Falkenhayn remains in charge of the German military in WWI

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
17,807
SoCal
#1
What if Erich von Falkenhayn would have remained in charge of the German military in WWI instead of being replaced by the H & L duo in 1916 after his failure at Verdun?

What would Falkenhayn's plans for 1917 and 1918 have been? Would he have avoided resuming unrestricted submarine warfare and thus avoided bringing the U.S. into World War I? Also, would there have been a realistic chance of a compromise peace if Falkenhayn was in charge of the German military?
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,251
#3
I seem to recall post-WWI German historians looking into Falkenhayn's record and concluding he was "ein Hamletnatur", a Hamlet figure. By which they meant he was mysterious, inscrutable, unknowable, hard to read, etc, etc. I.e. they hadn't the first idea what Falkenhayn might have done, because his motives for what he actually did do were so obscure they had to conclude he probably was some kind of mysterious genius. Which otoh might also just as well be interpreted as a clueless fool.
 
Likes: Futurist

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,044
Las Vegas, NV USA
#4
According to this he would have sought to make peace with Russia. This was the opposite of H&L's view. . It's not clear how von F would have done this or whether he could have survived Verdun but assuming he did we might have seen Russia drop out and more pressure on France in 1916 which might have led to a negotiated end to the war. That may be giving von F more credit than he deserved because of Verdun.


"For Falkenhayn, the main contest was in the west. First, coming from a Junker family with estates in the east, the General Staff Chief was naturally a Russophile.18 He did not believe that there existed deep divisions between Russia and Germany. Consequently, he believed peace between the two countries could be easily negotiated once the Russians......"

https://kclpure.kcl.ac.uk/portal/files/10060338/Foley_1916_New_Warfare.pdf
 
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Likes: Futurist

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
17,807
SoCal
#5
According to this he would have sought to make peace with Russia. This was the opposite of H&L's view. . It's not clear how von F would have done this or whether he could have survived Verdun but assuming he did we might have seen Russia drop out and more pressure on France in 1916 which might have led to a negotiated end to the war. That may be giving von F more credit than he deserved because of Verdun.

"For Falkenhayn, the main contest was in the west. First, coming from a Junker family with estates in the east, the General Staff Chief was naturally a Russophile.18 He did not believe that there existed deep divisions between Russia and Germany. Consequently, he believed peace between the two countries could be easily negotiated once the Russians......"

https://kclpure.kcl.ac.uk/portal/files/10060338/Foley_1916_New_Warfare.pdf
The problem for Falkenhayn is that even if Russia is penetrated extremely deeply, it won't necessarily withdraw from the war. In 1917, the US would already be on the verge of entering the war and this could give Russia a lot of additional hope.
 

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