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Battle of the Somme

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Assignment 2 A) Source A proves to some extent that Haig did not care about the lives of his men to some extent. I say this because Haig believed that in order to win the war, men's lives had to be sacrificed. However this doesn't mean he didn't care about the lives of his men. Maybe he was too reckless when ordering his men to go over the top of the trenches in an attempt to gain land so suddenly. He was trained not to change tactics, so experience as a general taught him men had to die in battle. Haig wrote the source to justify reasons for the battle going wrong (justify the fact that people will die), the source was to be sent to the commanding officers on the status of the battle. "The nation must be taught to bear losses". This quotation from Haig in source A shows that Haig knew that mens lives where going to be sacrificed before the battle of the Somme had even started. He presumably warned the public in a newspaper that losses had to be taken in order to see the bigger picture. "No amount of skill on the part of higher commanders, no training, however good, on the part of officers and men, no superiority of arms and ammunition, however great, will enable victories to be won without the sacrifice of mens lives." This part of the quote shows that Haig is aware of how many options he has to win the war, however he acknowledges that mens lives will still lost no matter how many alternatives there are. "The nation must be prepared to see heavy casualty lists". This particular quote, source A shows Haig addressing the public directly. He has rearranged the wording from the first sentence in order to stress the point that is casualties will be evident. The fact of which that Haig had written source A in June 1916, shows that he knew that casualty list was going to be large before many other people. ...read more.

Middle

and many others. In conclusion to this source, source D has some use for historian studying Haig and the battle of the Somme. The provenance from source E also doesn't directly associate general Haig with the cartoon however you do get the impression that they are implying Haig in particular. The old attitude towards Haig, before the revisionists was evident in 1917 the time of which the cartoon was published. The cartoon doesn't show resemblance towards the battle of the Somme but the similarities towards the source and Field Marshall Haig is that Haig is away from the battles along with the general from the cartoon. Apart from the fact of which the cartoon stresses the point that the generals are absent during battle, it doesn't show any other information that links in with Haig or the battle of the Somme. Therefore, in conclusion Source E is ambiguous and vague and not as useful towards historians such as myself studying Haig and the battle of the Somme in comparison to source D. Source E has limited use in for Historians studying Haig and the battle of the Somme. D) Source G and H proves that Source F is wrong to some extent. I say this because only source H opposes F as Source G agrees with source F's revisionists based ideas of Haig. Although, nothing is particularly wrong as it is not a balanced judgment but a one sided opinion and not the whole story. The revisionist's views of source G and F against source H and its old attitude towards Haig. Source F attacks Haig completely, its provenance states the book is called "British butchers of world war", this is indeed what source F is strongly suggesting about Haig. The word "Bunglers" isn't a word you would use in serious content. The title sets the tone for the rest of the source. The source starts of very strong and from a very one-sided point of view saying "Haig was as stubborn as a donkey and as unthinking as a donkey". ...read more.

Conclusion

I say this because revisionists used Source G. The source doesn't talk about Haig in particular but only the confidence the battle of the Somme had given the British soldiers for the rest of the war. As the provenance states the source is from a German textbook. Germany are admitting Haig had a positive effect on the army morally. The source then goes onto discuss their (Germany's) losses i.e.: comrades. There is a sense of envy from Germany towards Britain as I feel Germany had respect for Haig. Source H disagrees with the view of Haig. I say this because the provenance states the sources where written by a general who taught in both wars. The general says that the Germans morale's were dented by the courage of Haig's armies. He then goes on to say he thinks Haig had the support of his soldiers. He was persistent when trying trying to break down the enemy. He ends with a powerful statement saying Haig was one of the main architects of the allied victory. The General fought in both wars and therefore had a first hand experience of Haig's personality, the soldier's views of Haig and the other aspects he says in the source. Therefore, I wouldn't doubt some parts of the extract. However, the general wrote the source in 1873 years after the war. Source I disagrees with the negative view of Haig. I say this because Lloyd George is complimenting Haig on his ability of turning the battle around. However the provenance states Lloyd George wrote the source during the war as the secretary for war and therefore had to be complementary. Source J agrees with the negative view of Haig as Lloyd George has changed his attitude 13 years on with the public opinion. Source J shows his real feeling and opinions as it is written in his memoirs as oppose to source I. Source j was written to make Lloyd George seem he had nothing to do with the Somme. Lloyd George is therefore going along with the public opinion. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sukhbir Hothi S11 11/12/08 ...read more.

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