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Is there sufficient evidence in Sources C to L to support the interpretation that Haig was an 'efficient and highly skilled soldier who did much to lead Britain to victory in the First World War'?

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Introduction

Is there sufficient evidence in Sources C to L to support the interpretation that Haig was an 'efficient and highly skilled soldier who did much to lead Britain to victory in the First World War'? In recent times people have come to two opposite views of Haig: that he was a very successful commander, and that he was a complete failure. These views are from different people. Soldiers in the army saw Haig as a murderer, as seen in Source D which was produced by soldiers in the trenches, but this is only based on his battle plans, and these now can be seen as necessary. However some soldiers saw him as a brilliant commander because of his success. Haig's fellow commanders saw Haig as a successful commander although saw him as very stubborn as he kept rigid to his plans regardless of the facts. The British public saw Haig as the winner of the war, however when the truth was released many saw him as a murderer. We can look at source G for the Prime Minister's view of Haig. ...read more.

Middle

We can see from Source G that he thought that he would win the war "Haig promised not to press the attack if it became clear that he could not attain his objectives by continuing the offensive." His unending optimism and his stubbornness may have been the reason that he won the war, as any other general would have ended the attack if in the same position. A lot of people in recent times have criticised this method of attrition. There may well have been an alternative attack option however these people who criticise don't actually know which attack method would have been better therefore Haig was at the time correct. We cannot however say that he was the best man for the job as another man may well have done a better job than Haig himself achieved. Regarding Haig's battle plans, we have to look at whether attrition was the best method of attack. At the time no other methods were advised however it can be argued that Haig should have used modern technology to its full potential. ...read more.

Conclusion

We also have to take into account the fact that he was successful and won the war. The consequences for carrying on the attack are seen in Source H, "the abandonment of Verdun to its fate and the breakdown of co-operation with the French." This would have almost definitely meant a huge blow to the war efforts and would most probably meant defeat. This justifies Haig's decision to press on with the attack. We can also look at the factor that Haig could not grasp modern methods, which meant that the battles could have been won quickly with minimal casualties and efficient success. Source K gives a very balanced and valid conclusion on the subject. "Blaming Haig the individual for the failings of the British war effort is putting too much of a burden of guilt on one man." I agree with this statement and come to my conclusion that I disagree with the issue in question and conclude that no, there is not sufficient evidence in just these sources to justify the view point however it can be said that the evidence here gives a reasonably good argument for the statement. ...read more.

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