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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. The first source, source A, is titled 'One view of soldiers' attitudes toward their generals' and comes from the British magazine 'Punch'. The source is a cartoon image in which we can see a Major-General, a Regimental Sergeant-Major and a few troops. The source shows us what the Major-General thinks about the Regimental Sergeant-Major but does not tell us what the ordinary soldiers think about their generals. It limits itself by only showing one opinion of the generals and not taking into consideration the feelings of the others. The source comes from the well know magazine 'Punch' which, was first published on July 17, 1841. The founders of the magazine acquired the idea from satirical French daily, Charivari. The magazine was set up to make fun of political leaders. I would say that the author of the caption was in a good position to have accurate information as the source is primary and comes from the time that the historian is studying. ...read more.

Middle

This source would also not be useful as it is fictional and does not show the soldiers view to his general. The second source, source B, is titled 'A sarcastic view of a fictional British general's orders'. It comes from 'Blackadder Goes Forth', BBC TV. The source tells us that some soldiers had to wait a long time in the trenches to finally be given orders from the general to 'go over the top'. It also shows us how the soldiers would treat the general and how much respect they had for him. The source does not help us in finding out what other people thought of the general and this is its limitations. 'Blackadder Goes Forth' was first broadcast in 1989 and was made to mock the British ways. It does this with great success as it portrays the main general, General Melchitt, as an idiot. He mistakes captain Blackadder as the hair dresser and he does this on more than one occasion. Blackadder also has no respect for him as he refers to him as 'General 'insanity' Melchitt. ...read more.

Conclusion

The source was most likely aimed at historians and critics who criticised Haig for causing many deaths. I think that it is very useful to a historian because it says that he never heard of criticism from the old soldiers and so their attitudes towards Haig is obviously positive. In conclusion, it would be reasonable to say that these sources are not useful to a historian studying the attitudes of British soldiers towards their commanders as Source A and B were created to make fun of the generals and the British army. We can not use them as they are fictional and show hardly any relevance. The other source did not have a direct quote from one of the soldiers but it did say that they never criticised Haig. This was quoted from his son which, means that it was probably biased towards him. From the sources I would say that the soldiers did not like their commanders and thought that they were cowards but I know from my own knowledge this is not to be true. In a final conclusion I would say that the sources are not useful to a historian. Bilal Yasin GCSE history coursework 03 - 10 - 2003 Mr Pyke 11 Elgar ...read more.

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