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

How far was Haig responsible for the failings of the British war effort on the western front in 1916 and 1917?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How far was Haig responsible for the failings of the British war effort on the western front in 1916 and 1917? In December 1915, Haig was appointed commander in chief of the BEF. Haig now became under extreme pressure from the French to produce a diversion from Verdun. The first Battle of the Somme was fought from July to November 1916. The Battle of the Somme was planned as a joint French and British operation. The idea originally came from the French Commander-in-Chief, Joseph Joffre and was accepted by General Sir Douglas Haig. Haig used 750,000 men against the German front-line. However, the bombardment failed to destroy the barbed-wire or the concrete bunkers protecting the German soldiers. This meant that the Germans were able to exploit their good defensive positions on higher ground when the British and French troops attacked at 7.30 on the morning of the 1st July. The British suffered 58,000 casualties (a third of them killed), therefore making it the worse day in the history of the British Army. During the First World War Verdun was a fortified French garrison town on the River Meuse 200km east of Paris. ...read more.

Middle

Haig first used tanks in the Somme there were 49 of them, they got stuck in mud and broke down but some got threw to German defenses and cased havoc in the German trenches, haig then ordered 1,000 more tanks. As a young officer, Haig fought in the Sudan, in the Boer War and held administrative posts in India. From 1906-1909 he was assigned to the War Office, where he helped form the Territorial Army and organize an expeditionary force for any future war in Europe. When war broke out in August 1914, Haig led the 1st Corps to northern France. In early 1915 he became commander of the 1st Army before succeeding Sir John French as commander in chief of the British Expeditionary Force in December. Haig fought as a Calvary officer he rode a horse but in the 1st world war horses had been replace by tanks, how was Haig able to know the power of tanks and planes? This is not what he was trained in. Haig's idea that the war could only be won on the Western Front was supported by King George V. This caused friction with David Lloyd George, Secretary of State for War and Prime Minister from December 1916. ...read more.

Conclusion

I never met a man in a high position who seemed to me so utterly devoid of imagination." Lloyd George, War Memoirs (1928). "Haig's great weight of responsibility must have been vastly increased by the knowledge that Lloyd George mistrusted his military opinion and ability... But Haig was not deflected from his purpose. Only a man of outstanding integrity and great strength of character would have remained and done what he did." EKG Sixsmith, Douglas Haig (1976) These contrast completely but both are true in some respects. I don't think the failings of the British war effort were all Haig's fault, weather, new weapons and new technologies and the lack of skill surrounding them were also to blame for the problems the British encountered. But Haig's stubbornness and old fashioned tactics also played apart in the failings of the British army's war against the German's. General Haig's way of fighting was old, times had moved on, technology had improved but he was oblivious to the power of modern war. This is reflected in the way he controlled the war. It is shown strongly in the trenches. After the war, Haig organized the British Legion and traveled throughout the British Empire collecting money for former servicemen. He was created an earl in 1919. With thanks to www.johnclare.net for providing quotes and valuable information. Page1 Tom Jimpson ...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. General Haig - Butcher or Hero?

    majority of his battlefield knowledge from either the academy or from a war textbook. He would have been taught an attacking mentality, not to hold back and be pro-defensive. This is true of nearly all of the allied high command.

  2. 'Lions Led by Donkeys' How Valid is this Interpretation of the Conduct of the ...

    Haig may believe this to be true yet he hadn't been to the front-line and so didn't know the horrible conditions the soldiers were living in, living amongst rats, mud, lice, noise from constant shelling, gun fire, all types of weather and the worst to see there buddies being killed all around them.

  1. World War I in France 1916 - the Somme and Verdun.

    He would obviously blame Haig as he was the commanding officer of all British forces on the Western Front. Therefore, if things went wrong he would be blamed for it. Source D is from a book called Great Battles of World War I by Anthony Livesey.

  2. How far was General Douglas Haig Responsible for the Failings of the British war ...

    Haig's first failure was his battle plan. This failure involved sending men over the top. He made the men walk over the frontline, across no mans land despite the recent development of weapons which included machine guns. This possibly arose from his disregard for the machine gun, and modern weaponry overall, as aforementioned.

  1. World War 1-Life in the Trenches

    Back then it would have been just another person. The person would probably rot, be buried into the cave-ins from dug outs or be eaten by rats. The public wouldn't acknowledge their death as 'sweet or fitting'. A lot of men went missing, a lot of men didn't have families that would think about them, and a lot of men would be forgotten.

  2. The aims of the British army at the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

    didn't want to overrule him when he had misgivings about the large reliance on heavy artillery. Rawlinson was only 2nd in command and Haig was 1st but as he was from a cavalry regiment he felt he should let Rawlinson get on with it.

  1. Explain how well Haigs background and military experience had prepared him for command of ...

    It was in South Africa that he began to make a name for himself, and to attract the attention of his superior officers, notably Sir John French and Lord Kitchener. French was to become commander of the British Expeditionary Force at the start of the First World War, a post to which Haig succeeded in 1915.

  2. How important were Haig's tactics in bringing an end to WW1?

    Haig's men were fighting in the position of a salient. This meant that they could be attacked on three sides. Haig was not discouraged by the casualties at the Somme. He believed that the Somme was as a good attack had occurred in the wrong place.

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