  • The effectiveness of the British Expeditionary Force: The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was small, numbering only 75,000 at the start of the war. The French mobilized millions of recruits, and their goal was to use this number to defeat the Germans quickly in Alsace. To this end, the French commander-in-chief Joseph Joffre placed the small but highly trained BEF on the left flank, where he believed there would not be any fighting. Due to the rapid German advance through Belgium, the British were almost annihilated several times, but they managed to delay the Germans long enough for French and British reinforcements to arrive. While the BEF was forced into retreat throughout the month of August, it provided enough resistance against the German First Army under Alexander von Kluck to help induce the German general to break off the Plan. Instead, von Kluck turned south-east towards Compiègne, showing his flank to the Garrison of Paris under Gallieni, making possible the "Miracle of the Marne".
  • The speed of Russian mobilization: The Russians moved faster than expected, gaining ground in Eastern Prussia more quickly than the Germans had planned for, surprising them. While the Russian advance may not have posed much real threat at the time, had they kept gaining ground at that pace, they would get dangerously close to Berlin. This caused the Germans to pull even more men from their main force, in order to reinforce the Eastern Front. This proved counterproductive, since the forces pulled from the Western Front were still in transit during the German victory at Tannenberg in early September 1914, while the battles on the Western front were being lost for Germany.
  • The French railway system: Because of the delays caused by the British and Belgians, the French had more time to transfer troops from the border to Alsace-Lorraine. The Germans greatly underestimated how well they would be able to do this, especially with the extra time they were granted by the slowing of the German forces. The French sent some of their troops by train, some through taxis, and marched the rest of them. By the time the Germans got into France, the French were there waiting for them.
  • Logistical shortcomings: van Creveld asserts that:

    ...Schlieffen does not appear to have devoted much attention to logistics when he evolved his great Plan. He well understood the difficulties likely to be encountered, but made no systematic effort to solve them. Had he done so, he might well have reached the conclusion that the operation was impracticable. ... Moltke did much to improve the logistic side of the Plan. Under his direction, the problem was seriously studied for the first time and officers trained in the 'technics' of warfare ... He did, it is true, make a number of changes in the Plan. From an exclusively logistic point of view, some of these were beneficial, but most were harmful. Nevertheless, taking his period of office as a whole, he probably did more to improve the Plan than to damage its prospects.[3] Big Bertha Big Bertha (German: Dicke Bertha; literal translation Fat Bertha) is the name of the L/14 model of heavy mortar-like howitzers built and used by Germany during World War I. The name Big Bertha is often mistakenly applied to the Langer Max and Paris Gun railway guns. ... The Battle of Liège was the opening battle of the German invasion into Belgium, and the first battle of World War I. The siege of the city lasted from August 5 until the 16th when the final fort surrendered. ... Namur (Nameûr in Walloon, Namen in Dutch) is a city and municipality, capital of the province of Namur and of the region of Wallonia in southern Belgium. ... For other uses, see Antwerp (disambiguation). ... The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was the British army sent to France and Belgium in World War I and British Forces in Europe from 1939–1940 during World War II. The BEF was established by Secretary of State for War Richard Haldane following the Second Boer War in case the... Elsaß redirects here. ... Joseph Jacques Césaire Joffre (12 January 1852 - 3 January 1931) was a Catalan French general who was Commander-in-Chief of the French Army between 1914 and 1916 during the First World War. ... The German First Army (German: ) was a World War I and World War II field army. ... Alexander Heinrich Rudolph von Kluck (May 20, 1846 - October 19, 1934) was a German general during World War I. He was born in Münster, Westphalia. ... Compiègne is a commune in the Oise département of France, of which it is a sous-préfecture. ... Joseph-Simon Gallieni Joseph Simon Gallieni (24 April 1849 - 27 May 1916) was a French military leader in the French colonies and later in the First World War. ... Combatants France United Kingdom German Empire Commanders Joseph Joffre John French Helmuth von Moltke Karl von Bülow Alexander von Kluck Strength 1,071,000 1,485,000 Casualties Approximately 263,000: 250,000 French casualties (80,000 dead) 13,000 British casualties (1,700 dead) Approximately 250,000 total... East Prussia (German: (?), Lithuanian: or RytprÅ«siai; Polish: ; Russian: Восточная Пруссия — Vostochnaya Prussiya) was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia and the Free State of Prussia from 1773-1824 and 1878 to 1945. ... This article is about the capital of Germany. ... Combatants  Russian Empire  German Empire Commanders Alexander Samsonov, Paul von Rennenkampf Paul von Hindenburg, Erich Ludendorff Strength 190,000 150,000 Casualties 30,000 killed or wounded; 95,000 captured 20,000 The Battle of Tannenberg in 1914 was a decisive engagement between the Russian Empire and the German Empire...

