To What Extent Was the Nature of the Schlieffen Plan Responsible for the Outbreak of a General European War in August 1914?

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There are three main factors that would be considered as the cause of the outbreak of war in August 1914, these including; the nature of the Schlieffen Plan, Russian mobilisation and the arms race. The Schlieffen Plan was produced in order to defeat Germany’s allies without having to be in conflict with them all at once, this was extremely important for Germany as it was surrounded by it’s powerful allies, with both France Russia on its borders. The plan itself stated that Germany were to defeat France at its, moving quickly before Russia were able to mobilise, expecting the French to surrender within 6 weeks. Many have argued that the Schlieffen plan was the sole cause of the outbreak of war as whilst the mobilisation of other countries was diplomatic, the nature of the Schlieffen plan demonstrated that certain war was intended on the German’s behalf.? In Source 1, it is apparent that the author; Taylor believes that the Schlieffen plan is an extremely significant component in the outbreak of war, explicitly stating that the “decision for mobilisation” was “a decision for a general European war”. Taylor also puts great emphasis on the urgent nature of the plan and the speed at which it needed to be carried out; “none of it could be altered because, if it did, all the timetables would go wrong” this demonstrate the rushed method, leaving no margin for error, resulting in an a lot more aggressive approach from the Germans. Another way in which the nature of the plan is considered, is by the decision to move into other countries other than France, for example; Belgium; by involving more and more countries, Germany deepened conflict and by attacking France and Belgium, would have obviously involved Britain in the war. Another reason for the outbreak of war also superficially considered in the source is the Arms race. The mention of the mobilising centres and railway timetables almost reminds us of the issues with the arms race at the time, specifically the Army...
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