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

General Douglas Haig

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

GENERAL DOUGLAS HAIG Douglas Haig, a wealthy Scot and a good friend of George V was also a famous General who led Britain to Victory in the First World War. In the past 85 years historians have portrayed him in many different ways as being both good and bad. Sources C to L vary widely in support of the historian John Keegan's interpretation, which is 'General Haig was an efficient and highly skilled soldier who did much to lead Britain to victory in the First World War.' I will now examine and evaluate all the sources in order to draw a conclusion as to whether or not the above statement is correct. Having examined the first of these sources, source C; I noticed that it is one of the most balanced sources. The source begins by praising General Haig, referring to him as 'One of the Great Men of the Twentieth Century'. We also learn that the soldiers seemed satisfied with him as a leader - 'when the old soldiers were alive I never heard a word of criticism from them'. The writer of this source does accept that only now, through the passing of time, people are criticising him. 'In more recent time more pour scorn on my father'. ...read more.

Middle

With the French in the difficult situation they were currently in, it would have been quite unlikely that their co-operation with the British would have broken down, as without British help they would have had no real support to fall back on. Being an autobiographical source and the writer being asked to write it by Haig's family would suggest that the source might be biased and the writer given instructions as to what he should write. I form the impression that the extract is trying to justify some of the 'arguable mistakes' that Haig made. The two sources, which display the most un-supporting views of Haig as a military leader, are sources D and G. The poster in source D makes a mockery of the original poster, which, was used in the war as a very strong propaganda message to persuade people to join the British army in World War I. This poster was of John Kitchener with a caption that read 'Your Country Needs You'. The poster in the source would have, if it was displayed at the time of the war, convinced people not to join as the caption read 'Your Country Needs Me, like a hole in the head, which is what most of you are going to get.' ...read more.

Conclusion

Despite the video being slightly confusing at times, with many different historians speaking all with slightly different views, at the end of the video it was said that Haig acknowledged that there would be heavy casualties and that this was unavoidable. After a lot of debating one historian in particular says that true support for Haig will not be acknowledged until some fifty years to come but Haig should be given the credit he is due, which means that this source ultimately supports Keegan's interpretation. In conclusion, many of the sources that I have studied are against Haig as a military leader, more than that are for Haig and Support Keegan's statement. Despite this I do not believe the majority of these sources can be thought of as reliable as they are either biased or written for another purpose than to inform. Therefore they cannot be deemed useful. The most useful sources of all and the fairest to Haig, from what I already know, are sources K and L. These sources give a balanced and fair view of Haig and indicate that although he made some big mistakes he was well educated, highly trained and ultimately he did what needed to be done. I believe that Haig did the best that he could do under the circumstances and with what he had to hand so on balance, Keegan's interpretation is supported by the most useful and reliable sources. Declan Archer 1 ...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?

    The Germans were pro-defensive. They would not run towards the Allies with bayonets to get totally obliterated. Instead they sat back and let the Allies wear themselves down on their machine guns and artillery. They also set up barbed wire, through which soldiers would have to force their way through before facing the Germans.

  2. Was General Haig a bad leader, source based

    Although there is a chance that the person writing the textbook is not completely telling the truth. This is because it is a secondary source, which means it came from a primary source, and that source could have been consciously biased.

  1. I think Haig was a bad leader who made many critical mistakes during the ...

    The fact that the source comes from a historian means that the source should be objective, however as it is written as a secondary source it may be unreliable. The source tells of yet more bad conditions and casualties. For example one extract says, "However they had been able to

  2. General Haig

    However different people think different things about General Haig. Some think that he was a skilled soldier like John Keegan whereas others think Haig was reluctant to the consequences of his battle tactics. People criticize him for his belief in the simple advance of infantry troops on enemy lines, which

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

    This lack of information has been a large topic for discussion when considering Haig's effectiveness. Some people say that he was so uninformed because he never went to the front line, but lived in a well-supplied chateau forty miles behind the line.

  2. Dunkirk - Defeat, Deliverance or Victory?

    pride for the public and 'snatching' victory, seems to imply the victory was not ours to have, and by getting it Britain should be proud. I know that most of the Dunkirk soldiers were rescued mainly by military boats, and only the minority were actually rescued by the small vessels,

  1. How much were generals such as Douglas Haig to blame for the huge number ...

    He thought that a cavalry breakthrough after an initial artillery bombardment could be adapted to all battles. In an article he wrote "Aeroplanes and tanks are only accessories to the men and the horse, and I feel sure that as time goes on you will find just as much use

  2. John Keegan, a modern military historian, suggests that Haig was an 'efficient and highly ...

    Overall on the issue I would say that although Haig's perseverance in continuing the battle of the Somme, the manner in which he did portrays him as an incompetent, criminal, immoral 'donkey'. Despite the British, French and German Casualties being the same, I think the amount of men who died

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