Talk:Helmuth von Moltke the Younger

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There's still a lot to be done here - we need coverage of Moltke's militarism and advocacy for preventative war. I've also only skimmed the surface of the planning issue, but such a discussion might warrant its own article (German Military Planning, 1870-1914). Mackensen 02:40, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Any chance someone could include the quote from Moltke to the Kaiser after the attempt to take Paris failed that goes something along the lines of 'Your Majesty, We have just lost the war'? I would include it myself but I'm too busy at the moment to find the correct quote...

Moltkes implementation of Schlieffen[edit]

AFAIK the criticism of Moltkes focuses on two points:

  • before the war started he changed the plan by shifting several division from the right wing (which would march through belgium) to the left wing (stationed) at the franco-german border. These divisions were needed on the right wing at the battle of the Marne, without achieving achieving much on the left wing.
  • before the battle of the Marne he transferred two army-corps from the western front to the eastern front. Had these troops been avaiable they probably would have changed the outcome by closing the gap between the German 1st. and 2nd. Army. Here he is blamed for not understanding Schliffen, whose core-idea for a two front war was to attack France with the bulk of the army, while delaying the russians with a token force by trading territory for time. Once France was defeated the entire German army was to attack the russians and retake the lost ground. It is claimed that Moltke simply should have left the eastern front to fight on their own and accepted the threatened loss of eastern prussia for the time being (he could not possibly forsee the German victory at Tannenberg). Nevfennas 23:01, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

This is, as far as I know, not at all true: "The Schlieffen Plan (based on the Denkschrift of 1905) envisaged a one-front war against France and England." Everything I've ever read has indicated that the point of Schlieffen's plan was to win a two-front war by moving quickly against France (and not England) with the vast majority of the German army while the ponderous Russians mobilized. The dichotomy between Schlieffen's one-front plan and Moltke's two-front plan is entirely false; Moltke was just more worried about the Russians (and the political consequences of giving up East Prussia).-- 07:54, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

  • Well, that's a problem within the historiography. The 1905 memorandum doesn't mention Russia at all, but obviously Schlieffen had to be thinking about Russia. Historians slip around this by taking the 1905 concept and converting it into a two-front war, but there are some obvious problems with that. The article probably isn't clear enough on this point; I'll see what I can do with it. Mackensen (talk) 12:14, 29 January 2007 (UTC)


From memory I think that the last two paragraphs of this article may be plagiarized from Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August. I will check if I get hold of the book, but for now this should be explored further.

  • I doubt it; I added those about two years ago [1] and hadn't read Guns of August at the time. Mackensen (talk) 11:18, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

"Health Broke Down"?[edit]

To describe Moltke's difficulties which led to his replacement as the result of his health breaking down gives a false picture, since in fact he suffered a nervous breakdown, not a physical collapse. After realizing that the Schlieffen plan had failed, he became psychologically immobilized and unable to give orders, and his staff had to step in and issue orders in his name. Official accounts declined to describe the situation so brutally, of course, and Moltke seems to have been recovering slightly by the time of his removal, but his problems were psychiatric, not somatic. His case makes an interesting analogy with that of Ludendorff at the end of the war, who also suffered a nervous collapse after calculating that the war was lost. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:34, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

"epic" victory at Tannenberg[edit]

Is this really the right languange for a neutral point of view on wikipedia? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:27, 3 November 2013 (UTC)

"he died in Berlin on 18 June 1916 during the funeral for Marschall von der Goltz"[edit]

This sentence is potentially misleading since it suggest that the funeral of Goltz took place in Berlin but according to the Goltz article he died in Bagdad and was buried in Istanbul (which was then still Constantinopel?). Perhaps the wording should be changed to "he died in Berlin on 18 June 1916 during the funeral in Istanbul for Marschall von der Goltz", if this provides a correct description. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:06, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

I wonder if von Moltke was at a memorial service for von Golz in Berlin rather than the funeral. The Wikipedia page for von Golz says that von Golz died in April and was buried in Istanbul. The article suggests he died somewhere in the Turkish Empire, probably in what is now Iraq. It seems likely thet the funeral was not only in Turkey but in April? Perhaps someone with access to the detailed sources can give us a better version.Spinney Hill (talk) 15:49, 17 June 2016 (UTC)

Well spotted - it was a memorial state ceremony rather than a funeral. With World War I raging across Europe it was probably not feasible to bring von Golz's body back to Berlin from the Ottoman Empire. I have changed the wording accordingly. Buistr (talk) 02:38, 19 June 2016 (UTC)

The Kaiser told Moltke to reverse the western front forces to the eastern one against Russia[edit]

According to the Marne Section, the Kaiser "told Moltke to reverse the western front forces to the eastern one against Russia" after receiving a telegram from the British Foreign Secretary via Prince Lichnowsky. Moltke refused the order, saying that the deployment was already underway and impossible to stop or change course (the section says). According to the footnote, the source for this is Understanding the 'Misunderstanding' of 1 August 1914, K. M. Wilson. The Historical Journal, Vol. 37, No. 4 (Dec., 1994) , pp. 885-889.

Problem is that the referenced article does not make any mention of the interaction between Wilhelm and Moltke. It doesn't mention Moltke at all. Ever.

-- (talk) 02:02, 21 June 2015 (UTC)

Which campaign?[edit]

Although earlier in the campaign, German generals and the press had been proclaiming the campaign as good as won, on 4 September, Moltke was found despondent that the lack of prisoners meant that the Germans had not yet really won a decisive victory.

'The campaign...' Does this refer to the Eastern front or the Western? Valetude (talk) 18:19, 29 October 2017 (UTC)