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

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

Extracts from this document...


Does Haig Deserve To Be Called The Butcher Of The Somme? Commander-in-chief during the battle of the Somme, Field Marshall Haig has often been called 'Butcher of the Somme' since the battle. A butcher, of course, is someone who kills animals and prepares them to be sold before selling them himself. However, when applied to a person butcher can mean someone who kills heedlessly, brutally or indiscriminately or someone who bungles things, and this is how people felt abut him. During the war, people at home in England only heard about the war from the point of view of the generals (when they read the newspapers) or their husband, sons, friends, brothers or fianc�s when they wrote letters (which was not a guaranteed way of getting news across, as letters could be lost or intercepted) so they didn't really know what was going on. The newspapers all said Haig was leading the BEF well, so people believed it. But after the war, when the soldiers came home, they told their families and friends what things had actually been like on the front line. ...read more.


His strategies were very unimaginative, they were the same ones used previously in the same war and had not really worked- how could Haig expect them to work now? He also kept sending men in month after month, one replacing another. It apparently did not occur to him that if they were all dying something was not right- maybe it was the fact that his plans were inflexible, and many of his soldiers were inexperienced and could not follow them through properly. Haig was very remote and his officers and generals found him very hard to talk to. They did not tell him how big the casualty rates really were, or how badly their plans were going because they were afraid of him. However, to be fair, Haig never gave up. He was a stable figure of hope for many soldiers throughout the battle. Haig spent an enormous amount of time preparing for that battle, when he became Field Marshall he directed the conversion of the back area of the Somme (from Albert to Amiens, twenty five miles apart) to a military encampment cut by new roads and covert with shell dumps. ...read more.


on (so that the British would have the advantage of higher ground), and though some of the battle plans were unsuccessful, they certainly managed to take over the hill, relive the French and wear down the Germans (which was useful as by then the great war had become a war of attrition). Of course, Field Marshall Haig was only a human being, and no matter how well the battle was planned, and how good a strategist he was, there were always going to be some failures. After all, the German army would have chosen the best commander they could, so Haig was up against someone of his own level, and he carried a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. Because he was Commander-in-Chief any mistake that was made- even if it wasn't his mistake- would be blamed on him. I think that because many people have read or heard the accounts of the soldiers, and how terrible it was for them, they forget that it was an ordeal for Haig as well. In desistance to my conclusion, even if he was a terrible commander in chief and a careless blunderer, he did his best, so how can he be a Butcher? ...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. General Haig - Butcher or Hero?

    This is a fair point to make, but if you consider the state of affairs, if he had not used the tanks he would have been condemned for having not used every means at his disposal. Therefore, whichever judgement he made, would have come under scrutiny.

  2. Haig, Butcher of the Somme

    On the other side of the argument, it is clear that the public were very supportive of Haig, who later went on to help many ex-soldiers with the poppy appeal.

  1. Haig butcher of the Somme?

    Alfred Copper wrote in his biography of Sir Douglas, that he was a 'giant' 'in moral stature', because 'he believed from the first that the German line could be broken and it was'. Consequently he was victorious in his plan.

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

    truth, it is not designed to hold any historical accuracy what so ever. The comedy is also British, and therefore makes it bias to Germany. It is hilarious, though it describes how Haig's plan was ridiculous and that all soldiers going over the top knew they were going to die

  1. Was General Haig a donkey or a great commander?

    war, the Cavalry Corps took three thousand prisoners and broke through lines of machine guns and artillery in the process. Although this might well have been true, his critics would still continue by saying that he relied too heavily on his cavalry, and did not put enough faith in infantry, or new technology.

  2. General Haig

    It says "Perhaps his greatest failing was his constant, often misplaced optimism, which seemed to stem from his belief that he had been chosen by God to serve his country." This shows us that Livesey only wants to suggest his ideas about Haig as a military commander and places ideas

  1. Was Field Marshall Haig the Butcher of the Somme

    He not only complained about how Haig was treated, but also called Haig a murderer of his fellow troops. Also, in Source B, from an interview with Private George Coppard, you learn that he also could not believe the things that Haig had taught the soldiers and also their uneducated ideas about the war.

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

    To a small extent this source could be quite reliable but there is more chance that it is not because there is no facts or evidence. There is also a lack of official statistics which means he could be biased.

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