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The Schlieffen Plan: International Perspectives on the German Strategy for World War I

edited by Hans Ehlert, Michael Epkenhans, and Gerhard P. Gross edited by David T. Zabecki

Availablecloth$80.00x 978-0-8131-4746-8
AUSA Books - Foreign Military Studies
592 pages  Pubdate: 11/04/2014  6 x 9  10 b&w photos, 12 maps, 37 tables

With the creation of the Franco-Russian Alliance and the failure of the Reinsurance Treaty in the late nineteenth century, Germany needed a strategy for fighting a two-front war. In response, Field Marshal Count Alfred von Schlieffen produced a study that represented the apex of modern military planning. His Memorandum for a War against France, which incorporated a mechanized cavalry as well as new technologies in weaponry, advocated that Germany concentrate its field army to the west and annihilate the French army within a few weeks. For generations, historians have considered Schlieffen’s writings to be the foundation of Germany’s military strategy in World War I and have hotly debated the reasons why the plan, as executed, failed.

In this important volume, international scholars reassess Schlieffen’s work for the first time in decades, offering new insights into the renowned general’s impact not only on World War I but also on nearly a century of military historiography. The contributors draw on newly available source materials from European and Russian archives to demonstrate both the significance of the Schlieffen Plan and its deficiencies. They examine the operational planning of relevant European states and provide a broad, comparative historical context that other studies lack. Featuring fold-out maps and abstracts of the original German deployment plans as they evolved from 1893 to 1914, this rigorous reassessment vividly illustrates how failures in statecraft as well as military planning led to the tragedy of the First World War.

Hans Ehlert, Michael Epkenhans, and Gerhard P. Gross are historians at the Bundeswehr Center of Military History and Social Sciences (ZMSBw) in Potsdam, Germany.

Major General David T. Zabecki, USA (Ret.), is the author of The German 1918 Offensives: A Case Study in the Operational Level of War and editor in chief of the four-volume encyclopedia Germany at War: 400 Years of Military History. He is an honorary senior research fellow in the War Studies Programme at the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom.

A significant and timely contribution to our understanding of World War I. -- Timothy Nenninger, former President, Society for Military History

A superb piece of writing and scholarship. This work allows German historians to have their say on this uniquely German topic and thus provides a new and significant perspective on the campaign in the West in 1914 and the German plans for war. -- Robert B. Bruce, Marine Corps Command and Staff College

This volume marks a major contribution to the body of scholarship on this
subject. --

Winner of the Arthur Goodzeit Book Award given by the New York Military Affairs Symposium

David T. Zabecki [. . .] has done a masterful job translating Der Schlieffenplan [. . . .] The translation is elegant and the terminology professional. -- Journal of Military History

The book concludes with a nearly two‐hundred‐page compilation of excerpts from German deployment plans made between 1893 and 1914, with accompanying fold‐out maps. This alone justifies the [. . .] list price of the volume.

Serious students of pre‐First World War planning and the war's opening stages will find much that merits careful reflection in The Schlieffen Plan. -- Michigan War Studies Review

The University Press of Kentucky deserves some kudos for producing such a relatively lavish

[. . .] Gross offers a master class in historical provenance. -- H-Net Reviews