"Russia First" German strategy in ww1?

I mean, it is probably not impossible but your would really have momentum against you. When Schlieffen first presented his plan to the German government either the Chancellor or the Foreign Minister of the day (I can't remember which) basically said that if a military man like Schlieffen thought this was the best plan then the political heads must adjust around it.

The civilian government was willing to build their entire diplomatic and political strategy around a military operational plan! An operational plan that, even at this point, could not be executed with the forces then available to Germany (it only got worse with later iterations).

Having subordinated governmental strategy to military strategy for 10 years during peacetime, it would be very difficult to reverse course at the 11th hour.

That sounds horrible, to be honest. :biggrin:

So to sum it up, the biggest problem for the Germans was their dysfunctional political system, where military dictated foreign policy? Without changing that it's unlikely that they could have had actually achievable goals, although just having a more stubborn Kaiser could have gone a long way.
 
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So to sum it up, the biggest problems for the Germans was their dysfunctional political system, where military dictated foreign policy?
I don't know if it was the system or the men, but that was the end result. And yes, at least in my view, that is the seed of the problem.

Without changing that it's unlikely that they could have had actually achievable goals, although just having a more stubborn Kaiser could have gone a long way.
Depends which way he was stubborn I suppose. Wilhelm did plenty to damage relations with other powers on his own as well.
 
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EDIT2: Heck, maybe I'm wrong and the situation really was that binary and absolute - either Germany wins quick, or is eventually ground down over the years, without any possibility of a negotiated peace. I just find it hard to believe.
Well to be fair there are few absolutes here, but well it was a known problem look at the previous links I gave for the pre-war planning, and the wider context given by posters like ArtosStark.

If Germany could ensure it only faces one enemy a long war is not so scary (although quicker is always better), but a few points:

1). Not to belabour the geography point again but Germany is surrounded on all sides by nations who naturally have a powerful interest in what happens with any conflict between Germany and any of it's neighbours.

2). Germany spent decades pissing off it's neighbours and their potential allies.

3). The longer a war between big powerful nations goes on the more it becomes the only game in town and the more other parties can get dragged into it and thus be more likely to take a side.

4). It's generally better to fight your future enemy when they are fighting someone else, as opposed to waiting to have to fight them by yourself and when they have gained power from previous victories over nations you could have fought along side. i.e. the alliance system
 
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where military dictated foreign policy?
They wish - If military considerations drove policy, there wouldn't have been the second naval law, and there would have been another 100 000 men in the army in 1914. (you know the men the Schlieffen plan called for).
The sad fact is no one coordinated policy.
 
The UK's Desiderata from the war was the German evacuation of Belgium and France - If the Germans aren't in there, what do they want then?
The UK didn't join to preserve Russia as a great power, but even if it did, Russia remains broken, so what is the UK's desiderata? They were afraid the Germans would offer a withdrawal from belgium and france OTL, and army morale would prohibit them from declining, no such offer was ever offered.
In a scenario where Germany hasn't conquered any land in the west, Germany could make that offer, and I can't see how the UK would want to persist?
Tbh, I don't even think the French army would be willing to continue absent the occupation and resultant hard feelings - the Politicians dreamed of the return of AL, the Poilus dreamed of peace.

If Germany wins in the east, it's likely to come out of that the de-facto or actual ruler of Eastern Europe / chunks of western Russia. On top of that AH will likely be pretty much dominant to the Black sea (we've not mentioned AH much).

Britain does not want that. Britain might at times like to give the impression it's above what goes on on the continent but it knows it it can't ignore it (e,g. Napoleon's continental system etc). Certainly it doesn't want the nation that's challenging it in the 'biggest naval dick measuring contest' doing that.


France also doesn't want it because it knows if it happens best case scenario is it will be dominated on the continent (and France is a continental power), worse case scenario it will be next.

And once the fighting has started and blood and resources committed it's hard to withdraw with nothing to show for it except a stronger opponent and the threat of round two with them to come.
 
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Do you have any evidence for any of this?

