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How useful are Sources A, B and C to an Historianstudying the attitudes of British soldiers to their commanders duringthe First World War?

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Introduction

History Essay 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 own studies to answer. These sources vary in usefulness. Source A was produced during the war, while B and C have been made more recently. Because of this they have hindsight. This can be a benefit and a detriment. Looking back with perspective at things now, we can see what they should have done, but at the time, they didn't have a clue. We can look at the situation without censorship and from different angles, but at the moment the situation may have looked a lot different. Each is a different type of media, and Source C I suspect to be particularly biased towards Haig. This is because it is written by is son, and is an actual quote in a Newspaper. Source B is from a comedy TV series; therefore this has the benefit of moving image, which can sometimes portray information better than text. Source A may have caused an uproar because of its content. Source A has a comedy aspect about it so it will relate with a lot of people well. ...read more.

Middle

Using all 3, different opinions can be produced of the soldiers. John Keegan, A modern 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? Sources C,E,H,J and K support Keegan's Statement. Many of them are biased towards Haig, E was written by Haig himself, which means he won't point out his own flaws. Somebody who worked for his family wrote H. J was written by a German newspaper and was sarcastically laughing at him. Saying he's a great soldier but their defences are better. It could be viewed as an opposing source because of this. J is a source by a modern Historian, so it will have possibly unconscious biased but he says that he did the best with what he could. This historian has probably looked through many a source to come up with this statement. All the other sources bad-mouth or oppose Haig. Source D is a very sarcastic poster, portraying Haig as Lord Kitchener who was a much better soldier. Haig is seen as arrogant because he's saying the country needs him and the word ME is in big letters. ...read more.

Conclusion

Its easier to look back with retrospective and say, 'He made a mistake' but at the time, they didn't know what the enemy were doing. Whether they were prepared for attack or had defences ready. It was really a case of blind leadership. The leaders did not know what they hoped to achieve from it. The leaders didn't fully know what to do with the new technology that was coming about. Battling Tanks against horses seems like a slightly uneven fight. As time went on, The view on him became more negative, and more truthful. Facts were uncovered and censorship taken away. I think that Haig was a 19th century man fighting a 20th century war. People didn't realise at the time what they were actually doing. As comedian Eddie Izzard says "You kill one person, you go to jail for life. If you kill 100,000 people...... we're almost saying 'Well Done!'' I think this is what actually happened with Haig and his tactic of a battle of attrition. I feel it was a waste of life, and some things he did were wrong, when they could have been prevented. He did what he could but his blind optimism led him to continue mass slaughters such as the Somme. I feel he was the wrong man for the job, and other properly trained officers, who fought with their troops with proper tactics, would have been better for it. ...read more.

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