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THE FIRST WORLD WAR > THE SCHLIEFFEN PLAN AND THE MAN WHO CREATED IT

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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Apr 05, 2014 11:01AM) (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
The Schlieffen Plan as well as its architect will be discussed on this thread.

The Schlieffen Plan was the German General Staff's early 20th century overall strategic plan for victory in a possible future war where it might find itself fighting on two fronts: France to the west and Russia to the east.

The First World War later became such a war with both a Western Front and an Eastern Front.

The plan took advantage of expected differences in the three countries' speed in preparing for war. In short, it was the German plan to avoid a two-front war by concentrating their troops in the west, quickly defeating the French and then, if necessary, rushing those troops by rail to the east to face the Russians before they had time to mobilize fully.

The Schlieffen Plan was created by Count Alfred von Schlieffen and modified by Helmuth von Moltke the Younger after Schlieffen's retirement.

It was Moltke who actually put the plan into action, despite initial reservations about it.

In modified form, it was executed to near victory in the first month of World War I; however, the modifications to the original plan, a French counterattack on the outskirts of Paris (the Battle of the Marne), and 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. Schlieffen's last words were "remember to keep the right flank strong", a request which was watered down by Moltke.


Source; Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schlieff...




Count Alfred Graf von Schlieffen


The First World War by John Keegan John Keegan


message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod


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Helmuth Johann Ludwig von Moltk


message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod



description


THE SCHLIEFFEN PLAN


message 4: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) For those who may want to read up more on the Schieffen Plan and its actual application at the start of WW1 and reasons for its failure (as such) can possibly look at a new book by Holger H. Herwig titled "The Marne, 1914: The Opening of World War I and the Battle That Changed the World".

The Marne, 1914 The Opening of World War I and the Battle That Changed the World by Holger H. Herwig by Holger H. Herwig
Publishers blurb:
"It is one of the essential events of military history, a cataclysmic encounter that prevented a quick German victory in World War I and changed the course of two wars and the world. Now, for the first time in a generation, here is a bold new account of the Battle of the Marne. A landmark work by a distinguished scholar, The Marne, 1914 gives, for the first time, all sides of the story. In remarkable detail, and with exclusive information based on newly unearthed documents, Holger H. Herwig superbly re-creates the dramatic battle, revealing how the German force was foiled and years of brutal trench warfare were made inevitable.

Herwig brilliantly reinterprets Germany’s aggressive “Schlieffen Plan”–commonly considered militarism run amok–as a carefully crafted, years-in-the-making design to avoid a protracted war against superior coalitions. He also paints a new portrait of the run-up to the Marne: the Battle of the Frontiers, long thought a coherent assault but really a series of haphazard engagements that left “heaps of corpses,” France demoralized, Belgium in ruins, and Germany emboldened to take Paris.

Finally, Herwig puts in dazzling relief the Battle of the Marne itself: the French resolve to win, which included the exodus of 100,000 people from Paris (where even pigeons were placed under state control in case radio communications broke down), the crucial lack of coordination between Germany’s First and Second Armies, and the fateful “day of rest” taken by the Third Army. He provides revelatory new facts about the all-important order of retreat by Germany’s Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hentsch, previously an event hardly documented and here freshly reconstructed from diary excerpts.

Herwig also provides stunning cameos of all the important players: Germany’s Chief of General Staff Helmuth von Moltke, progressively despairing and self-pitying as his plans go awry; his rival, France’s Joseph Joffre, seemingly weak but secretly unflappable and steely; and Commander of the British Expeditionary Force John French, arrogant, combative, and mercurial.