    He concludes that, overall, the logistical shortcomings of the Plan did not contribute to the German defeat on the Marne. However,

    Had the battle gone in Germany's favour ... there is every reason to believe that the advance would have petered out. The prime factors would have been the inability of the railheads to keep up with the advance, the lack of fodder, and sheer exhaustion. In this sense, but no other, it is true to say that the Schlieffen Plan was logistically impracticable.[3] There were two Battles of the Marne during World War I: First Battle of the Marne (1914) Second Battle of the Marne (1918) hi!!!! I LOVE YOU!!! AND CHICKEN!!! Category: ...

    In van Creveld's view the design of the Plan was not characterized by the kind of thoroughness and detailed planning that is usually thought to be the hallmark of the German General Staff, but by "an ostrich-like refusal on Schlieffen's part to face even those problems which, after forty years of peace, could be foreseen." Although Moltke did improve the Plan somewhat in this respect, it was not methodical advanced planning which enabled the German advance to succeed, but "furious improvisation"

    That the Army achieved as much as it did, at a time when the standing orders could only be said to have caused no actual harm, is remarkable indeed. Critics of the advance would do well to keep this in mind.[3]

  • Moltke's changes to the plan: Chief of the General Staff Helmuth von Moltke made several changes to the Schlieffen Plan, initially reinforcing the east with 180,000 men from the right-wing armies, weakening the invasion force in favor of defense. Moltke also had ideological opposition for the proposed passage of the invading armies through the neutral Netherlands, the subsequent shift delayed his armies in Belgium and resulted in the "race to the sea" after the Marne. Moltke also further reinforced his left-wing with Corps from the right to prevent Allied forces from penetrating too far into Germany itself, an issue Schlieffen was not concerned with (Schlieffen's plan called for the invading French forces to be enveloped, putting the political concern of hostile invasions behind the strategic opportunity to destroy the invading armies). This proved problematic, because the German units who where supposed to fall back and lure the French away from Paris and the German right flank, were now driving the French before them. Rather than diverting the French forces from the action, this placed the French units much closer to the German 1st and 2nd armies threatening Paris. Moltke also chose to send 80,000 more men to the east to assist with the Russian invasion against the advisement of General Ludendorff (Two days before the reinforcements arrived the Germans had destroyed the Russians at Tannenberg). Ultimately Moltke reassigned 250,000 men (an entire army's worth) from the right-wing assault before finally abandoning the Schlieffen Plan. Repulsed by the left wing of Moltke's forces near Sarrebourg, the French retreated to the hills around the city of Nancy. Rather than sweeping around them and enveloping the French armies and Paris itself from the east, Moltke opted to directly attack their reinforced positions around Nancy which ended in an unmitigated failure.

