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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?

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Introduction

John Keegan, a modern historian, suggests tat 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? Field Marshall Haig was a military leader during World War One. At the time of the war and soon afterwards, while Britain's victory was the focus of the nation, he was labelled as the hero who brought about Britain's success. However, over the years since the war, people began to reflect on the horrors of the war and what the soldiers had to suffer under Haig's order. Some people believe that Haig did not care about the lives of his soldiers and was not concerned for the loss of life that came about as a result of the orders he gave. He is often referred to as 'the butcher of the Somme' because he sent hundreds of thousands of soldiers to their deaths in allegedly the 'bloodiest battle of all history', the Battle of the Somme. ...read more.

Middle

Keegan and these sources are justified in their opinions of Haig because he did contribute greatly to Britain's victory-it was Haig's method of 'attrition' that eventually wore Germany down and won the war. As justified opinions of Haig, these sources are useful, but due to their obvious bias and one-sided nature, they do not contain sufficient information to serve as factual evidence to prove Keegan's view. There are also sources that oppose Keegan's view; sources D, F, G and J. Source D is a propaganda poster from 'Haig's private war', an anti-Haig leaflet. The poster says that Britain needs Haig "like a hole in the head". I do not know when this was published, but I believe that it was printed during the war, because it is an anti-war leaflet and would therefore only be of use during a war, as an attempt to stop it. It would have been 'underground' propaganda (illegal) because censorship during the war did not allow any negative media concerning the war to be printed. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, Keegan's view is limited in that it is very one-sided; he makes no mention of the cost of victory-the lives of thousands of young men from all over the world (Although the source is only an extract and Keegan may have made mention of this at another time). I believe that Haig did his job as well as he knew how, and he was a skilled soldier. However, because he had experience of wars that were fought very differently to World War One, he made many mistakes. Trench-warfare had never been experienced before and there were no reliable methods to use, so Haig fell back on methods that had worked for him in the past. I agree with what a modern historian, S.Warburton said; "Blaming Haig the individual for the failings of the British war effort is putting too much of a burden of guilt on one man." History Coursework ...read more.

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