Also, how is the OTL front line on French plains more defensible than the rugged terrain around Alsace-Lorraine?
The lines were established when the retreating Germans stopped. Naturally, they stopped at the most defensible spots. The line along the Aisne River is as good as it gets - a hundred feet wide and fifteen feet deep.

Why would the French attack into the Vosges? Like the Germans they will go through the Ardennes because it's the only route available. The only fortifications the Germans have there are Metz Thionville which is designed to cover the German assembly. The complex is easily bypassed through Belgium and Luxembourg.

The best line would be the Saar which is what Moltke the elder picked
Maybe if you mean a total victory, where the Germans march to Paris and onto the Channel. But they didn't really need that. Defeating Russia and then negotiating a peace in West would have been enough for them.
The Germans never defeated Russia. The Ottomans did with their blockade. The Germans don't know if the Ottomans will join on August 1st when the decision has to be made.

The Germans go East in 1915. All they do is chase the Russians around Poland while Britain and France build up their strength. It accomplished nothing. Brusilov proves that in 1916 with his offensive that shatters what remained of Austria.

Nor is there any reason to think the Germans are holding the West with five let alone four armies. They never tried it.
 
If you are looking for an eastern strategy and one that may bring a victory, you may want to look at Moltke the Elders plans.

AIUI when Moltke planned to stand on the defensive in the West and attack in the east he was not planning on overrunning or destroying Russia. He (and Bismarck) recognized that after 1870 Germany was effectively a satisfied power. They basically had everything they wanted in Europe, plus some. Thus he planned to use the good defensive terrain they had won on the French Border (Alsace-Lorrain) to hold the French there. Then draw the Russians into a defeat somewhere near Germany's eastern frontier (probably somewhere near Warsaw).

OST II is essentially Moltke the Elder's plan. It was retained and modified for use in a war against Russia alone. When they scrapped it in 1913, it was with the notation that the "political considerations that would make the plan viable are unlikely to occur."

Those considerations included French neutrality but also Italy allied (12 divisions), Romania allied (6 divisions) and Serbia being insignificant rather than tying up 10 Austrian divisions.

Britain allying with France and Russia in the 1880 and 90s is also unlikely.
However, to get this kind of situation you need to avoid the direction that Germany went from the 1890's on. Rather than working with the system to create a safety zone for Germany they tried constantly to upset it and drove their enemies together. Rather than plan for a limited war that would secure German safety the Schlieffen plan aimed for the destruction of France as a Great Power and true Hegemony over all of Europe. And the civilian leadership simply went along with it.
There's a lot more reasons to go with Schlieffen. Poland offered defensive depth rather than the threat of being pinned to the Rhine, the guarantee of a long war against France and Russia who's outcome is incalculable.

Grab Poland and hold has no chance against a British blockade.
 

DougM

Donor
The bias on this site on this discussion is amazing.
Germany didn’t do any more to puss off France or GB then GB and France did to piss off Germany. It is the bias of the history books and the West’s education system that constantly paints Germany of WW1 as the evil bad guy.

As for the idea of going East First. This is insane. Russia is huge and has tons of territory to give up and keep fighting. Plus Russia has a huge population it can mobilize. Add in that no one ever managed to knock Russia out by invading but that France had no territory to give up and had been knocked out by a fast strike and was not a dictatorship that would fight until the dictator said to stop (or was violently overthrown) So France WAS the better idea. And there is NO WAY that Germany can fight Russia and not have to fight France, So it cant take troops used IRL and send the East without the result being France (and GB) invading Germany.

As for Germany winning a long term war. That is not happening. It doesn’t have the resources to do so and the fact that the US is supplying GB and France is just the cap on that issue. Ignoring the ever increasing chance the US will enter the war to protect its interests in GB and France. So the long war will end badly for Germany.

And anyone thinking GB will stay out is utterly falling for the propaganda. GB is getting intro this war. First off it has treaties with Russia and France, Second it does not want ANYONE dominating Europe or dictating peace terms unless GB gets a say in the terms and in order to do that they have to be in the war. So GB is entering the war. The only question. Is when and how fast will they build an army of any size? And if you look at it GB was doing a good job of dictating to Germany terms that Germany couldn’t live with in hopes that Germany would do something to give them a reason to enter the war and still look like they didn’t want to…. And 100 years latter that story is still being sold to the masses.

