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Using the information in the sources and your own knowledge, were contemporaries correct in regarding the British army as ‘lions led by donkeys’?

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Introduction

Using the information in the sources and your own knowledge, were contemporaries correct in regarding the British army as 'lions led by donkeys'? Through out the First World War, there have been many incidents of bravery, and others of coward ness. This may not just apply for the soldiers but sometimes for the general themselves, but were the generals to blame, or were the soldiers to blame for the high casualties. Were there huge casualties due to the inexperienced soldiers, or the badly planned attacks by the generals? In the sources through out the booklet there has been times where the soldiers have been brave. The first reason was due to them choosing to enter the war without conscription. This was largely due to the propaganda that was at that time, which encouraged them to fight for king and country and to protect there family, however the main reason for them joining the war was due to them thinking it would be over by Christmas, which was only a few months away. One of the propaganda sources is a postcard where soldiers would write there letters on, on the front of that postcard was a picture of five soldiers looking over the top in the trenches, the source also shows that here cloth are clean. The caption of this source says "time for one more" which shows that life was very relaxed. This example gives us the view that the British soldiers were brave and not afraid of the war, bravery and fearlessness are common characteristic of a lion, but would they of volunteered if they knew how long the war would last, and what they would encounter. ...read more.

Middle

There were two main reasons or the battle of the Somme, the first reason was to relieve pressure at Verdun were the French armies were loosing badly, the second was to destroy as much of the German morale as possible and lower there morale. The first part of the Somme was well planed, and the Germans started moving her troops from Verdun to the Somme, this is where the first part of the Somme offensive went according to plan, and the generals should not be characterised as donkeys. However it was the very badly planned second part of the offensive that made the generals in control look like donkeys. The seven-day bombardment of the German front lines was a failure, because the Germans hid in deep bunkers underground. When it came to the planes destroying the German artilleries they couldn't see due to the clouds, this meant that when the British infantry were order to walk over the top, they took violent fire from the German soldiers. This was a badly planned attack by the generals; because they didn't know what the German trenches looked like, and none of the generals had visited the front line so wouldn't know how to plan a good attack. This badly planned attack which led to more than 50,000 British casualties, showed the generals as donkeys. But was General Haig, the chief general of the British armies a donkey. There are many reasons why he could have been a donkey, and other reasons to why he wasn't a donkey. ...read more.

Conclusion

The reason the third war of Ypres didn't go well was because the weather was against his plans. The British armies gained a lot of experience during the war and became a strong army. Towards the end of the war Haig has improved the use of artillery in the British army to mare it more accurate. Also the British armies of different areas (marines, infantry, artillery, air force) were able to work together in any circumstances to beat the enemy. This show's that sometimes Haig wasn't seen as a donkey, but as a leader who ended the war, and brought a victory to Britain and the allies. However there were other times when historians and the people, due to the high casualties, regarded him as a Donkey, but could a war be won without having high casualties on the front lines. This shows us that through out the war there were many incidents where the soldiers acted as lions, and the generals acted as donkeys, and vice versa. I think that the British armies were lions, but weren't led by donkeys, but by generals who did what they were thought to do in military school, and no one else had any better ideas at the time. So this war of attrition (wearing the enemy down) was successful in the end, also every other country was using more or les the same plan. This tells us that although people were blaming Haig for his bad plans, no one actually came up with any better ideas to win the war. So Haig ?? ?? ?? ?? By Ahmed Omar. 11 LJC 1 ...read more.

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