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How Useful are Sources A, B and M to a Historian Studying the Attitudes of British Soldiers to their Commanders During the First World War?

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Introduction

How Useful are Sources A, B and M to a Historian Studying the Attitudes of British Soldiers to their Commanders During the First World War? On their own they are not very useful to a historian studying the attitudes of soldiers to their commanders in World War I. However, if used together and with some of my own knowledge, they could be useful in creating a picture of what the attitudes of soldiers towards their commanders were like. Time would have been a major influencing factor on the attitudes of the soldiers to their commanders. As the war went on and the soldiers began to realise that they weren't getting anywhere they would begin to doubt their commanders. This coupled with the volume of casualties would have made them increasingly distrusting of their leaders. The difference in rank would also have affected the soldiers' view of their leaders. ...read more.

Middle

Pals battalions also knew each other before the war. The officers directly above them would also have been known to the men. They would have been their bosses at their place of work or another position of authority. They would, therefore, have had a better relationship with them than they would have had with a stranger. Source M may have been written by an officer from a Pals battalion as it says that the Sergeant had been with the dead soldier since he had gone out to the front. This source is not so good for studying the relationship of soldiers to the commanders by commanders to soldiers. However, some of the information in the source may have been made up or exaggerated in order to soften the blow on the parents receiving the letter. The stereotypical view of the relationship of soldiers to their commanders is that they all despised them and thought that they were incompetent donkeys that stayed miles behind the lines. ...read more.

Conclusion

Sassoon obviously had a very bad experience at the front and he was expressing it in the way that he knew best and the way that he thought people would see it most. He, later of course, made hid opinion known to the country when he made "an act of wilful defiance of military authority" Sources A and B are not very useful, therefore, to a historian studying the attitudes of soldiers to their commanders in World War I. Sources A and B cannot be useful to a historian, as they do not present a balanced argument. Source M could be useful but then there are some good arguments to suggest that the letters that were sent home to families were not reliable accounts of the war on the western front. Therefore, due to the fact that they are very one sided and the information within them is not reliable, Sources A, B and M are not very reliable to a historian studying the relationship of soldiers to their commanders. ?? ?? ?? ?? Ben Dunkley (11M) ...read more.

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