If Germany hadnt invaded Belgium or used its navy then GzB would have found another demand and another and another until eventually Germany gave GB an excuse to enter the war. It is pretty much exactly the same thing AH did to start the war, but not as blatant.

Once again I am not excusing Germany. I think Germany Got EXACTLY what it deserved (well the treaty was ridiculous but you get my point) but the other counties were no better. So let’s stop with the assumption that Germany was evil and started the war and GB and France were just defending themselves. No one buys Belgium and Bosnia were defending themselves and those two had chosen sides but wanted to pretend they hadn’t. So basicly no one is innocent in WW1.

As for a negotiated peace. Germany should have tried for that when Russia fell. But only an idiot starts a war with the PLAN being a negotiated peace. You PLAN to dictate terms not negotiate. Only the INSANE WW2 Japanese government would even consider a plan that is “we cant win, but we can get a negotiated peace“. And see what that got them.

So Germany had to find a way that could end in them dictating to France. And the plan ALMOST worked.
 
The bias on this site on this discussion is amazing.
Germany didn’t do any more to puss off France or GB then GB and France did to piss off Germany. It is the bias of the history books and the West’s education system that constantly paints Germany of WW1 as the evil bad guy.

To piss someone off in international politics doesn't make one an evil bad guy (and I don't think anyone else has made that link?)

But look Ok if you think German foreign policy was triumph of making friends, forging ties and isolating enemies then please let us know


As for the idea of going East First. This is insane. Russia is huge and has tons of territory to give up and keep fighting. Plus Russia has a huge population it can mobilize. Add in that no one ever managed to knock Russia out by invading but that France had no territory to give up and had been knocked out by a fast strike and was not a dictatorship that would fight until the dictator said to stop (or was violently overthrown) So France WAS the better idea. And there is NO WAY that Germany can fight Russia and not have to fight France, So it cant take troops used IRL and send the East without the result being France (and GB) invading Germany.

As for Germany winning a long term war. That is not happening. It doesn’t have the resources to do so and the fact that the US is supplying GB and France is just the cap on that issue. Ignoring the ever increasing chance the US will enter the war to protect its interests in GB and France. So the long war will end badly for Germany.

And anyone thinking GB will stay out is utterly falling for the propaganda. GB is getting intro this war. First off it has treaties with Russia and France, Second it does not want ANYONE dominating Europe or dictating peace terms unless GB gets a say in the terms and in order to do that they have to be in the war. So GB is entering the war. The only question. Is when and how fast will they build an army of any size? And if you look at it GB was doing a good job of dictating to Germany terms that Germany couldn’t live with in hopes that Germany would do something to give them a reason to enter the war and still look like they didn’t want to…. And 100 years latter that story is still being sold to the masses.

If Germany hadnt invaded Belgium or used its navy then GzB would have found another demand and another and another until eventually Germany gave GB an excuse to enter the war. It is pretty much exactly the same thing AH did to start the war, but not as blatant.

Once again I am not excusing Germany. I think Germany Got EXACTLY what it deserved (well the treaty was ridiculous but you get my point) but the other counties were no better. So let’s stop with the assumption that Germany was evil and started the war and GB and France were just defending themselves. No one buys Belgium and Bosnia were defending themselves and those two had chosen sides but wanted to pretend they hadn’t. So basicly no one is innocent in WW1.

As for a negotiated peace. Germany should have tried for that when Russia fell. But only an idiot starts a war with the PLAN being a negotiated peace. You PLAN to dictate terms not negotiate. Only the INSANE WW2 Japanese government would even consider a plan that is “we cant win, but we can get a negotiated peace“. And see what that got them.

So Germany had to find a way that could end in them dictating to France. And the plan ALMOST worked.
Odd mix of I agree with a lot of this but disagree with a lot as well :) !

