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

Haig butcher of the Somme?

Extracts from this document...


Haig; 'Butcher of the Somme' Does General Haig deserve to be remembered as 'the butcher of the Somme? In 1914, Europe descend was initiated into World War; fought between two powers, the allied and central. It also consisted of many hard well fought Battles; such as: the Battle of the Marne, Ypres, Cambria, and the worst in terms of soldiers lost, the Battle of the Somme. The Battle of the Somme was mainly between the British and the Germans. It started on the 1st of July 1916. It has been remembered for the tragic lose of lives. On the very first day 60, 000 or more British soldiers died, were injured or were taken prisoner. The British had set out to break through the German lines and in doing so help the French forces at Verdun. Those who led this Battle, were not praised for their bravery, but rather condemned. Most noticeably due to the methods they used. General Sir Douglas Haig sent line after line of British soldiers into No Man's Land; where they were mowed down by the German machine guns. ...read more.


Additionally because this is a primary source and this private is expressing his view from direct encounters with the general, it is therefore reliable. However, this private admits to being 'very bitter', possibly suggesting he had his own feud with the general that overshadowed his opinions and led to this interpretation of him. The Battle of the Somme relieved the French of pressure and was ultimately won by the Allied. As a result many people thought Haig did not deserve to be remembered as the 'butcher of the Somme' and that he was a general just doing his job. One of whom was a lieutenant, who understood the 'flawless' way the first part of the war was fought. He wrote in a letter to the daily express on 21st of December, the year of the Battle, that there 'was an obvious genius for pure general ship.' This shows the admiration, he had towards Haig. Haig acted professionally and confidentally causing this lieutenant to think of him as 'perfect'. It's difficult to say how this interpretation of Haig was reached. This lieutenant had no reason but to dislike the general for being 'gassed on the Somme' and invalided back to Britain. ...read more.


Surely this shows the butcher allegations for Haig to be invalid no matter the casualties. Even so, being under so much pressure from the British government it was impossible for a man to not make a mistake, he was only human. Those who supported the General's actions were most noticeably personal acquaintances, such as the Lieutenant and the family friend. Revisionist historians, though it's what their occupation entitles also supported the General. It is agreeable that a high number of soldiers were lost; the Germans were well prepared and took shelter in the dugouts. If they hadn't of been so crafty, Haig would not have been remembered in such ways and the infamous nickname would have been replaced with something much more glorious. So in many ways, Haig is not the butcher: the Germans were. Inexorably, Haig had used the best methods possible in the 1916s, and his plan did work in the end. Surely this shows Haig to be a good leader. He brought a new experience to Britain: the fighting in No Man's Land, living in trenches; a Battle of stalemate. His tactics eventually relieved pressure on the French at Verdun, like they set out to do initially, but also turned the aspiring young Kitchener's at war, into men. ?? ?? ?? ?? GCSE History Hajera Rahman ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Douglas Haig - Butcher Or Hero?

    they did and the Germans came out of their 30 foot deep concrete bunkers and set up machine gun posts and were waiting to shoot them. Any soldiers that did get to the Germans trenches couldn't get through either because the shells which were fired just lifted up the barbed

  2. General Haig - Butcher or Hero?

    His tactics came under harsh scrutiny, with critics believing that the mass casualties could have been avoided with better tactics. Also, Sources 2 and 3 have lived through the domestics of the war; low morale; poor living conditions, diseases, friends dying around them etc.

  1. Does Haig Deserve To Be Called The Butcher Of The Somme?

    Haig had every right to believe that god was behind him, as it is a belief of the Christian religion, not a sign of madness. He wasn't actually unpopular with everyone, sergeant Williams of the Worcester regiment commented that Haig was 'not only a leader, but also a friend', and

  2. Haig, Butcher of the Somme

    For example Fred Pearson, a private during the war described Haig as 'The biggest murderer of the lot' in Source 1a. The soldiers were also angry that, despite the lack of progress at the Somme, after the war he was made an Earl and given �100,000 (Source 1a), whereas they got nothing despite injuries and loss of friends and relatives.

  1. Does General Haig deserve to be remembered as the Butcher of the Somme?

    To a small extent this source could be quite reliable but there is more chance that it is not because there is no facts or evidence. There is also a lack of official statistics which means he could be biased.

  2. General Haig

    Source H is an extract from the official biography 'Haig', by Duff Cooper. Cooper was asked by Haig's family to write this book. It tells us that there can surely be only one opinion which is, if Haig refused to fight then it would of meant the abandonment of Verdun

  1. Field Marshall Haig: 'The Butcher of the Somme?'

    Haig's plan, he says: "hundreds of dead were strung out along the barbed wire". This source describes the failures of the plan, nothing directly against Haig. Coppard does argue: "How did the planners imagine that tommies would get through the wire?".

  2. Does Haig deserve the title 'The Butcher of the Somme'?

    And also, the whole objective of the Somme was to take the pressure off Verdun, so once the Germans had dragged half their army up to deal with the Somme, the British had no need to attack them, they could just sit and wait, the Germans weren't going anywhere because

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