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Military Necessity

drawing representing European alliances

For the best possible defense of the Fatherland, the German General Staff created the Schlieffen Plan, an attack directed against France that passed through the flat lands of Belgium – the shortest and quickest route to Paris. When it was put to use at the start of World War One some complained that it violated international law. Germany's chancellor argued that Germany was "in a state of necessity, and necessity knows no law." But the Schlieffen Plan was not a necessity and failed to consider an important ingredient: world opinion. The Schlieffen Plan brought Britain into the war and made Germany look like the aggressor.

Narrative: World War to December 1914