"No one buys Belgium and Bosnia were defending themselves and those two had chosen sides but wanted to pretend they hadn’t"

Belgium, you are going to "both sides" this with Belgium as your example?! I mean I agree Belgium did end up choosing sides in that it chose to side against the country invading it.

(Honestly am I misreading you here)
 
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No one buys Belgium and Bosnia were defending themselves and those two had chosen sides but wanted to pretend they hadn’t. So basicly no one is innocent in WW1.

Belgium? No one buys Belgium was defending itself?

Perhaps you might want to explain here, because while it is true Belgium did pick a side and that side wasn't Germany, that was partly because Germany invaded it. It chose the side that wasn't invading it over the side that was.

If you're going to "both sides" the war, you might want to consider about using Belgium as your very first example. It rather weakens your case.
 
. No one buys Belgium and Bosnia were defending themselves and those two had chosen sides but wanted to pretend they hadn’t. So basicly no one is innocent in WW1.
Damn those pesky Belgians for defending themselves when they as a neutral country was invaded! I mean how DARE they! I mean if they'd only peacefully have utterly surrendered or let themselves be occupied by an invading army then it would have been all well and good!
 
Damn those pesky Belgians for defending themselves when they as a neutral country was invaded! I mean how DARE they! I mean if they'd only peacefully have utterly surrendered or let themselves be occupied by an invading army then it would have been all well and good!
Ovaron97 had the right idea in his magnum wankus "The Raid On Scapa Flow". The Belgians should have just let the German army march through their country and then close the gate behind themselves. If only they had seen sense!
 
As for Germany winning a long term war. That is not happening.

Since there's no way Germany can defeat the Entente (in any form) in one campaigning season, you must therefore be arguing that Germany should not go to war at all, yes?
As for the idea of going East First. This is insane. Russia is huge and has tons of territory to give up and keep fighting. Plus Russia has a huge population it can mobilize.

On the latter assertions: Sure and sure.

And yet - Russia still was defeated in the Great War!

But the Germans in 1914-18 did not attempt to replicate the strategy of Batu Khan, Chodkiewicz, Charles XII, Napoleon . . . or, well, Hitler. There was no attempt to overrun the Russian heartland. Their operations were confined to the regions of the "Captive Nations" and actually made some efforts to cultivate these peoples as allies. All while grinding down a deeply inefficient and badly supplied Russian Army. The result was a weak autocracy increasingly unable to sustain popular support for a war in which Russian national survival did not appear to be at stake, or even support for its own continued survival as a regime. The result was revolution and, before long, Brest-Litovsk.

The objective of a Russia-first strategy for Germany in the 1910's is not to conquer Russia, but to defeat it through a war of attrition its government cannot sustain. Its larger strategic justification over the alternative of France-first is to avoid British belligerency and thus a larger coalition in which the correlation of forces no longer favors the Central Powers.

Which brings us to...

And anyone thinking GB will stay out is utterly falling for the propaganda. GB is getting intro this war. First off it has treaties with Russia and France, Second it does not want ANYONE dominating Europe or dictating peace terms unless GB gets a say in the terms and in order to do that they have to be in the war. So GB is entering the war.

How often this is asserted without any substantive examination of British policy making under Asquith - and regrettably, I cannot see how your claim is any different.

In the first place, some correction is in order: Great Britain had no treaties of mutual defense whatsoever with France or Russia in 1914. What it had were conventions with each power (France in 1904; Russia in 1907) to settle outstanding colonial disputes in Africa and Asia. There were secret military discussions, beginning in 1911, between the British and French general staffs over possible deployment of a British expeditionary force in a potential war with Germany; but these were nothing that legally required British belligerency under any circumstances whatsoever. Even Grey admitted this point to the Cabinet on August 2 and in his speech to the Commons on August 3. Neither Asquith or even Balfour could have sold such an alliance treaty to Parliament. Even the Anglo-Japanese Alliance treaty (the only formal mutual defense treaty Britain had in 1914) did not require British belligerency if Japan went to war!

