The Schlieffen Plan: Critique of a Myth
Why this book?
Facing a two-front war against France, Britain, and Russia in 1914, Germany opted to strike west first against the French and English; win a quick victory by avoiding French fortresses with an outflanking push through Belgium; and then turn east against the Russians. This operational plan was the brainchild of former Chief of the General Staff Alfred von Schlieffen. In the 1920s, many German generals argued that the inept execution of Schlieffen’s plan explained their loss of the war. Ritter’s work is the classic critique of this argumentation, showing that in reality the flaws of the plan and Schlieffen’s narrow-minded militaristic mindset, not the lesser capabilities of his successors, led to a war of attrition Germany could not win.