Alfred von Schlieffen was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1833. He attended the Berlin War Academy (1858-61) and was a staff officer during the Austro-Prussian War (1866).
In 1891 Schlieffen replaced Helmuth von Moltke as Chief of General Staff. Schlieffen feared that France and Russia would join together to attack Germany. His main concern was to devise a plan that could deal with a war against Russia in the east and France in the west.
Four years after being given this position he devised what became known as the Schlieffen Plan. This strategy involved a German invasion of Belgium and a right-wheel flanking movement through Holland and then southwards, cutting off Paris from the sea.
Schlieffen retired as Chief of General Staff of the German Army in 1906.
Alfred von Schlieffen died in 1913.