The Marne, 1914 puts into context the battle’s rich historical significance: how it turned the war into a four-year-long fiasco that taught Europe to accept a new form of barbarism and stoked the furnace for the fires of World War II. Revelatory and riveting, this will be the new source on this seminal event."


message 5: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Great Aussie..thanks for the move...this looks like such a great book.


message 6: by 'Aussie Rick' (last edited Feb 23, 2010 11:49AM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Hi Bentley, it does provide a lot of detail on the development and the changes to the Schlieffen Plan and then its subsequent application during the opening moves of WW1. The book goes on the cover the Battle of the Frontiers including the decisive Battle of the Marne

Battle of the Marne


message 7: by Patricrk (new)

Patricrk patrick | 435 comments History of the German General Staff, 1657-1945 by Walter Görlitz Walter Goerlitz My edition is the 12th printing from 1962. On page 129 it states "General von Schlichting ... said of Schlieffen that he had great strategic talent but was not a great character. His worst fault was that he would brook no rivals and would suffer on one near with with real originality of mind. Officers with real integrity and firmness of purpose were either relieved of their posts or consigned to ineffectiveness. Their places were filled by men who were ready simply to take orders.

And on page 134. The plan also seemed to exclude that element which Clausewitz had designated as "Frictions", that is to say, the unexpected incidents and unforeseen developments which he held to be characteristics of every war.

The plan was widely criticized within the army but many of the chief critics were retired.


message 8: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Sounds like an interesting read and probably a most accurate take on Schlieffen himself.


message 9: by Chris (new)

Chris Doherty (cmdoherty) | 2 comments Another great book is Barbara Tuchman's Pulitzer Prize winning "Guns of August." It's an amazing book on the opening battles of WWI. Just make sure you have some good maps to go with it.


message 10: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Chris wrote: "Another great book is Barbara Tuchman's Pulitzer Prize winning "Guns of August." It's an amazing book on the opening battles of WWI. Just make sure you have some good maps to go with it."

Hi Chris..one of group standards is to always add the book cover, author's photo if available and always the author's link. This helps the goodreads software do its job to populate the site and all of the threads for the members.

Here is what a book should look like when cited:

The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman Barbara W. Tuchman Barbara W. Tuchman

We do have this on our list already; but this book is an excellent one and probably deserves to be mentioned again.

Mechanics of the Board thread will certainly help with the "how to's".


message 11: by Patricrk (new)

Patricrk patrick | 435 comments Bently, Is there an easy way to navigate among the discussion topics? I was looking the space to post to for week two reading for Keegan and didn't want to look through how many pages trying to find it.


message 12: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Feb 24, 2010 10:00AM) (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
We do not open up the Week Two thread until February 28th. Remember, when I was setting up the preparatory threads..folks were ready to go and jumpstarted (smile). But our first day was scheduled to be February 21st.

When it is added this Sunday, it will be at the top of the threads for easy viewing. I know it is hard to wait when you get ahead; but one of the points of the spotlighted read only is that we only read a "manageable amount of pages per week" to allow all who are interested to get through the material. It is normally a slower read than the other discussions for that reason. By all means, possibly contribute to the Schlieffen Plan thread which discussed Chapter Two in the meantime. And it is only a few more days.

I really do appreciate everybody's enthusiasm.

By the way, I almost forgot to mention that there is a Spoiler Thread for those folks who want to jump ahead and can't wait until the next week's thread is opened; but it is going to contain spoilers so I would advise most of you not to venture there because it may spoil the fun of your reading. But for those of you who do not care about Spoilers - here is the thread's link:

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/2...

Note to Patricrk:

All of the threads related to this book The First World War are all together in the folder called Spotlighted Topics because this is our current spotlighted read. The current weekly thread is always at the top. However, ALL of the threads pertain in some way to the reading of our spotlighted book.

Currently there are ten topics or threads in this Spotlighted folder and all are related solely to the reading of The First World War by Keegan. You will have to select view all to see all of them because only five of the most recently added show and/or ones deemed most important like our weekly thread. I hope this helps. Only topics and threads directly part of The First World War discussion are in the Spotlighted Folder at this time.

The First World War by John Keegan John Keegan


message 13: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (new)

Jerome | 4303 comments Mod
The Plan That Broke the World: The "Schlieffen Plan" and World War I

The Plan That Broke the World The "Schlieffen Plan" and World War I (What Were They Thinking?) by William O'Neil by William O'Neil (no photo)

Synopsis:

As July turned to August in 1914, all the Great Powers of Europe mobilized their armies and then went to war with one another. It would take more than 50 months for peace to return, and the better part of a century to heal many of the wounds.

