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

General Haig

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Haig GCSE Coursework 1) Soldiers during the First World War may have felt that their Generals and Commanders just ordered them around and never helped in the actual fighting and the battles of the First World War. They may have felt angry and frustrated because of this. However the General's job was to teach and order soldiers how to fight and why to fight for their country, and not to go to war and have the possibility of dieing. Other soldiers may have felt some respect for the General's as they have already provided service to their country, and felt the need to obey them. Source A is from the British magazine called "Punch". It shows us a cartoon of a General addressing his man in a rehearsal before an attack behind enemy lines. Beneath the cartoon is a dialogue box which illustrates what is happening in the picture explaining that the Major General is saying that there are three essential differences between the rehearsal and the real thing. This is a quote take from the extract including the main punch line and explanation of the cartoon; "'There are three essential differences. First, the absence of the enemy. Now (turning to the Regimental Sergeant-Major) what is the second difference?" "The absence of the General, Sir"'. This suggests that the British magazines view of soldiers attitudes towards their Generals was that they felt abandoned and unjust because the commanders won't be joining them in battle, but also that the man expects that their commanders not to be in an attack with them. The purpose of the cartoon was to show and give the message to the British public about the attitudes of British soldiers. This source is not very useful to a historian studying attitudes of British soldiers to their commanders during the First World War because it is form a British magazine and not is not an actual written reference. ...read more.

Middle

However, this source is not entirely reliable because again it is a one-sided point of view and is produced in a way that is rebellious, comical way which mocks General Haig. Although it is still quite useful because it shows what other people's views are about General Haig, giving another side to the story. Source E is three different extracts form Haig's diary showing his own view on the Battle of The Somme and trench warfare. It tells us Haig's views prior to the Battle of the Somme, the day before the Battle of the Somme and the day of the Battle of the Somme. Haig's view in the first extract written prior to the Battle of the Somme in June 1916 is very realistic which says things like "The nation must be taught to bear losses" and "The nation must be prepared to see heavy casualty lists". This suggests that Haig knew what will happen on the day of the Battle of the Somme, and that it will be a day in which Britain will lose many lives informing people that they should be prepared for what is about to happen. The second extract written on 30th June 1916, the day before the attack began is a very reassuring and generally good message about the soldier's welfare and mind state. It says "The men are in splendid spirit" and "The barbed wire has never been so well cut nor the artillery preparation so thorough." This suggests Haig is full of confidence and believes he is doing the right thing because of the things soldiers have said about him and has been done in preparation. It gives this impression also by the language and context used in the extract. The final third extract written on the 1st of July 1916, the day of the Battle of the Somme is quite unreliable because it shows almost what is a frightened message written in denial of what is happening. ...read more.

Conclusion

It tells us about what is expected and what every soldier must follow. It says "Victory will belong to the side that holds out the longest. There is no other course open but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man. There must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause each one of us must fight on to the end." This strongly suggests that General Haig thought that victory will only be received, if the British stuck it out the longest even though there would be many deaths and casualties, there must be no giving up, or backing out and that every man shall hold every position and fight to the end until the enemy is destroyed. This source therefore does support Keegan's interpretation of Haig. However, this source is not entirely reliable because it was written by General Haig and therefore biased and was also issued after the bloodiest day in history, the Battle of the Somme. It is still very useful though as it a written document issued to every member in the British Armed Forces by General Haig. This supports Keegan because it is sufficient evidence to back up his interpretations. In conclusion, sources C to L do provide sufficient evidence to support John Keegan's statement that Haig was a "highly skilled soldier". Throughout the sources more of them give evidence to back up Keegan's interpretations than go against them. Most of the sources do support Keegan's interpretations because they are written by people involved with Haig or historians. For instance, the quote "Haig was the product of his time, of his upbringing, education, training and previous military experience. On argument goes that he was, ultimately, victorious and, even if he had been replaced, would there have been anyone better for the job?", is written by a modern historian in a book which informs students at GCSE level about General Haig, and does ultimately support John Keegan's interpretations. ...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?

    On another front, Turkey was also doing well during their first couple of years of engagement. The battle of Gallipoli highlights this. The advances of these two nations' armies on the allies show that the allies had more than enough to contend with.

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

    This group of historians believe that Haig should have learnt from his failure at Neuve Chapelle and Loos, and altered his plan of attack. General Hackett wrote of the Battle of Loos, "The British advance met with a storm of machine gun fire.

  1. Free essay

    Explain why General Haig fought the Battle of the Somme in 1916

    But, many French troops had been drafted from the Somme to give aid to their comrades at Verdun and the role of those left had to be very much reduced.There was meant to be a 50:50 proportion of French to British, but in reality it was much fewer.

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

    Many historians have blamed Haig for the so-called needless slaughter of nearly 750,000 British soldiers on the Western front and the biographers pilloried him for his arrogance, egotism and intellectual shortcomings. Some commentators have also lambasted Haig for his refusal to dirty his boots in the trenches.

  1. Dunkirk - Defeat, Deliverance or Victory?

    terms of land lost and equipment lost, and is against Churchill saying that there was deliverance inside this defeat. This does not mention death as the defeating factor but the loss in 'military' terms, possibly due to Government censorship, especially when they have to be sensitive to families of soldiers.

  2. How Far was Haig responsible for the failings of the British War effort on ...

    He had yet again began his attack with a bombardment losing the element of surprise, just as they had at the Somme with disastrous consequences, and there was similar loss of life at Passchendaele. Once again Haig had failed to plan in case the bombardment was not as successful as it was intended to have been.

  1. Was General Haig a bad leader, source based

    This statement is quite correct as he did think god chose him however this is not an excuse for his big mistakes as Haig had promised that he would withdraw the troops if he found he was not accomplishing his aims, but he never did.

  2. How far was General Douglas Haig Responsible for the Failings of the British war ...

    The plan included a week long bombardment of the German trenches, followed by men carrying heavy packs, walking over the top. This plan had several flaws. The first of these flaws stemmed from Haig's ignorance. The Germans had held their position since 1914, and had managed to reinforce their trenches with concrete, making it effectively impossible to penetrate.

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