Schlieffen Plan

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Schlieffen Plan


a draft plan for strategic deployment of the German Army and for conducting combat operations at the beginning of a German war on two fronts, against France and Russia. The plan was formulated in a memorandum compiled in 1905 by the chief of the General Staff, General A. von Schlieffen.

In implementing the plan, the first strike was to be delivered against France by the bulk of the German troops, up to 85 percent of all ground forces. The main forces were to be concentrated on the right flank and moved through neutral Belgium and Luxembourg to outflank the main forces of the French Army from the north, with the objective of seizing Paris and driving French forces back to the east, where they would be surrounded and wiped out. Against Russia, only a weak screening force would be in place, awaiting the victory over France. After France was crushed, the plan envisioned shifting large forces to the war against Russia.

The Schlieffen plan was risky and unprincipled because the German Army in the west did not have superiority in forces and was unable to provide logistic support for a rapid, continuous advance to great depth. The objective of wiping out the French Army of several million in one blow was also unrealistic. When the Schlieffen plan, in somewhat modified form, was put into effect at the beginning of World War I, the German forces were defeated in the battle of the Marne of 1914.


Melikov, V. A. Strategicheskoe razvertyvanie, vol. 1. Moscow, 1939.
Groener, W. Zaveshchanie Shliffena. Moscow, 1937. (Translated from German.)
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