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

Does Haig deserve the title 'The Butcher of the Somme'?

Extracts from this document...


Does Haig deserve the title 'The Butcher of the Somme'? Introduction In this essay, I will try to figure out what historians all over the world have been talking about for years: Does Sir Douglas William Haig deserve the title 'The Butcher of the Somme'? I will start by correctly defining the term, 'butcher', before analysing the case for and against this statement. I will finally conclude my essay by weighing up the two cases and comparing the definitions of 'butcher' to his actions. Butcher: Cutter of meat Seller of meat Profiteer from death Slaughterer Authority to kill Murderer Does Haig deserve the title 'The butcher of the Somme'? Argument: For Statement To say that Haig was the hero of the victory at the Somme, although the opinion of the people of the time, must now be looked back on with great scepticism. You cannot deny that Haig made the correct tactical decision to make an offensive at the Somme, in order to take the pressure of Verdun, and it is true to say that he achieved his target objective in doing so. However, it is inexcusable, whatever the gain, to throw away life so carelessly as Haig did. It is also to be noted, that Haig's attitude after the Somme, was that it was a worthy sacrifice, and an honourable way for a man to die. ...read more.


I'm sure his life was a worthy sacrifice and the other men had high spirits for the next week, to know that another 15 people had been sent over the top and died'. Haig said, the day before the offensive: 'The men are in splendid spirits. Several have said that they have never before seen so instructed and informed of the nature of the operation before them. The barbed wire has never been so well cut, nor the artillery preparation so thorough. All the commanders are full of confidence.' This statement in itself tells the story. Haig was either miss-informed or delusional, and despite the fact that the wire was clearly not cut, he sent the men out anyway. Does Haig deserve the title 'The butcher of the Somme'? Argument: Against Statement Haig didn't listen to his commanders advise and reports from the battlefield. He made it difficult for people to tell him bad news about the battle. This was a big mistake and it meant that anyone trying to tell him something would be afraid of the way he would react. They would distort the news to make it sound like the battle is going better than it actually was. This means that Haig would be hearing news that wasn't accurate to the actual battle, so he would be acting on false information. ...read more.


He couldn't see the whole battle like we can today in a complete overview. To call Haig a 'butcher', meaning: Cutter of meat Seller of meat Profiteer from death Slaughterer Authority to kill Murderer This description pretty much fits Haig, but taking into account the evidence, you have to say he made so many inexcusable mistakes and decisions, however the evidence against this statement is also significant. The conclusion I have come to is that if Haig was a general today, (supposing technology had not advanced and we were still in the day of the machine gun and trench warfare) Haig would deserve the title outright, but he wasn't. He had no way of seeing the entire battle and getting a truthful account on what was going on, and his tactics were in line with the warfare of his day, so he does and he doesn't deserve the title, depending on which way you look at it. However, as a final note, I would like to add this quote from a British soldier fighting at the Somme. 'We are lousy, stinking, ragged, unshaven and sleepless. My tunic is rotten with other men's blood and partly splattered with a friends brains. It is horrible, but why should you people at home not know? The horror was indescribable...I want to tell you so that it may be on record, that I honestly believe that Goldie (a mate) and many others were murdered through the stupidity of those in authority.' ...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 Britain 1905-1951 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 Britain 1905-1951 essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Does General Haig deserve the title Butcher of the Somme?

    5 star(s)

    Hence Haig was acting well in his role, rather being 'the butcher of the Somme' as he positioned himself in a position where he could have an overview of the whole battlefield. This resulted in the best planned tactics in the given circumstances.

  2. General Haig - Butcher or Hero?

    The phrase 'quite sad' is quite controversial. In the language of the upper class, 'quite' can either be deemed as very, or not very much. This shows that he was either affected, but not so much that others would notice and take into consideration, or that he was greatly affected

  1. Does General Haig Deserve the Title The Butcher of the Somme?

    Haig was originally placed at an attack further north-west of Flanders, however when the Germans attacked at Verdun, all plans were to be changed. Then in the summer of 1916 Haig was officially made to lead the British into battle near the River Somme.

  2. Haig, Butcher of the Somme

    After retirement he devoted the rest of his life to the welfare of ex-soldiers and set up the poppy appeal which still helps injured soldiers and their families today. This is not the behaviour you would expect from a soldier murdering 'butcher'.

  1. Does Haig Deserve To Be Called The Butcher Of The Somme?

    He also slept in a cosy bed. However, he was apparently not bothered that his soldiers shared their muddy, smelly trenches and stale, bad food with rats whilst he lived royally, in fact, his diary says that they were often happy and in high spirits- he clearly didn't care enough to find out how they really felt.

  2. Haig butcher of the Somme?

    Additionally the comedians of the show, Ben Elton and Richard Curtis are both left wing. For socialists to be critical of Haig is no surprise. It further suggests why they came to this interpretation that Haig was thoughtless.

  1. Field Marshall Haig: 'The Butcher of the Somme?'

    of Haig had great moral for the British and lost moral for the German's. It believes that Haig was successful, and achieved what he set out to do. It does not make any reasoning for the heavy casualties Britain suffered.

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

    The use of emotive language makes it sound more exaggerated such as words like 'Bitter' this affects its reliability. In source 2, David Lloyd George, British Prime Minister during the first world war he write a lot about his war memories in 1935, this supports the interpretation that Haig was

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