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General Haig and the battle of the somme

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Introduction

History coursework 1. The message that the cartoonist and the headliner are trying to give is that the British army with its big fist is stopping Germany dead in its tracks and hitting it right on the nose. The expression on the mans face is shocked and bewildered. The cartoonist has drawn a face of the Kaiser Wilhelm II in the line of the western front which is very informative for the British public (since this is a British newspaper) to see what's going on there the face, especially his eyes show he is tired and exhausted with big bags under his eyes. This paper was published on the night of D-day, you could say it was proper gander before D-day to raise moral and show that we are beating the Germans. However there are sources to suggest that this wasn't proper gander and was what the cartoonist was told as in source 4 where it is D day and General Haig has reported "Very successful attack in the morning.... All went like clockwork...the battle is going very well for us and already the Germans are surrendering freely. The enemy is so short of men that he is collecting them from all parts of the line our troops are in wonderful spirits and are full of confidence" which was not true as they had lost 50,000 men with 37,000 men injured and 20,000 men dead that day, it was the worse loss of men in British military history in one day. Another point is that on source A, the Kaiser is about to eat Verdun when the British army first hit the Kaiser, which is also another form of proper gander. 2. I think that the British launched an attack on the Somme because they wanted to relive pressure on the French at the battle of Verdun because they had been fighting for over 5 months and were loosing. ...read more.

Middle

So this picture couldn't possibly be real which means that source I could be fake altogether so it is not as reliable as source H. However on the other hand the person in source H is a very old man and he is trying to remember an event in his life 55 years after it had happened so this also cannot be reliable, the text is only brief and doesn't tell you a lot about the battle but where in source I a picture tells you a thousand words. The text is source H again could also be reliable as it is from a mans honest memory and he may not have forgotten as it was such a vivid memory in his life so this could also be true. I think that source H is more reliable because it is an honest mans story and not from a film which is made to attract audiences. 4. General Haig was a good commander in many ways before the battle of the Somme; he won many battles before the Somme such as His conquests in India and the battle of Ypres in France with the B.E.F (British Expeditionary Force) which lead to him being promoted to controlling the British army in France on 22nd December 1915 but it is when he commanded the battle of the Somme which was his major downfall and lead to him being named "the butcher of the Somme". This battle had come up early in General Haig's command of the British army and was not what he wanted to fight but at the battle of Verdun the French were loosing and the Germans were breaking through forcing him to fight at Somme. General Haig was a cavalryman and did not know much about infantry warfare so was not experienced for this type of warfare. His first mistake were his plans to blow the barbed wire separating the two fractions to enable the British to move forward to the German trenches but ...read more.

Conclusion

German line and were twice as efficient as the British trenches which were deliberately made uncomfortable on the orders of the British high command as they thought it would keep officers on their toes which was in fact completely untrue. The other major factor his missed was the British shells themselves were not big enough to penetrate the German defences; a third of these shells didn't even explode. This all contributed to Haig believing that the Germans were obliterated and to tell the men to walk across no mans land where they were slaughtered by the German machine gunners who had come out of their heavily fortified trenches. General Haig was either a butcher or a hero in peoples minds but I think he was neither he had many conquests prior to the Somme and was a well established member of the British army, winning in all four corners of the world with his cavalry men. After the wars he had won, warfare was very different with different tactics; cavalry was no longer needed and it was about the infantry which Haig had never worked with before and was now in charge of the whole western front with no infantry experience at all. At the battle of the Somme, his tactics do not work and he is ridiculed for the orders he gave to the British troops but after later deliberation this battle might have won the war for the allied forces with Verdun being relieved of German forces and being concentrated at Somme, the French army were able to seize Verdun stay in the war and help to win. Sir General Haig was neither a butcher or a hero he was a well ranked general doing his job the best he way he knew how it had worked before but times had changed too much for the horse riding cavalry men and the tactics just didn't work which crushed his reputation so he should be remember as neither. History coursework Billy Moffat 10P2 ...read more.

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