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Does General Haig deserve to be remembered as the Butcher of the Somme?

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Introduction

Does General Haig deserve to be remembered as the 'Butcher of the Somme'? The battle of the Somme took place during the First World War. The war began on the 1st of July 1916 and ended on the 13th November 1916.The First world war was well-known for being history's most 'bloody battles', this was because it lasted for 5 months and on the first day of the battle 19,240 men were killed. Different historians have different interpretations of General Haig. By some, he has been labeled as a 'Butcher' for sending so many men to an early death without any cause .The British army was led by General Douglas Haig; he made key decisions and plans during the battle of the Somme. The aim of the battle was to draw the German army away from the battle of Verdun. To do this, the allied forces were to break through German lines along 25-mile front, north and south of the River Somme in northern France. However Haig was described as a 'hero' and that he was simply just doing his job as a General in the British Army. In my essay I will be debating the interpretations of General Haig made in the battle of the Somme. Many interpretations disagree that General Haig was the butcher of the Somme because of the high death count, Haig's lack of professional qualities as a general; the battle of the Somme only had little success. ...read more.

Middle

Another point that suggests that Haig was the butcher of the Somme was because of his lack of professional qualities as a general. Source 4 is a poem written by Siegfried Sassoon called ' the general'. The use of emotive language shows us as a reader that he is quite upset about the loss of his friends in the war this is because he shows his anger in the poem by throwing away his military cross. He uses a lot of descriptive language in this poem also as he describes Haig as and incompetent swine' this seems quite opinion based and shows his personal view about Haig that he was quite useless as a General. This source may be interoperated as he calls Haig a beast for taking the entire life away from the innocent. The purpose of a poem is to entertain the public so it may not seem as valid. This poem is also biased and only shows a one mans opinion it does not mention what others felt at this time. This source suggests that Haig was the butcher of the Somme, Source 5 was written by A.J.P Taylor who was a socialist historian, he wrote a specialist history book from the First World War in 1963. This source states how important young people were in joining together in groups. ...read more.

Conclusion

He may consider to answer himself questions which may make the source more valid for example, 'how was the morale during the rest of the battle?' this source is also biased as the report was from Haig himself, he may not be willing to admit the truth about morale or any issues that may ruin his reputation as a general. In conclusion to this I personally think that many interoperated Haig as being the butcher of the Somme because of the high death count and also because of Haigs lack of professional qualities as a general, which were issues like; the battle of the Somme which only had little success. Haigs stubborn personality and loss if troop morale. Many have interpreted Haig as being the general just doing his job because troop morale was still high, Haig was a well skilled general, he had success in the battle of the Somme, Haig had the support of the people and he was only one man. I think that if Haig was a decent general he would have been more organized and prepared his men for when the Germans arrived and attacked however we all know this just came out of the blue, and Haig was not aware of this. I think that Haig should have known that the Germans were not going to surrender that easily it would take time. Word count; 1741 ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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