• 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...


Assignment 2: History Coursework: Field Marshall Haig: The Butcher of the Somme A). Source A does not entirely prove that Haig did not care about the lives of his men, however it does state that Haig was willing to sacrifice the lives of his men to win this battle and war. The source shows that Haig knew there were going to be heavy casualties, but how great did he think were the casualties he so expected were going to be. If he predicted that the casualties were going to be as high as they were after the Somme then why did go on with the battle? Surely he should have thought of an alternative plan. The source does not give that great an explanation as to why he didn't care about the lives of his men because from my own knowledge of the battle there were other plans that accompanied the attack that were not mentioned in the source that could not be revealed as the attack was to be a surprise on the German lines at Somme. In these plans Haig assumed hat the German lines would have been demolished e.g. the week long artillery was thought to destroy the machine guns posts at Somme. As historians know, the very first morning of the attack was when the British were suffering heavy casualties for they were badly unprepared because the British superior officers especially Haig was sure the enemy were dead. ...read more.


It is a bit obvious that Haig would not have wanted to just to move his drinks cabinet a few inches closer to Berlin. The British officers did not actually realise that the British were going to get "a good old British style thrashing" because they believed because of the artillery and bombardment that they would confidently defeat the German lines. Also Haig was not actually a Field Marshall until the end of the war. Source F was also written by British magazine. There was never actually any account of this being done. It was clearly made up by somebody who knew what happened at this kind of a briefing. There is no indication where it says where the source came from that it actually occurred so it was probably another way of making fun of the General and trying to prove that he was wrong and lazy. From my knowledge of war and the military, normal soldiers didn't expect a general to join I the fight because they knew how important they were to the army. D). Since source G is coming from the Germans, I think that with source H backing it up, they both prove source F wrong. Source F isn't entirely wrong because it was true that Haig's strategy was quite bad but G and H are right that the morale of the German troops and their confidence was decreasing slowly. ...read more.


It shows that he knew he had made a mistake by trying to cover it up in his speeches to the public. Sources like D and E could not be taken too seriously because it was only really about the opinion of other people, but they are relevant to historians in a way that you could get an impression on how annoyed people were about what happened in the war. Haig didn't sacrifice the lives the lives of his men for no reason, he truly believed that he could get through those German lines but he was not thinking about his soldiers at the time of his decision, he was thinking about himself. He had good plans but they were not good enough, e.g. the artillery was thought by everyone to smash the Germans to pieces but they did not know about the hidden German dugouts under ground. He was very desperate to get him and his men forward and penetrate the German lines and was prepared to throw whatever he had in a non-strategic sense at the Germans never realising that the cost would be so high. He was fighting a war of attrition. The battle was not for no reason because the outcome was a partial success due to the fact that the French had the pressure taken off them at Verdun. Maybe, even though there were so many deaths, this battle was actually the cause of Victory to the western powers. ...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?

    Source 8 shows a war of attrition, where 'Dead and wounded were carried to the rear, and food and munitions were brought to the front'. This is much generalised, and is not far wrong. Michael Foreman also likens this process to 'clearing the table after dinner, ready for the generals' next game of soldiers'.

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

    From other knowledge, the Battle of Somme is much more similar to the way Copppard describes it rather than Haig, though I do not blame Haig for his inaccurate report as he may have just been uninformed. How far do you agree that they have no use for the Historian studying Haig and the Battle of the Somme?

  1. Was Field Marshall Haig the Butcher of the Somme

    There were mixed feelings about General Haig from the troops. Many just went along with the orders and made no complaints while others wrote in their diaries and in letters home how unhappy they were with their general and the way in which he was running things.

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

    The main argument in the favour of people who belive that Haig does not deserve the reputaion of "the butcher of the somme". Is that Britain went on to win the war. However I still think that the enourmous loses at the Battle of the Somme are inexcusable.

  1. Dunkirk - Defeat, Deliverance or Victory?

    However, this is first hand evidence from a well-informed speaker, which gives some strength to the source. Most of the propaganda used by the British came in the form of speeches, another section from Churchill's memoirs says 'glory came to the island people, united and unconquerable'.

  2. Was Haig the butcher of the Somme?

    General Haig never visited the front line. From source 6 written in 1988 of a biography of Haig by Gerard De Groot it states, quote, ''While Haig slept in a cosy bed in a quiet country chateau and dinned on the best food available.

  1. was haig butcher of the somme

    Also although they did not give ground at the time - when the battle had finished the German commanders pulled back to a more easily-defendable position: 'the Hindenburg Line'. It can be argued that, although not defeated at the Battle of the Somme, the Germans from that moment on knew they could not win the war.

  2. The Somme - source related study.

    Source B, is the Cartoon portraying the Generals in charge of the Somme as fat, un-feeling men. If the cartoon is true, the ordinary soldier would have his zest and idealism snatched away, punctured because he wouldn't be able to trust his own leaders.

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