The German Failure in Belgium, August 1914

How Faulty Reconnaissance Exposed the Weakness of the Schlieffen Plan

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About the Book

If wars were wagered on like pro sports or horse races, the Germany military in August 1914 would have been a clear front-runner, with a century-long record of impressive victories and a general staff the envy of its rivals. Germany’s overall failure in the first year of World War I was surprising and remains a frequent subject of analysis, mostly focused on deficiencies in strategy and policy. But there were institutional weaknesses as well. This book examines the structural failures that frustrated the Germans in the war’s crucial initial campaign, the invasion of Belgium. Too much routine in planning, command and execution led to groupthink, inflexibility and to an overconfident belief that nothing could go too terribly wrong. As a result, decisive operation became a dicey, with consequences that Germany’s military could not overcome in four long years.

About the Author(s)

Dennis Showalter is professor emeritus of history at Colorado College. He is past president of the Society for Military History, founding joint editor of War in History, and a widely-published scholar of military affairs. He lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Colonel (Ret.) Joseph P. Robinson was a Division G3 (operations and plans) in a combat zone, has written several thousand operational orders, and taught at the U.S. Army War College. He lives in Pensacola, Florida.

Colonel (Ret.) Janet Robinson has co-authored and edited several books about Imperial Germany and World War I. She lives in Pensacola, Florida.

Bibliographic Details

Dennis Showalter, Joseph P. Robinson and Janet A. Robinson

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: ca. 30 photos, appendix, glossary, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7462-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3437-1
Imprint: McFarland