Teaching Students About the Schlieffen Plan

The Schlieffen Plan is a military strategy that was developed by the German Army in the early 20th century. The plan was devised to help Germany win a hypothetical war against both France and Russia. In this article, we will discuss the Schlieffen Plan, its objectives, and its impact on the First World War.

The Schlieffen Plan was developed in 1905 by German Army Chief of Staff, Count Alfred von Schlieffen. The plan was based on the belief that Germany could quickly defeat France before Russia could mobilize its troops. Schlieffen believed that if the Germans could rapidly and decisively defeat the French, they could then turn their attention to the east and defeat Russia before it could become a significant threat.

The Schlieffen Plan was a complex and ambitious military strategy. The plan called for the German Army to invade France through neutral Belgium, which was expected to be an easy conquest. The army would then drive through France and encircle Paris, forcing the French to surrender. Once Paris was taken, the German Army could then turn its attention to the east and fight Russia.

One of the key elements of the Schlieffen Plan was speed. The Germans believed that if they could move quickly, they could catch the French off guard and defeat them before they could mobilize their troops. However, the plan was flawed. It relied heavily on the assumption that the Belgian Army would not put up a significant resistance to the German invasion. The plan also underestimated the strength and resilience of the French Army.

When the First World War broke out in August 1914, the German Army put the Schlieffen Plan into action. However, the plan didn’t go as smoothly as expected. The Belgian Army put up more resistance than the Germans anticipated, and the French Army proved to be stronger and more resilient than expected. The Germans were forced to divert troops away from the original plan, weakening their offensive and causing them to lose momentum.

The failure of the Schlieffen Plan had a significant impact on the First World War. The Germans were unable to knock France out of the war quickly, which led to a protracted and bloody conflict on the Western Front. The failure of the Schlieffen Plan also allowed the Russians to mobilize their troops and support the French, creating a two-front war that the Germans were unable to win.

Teaching students about the Schlieffen Plan is essential to understanding the events and outcomes of the First World War. By discussing the plan’s objectives, flaws and consequences, students can gain insight into the military strategy, as well as the broader social and political context of the time. Understanding the Schlieffen Plan also allows students to develop critical thinking skills, as they analyze the effectiveness of military strategy and its consequences in a historical context.

In conclusion, the Schlieffen Plan is a vital aspect of teaching and learning about the First World War. By understanding the plan’s objectives, flaws and consequences, students can gain a deeper understanding of the events that led to the war and its eventual outcome. Teaching students about the Schlieffen Plan provides a unique opportunity to develop analytical and critical thinking skills while also learning about history.

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