Germany acted only near the end of a chain of actions by other nations, but German troops moved first and set the pattern for the war. They smashed through neutral Belgium before thrusting deeply into France, coming close to knocking France out of the war, and soon were making huge inroads in Russia as well. It was a remarkable performance for an army outnumbered by its foes. Yet four years later the German Empire was swept away, its army a shell, its people starving, its government in chaos.

How did the leaders of Imperial Germany come to make the decisions that committed their nation to an all-or-nothing war based on a highly risky strategy?

This book explores the background of the decisions, what those who made them knew and thought, what they failed to look at and why. It explains the Prussian Great General Staff (Großer Generalstab) and the part it played in planning and preparing for war. It follows the action of August and the first part of September 1914 to show where they went wrong and how other options could have achieved Germany's aims with far lower risk and cost. These options were realistically available and the book probes why the nation's leaders failed to consider or rejected them.

The German leaders in 1914 weren't Hitler. They valued security over conquest and didn't go to war to expand their empire. They weren't the first to light the fuze that led to war. They thought and acted as leaders very often do. We can understand them in terms of patterns we see all around us, patterns we even see in ourselves. Their decisions had results that were uniquely catastrophic, but the way they were reached was quite ordinary.

The Plan That Broke the World explains it all briefly and crisply, in non-technical terms, drawing on the latest research. There are 35 images, many unique to this book, to illustrate specific aspects of the story. Four charts and thirteen high-quality maps, all but one drawn especially for this book, present complex information in forms that are immediately understandable. There's no other book like it.


message 14: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (new)

Jerome | 4303 comments Mod
Inventing the Schlieffen Plan: German War Planning 1871-1914

Inventing the Schlieffen Plan German War Planning 1871-1914 by Terence Zuber by Terence Zuber (no photo)

Synopsis:

The existence of the Schlieffen plan has been one of the basic assumptions of twentieth-century military history. It was the perfect example of the evils of German militarism: aggressive, mechanical, disdainful of politics and of public morality. The Great War began in August 1914 allegedly because the Schlieffen plan forced the German government to transform a Balkan quarrel into a World War by attacking France. And, in the end, the Schlieffen plan failed at the battle of the Marne.

Yet it has always been recognized that the Schlieffen plan included inconsistencies which have never been satisfactorily explained. On the basis of newly discovered documents from German archives, Terence Zuber presents a radically different picture of German war planning between 1871 and 1914, and concludes that, in fact, there never really was a Schlieffen plan'.


message 15: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Terrific Jerome


message 16: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Von Moltke, Chief of German Military Operations, modified the Schlieffen plan which eventually ended in failure.

Helmuth von Moltke and the Origins of the First World War

Helmuth von Moltke and the Origins of the First World War by Annika Mombauer by Annika Mombauer (no photo)

Synopsis:

This book explores the influence of Helmuth von Moltke, Germany's Chief of the General Staff between 1906 and 1914. Based largely on previously-unknown primary sources, it shows that Moltke's influence on the Kaiser and on Germany's political decision-making to have been decisive, helping to foster an increasingly confrontational mood. The book also takes issue with the common perception of Moltke as a reluctant military leader, concluding that he was both bellicose and ambitious and played a crucial role in the outbreak of the First World War.


message 17: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Thanks Jill


message 18: by Jack (new)

Jack | 49 comments Patricrk wrote: "History of the German General Staff, 1657-1945 by Walter Goerlitz Walter Goerlitz My edition is the 12th printing from 1962. On page 129 it states "General von Schlichting ... sa..."

That is a great book!


message 19: by Jill (last edited Mar 10, 2015 08:31PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Jack...even if you use the reply button to respond to a particular book, it is more acceptable to cite the book yourself as noted in the example below. Thanks so much

That is a great book!

