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Haig was an 'efficient and highly skilled soldier who did much to lead Britain to victory in the First World War'. Is there sufficient evidence in Sources C to L to support this interpretation?

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Introduction

2. Evaluation of an interpretation for sufficiency John Keegan, a modern military historian, suggests that Haig was an 'efficient and highly skilled soldier who did much to lead Britain to victory in the First World War'. Is there sufficient evidence in Sources C to L to support this interpretation? Use the sources and your knowledge to explain your answer. Source C is a quote from Field Marshall Haig's son, Dawyck Haig. Dawyck Haig, being Douglas Haig's son, would have definitive bias towards his father. This bias would be conscious and unconscious: conscious due to his faithfulness to his heritage and name; unconscious due to the effect of his father's upbringing. Anything Dawyck Haig had been taught about his father's efficiency and skill during his childhood would be from his father, mother and family, who would obviously never want to disgrace his father in front of his son. This would stay with him through his whole life, and any attempts to discredit his father would automatically be disregarded. Furthermore, Haig's purpose in saying this would be to somewhat rescue his father's reputation; therefore he may have been inclined to some extent to bend the truth. Therefore, in conclusion, Dawyck Haig's comments on his father's efficiency and skill are hardly useful at all, due to his strong bias towards his father. ...read more.

Middle

Haig's reports would be based on whatever information he had. Since he did not have direct contact with soldiers on the front, and radio and telephone technology was not very advanced, this information could often be faulty or incomplete. Also, the fact that he was the Field Marshall would have made his men afraid to tell him bad news. This means that any apparent evidence in the source can be unreliable, and therefore not very useful as evidence. The source supports the interpretation in the question; there is no doubt of that. However, this is not complete evidence, as it is not certain, making it only useful if other sources agree. In conclusion, this source provides additional evidence, however doesn't provide evidence by itself. Source F is an excerpt from a relatively recently published history book. The source makes no reference to Haig's efficiency or skill, instead focusing on his character. Therefore it is not very useful as direct evidence for the question. However, this source gives information on Haig that could be used to asses the reliability of Haig's own opinions, such as those in Source E. If he indeed was as the source describes him, then anything he says about himself, such as the high praise of his attack in Source E, should not be considered as reliable evidence. ...read more.

Conclusion

Source K is an excerpt from an article discussing whether Haig was totally at fault or not. The article describes Haig as the product of his time, and that nobody in his place would do better. It describes him as having made mistake, but that it was not all his fault; especially saying that ultimately he had won. It says that Haig had done the best that could be expected in efficiency and skill at the time, and that it is only now, in retrospect, that we can see the mistakes. Therefore, the source does support John Keegan's statement. In conclusion, only one source (Source K) definitively agrees with John Keegan's interpretation. However, only one definitively disagrees with the statement (Source G), and there is one that could be interpreted as strong evidence either way (Source J). All the others do not give sufficient evidence either way. Therefore, I believe that there is not sufficient evidence to support John Keegan's interpretation, but that there is also not enough evidence to contradict it. This is possibly due to the fact that it is difficult to measure skill and efficiency, especially when we know what happened next. Leszek Swirski Question 2 ...read more.

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