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Schlieffen Plan

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On another board a member is stating there was never a Schlieffen plan.


"was not an plan but an 1904 academic study only and considered the scenario for a war with France only."


What say you on this.


The Academy in 'academic study' was the Kriegsakademie general staff course which included the all-important annual general staff ride with the Chief himself. This was a massive terrain ride in which the Chief would point out critical movements required for the campaign in question. It is important to note that war planning of the period consisted of RR timetables which debouched the mobilized field armies on the frontier of the intended countries to be defeated, according to the preferences of the Chief of the General Staff, east or west, primarily and it was east for v.Waldersee (1888-91) and west for v,Schlieffen (1891-1906). The conduct of the actual campaign was left to be determined by the commanders and circumstances surrounded the mobilization and declaration of war.


The war plans were well enough preserved that postwar, the 1914 GS chief of rail (Groener) could assert that Moltke could have cancelled the Schlieffen deployment in favor of a modified Waldersee Plan directing the German offensive against Russia, leaving sufficient corps in France to bleed the French dry against their forts and leaving the UK without a cause to enter the war [no violation of Belgium). William II actually asked if this could be done in the final hours of peace, only to be told by a very irritated Moltke that it was impossible.


The rest is, well, history.

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The Wiki article on Schlieffen Plan shows new material that I had not heard of in the 1990s, such as recovery of docs long thought lost in the Potsdam fires of 1945, but actually kept by the Russians.


In 2002, RH 61/v.96, a summary of German war plans from 1893 to 1914 discovered in the records, that had been written in the late 1930s–early 1940s, for a revised edition of the volumes of Der Weltkrieg on the Marne campaign, was made available to the public.[54] Study of pre-war German General Staff war planning and the other records, made an outline of German war-planning possible for the first time, proving many guesses wrong.




The German Wiki, as usual, contains more details including this citation, likely useful:


Gerhard P. Groß, "There was a Schlieffen Plan" In: Hans Ehlert, Michael Epkenhans, Gerhard P. Groß, Militärgeschichtliches Forschungsamt (Hrsg.): Der Schlieffenplan. Analysen und Dokumente. Ferdinand Schöningh, Paderborn 2006, S. 126.


Amazon (D) indicates the book is out of print:

Vor diesem Hintergrund beleuchten Historiker aus dem In- und Ausland die operativen und strategischen Planungen des Kaiserreichs und seiner späteren Gegner im Ersten Weltkrieg sowie das Verhältnis von Militär und Politik. Erstmals werden in diesem Band zudem die deutschen Aufmarschpläne von 1893/94 bis 1914/15 veröffentlicht, in deren Zentrum Schlieffens berühmte Denkschrift von 1905 steht.



Good hunting!

Edited by Ken Estes
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