History of the German General Staff, 1657-1945 by Walter Görlitz by Walter Görlitz (no photo)


message 20: by Jill (last edited Apr 20, 2015 09:43PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Von Moltke was committed to the Schlieffen Plan as a tactic for the taking of Europe during WWI although some other of the military was not so sure. He also made some modifications toward the end of WWI and it was part of the downfall of the German Empire.

Moltke on the Art of War: Selected Writings

Moltke on the Art of War Selected Writings by Helmuth von Moltke by Helmuth von Moltke (no photo)

Synopsis:

Prussian hero Field Marshal Helmuth Graf von Moltke was the architect of the German way of war.


message 21: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) This interesting and well researched book looks at why the Schlieffen Plan did not work out as Germany expected.

All the Kaiser's Men: the Life and Death of the German Army on the Western Front 1914-1918

All the Kaiser's Men The Life and Death of the German Army on the Western Front 1914-1918 by Ian Passingham by Ian Passingham (no photo)

Synopsis

Convinced that both God and the Kaiser were on their side, the officers and men of the Imperial German Army went to war in 1914, supremely confident that they were destined for a swift and crushing victory in the West. The much-vaunted 'Schlieffen Plan' on which the anticipated German victory was based provided for an equally decisive victory on the Eastern Front. But it was not to be. From the winter of 1914 until the early months of 1918, the war on the Western Front was characterised by trench warfare. But the popular perception of the war takes little or no account of the reality of life 'across the wire' in the German front line. A re-examination of the strategy and tactics of the German Army throughout the war, from the commanding generals to the ordinary soldiers at the Front, this book also assesses the implications of the Allied naval blockade on the German home front, the increasing problems of food and fuel shortages and the spectres of nationwide disease, hunger and then widespread starvation in Germany. Ian Passingham gives a unique and fully illustrated insight into the daily life of the German troops facing the British and French between 1914 and 1918 and fills a significant gap in the historiography of the First World War.


message 22: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) The Schlieffen Plan worked......for a few months!!

Invasion 1914L The Schlieffen Plan to the Battle of the Marne

Invasion 1914 The Schlieffen Plan to the Battle of the Marne (General Military) by Ian Senior by Ian Senior(no photo)

Synopsis:

The German invasion of France and Belgium in August 1914 came agonizingly close to defeating the French armies, capturing Paris and ending the First World War before the autumn leaves had fallen. The initial German strategy revolved around, and in part depended on, rapid victory over the French, but they were unable to deliver the knock-out blow they had planned - and the surprisingly fluid battles of the early days of the war deteriorated into the defensive, trench-based warfare which was to see the war drag on for another four years of unprecedented slaughter.

Ian Senior has woven together strategic analysis, diary entries, dramatic eyewitness accounts and interview transcripts from soldiers on the ground with consummate skill. He has produced a remarkable new narrative history that for the first time focuses on the experiences of French and German troops in the long hot summer of 1914 as the outcome of the war hung in the balance, revealing how the defiant French opposition and failings in the German invasion plans ultimately foiled the German war machine and changed the course of the war.


message 23: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) How the famous Schlieffen Plan came into being.

Inventing the Schlieffen Plan: German War Planning 1871-1914

Inventing the Schlieffen Plan German War Planning 1871-1914 by Terence Zuber by Terence Zuber(no photo)

Synopsis

The existence of the Schlieffen plan has been one of the basic assumptions of 20th-century military history. It was the perfect example of the evils of German militarism: aggressive, mechanical, disdainful of politics and of public morality. The Great War began in August 1914 allegedly because the Schlieffen plan forced the German government to transform a Balkan quarrel into a World War by attacking France. And, in the end, the Schlieffen plan failed at the battle of the Marne. Yet it has always been recognized that the Schlieffen plan included inconsistencies which have never been satisfactorily explained."


message 24: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) The von Motlke father and son were influential military strategists and von Moltke the Younger, was very much involved in the Schlieffen Plan and the modification of that plan.

