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Haig - Source related work.

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Introduction

How far does source A prove that Haig did not care about the live of his men? [7 marks] Source A is an extract from a diary entry written by Sir Earl Douglas Haig (Commander of the Battle of the Somme) in July 1916. As a result of this source A is a primary source as it was written at the time. The source is all about the death toll that Britain would be expecting. The source shows different ways to see Haig's intentions. One views him as a cold hearted man trying to kill innocent men by putting them into war and another shows him trying to win the war for Britain. The latter is evident in source A when it is said, "The Nation must be taught to bear losses" thus showing that Haig was expecting a lot of casualties. Source A cannot be totally useful in proving whether Sir Earl Douglas Haig cared about the lives of his men, since the source is only a small extract from a much larger diary entry. ...read more.

Middle

This can be seen as a fatalistic attitude as it could reduce Haig to not really making an effort to secure the position of his men and thus endangering the lives of his men. So unknowingly he could be seen as not caring for his men, but rather trying to appease the nation. One must understand that both sources have their limitations. From wider reading one knows that in source B where Haig mentions, "The men are in splendid spirits" is the only extract written by Haig, which mentions the morale of the soldiers, this leads us to the intriguing question of what is so different about the extract. Source B differs from other extracts that are typical of the time. All other Haig's Diary entries (Britain and the great war- John Murray 1994) do not mention the morale of his men and in retrospect we know that source B contradicts other reliable sources about what is written about the outcome of the first battle. We now know that 60,000 men died or were injured in the first few hours. ...read more.

Conclusion

Firstly, if it was addressed to the public whereby his men would be aware of his thoughts and concerns, it could be depicted that he did not care about his men. We can deduce this because if his men knew that their Commander's attitude and belief towards them was so low it would significantly affect their morale. Secondly if it was just for the attention of the Commander himself and a few other elite members (other Generals) it would not come to be known by the army officers themselves. In this instance it can be simply seen as Haig being realistic and keeping all his options open. Undoubtly there will be casualties in war and it is the job of the governing bodies to appease the people of the nation, since in war you need the people of the nation to be on your side, hence resulting in what Haig says in source B. So in conclusion the answer is that source A can only be used as evidence against him but not to prove that he did not care about the lives of his men. Helalur Rahman Khan 3894 10548 Stepney Green School ...read more.

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