In 1904 France and Britain signed the Entente Cordiale. The reason for this alliance was to get a few countries grouped together against the perceived threat of Germany’s powerful army. Talk also began to add Russia to this alliance bringing all three, France, Britain and Russia together. As a result of these alliances the German military began to fear the possibility of being attacked from both sides all at once from France, Britain and Russia. Germany gave Alfred von Schlieffen, the German Army Chief of Staff, the responsibility for coming up with a plan to defeat the allies. This plan was called the Schlieffen Plan.
The Plan involved hitting France hard, with 90 percent of the total German army. The remaining 10 percent of the army would stay back and defend again any Russian advances on Germany. Schlieffen thought that taking out France was the key to winning the war as quickly as possible. He thought that if France was defeated then Britain and Russia would not want to continue the fighting. Schlieffen estimated that it would take at least six weeks for Russia to organize there large army for an attack on Germany. This meant that it was very important that Germany was able to invade and defeat France before then.
In August 1914 the Schlieffen Plan was put into effect and the German Army invaded Luxembourg and Belgium. Germany thought they would have no problem taking out the two cities but were unexpectedly held up by the Belgium army. While being held up there they were again surprised as to how quickly the Russian army was able to advance into East Prussia. Soon after which the British force also reached France and Belgium to fight against the Germans.
The French and British fell back to the other side of the River Seine and regrouped. After which, another French moved in and attacked the Germans at full force and managed to cut a huge hole in the German army splitting them into two groups. The French then entered the gap between the German forces trying to keep them divided. The Germans came very close to defeating the French army until the French brought in reserve troops to reinforce the front line. The Germans could not break through the French and were soon after ordered by the German Chief of Staff to stop and retreat from the French. After the retreat the British and French then came back across the river.
The Schlieffen plan did not work at all like they hoped. Germany was not able to get their quick victory over France and were instead overpowered and forced back. Although the Schlieffen Plan did not succeed, this did not mean that the German army had been beaten. The Germans retreat was a successful one and they were able to fall back and build trenches between the North Sea to the Swiss Frontier. It was good for Germany that they were able to get out in time and secure a position, but was a bad situation because it took away any possibility of a quick war.