Blood and Iron

Blood and Iron by Otto Friedrich by Otto Friedrich Otto Friedrich

Synopsis

In the turbulent history of modern Germany t he name of Moltke has stood for military power and also endu ring moral strength. At every major crisis in more than a ce ntury of German history the von Moltke family has played a c ritical role.


message 25: by Jill (last edited Nov 22, 2015 12:15PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) This might be heavy reading but it was the 1907 Hague Peace Conference that established the neutrality of Belgium. It was later referred to by the Germans as "a mere scrap of paper". And it was the backbone of the Schlieffen plan......ignore Belgian neutrality to get through to France.

Text of the Peace Conferences at the Hague 1899 and 1907

(no image) Texts of the Peace Conferences at the Hague 1899 and 1907 by James Brown Scott (no photo)

Synopsis:

Texts of the peace conferences at the Hague, 1899 and 1907 with English translation and appendix of related documents This book, "Texts of the peace conferences at the Hague 1899 and 1907," by James Brown Scott, is a replication of a book originally published before 1908.


message 26: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) This book consists of essays by historians which dissect the famous (or infamous) Schlieffen Plan.

The Schlieffen Plan: International Perspectives on the German Strategy for World War I

The Schlieffen Plan International Perspectives on the German Strategy for World War I by Hans Ehlert by Hans Ehlert (no photo)

Synopsis:

With the creation of the Franco-Russian Alliance and the failure of the Reinsurance Treaty in the late nineteenth century, Germany needed a strategy for fighting a two-front war. In response, Field Marshal Count Alfred von Schlieffen produced a study that represented the apex of modern military planning. His Memorandum for a War against France, which incorporated a mechanized cavalry as well as new technologies in weaponry, advocated that Germany concentrate its field army to the west and annihilate the French army within a few weeks. For generations, historians have considered Schlieffen's writings to be the foundation of Germany's military strategy in World War I and have hotly debated the reasons why the plan, as executed, failed.

In this important volume, international scholars reassess Schlieffen's work for the first time in decades, offering new insights into the renowned general's impact not only on World War I but also on nearly a century of military historiography. The contributors draw on newly available source materials from European and Russian archives to demonstrate both the significance of the Schlieffen Plan and its deficiencies. They examine the operational planning of relevant European states and provide a broad, comparative historical context that other studies lack. Featuring fold-out maps and abstracts of the original German deployment plans as they evolved from 1893 to 1914, this rigorous reassessment vividly illustrates how failures in statecraft as well as military planning led to the tragedy of the First World War.


message 27: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) This book, part of a series on World War I, gives the reader some insight into the Schlieffen plan.

The History of World War I: The Western Front 1914-1916

History of World War I The Western Front 1914-1916 (The History of World War I) by Michael S. Neiberg by Michael S. Neiberg (no photo)

Synopsis

The Western Front, running from the Belgian coast in the north to the Swiss border in the south, was to prove the decisive battlefront of World War I. It was where the great powers of Germany, France and the British Empire concentrated the bulk of their military might, and it was where many believed the war would be settled before Christmas 1914.
The German General Staff had long realized the dangers of fighting a two-front war against both France and Russia simultaneously. They sought to knock the French out of the war quickly, making a rapid advance on Paris through neutral Belgium – the infamous 'Schieffen Plan'. The French declaration of war triggered the German invasion of Belgium less than a week later.
After desperate delaying actions fought by the French and British armies, the German hope for swift victory in the West was thwarted by their defeat at the First Battle of the Marne. Following a 'Race to the Sea' – where each side sought to outflank the other, culminating in the battles of First Ypres and the Yser – the Western Front settled down into a pattern of trench warfare that would remain little changed until 1917.
The year 1915 proved one of frustration for the Allies as attack after attack – in Champagne, at Neuve Chapelle, Festubert and Loos – all failed to pierce the German defensive lines. To break the deadlock, a joint Allied offensive was planned for 1916 with simultaneous attacks against the Central Powers to take place in all the European theatres.
This planned major effort was pre-empted by the German assault on the fortress city of Verdun, intended to bleed the French Army dry. The joint Somme offensive thus became a largely British and Imperial affair to relieve the pressure on their French allies. The blooding of Kitchener's volunteer New Army on the first day of the Somme has become a byword for the slaughter on the Western Front. By the year's end, it was clear there would be no easy victory for either side.
With the last few men who served in World War I now no longer with us, there is no better time to reevaluate this controversial war and shed fresh light on the conflict. With the aid of numerous black and white and color photographs, many previously unpublished, the World War I series recreates the battles and campaigns that raged across the surface of the globe, on land, at sea and in the air. With the aid of over 300 black and white and colour photographs, complemented by full-colour maps, The Western Front 1914–1916 provides a detailed guide to the background and conduct of the conflict on the Western Front in the first half of the war, up to and including the Battles of the Somme and Verdun.


