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.)
References in periodicals archive ?
Tension had steadily risen after the Schlieffen Plan to smash through Belgium and take Paris by storm bogged down in Flanders and northern France.
Germany's war plan, first developed after 1890 and then refined most famously as the Schlieffen Plan memorialized in 1905, addressed the problem of possible simultaneous wars with France and Russia by a preemptive march through Belgium to knock France out of the war.
Flence, the weakness of the German left wing was as much a part of the Schlieffen Plan as was the strength of the right wing.
The Schlieffen Plan ignored the Treaty of London - in fact, Kaiser Wilhelm dismissed it as "no more than a piece of paper" that Britain wouldn't go to war over.
One must be alert to the possible distraction of nuclear or cyber versions of the Schlieffen plan.
Nevertheless, German statesmen knew that support for Austria-Hungary ran the risk of a general war, not least because German military planning - the Schlieffen Plan - was designed to overwhelm France first in the event of a war with Russia.
In contemplating Germany's famous war plan, the Schlieffen Plan, one can equally well describe it as the product of extraordinary confidence and of enormous insecurity.
Mobilization and war plans, including the notorious Schlieffen Plan, proceeded apace.
For example, when he war-gamed the Schlieffen Plan, the results indicated that the two armies on the outside, or far right flank, of the great wheeling movement would run out of ammunition two days before the campaign ended; Moltke therefore organized two motorized ammunition battalions, the first in any army of the day.
The worst malefactor in turning the conflict into a worldwide conflagration was probably the British foreign secretary, Sir Edward Grey, who did want war (as did Churchill) and led Germany on, suggesting Britain would stay out until the momentum of the Schlieffen plan became irreversible.
So with time to plan and recent experience on their side, why did French military planners not foresee the tactical inevitability of Germany's Schlieffen Plan in 1914?
25) The German high command's severe lack of oversight of properly feeding the horses proved to be a decisive factor in the failure of the Schlieffen Plan.