Armies are virtually never ready to fight major wars. Warfare continues to change over time, which means no two wars are exactly alike. Armys leaders struggle to anticipate the next war, yet it is unrealistic to predict with perfection. The advent of new technology and tactics, unexpected adversaries, the vast size and complexity of military organizations, undetectable capabilities, and unforeseen goals signify gaps will exist between the war an army expects to fight and the war it must fight.
Yet, throughout history there has been no army on Earth that has been accused of total unpreparedness than those that went to war in Europe in August of 1914. There is no conflict that more vividly conjures up the image of wasteful military incompetence than the First World War, in which a wholesale chain-of-command on both sides utterly failed to foresee the scale, duration and character of a war transformed by modern weaponry and mass mobilization. The millions cut down among the artillery barrages, machine gun fire and gas clouds have become the quintessential symbol of military unpreparedness and the inability to adapt.