The failures in the West resulted in defeat at the First Battle of the Marne in September 1914, a stalemate, trench warfare, and a two-front war for Germany. General Erich Ludendorff Erich Ludendorff (sometimes given incorrectly as Erich von Ludendorff) (April 9, 1865 – December 20, 1937, Tutzing, Bavaria, Germany) was a German Army officer, noted as a general during World War I. Ludendorff was born in Kruszewnia near Posen, Prussia (now PoznaÅ„, Poland). ... Combatants  Russian Empire  German Empire Commanders Alexander Samsonov, Paul von Rennenkampf Paul von Hindenburg, Erich Ludendorff Strength 190,000 150,000 Casualties 30,000 killed or wounded; 95,000 captured 20,000 The Battle of Tannenberg in 1914 was a decisive engagement between the Russian Empire and the German Empire... Sarrebourg (German: Saarburg) is a city in Lorraine, France. ... For other uses, see Nancy (disambiguation). ... Combatants France United Kingdom German Empire Commanders Joseph Joffre John French Helmuth von Moltke Karl von Bülow Alexander von Kluck Strength 1,071,000 1,485,000 Casualties Approximately 263,000: 250,000 French casualties (80,000 dead) 13,000 British casualties (1,700 dead) Approximately 250,000 total... Stalemate is a situation in chess where the player whose turn it is to move has no legal moves but is not in check. ... {{subst:empty template|}} {{Copyviocore |url= |month = {{subst:CURRENTMONTHNAME}} |day = {{subst:CURRENTDAY}} |year = {{subst:CURRENTYEAR}} |time = {{subst:CURRENTTIME}} |timestamp = {{subst:CURRENTTIMESTAMP}}}} Trench warfare is a form of warfare where both combatants have fortified positions and fighting lines are static. ...


What eventually occurred was a "reverse Schlieffen", in that Russia was defeated prior to the Western Allies. The Russian army, aided by the Romanian and Serbian armies and considered by the German command as more dangerous than the Western Allies, was defeated with relative ease. Meanwhile the Western Allies had a larger manpower base from which to feed the war of attrition taking place. Even though Germany sent many divisions to fight in Italy and the Franco-Benelux theater following the collapse of Russia and the Eastern Front in 1917/18, the Western Allies still defeated the Central Powers' forces. In the 1918 summer campaign Italy obtained a long sought decisive victory over Austria-Hungary, and Austria withdrew from the war exposing Germany's southern flank. The defeat of Bulgaria also exposed Germany (and Austria) to an Allied advance up the Danube. Finally the entrance of the United States on the side of the Allies in 1917, and the arrival of substantial US troops, coupled with the failure of the final German offensives in the West in early 1918, allowed the Allies to push the Germans out of France and into Belgium, towards the German border. Once the long-held static positions were lost, Germany accepted the Allies' armistice terms. Anthem:  Serbia() on the European continent()  —  [] Capital (and largest city) Belgrade Official languages Serbian Recognised regional languages Hungarian, Slovak, Romanian, Croatian, Rusyn 1 Albanian 2 Demonym Serbian Government Parliamentary Democracy  -  President Boris Tadić  -  Prime Minister Vojislav KoÅ¡tunica    -  First state 7th century   -  Serbian Kingdom3 1217   -  Serbian Empire 1345   -  Independence lost... Austria-Hungary, also known as the Dual monarchy (or: the k. ... This article is about the Danube River. ... A white flag is traditionally used to represent a truce. ...


Criticism

Several historians argue that the plan was unfeasible for its time, due to the recent advances in weaponry and the improved transportation of industrial warfare. Some would say the plan was "too good". B.H. Liddell Hart, for instance, praised the Schlieffen Plan as a conception of Napoleonic boldness, but concluded that: Industrial warfare is a period in the history of warfare ranging roughly from the start of the Industrial Revolution to the beginning of the Information Age, which saw the rise of nation-states, capable of creating and equipping large armies and navies through the process of industrialization. ... The military historian Basil Liddell Hart. ...

The plan would again become possible in the next generation—when air power could paralyze the defending side’s attempt to switch its forces, while the development of mechanized forces greatly accelerated the speed of encircling moves, and extended their range. But Schlieffen’s plan had a very poor chance of success at the time it was conceived.

In addition, some historians, including Professor David Fromkin, author of Europe's Last Summer: Who Started the Great War in 1914? have recently made arguments that what is known as the Schlieffen Plan may not have been an actual plan as such, but instead was laid down in one 1905 hypothetical memorandum and a brief 1906 addition. [4] Professor David Fromkin. ...


