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

"Why Is The Battle of The Somme Regarded As Such A Military Tragedy"

Extracts from this document...


"Why Is The Battle of The Somme Regarded As Such A Military Tragedy" This essay will examine the many reasons why some people regarded the Battle of the Somme as a military tragedy. The original plan for the Battle of the Somme was supposed to be a joint Anglo-French attack on 1st August 1916 and the British commander, General Sir Douglas Haig, favoured an attack further north and west in Flanders. However, the heavy French losses at Verdun brought the date forward by a month, to 1st July. Their objectives now were to divert German attention from Verdun and gain territory, also to kill as many German soldiers as possible. The new plan was straightforward. After an initial weeklong bombardment of the German front line their defences would be destroyed. The infantry would then advance to take hold of the German positions and a charge of Cavalry would exploit the gap that was expected to appear in the German front-line. ...read more.


Haig was heavily criticised for being obsessed with out-of-date tactics like cavalry charges. But the criticism was not entirely fair because he did vary his tactics when they attacked a different part of the Somme and used tanks for the first time in the war. Other tactics couldn't have been used because no one knew any more; Haig had used these kinds of tactics in other battles and been successful, so he thought they would prevail this time too. The Battle of the Somme was deemed a military disaster because of the sheer number of causalities. The overall number of men lost was approximately 1,120,000: 420,000 British, 200,000 French and 500,000 German. On the first day of fighting there were 57,000 casualties, about a third of them killed. The British forces had not experienced a battle with that many casualties before. The attitudes of the soldiers contributed to the catastrophe because they started to lose faith in their leaders. ...read more.


The Somme brought home to many people that this would be a long, grim war of attrition. The Battle of the Somme was a disaster, it is a popular view and is an easy view to support; the immense loss of life, the pitiful ground gained mad it a total waste. However, should it be regarded as a tragedy at all? The battles objectives were achieved; it relieved a lot of pressure off the French at Verdun, it wore down the German soldiers, which helped a great deal in Germanys eventual defeat. Also Haig had warned that there would be heavy losses and it was the government who failed to prepare the people. The generals were considered to be incompetent, but there was no other way to fight the battle so it isn't right in saying that. It is therefore very difficult to classify The Battle of the Somme as being a disaster or a success. It is a disaster due to the great losses and a success due to the good things that came out of it (i.e. helped weaken the Germans, thus helping to win the war). ...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. To What Extent Was the Battle of the Somme a Disaster.

    Any holes in the barbed wire were easily targeted by the German machine gunners. There was then a three or four minute pause between the end of the artillery bombardment and the men going over the top I believe that this could have been crucial because it gave the Germans time to prepare and set up their machine guns.

  2. The Battle of Passchendaele (The Third Battle of Ypres)

    This is when the expression 'sea of mud' came into being and is how this battle is remembered. Duckboards were used to cross the mud and there were many reports of soldiers slipping off the boards and drowning in the mud.

  1. Are knights and castles a sufficient explanation for Norman military success between 1066 and ...

    Meanwhile, in the North of England another threat faced Harold, as Harald Hadrada joined forces with Tostig. Harold was surprised by this attack and called up his army to attack at Stamford bridge ; the battle was long and hard but resulted in Harold's victory.

  2. The popular myth of the Battle of Britain quickly emerged during the early part ...

    He also may be nationalistic and his book could be used as a form of propaganda, after all it is only one person's account and only a few pilots got hurt in such a terrible way. The next interpretation is a number of newsreels.

  1. The Battle of Britain

    He mentions Beaverbrook, communications, German tactics, Russia, the role of the Observer Corps, German mistakes as well as the pilots. Lord Beaverbrook as we know was Minister for Aircraft production and owner of the Daily Mail. He played a great part in spreading propaganda through his newspaper and raised commitment amongst the public by appealing for aluminum.

  2. 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

  1. Why is the battle of the Somme regarded as a great military ...

    This is extremely sad if you look at it with a humanity aspect about it but Haig had done this purposely. Haig was using the volunteers to kill the German professional army troops; this meant he could keep the British professional army until later on in the war.

  2. Why did Britain win the Battle of Britain?

    Although horrific, this could not have been better for the RAF. The breathing space this gave Fighter Command was crucial but also made the British more defiant and determined to hold out. The change to bombing the cities to launching the Blitz also gave Fighter Command time to recover from

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