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Field Marshall Haig "The butcher of the Somme"? - source related study

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Introduction

Assignment 2: Assessment Objectives 2 and 3 Field Marshall Haig "The butcher of the Somme"? a) Source A is a primary source which is contemporary, it is written before the bombardment occurred. I believe that Source A proves a considerable amount that Haig did not care about the lives of his men. This means he was not emotionally involved with them. Source A proves that Haig didn't care about the lives of his men because immediately it says "The nation must be taught to bear losses" then it states that Haig believes to enable to victories to be won there must be a sacrifice of men's lives. These are Haig's exact thoughts because it was written by the man himself before the bombardment. Source B does not prove Source A and the statement correct, I know this because in the first extract in Source B before the attack it states that the men are in splendid spirits and that the barbed wire has never been cut so well Haig says that all the commanders are full of confidence. However how can Haig possibly know the soldiers are in splendid spirits or that the barbed wire has never been so well cut if he wasn't there he was situated quite a distance from the front line? The information was distorted because it was later revealed that the wire was more tangled than ever before due to the relentless bombardment. ...read more.

Middle

The source says 'as unthinking as a donkey' calling Haig stupid. Source H is Pro Haig so is biased because it displays only one persons opinion of Haig. 'They were inspired by his determination', this means that his troops were proud of their general because of his strength of mind. This is proving source F incorrect because it states that had Haig not had the moral courage to shoulder the main burden of the struggle in the Somme battle of 1916, French resistance would of crumbled. In shorter terms it means that if had it not been for Haig and his planning they would of lost the battle of the Somme. Source F clearly states that Haig's plan 'is not at a strategy at all, it's a slaughter' and 'the Somme was a criminal negligence. However, a British general who had fought in both World War 1 and 2 wrote source H so I believe his statement will be biased in favour of Haig because Haig himself was a General and by criticising Haigs decisions as a General in the war he would be criticising his own decisions as a General. I do not believe that sources G and H prove source F wrong. I think that every source is biased in what it says so no Source can individually be trusted. Source F exaggerates deeply in what Haig did and is anti Haig because of the death toll at the end of the battle. ...read more.

Conclusion

When it says 'it's a slaughter' and that the battle of the Somme was a criminal negligence it is saying that Haig slaughtered his own men by sending them over the top and that he left them to die. This source is very anti Haig calling him 'as unthinking as a donkey'. The German government that doesn't agree with the statement that Haig was uncaring and that he sacrificed the lives of his soldiers for no good reason but it doesn't disagree with the statement either. Source H is completely disagrees with the statement which claims Haig was uncaring and sacrificed the lives of his soldiers for no good reason. Instead the source is all for Haig saying that he was 'one of the main architect of the allied victory'. It says that the soldiers had full confidence in their leader. Source I says 'the tide has definitely turned in are favour' which says that there was a good reason for the Somme. However this source does have its limitations, as the writer could not write what he felt personally but only what the Government as a whole felt. Source J agrees with the statement. The writer was able to write what he felt personally and stated that he questioned Haigs decision of using calvary on a battlefield bristling for miles with barbed wire and machine guns. He claims the attack killed off far more of the British's best soldiers than it did of the Germans. This further reinforces the claim made that Haig sacrificed his soldiers lives for no good reason and was uncaring. ...read more.

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