European generals had been planning this war for fifty years. Every skirmish, assault, and Battle was a pre cursor to what happened in the sweltering days of August 1914. Each side dreamed of a lighting victory-no one imagined that it would take four years.
The Germans had the Schliffen-a brilliant yet flawed plan that attacked through Belgium in a sweep to the sea. The French plan was flawed from the start. A frontal assault of such a grand preparation would cost thousands of lives and would not take into consideration any defensive maneuvers if the initial attacks were repelled. Furthermore, it ignored any attack from Belgium. The French believed by this time that static defense was a thing of the past. The forts that would have been an effective defense had been defanged, and many of the forts' big guns had been removed, leaving them almost worthless.
The French plan was known as plan XVII. It had been written in reaction to the ideas of fallen Commander-in-Chief Designate Michel, who had argued that " The by-now traditional French scheme of deploying behind the Franco- German frontiers proved no defense against the danger of a German invasion via Belgium".
Von Schliffen had doubts, too He said of his own plan, "The German people would be brought to realize that they are to weak for the enterprise they have undertaken. We shall find the experiences of all earlier conquers confirmed that a war of aggression calls for much strength and also consumes much, that this strength dwindles constantly while the defenders increases". The German plan called for a quick victory before Russia had a chance to mobilize her troops. The way the Germans had it figured, they had about four weeks to defeat the French. That would give them just enough time to move valuable forces to the eastern front.
In these pages watch history unfurl and see what Churchill called " Drama Never Surpassed".