Talk:Schlieffen Plan

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Although Schleiffen didn't live to see his plan executed, there's an important lesson to be learned from German military planners in the 19th century and during World War I. We saw this lesson abandoned by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton during the Libyan War, the lead up to the Syrian War, and now it dominates the division between Trump and the Deep Stateers. The lesson is very simple: while military planning and contingencies are an ongoing process, 24/7 in peacetime, at much expense, requiring continuous drill, testing, and updating, this effort and expense can never used to drive foreign policy decision making.

The Hillary Clinton Doctrine of Smart Power was all based on the idea we had 'smart bombs' and technological edge in so many areas, why not use it to achieve some ideological end? Allowing military thinking to drive diplomacy and foreign policy is the lesson of two centuries of German militarism. Maintaining combat readiness, while resisting the temptation to use it, is the challenge democratic leadership faces. Sarkozy, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Cameron all fell guilty to the same war crimes Hitler and the Kaiser were guilty of.

And this issue likewise lies at the root of Donald Trump's desire to have a detente with Putin, and the Deep State military industrial intelligence community complex, anxious for military adventure like Syria & Libya to justify their continued existence. RobSLock Up The Coup Plotters! 19:05, 20 May 2017 (EDT)

I try to make the point in the article is that Schleiffen almost certainly knew his plan was unworkable. Why propose it? It was a tool to get more resources from the German government -- and possibly a form of psychological warfare to scare the French. PeterKa (talk) 19:26, 20 May 2017 (EDT)
It needs to be viewed in the context of military planning. This was Plan A against the No.1 threat. So there were daily updates for two decades before 1914; boot camp training was all about loading and unloading with you gear on a train; the train station terminal at Cologne was redesigned and rebuilt with this in mind to facilitate off-loading and fast transfer of troops to the front; technological improvements of the day get incorporated into the drills and planning; the planning activity itself produces technical improvements. Ultimately, after decades of expense, the investment itself becomes reason to use it. But when German policymakers then made the decision, suddenly their were second thoughts about the reality of it. RobSLock Up The Coup Plotters! 19:38, 20 May 2017 (EDT)
IOW, the Schlieffen Plan was not a dusty file folder lying at the bottom of a file cabinet, as some try to make it in the post-1945 pacifist era. It was an "active contingincy plan", much like any schoolchild can tell you what Mutual Assured Destruction is.
It's key elements were violating Belgian neutrality, risking war with Great Britain, and fast mobilization to the front. But such was the level of paranoid thinking common among soldiers and citizens, and deemed an acceptable risk in the interest of national security. RobSLock Up The Coup Plotters! 20:15, 20 May 2017 (EDT)
There was a group of senior people, including Ludendorff and Groener, who had been trained by Schlieffen and worshipped him. Moltke was never convinced that the plan would work. His view was that something had to be done about the Russians before they overtook Germany. Striking first at France and then at Russia was a compromise, at least in terms of internal General Staff politics. PeterKa (talk) 23:15, 20 May 2017 (EDT)
What I'm saying is the Schleiffen plan wasn't a written document; it was government policy that affected budgets, even local budgets like the building of rail lines and terminals. Everyone knew it. If war came, Belgian neutrality would have to be violated as millions in manpower would be rushed to the front. RobSLock Up The Coup Plotters! 00:01, 21 May 2017 (EDT)
There's no way to keep it secret, as millions of foot soldiers for twenty years were trained in what to do when the order came, with some broad outline of the basic strategy, thinking, and theory. All came to accept violating Belgian neutrality and risking war with GB. Belgians knew the plan. Great Britain knew the plan. RobSLock Up The Coup Plotters! 00:08, 21 May 2017 (EDT)
An army can have more than one plan, so just knowing that such a plan exists doesn't necessarily tell you what to expect. Schleiffen actually published an article describing his plan, although that was after he retired. According to Churchill, the British army expected the attack pretty much the way it happened. Despite being provided a copy of the plan, the French were still surprised. They did not expect the Germans to use reservists on the front line. By French calculations, the Germans had nowhere near enough soldiers to even attempt an offensive. PeterKa (talk) 09:56, 21 May 2017 (EDT)
Until 1913, the Germans had a plan to invade Russia. So there was more than one possibility. PeterKa (talk) 22:53, 22 May 2017 (EDT)
Yes, but France still was considered the main threat. Russians in 1914 only had 1 gun for every three soldiers, and most walked to the front given the absence of rail lines.
The big risk was war with Great Britain, which was a more powerful adversary than France. So while Germans focused on France as their main enemy, the only way to defeat them relied on risking a much wider war with Great Britain, which would throw all military planning in the trash. RobSDeep Six the Deep State! 00:17, 23 May 2017 (EDT)
By comparison, the Schleiffen plan relied on presenting the world with a fait accompli, such as (1) Hitler did when he re-occupied the Rhineland and Anschluss, (2) Putin did in recognition Abkazia and annexation of Crimea, or (3) the Islamic State did in the occupation of Mosul. The gamble is, after the fact, nobody is willing to go to war to undo it. This isn't really the way to conduct foreign policy and base a primary strategic outlook on - especially when you advertise and train for it for 20 years, and get most people at home and abroad accepting the idea.
By extension, we see China working to do the samething by building artificial reefs in the Spratly Islands. They hope some day to present the world with a fait accompli over what is now neutral disputed territory. RobSDeep Six the Deep State! 00:29, 23 May 2017 (EDT)