Schlieffen may not have intended to be carried out in the form he laid down, instead, seeing it as perhaps an intellectual exercise. Fromkin has argued that, given what historians have recently seen in Schlieffen's papers, captured by the US Army along with other German war documents after World War One, that the memorandum had never been refined into an operational program. No orders or operational details (such as specific units for each area of the offensive) were appended. Furthermore, Fromkin says that the memorandum acknowledges the fact that for the plan to work the Germany Army needs more divisions, and there needs to be more parallel roads through Belgium. Fromkin continues to by putting much of the genesis of the plan, as finally enacted, on Moltke, who had seen the memorandum and believed it to be a fully-operational plan which he then proceeded to expand upon. Fromkin, in fact, has advocated referring to the "Moltke Plan" as opposed to the "Schlieffen Plan", as it may have been more a product of Moltke's misreading of the Schlieffen Memorandum of 1905 and its 1906 codicil. The United States Army is the largest, and by some standards oldest, established branch of the armed forces of the United States and is one of seven uniformed services. ...


According to the historian A. Palmer, however, closer inspection of documents regarding the German war plan reveal that Moltke's changes were not that great, and that the plan was basically flawed from the start. He claims that the Schlieffen plan does not deserve its high reputation, because it underestimated pretty much everyone—the Russians, French, British, and Belgians. However, this would tend to support the view of Professor Fromkin, in that a poor plan would indicate its origin as one not fully vetted.


The British military historian, John Keegan, in summarizing the debate over the plan, criticizes it for its lack of realism about the speed with which the right wing of the German army would be able to wheel through Belgium and the Netherlands in order to arrive outside of Paris on schedule. He observes that, regardless of the path taken, there were simply not enough roads for the masses of troops planned to reach Paris in the time required. In other words, the Plan required German forces to arrive on schedule and in sufficient force, but in reality only one or the other could be achieved, not both.


Keegan also points out to the Schlieffen Plan as a leading example of the separation between military war planning and political/diplomatic considerations which was one of the original causes of the war. Schlieffen conceived his Plan as the best possible solution to a strategic problem, while ignoring the political reality that violating Belgian neutrality was the thing most likely to invite British intervention and expand the conflict.


A factor in evaluating the significance of the Schlieffen plan is the misinformation that was widely disseminated during and after the war. Records were lost and material made up to paint the events in a light more acceptable to those making the decisions at the time.[5]


Another view is also that both Palmer and Fromkin are correct. The Schlieffen plan could have been simply a document that spurred operational thinking and planning, and became the working name for a strategy of bypassing the bulk of the French forces through a flanking maneuver. While the German army of 1914 was not sufficiently mobile for the plan to succeed, only 26 years later the same concept executed with more mobile forces was extremely successful.[6]


Additional facts

  • Schlieffen's solution reversed that of his great predecessor, Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, whose experiences in the Franco-Prussian War with modern warfare and concerns regarding the increasing lethality of weaponry, made him doubt that a swift success could be achieved. Moltke had accordingly favoured limited operations against France and a major effort against Russia. Schlieffen, on the other hand, would seek an immediate all-out victory.
  • The absence of General Helmuth von Moltke the Younger from the Western Front was a crucial (though not decisive) factor in the failure of the Schlieffen Plan. Communication was especially poor and, in addition, German forces sent wireless messages uncoded, allowing French forces under the command of General Joseph Joffre to pinpoint the location of the German advance.
  • Further, Moltke baulked at the weakness of the Alsatian "hinge" region, fearing that the massive strength of the right wing's hammer would allow the French to break through the relatively sparsely-manned left-wing "anvil". This had been part of Schlieffen's design as well—he had been willing to sacrifice some German territory in the short run to decisively destroy the French Army. Moltke refused to run the same risk and shifted some divisions from the right flank to the left flank in Alsace-Lorraine.
  • The rigidity of the Schlieffen Plan has also been a source of much criticism. The plan called for the defeat of France in precisely 42 days. Armed with an inflexible timetable, argue many scholars, the German General Staff was unable to improvise as the "fog" of war became more apparent. Thus, many scholars believe that the Schlieffen Plan was anti-Clausewitzian in concept. On the other hand, General Kluck made the decision at the front to wheel south-easterly instead of continuing on past Paris; German generals were taught to think for themselves, and in fact his decision to wheel inwards made orthodox military sense. However, it deprived Germany of the chance to force a decisive envelopment battle around Paris.
  • German troops were exhausted by the time they engaged French forces; many horses (towing artillery pieces) died, having eaten green corn.
  • German supply lines stretched 80 miles (130 km) at the Marne; the front line of the German Army had already broken into retreat before the rear had even arrived.
  • After Germany's defeat at the Marne, there began a series of flanking manoeuvres by both the Germans, and the British and French Allies heading northwards in one last attempt to end the war quickly. However, by December, the two armies had built an elaborate series of trench fortifications stretching essentially from the English Channel to the Swiss border which would remain nearly static for four years. Schlieffen's great gamble would, ironically, result in the one outcome he had feared: A long, drawn-out war of attrition against a numerically stronger enemy.
  • Before the Schlieffen plan, Britain was officially neutral - despite already being in the Triple Entente with Russia and France. But since it had signed the Treaty of London 1839 (in which the neutrality and territorial integrity of Belgium was guaranteed by the era's major powers, obliging them to enter the war in opposition to the first violator) it was "forced" to engage in the fight against the Germans, and Austro-Hungarians.
  • A version of the plan was also used by Germany during its attack on France in World War II. Once again Germany quickly mobilized. Once again Germany attacked in the West first (having used diplomacy to protect their Eastern Front with a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union). And once again Germany invaded through Belgium to get to France. The difference was that France and the United Kingdom were expecting this tactic and had their forces lined along the French/Belgian Border, with the main thrust to defend its left flank. But Germany had learned from its history as well, and using a mobilized unit (a division of tanks) smashed through the centre of the British/French line (via the Ardennes forest, which the British and French high commands had deemed impassable). This cut the allied forces in two. One was able to escape to Britain at Dunkirk. The other was quickly defeated, and with it all of France.

