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History Coursework: ''Lions led by Donkeys

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Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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