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Field Marshall Haig - Source based Questions.

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Introduction

GCSE History Coursework Source Questions a. Firstly, my overall opinion on this subject is that source A does not really show that Haig did not care about the lives of his men. The source was written by Field Marshall Haig during the Battle of the Somme and is a message to the nation that they should prepare for great losses. It is hard to see how this would show any callousness on his part. The main points he states in this source is that any battle, no matter how well prepared for, can not be won without the sacrifice of men's lives. However I believe the last sentence in this source is very relevant to the opposition of my argument. It is as if he knows that the plan might not work very well yet he does not seem to really care. However I do not think he meant it to sound callous, it is just brutal honesty. The purpose of this source is to inform the British citizens that this will not be an easy victory despite the colossal pre-bombardment. b. Source B is a very controversial source as I do not believe that Haig was aware that what he wrote in the two extracts as I do not think that Haig would write two extremely wrong reports on the battle. ...read more.

Middle

It is proven that many of the soldiers did think as the man on the right-hand side of the still does. Many must have disagreed with Haig's ideas. The second source is quite similar in its purpose but it does have more importance as it was written at the time of Haig and the Battle of the Somme. It once again shows the opinion of some of the soldiers in the trenches preparing for the Somme and how they thought of Haig himself. Overall I believe both sources contain relevance for a historian studying Haig and the Battle of the Somme. d. Source F was written quite recently and has obviously been written by someone who strongly opposes Haig and his strategy. I believe the Somme was a major breakthrough despite its casualties, if it had not have occurred the First World War could have continued for far longer than it did. The book was title 'British Butchers and Bunglers of World War' so it would obviously contain views biased against Haig and his strategy. Yet source F does not even mention the affects it had mentally and physically on the troops and the consequences it had on the war in general. The young badly trained troops who survived it became battle hardened warriors and gave great experience to all troops who lived through it. ...read more.

Conclusion

It definitely does support the view of Haig having a callous disregard for his soldiers. Source G was produced by a German writer and is surprisingly rational about Haig, the extract states clearly that although the Battle of the Somme was not backed by the best of strategies it did nevertheless have colossal consequences. I believe Haig was and is still unfairly criticised for his strategy and 'old-fashioned' approach to this 'new' form of war. Many critics say that he did not use the new technology very affectively and he was often stated as being a 'cavalry man'. Yet most of these points are brought up by stubborn and irrational people who do not understand the pressure Haig was under. Haig had a mighty burden on his shoulders and had a desire to win as most generals should have. Although Haig's approach to war was not always quite what the public expected he was nevertheless an affective Field Marshall. Also, although criticised for being old-fashioned. Haig did use the modern technology of the time to great affect for instance at the Battle of Cambrai where tanks were first used to their full potential and worked extremely affectively. Once again my overall conclusion to the sources backing up Haig as an ignorant callous man who had no respect for the lives of his soldiers is abstinent. Jack Lenox 11C ...read more.

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