WHY DID THE FIGHTING IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR DIFFER FROM THE EXPECTATIONS OF THE STRATEGISTS OF 1914?.
Way before the outbreak of the first world war the major belligerents of the war had made plans in case such a war happened. The German's, Schlieffen plan had first been tabled in 1905, the French plan XV11 in 1887. These plans did not take into account the advancing technologies that would, .
'Impose their autocratic will on the character of the fighting'#.
Traditional warfare of the time was one of mobility but the first world war turned into a static war, particularly on the western front. That it was the innate conservatism of the military and naval leaders and their contempt of technology that led to the underestimation of the significance of the changes that technology was bringing that led to the first world war lasting four years rather than being over by christmas.# Instead the first world war was to be a war of annihilation and would be the first to be considered a 'total war' involving all sectors of society in the war effort.
This essay is going to show that although the countries had similar motivations and plans for the war that because they did not take into account lessons learnt from previous experiences, such as the South African war (1899-1902) or the Russo-Japanese war (1904-5) the first world war .
was to become one characterised by immobilisation, modern artillery and masses of human losses. .
The aim of all involved was for a quick, offensive war, which allowed for mobility and on assumption of the war being short and decisive generals had plans which were unformulated and that exceeded their immediate needs.#.
The motivations of most of all of the countries involved were to stamp out an aggressor and stop the opposing side gaining more power. The Austrian-Hungarian government did not want the Serbians gaining a foot hold and the British did not want the Germans becoming a stronger world power and isolating them even more.