It's true that the ultimate, real motivation for Grey and Asquith was to prevent the obliteration of France as a great power able to help balance Germany - especially if this meant German control of North Sea and Channel ports of Belgium and France. But this prospect is only in view in a German invasion of France and Belgium. And it needed that to sell a declaration of war to Parliament (controlled by Asquith's party, but a party also dominated by non-interventionist sentiment) - and the British public - which is why the two premises Grey finally needed to persuade the Cabinet to create an ultimatum to Berlin on August 2 were demands that 1) no German naval units enter the Channel, and 2) Belgian neutrality be respected.

A situation in which France declares war on Germany rather than the other way around is a fundamentally different one for any government in Whitehall in 1914 - even a Tory government. The Boches aren't coming to Nancy, let alone Paris.
 
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"No one buys Belgium and Bosnia were defending themselves and those two had chosen sides but wanted to pretend they hadn’t"

Belgium, you going to "both sides" this with Belgium as an example?! I mean I agree Belgium did end up choosing sides in that it chose to side against the country invading it

(Honestly am I misreading you here)

Yes, this is a strange pair of examples for Doug's effort to build moral equivalence.

Belgium was invaded by Germany, straight up, and an invasion kinda picks your side for you unless your name is Vidkun Quisling. Bosnia was a formal part of Austria-Hungary and not a free actor of any kind in 1914. Perhaps he meant Serbia?
 
Moving back to military moves etc, good, all that moralistic and British cabinet shit is irritating.

I'd point out that from December 1912 the German government assumed Britain would be a combatant, nothing was lost by invading Belgium which was Britain's cassus belli. Without Belgium in August 1914 there likely would be some other incident or 'mistake' that would bring Britain into the war, perhaps something like the Dogger Bank Incident in the Russo Japanese war where the Russian fleet attacked British fishing boats in the North Sea thinking they were Japanese for some unfathomable reason.

A few people have mentioned that Moltke's plan needed 'luck', for the French to make mistakes. What is meant by that? The German Army was qualitatively superior to the French Army, the masses of indirect fire howitzers being one huge example but there are several others, so it's victories are no quirk of fate.

Another thing, grabbing the French territory taken in Aug-Nov 1914 was a far bigger blow to the Entente than the Russian Territory taken Apr-Sep 1915. Is there any doubt about that?
 
A few people have mentioned that Moltke's plan needed 'luck', for the French to make mistakes. What is meant by that? The German Army was qualitatively superior to the French Army, the masses of indirect fire howitzers being one huge example but there are several others, so it's victories are no quirk of fate.

Another thing, grabbing the French territory taken in Aug-Nov 1914 was a far bigger blow to the Entente than the Russian Territory taken Apr-Sep 1915. Is there any doubt about that?
The French also have advantages: their large number of fortresses, their numerous allies and the Russians riding to the rescue They are fighting in their own territory which gives an enormous advantage on resupply. The technical qualities of the French 75 are such that once the battlefield slows down, the 75s and German heavy artillery balance each other pretty evenly. The German 77 only advantage was that it was lighter and more mobile. The longer French range would be felt once trench warfare starts.
Let's assume that the Belgians and French deploy the correct strategy for this threat. That would be to stand on the defensive and buy time for the Russians to draw off German strength.

The Belgians begin clearing and entrenching the intervals between the forts at Liege and preparing the demolitions beginning July 26 (this is what the Dutch do). If they do this, Moltke will never be able to take Liege in time and will go through the Netherlands which will do the same thing. The Germans are likely to be about 100 miles Easst of Namur the first week of September rather than the Marne. The Dutch being in the war would cost Moltke about 6 divisions as well

Joffre could have adopted the same strategy he does after the Frontiers from the start. That is to pull the Army of the Alps to Paris and pull 1st and 2nd Armies to the Fortress lines. The French have 800,000 men and huge amounts of artillery in those Fortresses. Would be a great idea to use them. Puling the same 8 divisions back and uniting them with the Army of the Alps would give him a strategic reserve of about 14 divisions. He has the internal lines and intact railroads. He can send them to the north to attack Moltke's flank or he can send them to Alsace. These options would prevent Moltke from sending forces East.

