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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

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. Due to the large variety of views shown, about the relationships between soldiers and commanders, sources A to C are quite useful in studying the soldiers attitudes. However. Limitations exist for many different reasons, but largely because the large amount of views held, and the sources can't possibly show every soldiers feeling. As a group, the sources are very useful as they are from a range of times. Source A was published during the war, so it is probably more a view that is more accurate of the feeling of the soldiers, but sources B and C are modern, which means that they have been researched and are therefore more likely to show the feelings of a large group of men. They also show the views of not only the soldiers about the high command, but also the views of the fighting officers, about their soldiers. The feelings between the different groups tended to be quite different, and so these sources are more useful as they show a number of issues. Source A demonstrates the fact that there was good relationships between soldiers and their fighting officers, as in this source they are sharing a very sarcastic joke about the fact the Major-General would be absent. ...read more.

Middle

Word count: 766 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 own knowledge to explain your answer. Sources C to L, provide many different views of General Haig's effectiveness as a commander, during the first world war. Many inherent limitations exist within this group of sources, the main limitation being the inability to convey every soldiers view in only nine sources. This however, is not as great as in the last question, due to the range of views provided. This question cannot be answered conclusively, due to not only the limitations of the sources, but also because of the fact that it is impossible to agree on how to define a success. Therefore, the answer is open to personal opinion. However, I will try and make a judgment based solely on the evidence to obtain the view of whether Haig was an 'efficient and highly skilled soldier who did much to lead Britain to victory in the First World War'. Haig's beliefs, played a large part on how he decided the war should be fought. A modern account of Haig, Source F, suggests that Britain took incredibly high losses during battles such as the Battle of the Somme and Passchendaele, due to "his ... ...read more.

Conclusion

This removes him from blame of these losses, but also shows that he was under the control of political powers, who told him where he had to attack and how to do it. Source E, from Haig's diaries, backs this up saying "No amount of skill...no training...no superiority of arms and ammunition...will enable victories to be won without the sacrifice of life", showing that he realised that there was going to be heavy losses and so probably wouldn't have sent the men over the top if he was in control. This would also appear to remove from Haig the right to claim his success' as they could have also been due to external powers and therefore, make him only appear as a political puppet. The overall message of these sources however, is that Haig did have some part in the decision of making plans, but was limited by external forces. This is summed up by "he was, ultimately, victorious, and, even if he had been replaced, would there have been anyone better for the job", from source K, an article in Hindsight: GCSE Modern History review. Therefore, I believe that was a good general, but where the circumstances of the war, were dictated to him. I would wholly agree with Keegan's view of Haig, as he cannot be classed as an efficient general, when he lost so many men, but I do agree with his belief, that it was Haig "who did much to lead Britain to victory in the First World War". Word count: 1,021 ...read more.

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