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Haig and The Somme

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Introduction

History Coursework Assignment 2: Haig and The Somme a) Source A was written by Haig in June 1916. This source goes a long way when proving that Haig did not care about his men. Constantly throughout the extract, he mentions men dying and casualty lists. "The nation must be taught to bear losses." In this first sentence, Haig tries to convince the nation that men will be lost and they will have to learn to deal with deaths. This shows that if he is trying to teach them a lesson, then he doesn't care if he shoots his men himself. However he may be showing some sincerity for the soldiers because he states that they lose their lives for the country. "The sacrifice of men's lives." This quote does show that they are being sacrificed but it is brought across as though he is sacrificing their lives without them having a choice, which shows that he doesn't care about his men. Source B on the other hand does give a very believable case that Haig did care for his men because in both extracts, he mentions how well his men are doing, that they are spirited and confident and he continues to heap praise on them. Sources A and B are very different personalities of Haig. Source A was written by Haig to either state his plan of action or to prepare the nation for plenty of deaths. If Haig is preparing the nation for deaths because he cares about the British people and the soldiers then he is actually a very caring general. ...read more.

Middle

In source G it says: "If the Battle of the Somme had no great importance in the strategic sense, its consequences nevertheless were great." This quotation is from the German Official History book and although it agrees by saying that no strategy was used, it does say that it worked. This proves that source F is wrong because source F reads that Haig had no chance of a breakthrough but in actual fact his "slaughter" tactic, as source F states, was great. Source G says: "Germany's spirit of resistance was broken, mainly by the courage and resolution of Haig's armies, which had complete confidence in the leadership of their commander." This quote shows that because of Haig's tactics the German's spirit was destroyed because they had lost so many men. This again proves source F to be wrong because it shows that by killing more Germans than they could kill of our men, they were completely demoralised and therefore it made Haig's tactic a good one. Bradley Jones e) I think that sources I and J differ about the Battle of The Somme because whilst the war was being fought, he had keep spirits up by congratulating Haig and what he had done so far. But once the war was over he could finally express his true feelings about the Battle of The Somme because it was over and it didn't matter anymore with regards to how soldiers and Haig. Source I is Lloyd George writing to Haig. "I congratulate you most warmly on the skill with which your plans were laid." ...read more.

Conclusion

Bradley Jones Source G disagrees with the statement because it is saying that although Haig's tactic had no great importance in the strategic sense he did actually give the Western powers confidence and morale was high meaning that the tactics consequences were actually great. Source H disagrees with the view as well. It is written by a British general and he is writing about the war and Haig. In the source he claims that all of the soldiers had complete confidence in Haig and in what he was doing. Source I also disagrees with the statement because it is a letter from Lloyd George to General Haig congratulating him on his tactic and what he had achieved so far. Source J agrees with the view but does try to blame Germany for some of it and not just General Haig. "I expressed my doubts to General Haig" "It killed off far more of our best. If it had not been for the stupidity of the Germans." These quotes are from Lloyd George, who in the last quote praised Haig, writing in his war memoirs. The quotes show that he believes there were two reasons why Britain lost so many men. The part that agrees with the statement is where he claims to have expressed doubts and talks about killing the best men. In conclusion, based on the points produced, it is unfair to say that Haig did not care at all but it is fair to say that he didn't care to some extent. This is because five of the sources agree with the view and five disagree with the view meaning that Haig didn't completely discard his soldiers. ...read more.

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