message 28: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) The Schlieffen Plan: Critique of a Myth

(no image) The Schlieffen Plan: Critique of a Myth by Gerhard Ritter (no photo)

Synopsis:

There is no GR write up on this book but I am curious about the title and the use of the word "myth".


message 29: by Dimitri (new)

Dimitri | 600 comments Jill wrote: "The Schlieffen Plan: Critique of a Myth

(no image) The Schlieffen Plan: Critique of a Myth by Gerhard Ritter (no photo)

Synopsis:

There is no GR write up on this b..."


Ritter was a WWI vet and among the early post-WWII academics to argue the utter infeasability of the Schlieffen Plan. His feet would have firsthand knowledge of that. It can be found in PDF format online.


message 30: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Thanks, Dimitri. Is he arguing the original plan or the plan after von Moltke started modifying it? Either way, historians will always argue about the inconsistencies of the plan. Hindsight is 20/20. :0)


message 31: by Jill (last edited Aug 20, 2016 06:35PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) A look at the man who influenced the Kaiser and tinkered with the Schlieffen Plan.

Helmuth von Moltke and the Origins of the First World War

Helmuth von Moltke and the Origins of the First World War by Annika Mombauer by Annika Mombauer (no photo)

Synopsis:

This book explores the influence of Helmuth von Moltke, Germany's Chief of the General Staff between 1906 and 1914. Based largely on previously-unknown primary sources, it shows that Moltke's influence on the Kaiser and on Germany's political decision-making to have been decisive, helping to foster an increasingly confrontational mood. The book also takes issue with the common perception of Moltke as a reluctant military leader, concluding that he was both bellicose and ambitious and played a crucial role in the outbreak of the First World War.


message 32: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) This is a good look into the Schlieffen Plan as the German tactic for a quick end to the war.

Germany: Schlieffen Plan

Germany's Schlieffen Plan, named after its chief architect, Count Alfred von Schlieffen, was both offensive and defensive in nature.

Schlieffen - and the men who subsequently enhanced and modified his strategy, including Helmuth von Moltke, German Chief of Staff in 1914 - took as his starting assumption a war on two fronts, against France in the west and Russia in the east. The nature of the alliance system ensured that Russia was allied with France (and latterly Britain), set against Germany's alliance with Austria-Hungary and Italy.

Notwithstanding the potentially enormous size of the Russian army, with its never-ending supply of men, Schlieffen assumed - largely correctly, as it turned out - that it would take six weeks or longer for the Russians to effectively mobilise their forces, poorly led and equipped as they were.

Banking on this assumption, Schlieffen devised a strategy for knocking France out of the war within those six weeks. In order to do so he would commit the vast majority of German forces in the west to form an overwhelming assault with Paris as its aim, leaving just sufficient forces in East Prussia to hold off the Russians during the latter's mobilisation process. Once France had been dealt with the armies in the west would be redeployed to the east to face the Russian menace.

In striking against France von Schlieffen determined to invade through Belgium; for tactical as well as political reasons, an invasion via Holland was discounted (Germany desired Dutch neutrality for as long as possible); and Switzerland in the south was geographically invasion-proof. Passage through the flat Flanders plains would offer the fastest route to France and victory.

