The Schlieffen Plan

The Schlieffen Plan
The Background:
• Germany knew that if war came, the Germans
would have to fight a two-front war with
France to the west and Russia to the east.
• The German General Von Schlieffen developed
a plan to deal with fighting a two-front war.
• He knew that Russia would take a long time to
mobilize their army.
• He figured that if Germany could attack France
quickly, then France would fall before Russia
arrived to fight Germany.
The Plan:
• France had long anticipated a fight with Germany,
and had built up their defences along the border
between France and Germany.
• Schlieffen’s plan called for the German army to
invade France from the north by sweeping
through tiny, neutral Belgium.
• Then the German forces would take Paris, the
French would be knocked out of the war and
Germany could concentrate on Russia.
The Reality:
• Schlieffen’s plan was based on the assumption
that Britain would not object to the invasion
of Belgium. However, Britain entered the war
because of the German violation of Belgian
• General Von Schlieffen died and the new
generals changed his plan. As a result, the
French and British forces were able to attack
the Germans before they reached Paris.
• The plan was based on speed. Schlieffen
thought it would take about 6 weeks to
conquer France. But the Germans did not
anticipate the Belgians putting up a fight
when they marched through their country.
The Belgians also had help from the British
who came across the British Channel to help
• The Germany soldiers were exhausted after
marching for weeks, carrying all their supplies
with them.
• Russia mobilized its forces much more quickly
than the Germans had anticipated and
Germany was forced to send some of its army
to the Eastern Front.
The Result:
• The Schlieffen Plan was a failure. The German
advance was halted at the Marnes River.
• Both sides began to dig in, creating extensive
trench systems that stretched from the Swiss
border in the East to the Belgian coast in the
• The German army was trapped on the
Western Front and would be stuck there for
four more years.
Related flashcards

Ethnic groups in Sudan

32 cards

Ethnic groups in Syria

18 cards

Ethnic groups in Syria

19 cards

Create Flashcards