The Great War‎ > ‎

The Planning of the War

Ever since Germany had inflicted defeat upon France in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, the major nations of Europe had busied themselves with plans for the next war. Here are some of them:
  • France: Plan XVII 
(Taken up by French Commander-in-Chief Joseph Joffre) The aim of this plan was to recapture the regions of Alsace and Lorraine which the Germans had been controlling since 1971. It believed in the mystical 'élan vital' assumed to be instilled within every Frenchman - a fighting spirit capable of turning back any enemy by its sheer power.
  • Austria-Hungary: Plans B and R
These plans assumed that the war would be limited to Serbia and required part of their army to invade Serbia with rest to guard their borders with Russia and Germany.
  • Russia: Plan G 
This assumed that the Germans would launch a full-scale attack on Russia. It presumed that although the Germans would invade their country at first, once their army had mobilised fully they could successfully defeat them.
  • Germany: The Schlieffen Plan 
This was devised by Count Alfred von Schlieffen. It assumed that Russia would take nearly 6 weeks to prepare its soldiers for war, in which time they could defeat the French by: entering the country through Belgium, capturing Paris and finally attacking their army (who would be heading east towards Alsace/Lorraine) from the rear where they would be weakest.

  • Serbia planned to double the size of its army and place them in readiness to fight against Austria-Hungary once their tactics (plans) had become clear.
  • Belgium and Britain had no plans or strategies devised because they didn't want to join any war.