The war consisted of a number of commanders and yet none of them were commanders of thefirst rank. Thefirst world war was the only war ever fought in which commanders lacked voice control over their armies. Communications broke down almost immediately after the troops left the trenches.
Chief of the German General staff, 1906-1914, Von Molke modified the original schlieffen plan for the invasion of France. Instead of keeping the right wing of the Germans strong, Von Molke reinforced the left because he thought that the French would push through the centre of into Lorraine and create problems for German communications. The removal of two infantries and one cavalry corps from the western to the eastern fronts, made it impossible for the German army to encircle Paris. The schlieffen plan failed to meet its goals. Molke stationed himself too far behind the front line, meaning that he had littlecontrol over his field commanders. Due to these decisions Von Molke lost thefirst battle of the Marne in 1914. He was replaced in late 1914 by Falkenhayn.
Falkenhayn was appointed Prussian war minister in 1913 and succeeded Von Molke as Chief of General Staff in September 1914. Falkenhayn disagreed with General Paul Von Hindenburg andVon Ludendorff about concentrating German efforts to defeat Russia. Instead he believed the war would be won in the west and concentrated all available forces against France and Britain.
The German Chancellor, Bethman Hollweg, was highly critical of Falkenhayn’s inability to achieve victory on the western front.. Helost his post as Chief of General Staff to Von Hindenburg after the failure to capture Verdun in August 1916.
Falkenhayn was transferred to Palestine in July 1917. After being beaten several times by General Allenby in Palestine, Falkenhayn was replaced by General Von Sanders. His last command before retirement was in 1918 with the German Tenth Army in Lithuanian.
On the outbreak of th…