OUTBREAK OF WORLD WAR I
Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the A-H throne is assassinated in Sarajevo; A-H blames
A-H is determined to destroy the Serbian threat once and for all; A-H seeks German
As Germany feels threatened & encircled she backs A-H.
An impossible ultimatum is sent by A-H to Serbia and this is refused.
Russia mobilises in support of the Serbs and to deter A-H.
Germany warns Russia who does not halt mobilisation; therefore Germany declares war
France mobilises and Germany uses the Schleiffen plan to attack France.
In the meantime A-H has attacked Serbia
The Schleiffen Plan involves Germany moving through neutral Belgium; Britain sends
Germany an ultimatum to get out of Belgium.
As Germany moves deeper into Belgium Britain declares war (Britain had mobilised its
fleet a few days earlier).
THE SCHLEIFFEN PLAN
Germany feared fighting a war on 2 fronts, it calculated that as the Russians would be
slow to mobilise France should be attacked & defeated first. The eastern border would be
watched by fairly light holding forces.
France had to be defeated in 42 days. Schleiffen predicted (rightly) that France would
make a head-on attack into A-L; Germany would defend A-L with holding forces. Her
main attack would be to the north through Belgium.
An easy advance through Belgium would be continued through lightly defended northern
France. Paris would be by-passed & the Germans would then attack Paris from the west.
The bulk of French forces would then be crushed between Germans from the west and
the eastward advance of the successful German holding forces in A-L.
Having defeated France the bulk of German forces would then be moved east to take on
the slow and inefficient Russians.