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Does General Haig deserve the nickname Butcher of the Somme?

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Introduction

Matt Spurrier 9/S History Does General Haig deserve the nickname ?Butcher of the Somme?? General Haig was the British commander on the western front for nearly all of the First World War. He was a very controversial figure because of his tactics for trying to win the war and the huge amount of lives lost during the Battle of the Somme. Haig was born in Edinburgh on June the 19th in 1861. He was part of a wealthy family which provided him with good education. He studied in Oxford University and then moved to the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst. After his training he then served as a cavalry officer for nine years, mainly in India. He later took part in the Sudan campaign from 1897 to 1898 and the Boer War 1899 to 1902. Haig went to the War Office as director of military training in 1906. His responsibilities included the organisation of a British Expeditionary Force (BEF) for deployment in the event of war with Germany. On the outbreak of war in 1914, Haig was commanding the British Expeditionary Force?s 1st Army Corps, whose overall commander was Sir John French. ...read more.

Middle

This is a world record. But this did not change Haig?s strategies. He ordered more and more men and more attacks but the same they had the same fate as all of the first soldiers. Haig ordered 50 tanks to join in the battles, but this was against the advice of the experts as they said he didn?t have enough. They were right. Twenty nine of the tanks broke down before they even got to the battle so were useless and the rest soon got stuck in the mud in the middle of no man?s land so they were just target practise for the Germans. Haig had fired over 1,730,000 shells at the enemy line within a week. Haig assured the soldiers that the shell fire would destroy their trenches and barbed wire before they got to their trenches so they wouldn?t be there for long and wouldn?t have a hard job. But how wrong was he. The German trenches were deeper and built with reinforced concrete so they could with stand a certain amount more explosions. ...read more.

Conclusion

But was this tactic really Haig?s tactic? General Haig was in charge of the western frontline army which means he controlled how and what the army did. But he didn?t have complete control as the British Government still told Haig what he could and couldn?t do. Furthermore Haig had little time to prepare for the battle as was put into the job at last minute. So he didn?t have time to think of any new tactics. This meant that he had to stick with the one he was taught and the one he knew well. Haig in general could easily be named a butcher. Any person in any war could be called a butcher. In history, many men are rightly or wrongly given the same nickname. Though very few men actually deserve it. So in conclusion, I would say that Haig doesn?t deserve the nickname, ??the butcher of the Somme?? because the British army won the war, eventually and that was partly due to the Battle of the Somme and we killed more Germans than they did to us. He had a very good tactic and without it the war would have gone nowhere. ...read more.

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