• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To What Extent Was the Battle of the Somme a Disaster.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To What Extent Was the Battle of the Somme a Disaster I believe that the Battle of the Somme was a terrible battle but not as bad as is made out by some sources. I will use evidence from first hand and secondary sources to show this. I will look into the actions of General Sir Douglas Haig and if he was a hero or a murderer. I will also look into his tactics and if he should have abandoned the attack after the first day of the battle. Firstly I will cover the background to the battle. The War had been going for two years and had turned into a stalemate. The British public's support for the war was starting to fade as the government had promised that the war would be over by the Christmas of 1914. Men were becoming less willing to sign up as the reality of war began to kick in. One of the first major battles of the war in Verdun was creating massive casualties and the French were at the brink of giving up. The British army had to act. Under the command of Douglas Haig an attack was launched on the German army near the River Somme. ...read more.

Middle

Another contributing factor to the battle being a disaster was the fact that it was launched at seven o'clock in the morning. Bearing in mind that the battle started on the first of July it would have been broad daylight, giving the Germans a perfect view of the assembling British troops. This was a mistake probably made by Douglas Haig. The other mistakes by this experienced general were that he was out of date battle tactics like cavalry charges. I believe that one of the worst things that he did was to keep sending more and more men over the top, when he could see that they were getting slaughtered. General Haig did have a deputy, his name was General Rawlinson and he did not always agree with Haig. His opinion was that the British army should withdraw when he saw all the devastation and loss of life after the first day. To get the real picture of the scale of the trauma at the Somme we have to take the information of someone who was really there. I will take some extracts from the diary of George Coppard a British machine gunner from the Somme. ...read more.

Conclusion

After the war Haig was criticised for his part in the battle by many people, his own soldiers, politicians, the press and the British public. He was given the unwelcome title of the Butcher of the Somme. He believed that this title was unfair as he said that he had warned the politicians of heavy losses if the battle was going to be won. He said that the battle was a success because all of the main objectives were met. This was not of much comfort to the British public; they were shocked by the huge loss of life. Many of them had lost friends, relatives and colleagues and were looking for someone to blame. Haig was the obvious target. The Somme brought to the attention of the British public the reality of war. They realised that the war was not going to be short and glorious, it was going to be drawn out and bloody. The confidence of the public in their leaders was at an all time low. The Prime Minister David Lloyd George's relationship with General Haig was particularly bad. In conclusion, the battle was terrible with horrific amounts of people killed but there were positive points to it as the main objectives were met. Brendan Thorne 10CA ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE War Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE War Poetry essays

  1. Why did William win at the Battle of Hastings?

    Harald Hardrada was caught by Harold's surprise attack and William made sure the same thing would not happen to him. Luck again played an important part at the beginning of the battle. The Bretons on the left side of William's army advanced faster than the other two sides and when

  2. Was the Battle of the Somme a success or a failure?

    That is the opinion of Private P . Smith of the 1st Border Regiment. It doesnt tell us if Private P. Smith was actually at the front line. We can only guess. There could also be other reasons to why he feels so strongly about it. One reason could be that his friends or even family were killed on the first day so this would affect his interpretation.

  1. This essay will consist of a number of Interpretations some agreeing with the popular ...

    Interpretation 9.Is a book "Europe Since Napoleon" written by a popular Cambridge historian David Thompson. His book became a very successful and well know textbook. The book was released in1957 so he has the advantage of hindsight and can put the Battle of Britain into perspective.

  2. Why did Britain win the Battle of Britain?

    This was vital because when the battle commenced the Luftwaffe outnumbered the RAF four to one so the RAF had to make the most of their resources. It soon became clear to the Germans that they were not going to destroy the RAF, and the Germans had suffered far more damage than they ever thought they would.

  1. The Crimean War.

    programme had never been put into place,25 and the British troops were still being taught to fight against the French, who were now the allies, and to regard the Russians, there current enemies as the 'good guys'. It is a considerable factor in the Allied defeat at Balaclava, that the

  2. Why is the battle of the Somme regarded as such a great military tragedy?

    Out of the 49 available only 32 made it to the starting line, which I agree, makes this a justifiable point. But the tanks gave Haig a false confidence, as he believed that they would work. The overconfidence of Haig and the British army was another important issue of why

  1. Why Did So Many Men die in the Battle of the Somme?

    The bombardment will destroy the German defenses, break their barbed wire and kill most of their defenses. 5) Three big mines and seven small ones will be dug under German strong points to be exploded just before the attack.

  2. The Battle of the Somme, 1st July 1916.

    It was clear that there were no gaps in the wire at the time of the attack'. The Allied forces were divided into divisions, each with their own objectives and targets to overcome. Communication between divisions was poor and often the success on one division relied strongly on the success of another.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work