Alfred von Schlieffen

 

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The prince, recognizing the literary abilities of his friend, encouraged his early poetical efforts. Because the War Ministry had no intention of creating such armed hordes with practically no equipment or command and control, nor was it willing to incur the political cost, it turned down Schlieffen's proposals and nothing was done until , six years after Schlieffen's retirement, when 6 ersatz divisions entered the German order of battle thanks to Ludendorff's efforts.

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He graduated in with high honours, which guaranteed him a role as a General Staff officer. In , he was assigned to the Topographic Bureau of the General Staff, [2] providing him with geographical knowledge and a respect for the tactical and strategic value of terrain and weather that would serve him well throughout his career, particularly in the war games he conducted and in the devising of various war plans including the famous Schlieffen Plan.

In he was transferred to the German General Staff proper, though his role was initially a minor one. He first saw active war service as a staff officer with the Prussian Cavalry Corps at the Battle of Königgrätz of , during the Austro-Prussian War.

During the Franco-Prussian War , he commanded a small force in the Loire Valley in what was one of the most difficult campaigns fought by the Prussian Army. After years working alongside Helmuth von Moltke and Alfred von Waldersee , on 4 December he was promoted to Major General, and shortly afterwards, with the retirement of Moltke, became Waldersee's Deputy Chief of Staff.

In August , at the age of 72, Schlieffen was kicked by a companion's horse, making him "incapable of battle". After nearly 53 years of service, Schlieffen retired on New Year's Day, Furthermore, the origin of this tale is unknown but only seems to have started appearing several decades after his death.

For Schlieffen, Germany's smaller rate of conscription 55 percent compared to France's 80 percent presented a problem. This numerical imbalance was worsened by Russia's alliance with France. German tactical and operational abilities could not compensate for this quantitive inferiority.

It was always Schlieffen's intention to institute genuinely universal conscription and, more importantly, raise as many combat units from trained reservists as possible. Schlieffen was not in charge of conscription policy; that was the purview of the War Ministry , which in turn was under the budget powers of the Reichstag.

Since politics and economics blocked increases in the peacetime army, Schlieffen resorted to creating masses of new units when war came, when he would assume command of the army. Upon mobilisation, large numbers of reservists would be assigned to replacement battalions Ersatzbataillone , while waiting for an open spot in the field army. From June onwards, Schlieffen began to push for transforming Ersatzbataillone into brigade-sized manoeuvre units in the field army. There were major drawbacks to this design.

These units were not cohesive, combat-capable forces. Replacement units as field units would also not be able to replace field army casualties. Because the War Ministry had no intention of creating such armed hordes with practically no equipment or command and control, nor was it willing to incur the political cost, it turned down Schlieffen's proposals and nothing was done until , six years after Schlieffen's retirement, when 6 ersatz divisions entered the German order of battle thanks to Ludendorff's efforts.

Schlieffen continued to believe in the veracity of his idea and the mass use of Ersatzbataillone in combat formed the keystone of the January Schlieffen plan Denkschrift. The Schlieffen plan Denkschrift was therefore not a war plan, an impossibility because Schlieffen had retired on 31 December and the 96 divisions needed to carry out this one-front war plan never existed in the German army had 79, of which 68 were deployed in the west , but a demonstration of what Germany might accomplish if she instituted true universal conscription.

Schlieffen thought that even this hypothetical division German army would probably not be able to defeat France in a full-scale strategic offensive:. These preparations [encircling Paris] can be made any way that you like: We will have the same experience as that of all previous conquerors, that offensive warfare both requires and uses up very strong forces, that these forces become weaker even as those of the defender become stronger, and this is especially true in a land that bristles with fortresses.

Without 12 ersatz divisions on the right flank in the German army had only 6 and they were all sent to Lorraine , outflanking Paris was impossible. Schlieffen admitted in the Denkschrift that ersatz units could not catch the right wing by foot-marching nor would the rail system be in a state to support the deployment of 12 ersatz divisions to Paris.

None of Schlieffen's surviving deployment plans Aufmarsch , General staff rides Generalstabsreisen or war games Kriegsspiele bear any resemblance to the manoeuvre of the "Schlieffen plan". Instead they all point to Schlieffen's counterattack doctrine. On 11 December Schlieffen wrote a Denkschrift that represented the completion of his idea of mass warfare. When war came, the German government ought to declare full mobilisation in East Prussia , owing to its vulnerability to Russian cavalry raids.

The East Prussian militia would have pre-prepared equipment to defend themselves with. Behind this militia screen the German field army would deploy and then throw back the Russians. The cornerstone of Schlieffen's war planning was undoubtedly the strategic counter-offensive. Schlieffen was a great believer in the power of the attack in the context of the defensive operation.

During this time he started writing diaries, poems, and compositions, the last under the influence of his teacher Johann Samuel Petri. After that he returned to Muskau, helping his widowed mother, while writing and composing.

During Napoleon 's failed campaign in Russia in , Schefer was appointed manager of the big estates of his newly-won friend, Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau , doing well under hard circumstances until The prince, recognizing the literary abilities of his friend, encouraged his early poetical efforts.

Having visited England together with Pückler for studying landscape gardens and being deeply impressed by Eliza O'Neill on the stage , Schefer studied composition under Antonio Salieri in Vienna from —17, and travelled to Italy, Greece , Egypt, Palestine , and Turkey.

Schefer wrote a large number of novels, short novels, and narratives which appeared mostly in literary almanacs. Some of his novels have been published in English, as e. Auf der einen Seite stehen die Risiken für Umwelt und Gesundheit, auf der anderen die wirtschaftlichen Erwartungen..

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