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Explain why the attitudes of civilians towards the war changed from 1914 to 1918

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Introduction

How useful are Sources A to E for a Historian studying the Battle of the Somme? Use Sources A to E and your own knowledge from your own studies in your answer. (10 marks) The battle of the Somme was a day in which both sides (mainly the British and the Germans) wrote about what happened. However, due to human nature, there will naturally be error and misguidance in places but the overall picture should be a correct one. However, it is not as simple as that, to just pick out overviews of the Somme. For example, many documents etc that Historians recover will just simply be in newspapers etc which are designed for the public at that time to see and not modern day uses. This means that the propaganda will have an element and whilst all sources have their uses, sources also have huge downsides where there are gaping holes left unanswered or avoided. Source A was written by a man who was in charge of the Somme offensive on the British side, Sir Douglas Haig. ...read more.

Middle

The difference is, is that this particular source shows a Haig's confidence of victory but also shows the willingness Haig has to committing his men to certain death. This source vitally shows the reasoning behind Haig's constant offensive strategy and that is that he realizes how low the German morale is and keeps on pushing until they completely crack. However, this source isn't useful for specific numbers of casualties etc as Haig is very evasive about specifics. Source C, in contrast to the previous 2 sources, is a picture drawn by a British newspaper to try and give an indication of what is happening in the Battle of the Somme near the end of the battle. It shows a fist (designed to show the British army) punching through a man which is shaped roughly as the front line of the Battle. This man is designed to represent Germany and the face shows fear and terror whilst putting Britain in a place of power and strength. ...read more.

Conclusion

Source E and Source C are both pictures but show completely different things and although they both have importance, they both have their disadvantages along with it. This is because the person creating the 2 sources has the option of what photo to make public or how to draw a specific thing to show the point of view you want to get across. Source A and B are both similar for the simple reason that they are both written by the same person, at the same time of the battle. They both have different viewpoints of the war but come across with the same theme, Haig trying to justify his actions. Having taken all the sources into account, I would say that all the sources have importance to a Historian one way or another and none of them can be written off completely. However, a Historian would have to set about trying to obtain information from any one of them with great caution and with the realization that they are all useful for different things. ...read more.

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