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How useful are sources A, B and C to an historian studying the attitudes of British soldiers to their commanders during the First World War? Use sources A to C and knowledge from your studies in your answer.

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Introduction

History Coursework 1. How useful are sources A, B and C to an historian studying the attitudes of British soldiers to their commanders during the First World War? Use sources A to C and knowledge from your studies in your answer. Source A shows a cartoon, which represents a view of soldiers' attitudes towards their general. It is a cartoon from the First World War period, which means it is a primary source. It was published by the British magazine 'Punch' which was around during the First World War. After some research I found out that the 'Punch' magazine was known to be satirical and a humorous magazine which was influenced heavily by the use of cartoons. The cartoons put a strong viewpoint across of how some people felt, even though the publishers used humour to put across their ideas to the reader. I think the cartoons must have been some what useful to historians studying them, as they put across ideas of some people. The source shows a Major General addressing his men, the caption beneath the cartoon is showing in a humorous way what the soldier actually thinks about the General. I think the soldier in the cartoon thinks of the General as being cowardly as he never comes to the front line during the war. ...read more.

Middle

The battle of the Somme was one of the most bloody of the First World War; more British soldiers had been killed than in any other battle before it. It earned Haig the title 'Butcher of the Somme', after he unnecessarily sent thousands of British troops to their deaths. Source C is written by Earl Haig, the son of Field Marshal Haig it was published in a newspaper in 1998, this is a secondary source. The source is telling us what the son of Field Marshal Haig thought of him, he thinks of his father as being a 'great man' and should be given credit for the job he did and the victories he achieved during the First World War. The source is likely to be biased as he is the son and he will do anything to make his father seem honourable and a respected man and so it may be quite inaccurate and thus making it insufficient evidence. The source does however share the same view as John Keegan's interpretation. More sources need to be analysed before I can conclude that there is sufficient evidence to support John Keegan's interpretation. Source D shows a poster which is been edited to mock Haig. ...read more.

Conclusion

Source K is written for a GCSE textbook and is therefore not likely to be biased in any way and is likely to give solid sound interpretations. Source K believes that the blame cannot be all put on Haig as he was ultimately victorious which is the part, which agrees with the interpretation. But, this source shows the other side as well and that he did make the mistakes, which killed thousands. I believe that this is a very reliable and unbiased account. To conclude the essay, I must state that overall there was not enough sufficient evidence in the sources to agree with Keegan's interpretation. The majority of the sources which I analysed were highly critical of Haig and his character. This is understandable as he did make mistakes and the losses of life were immense. However the sources analysed were mostly opinions, thus making the sources biased towards or against Haig. I believe that the interpretation of Keegan was too inflated and that Field Marshal Haig did make many mistakes leading to many soldiers death. However it was his persistence that one the battles but as a result huge losses of life were encountered. By Harvinder Singh Daurka (11T) Mr Thompson ...read more.

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