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

Field Marshall Haig: 'The Butcher of The Somme'?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

9.3.1 The First World War. Field Marshall Haig: 'The Butcher of The Somme'? A) Study sources A and B. How far does Source A prove that Haig did not care about the lives of his men? Source A is a piece of writing by Haig suggesting that the nations will have to bear heavy losses in order to obtain victory. It is quite possible that this was an attempt to justify the attack he was about to commit so many of his men to. Haig writes that no matter how much equipment and training the army has it will still suffer losses. This cannot however be taken to mean that Haig did not believe in giving his troops every advantage of arms and numerical superiority. It is quite possible that after the experience of the French army at Verdun, Haig knew there would be high casualty figures. Therefore source A is probably designed to cover himself in the political side of things, as it is so ambiguous as to be able to mean several things at once. He held a very senior rank and to get there would require political as well as military skills, this piece can be shown as saying that Haig wants to give his men every advantage to crush the enemy, but in addition to this there is the clear message that to do so will inevitably cost lives. Source B on the other hand is a piece he wrote on the day before, and on the day that the attack at the Somme was launched. ...read more.

Middle

Coppard's piece is also only the experience of one man. It was not necessarily the same all the way up and down the line. However the facts concur with Source C, there were huge casualties, and Coppard tells us about them. Haig says the attack was a success. Yet the only success anybody else seems to think it could have been was with regards to how many of Germany's experienced men it cost them. The evidence is greatly against Haig's report in this instance, and so I conclude that source C is the most reliable as it concurs with what can be proven as fact, that being that large casualties were sustained, the wire was uncut, and that with better preparation many casualties would not have been incurred. C) Study Sources D and E. These two sources are not about Haig and the Somme. How far do you agree that they have no use for a historian studying Haig and the Battle of the Somme? Sources D and E are both comical and are both intended to make people smile as their primary objective. However source E is a politically motivated cartoon from the time, and will also have the intent of putting across a drinks cabinet in Blackadder's opinion. To a historian studying Haig and the Somme, both sources would be of considerable use. They both show popular opinions about Haig, one at the time of the event and the other 80 years later. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is also a possibility that by the time he wrote it, his own memories had become influenced by those of others. And if he rose to the level of General, some of his superiors while he rose through the ranks were most likely supporters of Haig, and would have planted their opinions alongside his own. He begins by saying that the German armies were broken by the courage and resolution of Haig's armies who had complete confidence in him. If this is to be taken at face value, then it is only fair to say that the men would not have had faith in Haig, if he were the donkey portrayed in source F. He also writes that if Haig had not had the moral courage to shoulder the burden of the attack, the war would have turned into a disaster. This is an admission that Haig had to choose between the loss of life his armies suffered, and the loss of the war, and ultimately more loss of life. However that it supposedly took him moral courage to do it does show that Haig thought about it, and that he cared about it. So he was not a stubborn unthinking donkey, who willingly sent his troops to the slaughter. Both source G and H disprove source F.valid political point. Both however agree that Haig would send his men to attack while he was happily tucked away, probably by his ...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?

    There seems to be a degree of scorn, with the remark 'Sadly [sarcasm], twenty-eight broke down before they reached the battle area'. Evans is blatantly mocking Haig's ignorance of the fact that the tank had never been previously tested. '...and were soon bogged down or knocked out'.

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

    the title, 'butcher', but maybe to make such a bold statement you should look at the whole picture, and look a bit more deeply into Haig's thinking... In the 21st Century, we fight our wars by firing cruise missiles over distances of 100's of miles, you don't have a chance

  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. Dunkirk - Defeat, Deliverance or Victory?

    This picture was probably used as a propaganda piece and shown to the people back home, to show them that they were fine. Charles Lightoller was one of those people who took his small vessel to aid the evacuation. He was a retired sailor and assumed he could do the best he could in bring their troops home.

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

    One explanation for this was that Haig was a very religious man. He believed in divine intervention and saw himself as the instrument of God. He was convinced that he had been sent to Britain by God to lead the island to victory, and therefore he had no qualms about sacrificing the lives of many of its inhabitants.

  2. Does field Marshall Haig deserve his title as the Butcher of the Somme?

    But in reality all this did was lift the barbed wire up and put it back down again somewhere else. He also didn't manage to kill all of the German soldiers because they were safely hiding under the trenches in deep dug outs.

  1. General Haig

    included the loss of 20,000 allied soldiers killed on day one and 40,000 injured making it the bloodiest day in British military history. Source C is an extract from the British broadsheet newspaper, The Daily Telegraph and was written in November 1998, by the son of Field Marshal General Haig, Earl Haig.

  2. Was Haig the butcher of the Somme?

    Haig decided to call of the attack. It was one of the most horrendous battles in the war. It came out that there was more British men murdered in the battle than ever before. This earned Haig a title ''The butcher of the Somme'' This is because he didn't need

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