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What role did the BEF play in the failure of the Schlieffen plan

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What role did the BEF play in the failure of the Schlieffen plan

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  • December 10, 2006
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The British expeditionary force or the BEF became involved in the war because of Belgium. The Germans decided to go through Belgium as part of the Schlieffen plan, and though they knew that the British might become involved they didn't think that they would and they also felt they didn't need to fear the tiny British force.

The Schlieffen plan expected the Belgians to give in when the Germans marched through the country. However they instead fought the Germans and though they wee massively outnumbered the resistance brought time for the British and French to get their troops in to the war to help Belgium. The French were fighting the war on another front so the main force with the Belgium's was British. This force can quite possibly be said to be key to the failure of the Schlieffen plan as although they were hugely outnumbered they combined with the Belgium's slowed the Germans down enough that the 6-week period the Germans had allocated to take France was impossible to achieve. They slowed the Germans by organised retreating which meant he Germans could only advance slowly.

This may be considered a major factor but it is not the only thing that should be considered concerning the failure of the Schlieffen. Another key factor would be Russia. Germany's reason for the Schlieffen plan was that they did not want to be fighting a war on two fronts, the French and the Russians. They believed that it would take Russia 6 weeks to mobilise it's army and sop if France could be taken in less than 6 weeks they would be able to get back to the other side of Germany to fight the Russian army. They intended to take Paris and so force the French to surrender. The problem occurred when not only did they fail to take Paris and France as quickly as they needed but Russia was able to mobilise it's troop's inn about 2 weeks far quicker than expected. This left the Germans open to attack from a big force from Russia and forced the Germans to send some troops to reinforce the...