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

1073 words - 4 pages

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 to Paris (the Schlieffen Plan). Another consequence from the failure of the Schlieffen plan was that a Great War of movement had become a war of attrition; this started to happen at the River Marne when German troops retreated 60km and dug defensive trenches now both sides had to race each other to the channel in attempt to outflank each other. Both fail and dig defensive trenches and by November 1914 these trenches stretched to the Swiss border and this line of trenches was called the Western Front. With trench warfare came the stalemate that prolonged the war for four years. This allowed the Allies to develop tanks and other weapons that were crucial to Germany's defeat. The first tank battle occurred on 15th September, 1916, when General Sir Henry Rawlinson, led 12 divisions and 49 tanks to attack the German front-line at Flers-Courcelette, during the Battle of the Somme. Long term causes that could have led to Germany's defeat on the Western Front could have been that if the Schlieffen plan had succeeded the German victory would have been achieved before the naval blockade could have affected the outcome of the war. When the Schlieffen plan failed it allowed the allies win the race to the sea in 1914. This meant that the allies controlled the channel ports and...

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