Generalfeldmarschall Helmuth, Graf von Moltke (known as Helmuth Karl Bernhard von Moltke before 1870) (October 26, 1800 – April 24, 1891), was a German Field Marshal, thirty years chief of the staff of the Prussian army, widely regarded as one of the great strategists of the latter half of the 1800s... Combatants Second French Empire North German Confederation allied with South German states (later German Empire) Commanders Napoleon III François Achille Bazaine Patrice de Mac-Mahon, duc de Magenta Otto von Bismarck Helmuth von Moltke the Elder Strength 400,000 at wars beginning 1,200,000 Casualties 150,000... Modern warfare involves the widespread use of highly advanced technology. ... Helmuth von Moltke Chief of the General Staff Helmuth Johann Ludwig von Moltke (May 25, 1848–June 18, 1916), also known as Moltke the Younger, was a nephew of Field Marshal Count Moltke and served as the Chief of the German General Staff from 1906 to 1914. ... Joseph Jacques Césaire Joffre (12 January 1852 - 3 January 1931) was a Catalan French general who was Commander-in-Chief of the French Army between 1914 and 1916 during the First World War. ... Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz (IPA: ) (June 1, 1780[1] – November 16, 1831) was a Prussian soldier, military historian and influential military theorist. ... European military alliances in 1914. ...

In media

In Harry Turtledove's alternate history novel, How Few Remain, set in an 1881 in which the Confederate States of America won the Civil War, Schlieffen is inspired by Robert E. Lee's capture of Philadelphia. Harry Norman Turtledove (born June 14, 1949) is an American historian and prolific novelist who has written historical fiction, fantasy, and science fiction works. ... Alternate history (fiction) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... How Few Remain is a 1997 alternate history novel by Harry Turtledove. ... Motto Deo Vindice (Latin: Under God, Our Vindicator) Anthem (none official) God Save the South (unofficial) The Bonnie Blue Flag (unofficial) Dixie (unofficial)  States that seceded under CSA control  States and territories claimed by CSA without formal secession and/or control Capital Montgomery, Alabama (until May 29, 1861) Richmond, Virginia... Combatants United States of America (Union) Confederate States of America (Confederacy) Commanders Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee Strength 2,200,000 1,064,000 Casualties 110,000 killed in action, 360,000 total dead, 275,200 wounded 93,000 killed in action, 258,000 total... For other uses, see Robert E. Lee (disambiguation). ...


