The Schlieffen Plan
Why did the Germans believe they
could win the war quickly?
In 1905, the General Alfred von Schlieffen was
asked to plan a way of preventing Germany from
fighting a war on two fronts.
Schlieffen believed that it was a priority to defeat
France quickly, forcing them to surrender before
Russia had a chance to mobilize her armed
forces.
The Schlieffen Plan
Schlieffen’s plan was based on
the following assumptions:
 Russia would take at least 6 weeks to mobilize
their troops.
 France would be easily defeated in 6 weeks.
 Belgium would not resist any German attack.
 Britain would remain neutral.
Sometimes plans
go awry…
On August 2nd 1914,
the German army
invaded Belgium.
The Germans were
held up by the much
smaller Belgian army.
The Western Front and How We Got
Involved
 The Belgians fought back and slowed the
German advance
 This tactic drew Great Britain into the war
which was (in part) working to secure Belgian
neutrality
 Aug 4 - Great Britain declared war and
because our foreign policy was still tied to
them Canada was automatically at war
Nobody told the Russians about the
Schlieffen Plan!
Russia mobilized in just 10 days and
Germany was forced to withdraw troops from
Belgium to defend her eastern border.
The Battle of the Marne
The French were so
desperate to stop the
German advance on
Paris that the
government sent
6,000 soldiers to the
front in taxi cabs!
Stalemate
With all advances halted, both sides built trenches
to defend their positions.
This is where
most of the
fighting took
place on the
Western Front
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The Schlieffen Plan