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H.W Field Marshall Haig - 'The butcher of the Somme' ?

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H.W Field Marshall Haig: 'The butcher of the Somme' ? A. Source A proves that Haig did not care about his men to quite a far extent and it is from a reliable source because it is from Haig himself. He had written about how the nation must be taught to bear losses which showed he did not care much about the lives of people because losses did not seem to mean much to him while it meant a lot more to the soldiers and their families and he did not seem to realise that. In this source he also mentions how 'No amount of skill on the part of his higher commanders, no training however good, on the part of the officers and men, no superiority of arms and ammunition, however great, will enable victories to be won without the sacrifice of men's lives.' When he had wrote this passage it seemed like he was sending his men to execution because it sounded like he was ready for men to die. He also shows that he felt that in every war there would have to be a sacrifice of the lives of men no matter how well trained and you could argue that comment because the word 'sacrifice' sounds like the words of a person who was willing to put his men out there knowing that they are going to die in large numbers. He then ends the source with ' The nation must be prepared to see heavy casualties.' This justified that he knew men were going to die and he didn't seem to want to change his strategy which showed he felt that the lives of people didn't mean much to him. ...read more.


Source F describes Haig's strategy which was 'if he would kill more German than the Germans could kill his men, then he would at some time win the war.' The book related to this as an appalling strategy but the other sources have praised this strategy because one of the sources have said how Haig's move had killed the more experienced and reliable officers and put young soldiers whose training was poor into the battle which lead to heavy losses on the German side. This strategy proved itself again in another source because the source describes how the British hammering had lead to the German spirit of resistance being broken. This source also describes how the soldiers 'were inspired by his determination, for he never wavered from his purpose of breaking down the powers of resistance of the enemy, both morally and physically.' This showed that Haig's strategy of keeping his men out there and fighting lead to the demise of the German army and he also had the faith of his soldiers which showed they agreed with his tactics. Source F also describes how Haig 'knew he had no chance of a breakthrough but still sent men to their deaths.' But in the other two sources it describes how by sending his men out to supposed 'slaughter' he destroyed German spirits, killed their experienced officers and he did breakthrough their defence in the end. Haig was described as 'stubborn as a donkey' in source F but in source H it showed how this stubbornness made sure he never wavered from his purpose of breaking down the powers of resistance of the enemy, both morally and physically and this might have been to what lead to Haig winning the battle of the Somme. ...read more.


So Haig was willing to destroy all those lives just to show the French that the British were helping and that fits the model of an uncaring General who sacrificed lives. Lloyd George also criticised Haig's strategies about cavalry riding through in 'front bristling for miles with barbed wire and machine guns.' This showed that Haig would rather sacrifice yet even more lives with cavalry which was quite a stupid idea considering the barbed wire and machine guns, and he did this just to stick to old traditions and maybe to get victory with style and finesse instead of worrying more about the lives of men which meant significantly more. But in other sources such as sources G and H it shows Haig as a face of determination and Iron. In the sources they describe how the soldiers had full faith in the leadership of Haig and they were inspired by his determination. This leads to conclusion that if Haig was not so determined maybe even the battle of the Somme might not have been one. This also shows that even though Haig was sending out his soldiers to certain death his soldiers most probably knew about it and they were willing to put there lives on the line for their country so it might be as much the soldiers fault as it is Haigs. But Haig still had no right to do that to his troops and more sources support the view that he is an uncaring general who sacrificed lives and these sources support that view to as far as the view reaches. By Nathan Ranamagar 4S ...read more.

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