In the lead-up to World War I, Germany’s government organized its war effort in a short-sighted manner and did not predict some of the difficulties that would follow when war actually took hold. It made assumptions about other countries that proved to be untrue, and it based its actions on those assumptions in ways that were eventually lethal to its chances in the war effort. Based upon this, one can conclude that the failures of the German government in organizing the war effort actually led to what came down the pipe for the country.Germany’s government initially went with what was known as the Schlieffen Plan. This plan thought that Russia would be weak and slow moving, so Germany would have the time it needed to attack France, sack Paris, and then use railroads to march east to take on the tardy Russians. The problem, of course, is that Russia was more mobile and responsive than that, Germany was not able to bully central European countries into giving it an easement to head east, and the British also played a role in stopping the German advances.

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Ultimately Germany’s government’s plan was one that lacked a sort of dynamic flexibility. It saw the world as set or fixed in ways that were problematic to behold. Namely, when things changed and the fog of war led to uncertainty over much of Europe, Germany kept trying to go with the same old plan that it had used in the past. That was inefficient and caused problems that eventually led to Germany expending resources and getting caught in the middle of various forces that dominated the country.

  • Foley, Robert T. “The Origins of the Schlieffen Plan.” War in History 10, no. 2 (2003): 222-232.
    Mombauer, Annika. “Of war plans and war guilt: The debate surrounding the Schlieffen plan.” Journal of Strategic Studies28, no. 5 (2005): 857-885.
  • Zuber, Terence. Inventing the Schlieffen Plan: German War Planning 1871-1914. OUP Oxford, 2002.