By picking the battlefields and taking advantage of their light artillery, the French would be spared the horrendous casualties they suffered on the Frontiers and make a counteroffensive much more likely to succeed even if the Germans reach the Marne.

Without the pressure on France, the Russians can delay the East Prussian campaign by up to a week. This will allow them to bring another 10 divisions into Poland and close the gap from the time first army and 2nd army begin their advance. Victory at Tannenberg or at least driving the Germans behind the VIstula would be assured.
 
The French also have advantages: their large number of fortresses, their numerous allies and the Russians riding to the rescue They are fighting in their own territory which gives an enormous advantage on resupply. The technical qualities of the French 75 are such that once the battlefield slows down, the 75s and German heavy artillery balance each other pretty evenly. The German 77 only advantage was that it was lighter and more mobile. The longer French range would be felt once trench warfare starts.
Let's assume that the Belgians and French deploy the correct strategy for this threat. That would be to stand on the defensive and buy time for the Russians to draw off German strength.

These are strategic advantages and didn't come into play until after the Marne, and I'd suggest needed Germany to reach it's culmination point at the Marne where it was outnumbered, short on supply and exhausted before these tactical equalizers were enough to overcome Germany's tactical advantages.

The Belgians begin clearing and entrenching the intervals between the forts at Liege and preparing the demolitions beginning July 26 (this is what the Dutch do). If they do this, Moltke will never be able to take Liege in time and will go through the Netherlands which will do the same thing. The Germans are likely to be about 100 miles Easst of Namur the first week of September rather than the Marne. The Dutch being in the war would cost Moltke about 6 divisions as well

Joffre could have adopted the same strategy he does after the Frontiers from the start. That is to pull the Army of the Alps to Paris and pull 1st and 2nd Armies to the Fortress lines. The French have 800,000 men and huge amounts of artillery in those Fortresses. Would be a great idea to use them. Puling the same 8 divisions back and uniting them with the Army of the Alps would give him a strategic reserve of about 14 divisions. He has the internal lines and intact railroads. He can send them to the north to attack Moltke's flank or he can send them to Alsace. These options would prevent Moltke from sending forces East.

By picking the battlefields and taking advantage of their light artillery, the French would be spared the horrendous casualties they suffered on the Frontiers and make a counteroffensive much more likely to succeed even if the Germans reach the Marne.

Without the pressure on France, the Russians can delay the East Prussian campaign by up to a week. This will allow them to bring another 10 divisions into Poland and close the gap from the time first army and 2nd army begin their advance. Victory at Tannenberg or at least driving the Germans behind the VIstula would be assured.

That's possible more or less, but then again Germany could do different stuff that would give it better performance. My current obsession is the left wing, moving troops from here to the east and right wing could have had massive positive impacts.
 
These are strategic advantages and didn't come into play until after the Marne, and I'd suggest needed Germany to reach it's culmination point at the Marne where it was outnumbered, short on supply and exhausted before these tactical equalizers were enough to overcome Germany's tactical advantages.



That's possible more or less, but then again Germany could do different stuff that would give it better performance. My current obsession is the left wing, moving troops from here to the east and right wing could have had massive positive impacts.
Not sure how much better you think Germany can do especially if France improves it's performance.

Are you suggesting that Plan XVII was the best that France could do?

Unlike Germany where there was complete agreement on a Western campaign, France openly debates what to do. Plan XVII had many detractors for good reason.

So employing the same strategy she does to survive the debacle on the Frontier won't work if it's done before?

I don't see the logic.

Joffre recognized the need for simultaneous offensives with Russia and insisted the Russians hurry. He should have done the opposite and bought the Russians time.

The fortresses aren't obvious assets? Joffre's offensive wasted 800,000 men. Given the Germans only sent 1,400,000 West, it's a lot of men to sacrifice. That doesn't include the huge amount of artillery, machine guns and supplies.

Joffre certainly had better use of six divisions than to send them to the Alps. The British not sending all six divisions of the BEF immediately was a mistake.

