• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

History Coursework: ''Lions led by Donkeys

Extracts from this document...


History Coursework The fact that people believe that the First World War was fought on the assumption that "lions were led by donkeys" is debatable. Some believe that the generals were murderers and the soldiers were brave lions, where as some do not agree. There are two sides to the story. In source A4, an article from the Times Newspaper, we are told that the old style of war has dispersed. The use of cavalry was no longer being used during war and the technology had improved immensely. The artillery was extremely accurate, as shown in source A2, which was not a good thing as the enemy was able to shoot accurately from the trench to trench, yet you they were not able to see the guns. The Generals knew of this fact and knew that the soldiers were at great danger, yet they still sent their men over the top...to their death. Although this article could be misleading, as it was written only as the war had started, but if the generals weren't such "donkeys" then why did it take four years for them to actually make progress? One of the reasons could have been the miles and miles of barbed wire that was implanted over no man's land. This barbed wire is mentioned in source A5 (ii) and in source C4. In this source, George Coppard mentions about how dim-witted the Generals were to have not noticed that the wire was not being cut through well enough. ...read more.


Therefore he was not up to date with the artillery and still believed that using cavalry would work. He did not use the machine gun as he thought it was a much over rated weapon and it wasn't what it was made out to be. This was untrue because it was killing thousands of his men every time they stepped over the top of the trenches. He made big mistakes whilst he was Field Marshall. For example, there were 20,000 deaths at the battle of the Somme. This battle was led by Haig, who later was named "The Butcher of the Somme" as he literally murdered thousands of soldiers. It took him 5 months of brutality to realise that only a few square kilometres had been gained, so on the 18th November he called an end to the attack. Examples of peoples feelings from the Somme are shown in source D3 and source D5 (ii). However, although all of this is true, it has to be taken into consideration that we did actually win the war! Although it took a while for Haig to learn from his mistakes, he eventually did and we started to win more battles. He was also a very optimistic general and he had high confidence in himself and his men. He was very proud of his soldiers and he knew that they were risking their lives for him and for their country, but when you sign up to the army you know this. ...read more.


It comes from a book which was called the "Fields of Death" which is basically about the pointlessness of the war. There was a good outcome of the war, and Haig was not all donkey. He was a good leader, as is shown in Source A3. The soldiers are shown wearing gas marks which showed that they were organised and that there was good leadership as this had been planned in advance. Also people back home thought that the Generals were "donkeys" because so many men died in combat in the First World War, but as Haig says, in source B3, "no superiority of arms and ammunition, however great, will enables victories to be won without the sacrifice of men's lives". This is completely true and people knew that when their sons, husbands, brothers, fathers were risking their lives when they signed up to the army. So WHY did people still want to blame Haig? This is probably because they had no one else to blame, even if it wasn't his fault. In my opinion Haig was innocent and the soldiers were very brave to have seen their friends dying, and then to go and join them. But I do not think the blame for their deaths can be entirely dumped onto Haig as he was not responsible for putting pressure on himself. I think the Government had a big part in this war and people seem to forget that. ?? ?? ?? ?? Carly Benville 11R ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level War Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level War Poetry essays

  1. The Battle of the Somme - source related study.

    In Source B it doesn't show the negative sides of the Battle for example, the picture does not show any injured or the dead casualties. The picture only shows a limited amount of the trench, not showing other phase of the trench and in the extract it only shows a

  2. "'Lions led by donkeys.' How valid is this interpretation of the conduct of British ...

    too early on to be fact based and is also very opinionated. The most astonishing aspect of this article was the fact that is prompted very negative images about the war, which the government wouldn't have wanted. Source A5 (i)

  1. The Battle of the Somme 1916 - source related study.

    a typical event as this photograph was probably taken to mark the occasion of taking over this trench. It is probable that this photograph was taken as proof and to keep as a memory of this small victory. Despite the developments in the war, there were still more deaths than expected.

  2. 'Lions led by Donkeys' - Is this a fair assessment of British generals in ...

    the generals were infact away from the fighting so as to plan important future battle strategies - they had to be kept safe else there would be no one to command the legions of troops. Besides despite this over 200 generals were killed during the war.

  1. The Battle of the Somme 1916

    Neither Haig nor Rawlinson ever actually went to fight. But maybe this is unjustified criticism. They were generals and their job was to think up tactics. Maybe they thought that preparation and groundwork was more important than simply more men fighting. Sources A and B give us a description of trench life and the horrible conditions that the soldiers lived in.

  2. Were the British Generals like Sir Douglas Haig responsible for the high casualty figures?

    A quote written by Rosemary Rees says ' Haig was confident that the German front line was smashed' and 'Rawlinson spread his limited artillery evenly along the German front line, without regard to the strength and importance of any particular part'.

  1. Trace the history of 'the old lie'.

    Rupert Brooke was one of the poets that based his poems on what was happening during the outbreak of war. He shared the same view as Tennyson-that it is honourable and great to fight for your country (the traditional view of war).

  2. Blackadder Media Coursework

    The enemy never fought with guns and so were an easy defeat. This is taken as a joke but really many men would have died. The programme taught us that many people died needlessly (needs to be finished) The programme shows that the normal solider didn't know what a real war was going to be like when he signed up.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work