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How useful are sources A, B and C to an historian studying the attitudes of British soldiers to their commanders during the First World War?

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Introduction

BRITISH HISTORY: SOURCES COURSEWORK Target 1: Evaluation of sources for their utility How useful are sources A, B and C to an historian studying the attitudes of British soldiers to their commanders during the First World War? An historian studying the attitudes of British soldiers to their commanders during the First World War needs to be wary when considering sources A, B and C, as all three have limitations. Source C is written by Haig's son in defence of the actions of his father, a general in the First World War, so obviously will not criticize him. Source C is also of limited value as it was written a long time after the War and Earl Haig was not a soldier in the First World War, so knowledge he thinks he has of the soldiers attitudes towards their commanders may be distorted. Sources A and B are limited in that they are the opinions of a cartoonist and a TV program, which are not necessarily representative of how the soldiers felt towards their commanders. ...read more.

Middle

This statement is a solid argument as at the time that the First World War ended, General Haig was seen as a hero. He had a State Funeral and tens of thousands of his old soldiers watched his coffin pass. It was really after the 1930s and again in the 1960s and 70s that criticism of Haig and the way the First World War had been fought really escalated. Most of these critics had had no experience of the First World War and so their criticisms were based on their opinions and not on the attitudes of the soldiers to their commanders in the First World War. As Earl Haig writes in Source C, 'When the old soldiers who fought in the war were alive, I never heard a word of criticism from them.' This indicates that the attitudes of the soldiers towards Haig in the First World War were not of criticism and disdain as Sources A and B would have us believe, but of gratitude that he had led them to victory. ...read more.

Conclusion

None of the sources are actually first hand accounts of how soldiers felt about their commanders during the War and all three are biased. Source C is the most useful as it speaks about the views of some old soldiers towards a commander in the First World War, and it offers some argument as to why the author thinks his opinion is the correct one. Sources A and B are biased and do not offer any justification for the views expressed in them. The messages expressed in each source may be representative of how some of the soldiers felt about their commanders, but neither Sources A, B or C are able to capture the attitudes of every soldier towards their commanders during the First World War. So while each source may be helpful to an historian in some respect, they need to be looked at along with other sources, accounts and knowledge for a valid conclusion to be reached about the attitudes of soldiers towards their commanders during the First World War, if indeed, a conclusion can be drawn. ...read more.

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