These are some obvious improvements. I'm trying not to use hindsight and argue for things like the Fifth Army cutting off the Germans at Guise.

A slow withdrawal, coupled with a sound demolition policy is going to do the French a lot of good.

As for the French taking advantage of what you call "strategic advantages", those advantages were well understood. The Russians had a habit of using them going back to the days of Rurik.

What is the art of war if it isn't recognizing advantages? The Germans understood the advantage they got from their central position and faster mobilization. They took advantage of them even though they were fleeting. Their whole plan was based on it.

Joffre erred in not understanding that if speed was Germany's great advantage, delay would work for France
 

NoMommsen

Donor
Not sure how much better you think Germany can do especially if France improves it's performance.
...
... why ? ... and how ?
...
Joffre recognized the need for simultaneous offensives with Russia and insisted the Russians hurry. He should have done the opposite and bought the Russians time.
...
The fortresses aren't obvious assets? Joffre's offensive wasted 800,000 men. Given the Germans only sent 1,400,000 West, it's a lot of men to sacrifice. That doesn't include the huge amount of artillery, machine guns and supplies.

Joffre certainly had better use of six divisions than to send them to the Alps. The British not sending all six divisions of the BEF immediately was a mistake.
...
...
Joffre erred in not understanding that if speed was Germany's great advantage, delay would work for France
... and all of the OTL ..."errors" or missed opportunities you've listed (maybe still incomplete) of performance improving ...

Why should all these shortcommings suddenly change (to the much better) and vanish ITTL ? ... when the german army "only" stands guard at its western frontier NOT invading anyone there ?
Esp. as such changes would need a radical - or at least 180° turn - of actual prevailing military theory and doctrine.


Btw : the same can be said from the russian military.
With my same question as for the french about the often brought up arguement the russians would/could switch any moment - and would do so - from attack on both front - austrian as well as german (only choice they had 'left' themself of: with how many troops on which front ... Plan "A "or "G") to pulling a "Kutusov" and retreat.

Why ? ... and how ?
 
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... why ? ... and how ?



... and all of the OTL ..."errors" or missed opportunities you've listed (maybe still incomplete) of performance improving ...

Why should all these shortcommings suddenly change (to the much better) and vanish ITTL ? ... when the german army "only" stands guard at its western frontier NOT invading anyone there ?
Esp. as such changes would need a radical - or at least 180° turn - of actual prevailing military theory and doctrine.


Btw : the same can be said from the russian military.
With my same question as for the french about the often brought up arguement the russians would/could switch any moment - and would do so - from attack on both front - austrian as well as german (only choice they had 'left' themself of: with how many troops on which front ... Plan "A "or "G") to pulling a "Kutusov" and retreat.

Why ? ... and how ?
I've given far better PODs than you've ever given as to why the Kaiser would adapt a plan he thought so bad he ordered all work on it stopped.

This is rather tedious where only Germany makes changes and they do so for no apparent reason but France and Russia won't make changes actively considered.

You've never given anything remotely plausible for a POD other than taking a dead general (Schintling) and applying his argument to a situation unlike anything he ever considered.

Quoting the clown Waldersee the younger is even worse. After all, what he argued for was simultaneously attacking Russia and France. He also stressed the need to do so while Italy remained loyal. Kind of makes his arguments silly, doesn't it?

Belgium and France make some glaring errors. I listed a few. If Belgium does a solid bit of demolition, the war is as good as won.

The Germans got really lucky. Almost lucky enough to win but not quite. The world suffered fifty months of war because of Joffre's errors.

Germany isn't the all powerful war machine but they gamble and win enough to make the war long.

East first is silly and works by piling assumption upon assumption.

The idea that war plans aren't going to change is just one of the many assumptions that you make. Mobilization plans were deployment plans.

Operational plans are completely separate. Did Joffre plan the Marne?

Nope, but the French did understand what to do once defeated on the Frontiers. With no advance planning at all, the French conducted a withdrawal, moved troops from the border to Paris and fought a completely new battle.
 
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