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The year 1916 was the year of the Battle of the Somme.

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Introduction

The year 1916 was the year of the Battle of the Somme. As the year opened, the two great opposing armies remained deadlocked in a line of trenches which stretched 966 kilometres from the Belgian coast through France to the frontiers of Switzerland. Here, men faced each other over the strewn, decaying wastes of No Man's Land, and confronted the realities of dirt, disease and death. Source A is taken from a book about the trench warfare by an English historian who was published in 1976. As shown in the provenance, the extract has been published in 1976, exactly 60 years from the Battle itself. It may have been written to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Battle and think of the soldiers who had died to honour for their country. The extract may have been written by an English historian in order for him to be critical of the Battle. In the starting sentence of the paragraph, it shows a meaningful way of describing the life of the soldiers by the word, "bleak". The word is recounting the life the soldiers are leading and at many times, leaves the soldiers bored, which then leads onto tiredness. Every day, just before dawn approached, the men manned the fire-step in case the enemy mounted a dawn attack, this procedure was known as the Stand- to. The Stand- to system made the soldiers feel wide awake as the procedure was just after their sleep, though many of them weren't able to catch up on much sleep as some of them were on guard duty. After the Stand- to, breakfast was served and many of them had to try and wash regularly in order to not attract flies and lice which were a main hazard during their "journey". The quote, "...as best as they could", shows us that the men did not have time to shave and wash perfectly as operations were carried out every so often and that properly shaving and washing would waste valuable time. ...read more.

Middle

evil and murder their soldiers and showing this to the public at home would want them to think again about supporting the war. Raws may have written the letter also to the press to show his views about the war. Raws was a soldier at the time of the war and wrote the letter during the war, showing that the letter was more accurate coming from a soldier and showing the true story behind the war. Raws has been harsh with his point maybe because his friends have died and given himself a narrow minded view of the war, and try to over throw the war effort, give it bad press. The questions which are not answered in the extract are who is Goldy? Was he killed by own fire? How old he was when he wrote it? I found out two of the questions answered by going to the website www.cwgc.org, he we find out John Raws was 31 years old when he wrote the letter and that Goldy was his brother. Source F is an extract from the film, "The Battle of the Somme", shown in Picture Palaces across the Empire between the times of August - September 1916. Source F helps to understand why the public at home supported the war because the film is sanitized version of death, not showing many killings. This way the public back at home would support the war, especially the families and munitions workers to show them they are doing a great job and are assisting the war very well. Some parts of the film are staged, just as the launching of bombs, just in case the bombs backfire and attack them instead. The purpose of the source is for morale and propaganda, to lift the spirits of the people back at home. Also another reason for the source is to show that God is on their side, this way the people at home will support the war even more, carry on making munitions, men are now willing to fight for their country and lastly pride. ...read more.

Conclusion

The thing was that the bombardment did not kill the Germans and because they weren't dead and the Germans attacked the British with machine guns and mowed them down. There were two types of means of communication; these were telephone wires and messengers. At many times the wires would have cut off because of being trodden on or being severed by the shelling of the bombs. The messengers, at many times were killed during there journey across the trenches and at many times, were very slow on there motorcycles due to the thick mud. When the messages did reach the other side, most the messages had been interpreted the wrong way, causing the soldiers to make mistakes and cost lives. The Germans knew that when the mine blew up, it signalled the beginning of the battle, so they assembled their guns. The British could have got to the German trenches in time, had they run. Also the fact that each soldier carried around 70 pounds of equipment as their walk was yet another flaw in the battle plan. This meant that the soldiers were weighed down and they could not have escaped fast enough from the Germans. However we must note that the orders given to the soldiers do make sense if enemy is actually dead. Also the General did not really have any other alternatives. In my opinion, the terms, "donkeys" is only correct to a certain extent. This is because the mistakes made during the battle were inevitable. The Generals did not really have much choice in what they could and could not do. Inconsistently, some of the mistakes could have easily been avoided had the Generals not assumed that the attack would have been so uncomplicated. My overall opinion on the phrase is that the Generals should not have sent the soldiers under those circumstances and even if they did, they should have been allowed to run, so the phrase is somewhat inequitable but not completely inaccurate. Kushal Garala 10PY ...read more.

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