Why Did the Schlieffen Plan Fail?
Alfred von Schlieffen plan was to attack France, not on the main border, which was fortified, but to attack through Belgium and circle the capital Paris. This is all supposed to happen before the predicted 6 weeks it would take for the Russians mobilise their army and intervene. This would mean Paris would be taken by Germany, therefore capturing France, and then the troops could go across the country and attack Russia. Schlieffen decided to attack France through Holland and Belgium.
He planned to use most of the German army to deliver a strong and rapid blow on France to defeat them in the shortest period of time possible. The small remaining forces would defend the Eastern border of Germany from any Russian attack. Schlieffen died before the plan was carried out, so there was no longer any changes made to the plan. In 1914, the German army invaded through Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg accordingly to the Schlieffen Plan. But they were held up by the surprisingly strong forces of the Belgian. The British Expenditory Force then arrived back up for the Belgians.
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Russia mobilised much faster than Schlieffen had expected and Germany was forced to withdraw troops from the original plan to fight against a Russian troop invading the Eastern Border. France then responded faster than calculated and outsmarted the Schlieffen Plan by delivering their troops by trains and taxis. France caught up to the Germans at the River Marnes. Schlieffen though that this war would be a surprise attack that no one would be able to respond to. But he was wrong. Because of the new and improved weapons, the old tactics Schlieffen thought of while planning the attack was failed. The plan was launched in 1905.
So in those days, Schlieffen imagined that it would be using bayonets, knifes and cavaliers with swords and lances. But as the time passed by, the weapons were much improved, like the machine guns and the quick firing rifles. This was one of the most difficult problems. It took Germans longer to defeat other countries mostly because of the technology other countries have. To summarise, the Schlieffen plan failed for many crucial reasons. The trip though Belgium did not go as the Germans wanted. They got slowed down because the Belgian army put up a fight. This meant that the German troops were 10 days late.
The Germans wanted to get the war over with France so that they didn’t have to fight Russia at the same time, so when they got delayed, they were in trouble. On the 29th august, Von Cluck (German general) changed the plan, so that they didn’t attack Paris as planned, instead they went east and sent more troops to attack the forts. The British plan to stop the Germans failed, and the French plan, plan seventeen, failed. The Russians got their army ready in less than the 6 weeks predicted by the Germans. They attacked Germany, and troops were pulled from the Schlieffen plan to defend on the east border.
The Germans had underestimated the power of France, and the two armies reached stalemate, dug trenches, and war raged for four years instead of the intended less than six weeks. Even if the Germans had defeated France in the time that was planned, the Russians would still have attacked Germany, and the Germans wouldn’t have been able to win the war. The Schlieffen plan failed mainly because the Belgians put up a fight, the Russians mobilised quicker than expected, and the plan was changed. As well as the fact that Germany’s army simply wasn’t strong enough.