Working to a tight deadline, five German armies would advance through Belgium and France in a grand wheel motion, turning through the Flanders plains north-east of France. The German forces would move from Alsace-Lorraine west through France en route for Paris. Schlieffen's often-quoted remark, "when you march into France, let the last man on the right brush the Channel with his sleeve" was based upon this turning wheel-like advance.

By outflanking the French armies von Schlieffen aimed to attack from the rear, where the French were likely to be most vulnerable. A small German force would guard the Franco-German border, enticing the French to move forward, upon which they would be attacked from the rear by the main bulk of the German army, assuring encirclement and destruction.

Joseph Joffre, Commander-in-Chief of the French Army, and champion of Plan XVIIA side benefit of the Schlieffen Plan saw the bulk of the French resistance situated within France rather than in Germany. Even while retreating - which was by no means part of the plan - the Germans could (and did) entrench themselves deep inside French territory.

Whilst the French aimed to evict the invader from their country - and consequently constructed their own trenches lightly, never intending that they should be in use for any great length of time - the Germans dug deep, sophisticated trenches, content to remain where they were pending a further advance at some later stage.

The weakness of the Schlieffen Plan lay less in the rigidity of the timescale - for the German army very nearly succeeded in capturing Paris within the time allotted - but in its underestimation of the difficulties of supply and communication in forces so far advanced from command and supply lines.

Ultimately, it was these problems, particularly in communicating strategy from Berlin, that doomed the Schlieffen Plan. The Allied forces could rush troops to the front by use of the railway faster than the Germans could arrange fresh supplies of food and reserve troops.

Most critically, Moltke's isolation from the front line not far from Paris led to a series of poor decisions and a crucial weakening of his forces in the north. A promptly timed French counter-attack exploiting a gap in the German lines at the First Battle of the Marne set off the so-called 'race to the sea' and the onset of static trench warfare. The rapid war of movement was brought to an end.

(Source: worldwar1)


message 33: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
The Guns of August - I cannot praise this book enough - as the article which I have attached states - it is still WWI's peerless chronicle (article from the Daily Beast below)

Note: Tuchman discusses the Schlieffen Plan among many other things - if you have not read this book - you really should especially if you are interested in all things about World War I

The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman by Barbara W. Tuchman Barbara W. Tuchman

Synopsis:

Historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Barbara Tuchman has brought to life again the people and events that led up to World War I. With attention to fascinating detail, and an intense knowledge of her subject and its characters, Ms. Tuchman reveals, for the first time, just how the war started, why, and how it could have been stopped but wasn't. A classic historical survey of a time and a people we all need to know more about, THE GUNS OF AUGUST will not be forgotten

The Daily Beast Article:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/barbara...

About the Author: - from Biography

Barbara Tuchman, American historian and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, is best known for writing The Guns of August and Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45.

Born in New York City on January 30, 1912, Barbara Tuchman is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner. Her book The Guns of August (1962), a historical analysis of early World War I, earned her the 1963 Pulitzer Prize. She went on to win another Pulitzer in 1970 for Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45, a book about the relationship between America and China during World War II. Tuchman died on February 6, 1989, in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Early Years

Famed historian Barbara Tuchman was born Barbara Wertheim in New York City on January 30, 1912, to a wealthy and distinguished family. Her maternal grandfather had served as U.S. ambassador to Turkey, and his son (Tuchman's uncle) was secretary of the treasury for President Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration. Additionally, her father, Maurice Wertheim, was a successful banker and philanthropist.

Like many of her ancestors, Tuchman exceled at academics, and she developed an interest in politics and history at a young age. She attended the Walden School (later the New Walden Lincoln School), a private New York City school, before enrolling at Radcliffe College, a liberal arts college for women in Massachusetts. Tuchman's honors thesis, "The Moral Justification for the British Empire," is regarded as one of her first great historical works.