Notes

  1. ^ Grenville, J.A.S., A History of the World in the 20th Century, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 2000, p. 21
  2. ^ Rosinski, Herbert, The German Army, London, Hogarth, 1939
  3. ^ a b c d van Creveld, Martin, Supplying War: Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977. pages 121, 138-140. ISBN 0-521-29793-1
  4. ^ Fromkin, David (2004). "Chapter 4: Countries Arm", Europe's Last Summer: Who Started the Great War in 1914?. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 34-35. ISBN 0-375-72575-X. 
  5. ^ Fromkin, David (2004). "Chapter 43: Shredding the Evidence", Europe's Last Summer: Who Started the Great War in 1914?. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 251-253. ISBN 0-375-72575-X. 
  6. ^ The German army of 1940 was mostly similarly mobile as the army of 1914, depending on horses for mobility and marching on foot. A major difference was the availability of faster moving armored forces that could be used to effect geographic control while the non-mechanized elements followed, and the availability of aircraft for attack in depth, and close air support missions.

John Grenville is a Professor Emeritus of Modern History at the University of Birmingham. ... A History of the World in the 20th Century is a book by J.A.S. Grenville. ... Martin van Creveld (1946- ) is an Israeli military historian and theorist. ...

References

  • Foley, Robert Alfred von Schlieffen's Military Writings. London: Frank Cass, 2003.
  • Foley, Robert T. "The Real Schlieffen Plan", War in History, Vol. 13, Issue 1. (2006), pp. 91–115.
  • Fromkin, David, Europe's Last Summer: Who Started the Great War in 1914? New York: Vintage Books, 2004. ISBN 0-375-72575-X
  • Hull, Isabel V. Absolute Destruction: Military Culture and the Practices of War in Imperial Germany. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-8014-4258-3
  • Landa, Manuel de. War in the Age of Intelligent Machines. 1991.
  • Mombauer, Annika, Helmuth von Moltke and the Origins of the First World War Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
  • Ritter, Gerhard The Schlieffen plan, Critique of a Myth, foreword by Basil Liddell Hart. London: O. Wolff, 1958.
  • Rothenberg, Gunther E. "Moltke, Schlieffen, and the Doctrine of Strategic Envelopment." in Makers of Modern Strategy Peter Paret (Ed.). Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986.
  • Stoneman, Mark R. “Wilhelm Groener, Officering, and the Schlieffen Plan.” PhD diss., Georgetown University, 2006. abstract
  • van Creveld, Martin, Supplying War: Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977. ISBN 0-521-29793-1
  • Zuber, Terence, Inventing the Schlieffen Plan. OUP, 2002. ISBN 0-19-925016-2
Professor David Fromkin. ... Manuel DeLanda, (born 1952 in Mexico City), is a writer, artist and distinguished philosopher who has lived in New York since 1975. ... War in the Age of Intelligent Machines (1991) is a book by Manuel de Landa which traces the history of warfare. ... Gerhard Albert Ritter (April 6, 1888-July 1, 1967) was a well-known German conservative historian. ... The military historian Basil Liddell Hart. ... Martin van Creveld (1946- ) is an Israeli military historian and theorist. ... Terence Zuber is an American historian, best known for advancing the controversial thesis that the Schlieffen Plan as generally understood was a post-World War I fabrication. ...

  Results from FactBites:
 
World War I - MSN Encarta (1690 words)
In designing their war plans, the European countries factored in the time it would take for other countries to mobilize, whether the country was friendly or hostile.
The Schlieffen Plan called for the strong right wing of the German forces to swing through Belgium, move southward to engulf Paris, the French capital, and force the French to surrender within six weeks.
In spite of the implications of the Schlieffen Plan, its details remained virtually unknown outside the cloisters of the German general staff.
First World War.com - Feature Articles - The Planning of the War (2083 words)
The chief aim of Plan XVII, devised by Ferdinand Foch in the wake of the humiliation of the Franco-Prussian War, and taken up by French Commander-in-Chief Joseph Joffre in 1913, was the recapture of the territory of Alsace and Lorraine.
Plan B (for Balkans) detailed the requirement for six Austro-Hungarian armies in the field, three to invade Serbia, with a further three guarding the Russian border to dissuade an attack from that quarter.
Plan R (for Russia) essentially revised Plan B, allowing for a greater volume of troops to guard against Russian assistance for the Serbs in the south, whilst assuming German activity in the north.
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