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At first glance the sources seem to point towards Haig being a butcher of the Somme. However in my opinion, the most reliable sources point to Haig being a strong general.

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Question F At first glance the sources seem to point towards Haig being a butcher of the Somme. However in my opinion, the most reliable sources point to Haig being a strong general. Sources, B,C,D,F and J all accuse Haig of being arrogant and accuse him of being a 'donkey'. Source F also accuses him of having an 'appalling' strategy. Source F is an extract from a recent book called 'British Butchers and Bunglers of World War'. I believe that this source cannot prove that Haig was a donkey or a butcher and I believe the source is unreliable. This is because the book was written about 70 years after the war had finished. And many views have changed and been warped since then. Also quite a few of the views expressed are clearly opinions, such as 'the Somme was criminal negligence' and 'he knew he had no chance of a breakthrough, but still sent men to their deaths'. This, I think, is using hindsight, as at the time it is probable that Haig thought that his strategies would work . I think that you cannot judge Haig on these comments as they are quite extreme opinions, and are not really backed up. ...read more.


Also this programme plays on Haig's reputation as a donkey to get laughs, and it is unlikely that there would have been much research done, or they would not have studied both sides of the argument. This leads to this source being totally untrustworthy, as the programme was made a good seventy years after the war and it stereotypes Haig greatly. It useful to show how his reputation has changed over the years but it cannot be at all used to judge Haig. The same can be said of Source E. It is a cartoon from a magazine in 1917. Being a cartoon it is likely it is going to be someone's opinion and not hard evidence to judge Haig by. The cartoon contains a General addressing his Sergeant Major saying 'there are three essential differences between a practice and the real thing: first, the absence of the enemy' turning to his Sergeant Major 'what is the second difference?' when he replies 'the absence of the general sir'. This cartoon is trying to say how the generals are never present when it comes to the real battle. This is quite true, as the generals were rarely there at the time of the battle, but this is only to be expected, as the generals need to be doing the planning, and someone as important as Haig can't really be risked for the sakes of just attending the battle. ...read more.


It is written by a British General in 1973, who would have been a fairly experienced veteran, as he was a general. He writes, 'Germany's spirit of resistance was broken, mainly by the courage and resolution of Haig's armies, which had complete confidence in the leadership of their commander.' This goes to show how many of the men had confidence in Haig, as this general would have experienced it first hand, unlike some of the other sources. He also says 'had Haig not had the moral courage to shoulder the main burden of the struggle in the Somme battles of 1916, French resistance would have crumbled.' This shows us how Haig was a strong man to take responsibility of the battles, and take the burden. I believe that the War needed a strong man to take it by the scruff of the neck, and I believe that Haig did this, the majority of the sources may point to him being a bit of a butcher, but I think the stronger ones point towards him being a strong man who carried the burden of a terrible war. The fact that more Germans died in the Somme is often overlooked, as people are always too quick to jump on the bandwagon and criticise Haig. Sources A, G, and H, I believe show that Haig helped win the war for Britain and I believe that can be easily forgotten. ...read more.

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