After receiving a bachelor's degree from Radcliffe in 1933, Tuchman landed a job as a research assistant at the Institute of Pacific Relations, a non-governmental organization aimed at bettering relations between nations surrounding the Pacific Ocean. She left the IPR in 1935 for a reporting position at The Nation, a weekly magazine owned by her father, Maurice Wertheim. There, Tuchman covered political and cultural events, including the Spanish Civil War.

Acclaimed Writing Career

During her early career as a journalist, in 1938, Tuchman published a book about the United Kingdom's policy toward Spain and the Western Mediterranean entitled The Lost British Policy: Britain and Spain Since 1700. She went on to produce two more publications in the 1950s: Bible and the Sword: England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour, a historical analysis of the relationship between Great Britain and Palestine prior to the Balfour Declaration, and The Zimmermann Telegram, published in 1956 and 1958, respectively.

It wasn't until the early 1960s, however, that Tuchman achieved commercial and critical success for her historical writings. Her book The Guns of August (1962), a historical analysis of early World War I in which Tuchman dissects and criticizes events leading up to the war, earned her the 1963 Pulitzer Prize. She went on to win another Pulitzer in 1970 for a piece on the relationship between American and China during World War II, closely following the accounts of U.S. General Joseph Warren Stilwell, Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45.

Tuchman's other literary works include The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914 (1966); Notes From China (1972); A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century (1978); The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam (1984), an examination of the Trojan War and other events of Greek mythology, the actions of the Catholic Church leading up to the Protestant secession, the American Revolutionary War, and the Vietnam War; and The First Salute (1988), a historical analysis of the American Revolutionary War.

Once speaking on her career, Tuchman offered advice on how to be a successful writer: "The writer's object is—or should be—to hold the reader's attention," she said, adding, "I want the reader to turn the page and keep on turning until the end. This is accomplished only when the narrative moves steadily ahead, not when it comes to a weary standstill, overloaded with every item uncovered in the research."

Personal Life

In 1939, Tuchman married physician Lester R. Tuchman. They had three daughters together and were married for nearly 50 years, until Barbara Tuchman's death on February 6, 1989, in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Praise:

“A brilliant piece of military history which proves up to the hilt the force of Winston Churchill’s statement that the first month of World War I was ‘a drama never surpassed.’”—Newsweek

“More dramatic than fiction . . . a magnificent narrative—beautifully organized, elegantly phrased, skillfully paced and sustained.”—Chicago Tribune

“A fine demonstration that with sufficient art rather specialized history can be raised to the level of literature.”—The New York Times

“[The Guns of August] has a vitality that transcends its narrative virtues, which are considerable, and its feel for characterizations, which is excellent.”—The Wall Street Journal

“Fascinating . . . One of the finest works of history written . . . A splendid and glittering performance.”
–The New York Times

“MORE DRAMATIC THAN FICTION . . . A MAGNIFICENT NARRATIVE . . . elegantly phrased, skillfully paced and sustained . . . The product of painstaking and sophisticated research.”
–Chicago Tribune

“A BRILLIANT PIECE OF MILITARY HISTORY which proves up to the hilt the force of Winston Churchill’s statement that the first month of World War I was ‘a drama never surpassed.’ A writer with an impeccable sense of telling detail, Mrs. Tuchman is able to evoke both the enormous pattern of the tragedy and the minutiae which make it human.”
–Newsweek

“[A] BEAUTIFULLY ORGANIZED, COMPELLING NARRATIVE.”
–San Francisco Chronicle

“AN EPIC NEVER FLAGGING IN SUSPENSE . . . It seemed hardly possible that anything new of significance could be said about the prelude to and the first month of World War I. But this is exactly what Mrs. Tuchman has succeeded in doing . . . by transforming the drama’s protagonists as well as its immense supporting cast, from half-legendary and half shadowy figures into full-dimensional, believable persons.”
–The Christian Science Monitor

“EXCELLENT . . . [The Guns of August] has a vitality that transcends its narrative virtues.”
–The Wall Street Journal








Sources: Biography.com, Daily Beast,


message 34: by Dimitri (new)

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message 35: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
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