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Origins of the Schlieffen Plan

The Schlieffen Plan was developed by German General Alfred von Schlieffen in 1905. The plan was based on the assumption that Germany would have to fight a two-front war against France and Russia. Schlieffen believed that Germany could not win a war on two fronts, so he developed a plan to quickly defeat France before turning to face Russia.

The Execution of the Schlieffen Plan

When World War I broke out in 1914, Germany put the Schlieffen Plan into action. The plan called for a rapid invasion of France through Belgium, with the goal of capturing Paris within six weeks. The German army would then turn east to face Russia.

The Failure of the Schlieffen Plan

The Schlieffen Plan ultimately failed due to a number of factors. First, the German army encountered unexpected resistance from Belgian and French forces, which slowed their advance. Second, the plan relied on precise timing and coordination, but communication breakdowns and logistical issues hampered the German army's ability to execute the plan effectively. Finally, the plan did not account for the possibility of British intervention, which further complicated the German army's efforts.

The Impact of the Schlieffen Plan

The failure of the Schlieffen Plan had significant consequences for Germany and the rest of Europe. The plan's failure meant that Germany was forced to fight a two-front war, which put a strain on its resources and manpower. The plan's failure also led to a prolonged and bloody war of attrition on the Western Front, which resulted in millions of casualties on both sides.

The Legacy of the Schlieffen Plan

The Schlieffen Plan has had a lasting impact on military strategy and warfare. The plan's emphasis on speed and mobility influenced the development of armored warfare and blitzkrieg tactics in the 20th century. The plan's failure also demonstrated the importance of flexibility and adaptability in military planning, as well as the need for effective communication and logistics.


The Schlieffen Plan was a bold and ambitious strategy for winning World War I, but ultimately it proved to be flawed and unrealistic. The plan's failure had significant consequences for Germany and the rest of Europe, and its legacy continues to be felt in military strategy and warfare today.

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⇦ 1. The Outbreak of World War I 3. Trench Warfare ⇨