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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'.

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Introduction

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 knowledge to explain your answer. Field Marshal Haig was the most important person during World War One. There are many different views on his competence, character and leadership qualities of both past and present leading up to his victory in 1918. Despite being victorious, there are many flaws and events of which Haig was at fault for during the war. On one hand you have the incompetent, criminal, immoral 'donkey' view of Haig supported by historians such as John Laffin, and on the other you have a competent, man of his time, innovative resourceful supported by historians such as Garry Sheffield and John Keegan. Ultimately I will prove which view is most accurate; using the sources and my own knowledge I will provide sufficient evidence to support John Keegans suggestion that Haig was an efficient and highly skilled soldier. On the subject of Haig's performance in the Battle of the Somme, Keegans views seem to be somewhat limited. Other historians such as John Laffin argue that Haig should be seen as an incompetent and inflexible. His initial bombardment tactics were flawed, in that the Germans were easily managed to attack the British troops. ...read more.

Middle

Therefore Keegans case is somewhat mostly na�ve and inaccurate, although there is some evidence that proves otherwise; the things Haig did wrong in the battle far outweigh suggestions that he was an efficient and highly skilled leader who did much to lead Britain to victory. On the subject of Haig's communications in relation to politicians, generals and soldiers, Keegans view appears to be correct to some extent. He was under extreme pressure to win the war quickly, by his political masters, by a vociferous media, and by the determination of the British Public, there was no path to victory on offer and he was rushed into action on many occasions. One must take into consideration the role John Charteris played in the battle of the Somme. He fed wrong and inaccurate information to Haig. General Haig allowing him to do so time and time again inevitable had all the blame put on him. However, Haig abortive attitude towards General Rawlinson is perhaps ultimately his greatest downfall. Keegan is not supported by the weight of evidence in source Ei, Haig understands and notifies the idea that there will be a lot of deaths during the battle and tells the British population to accept any losses with indulgence. "No superiority of arms and ammunition, however great, will enable victories to be won without the sacrifice of men's lives." Haig in due course contradicts himself in this understanding; when original tactics incorporated by Haig were failing, (by taking as much ground as possible moving the artillery so that the guns and shells could defend the ground taken) ...read more.

Conclusion

He was an enthusiastic supporter of air power and introduced tanks to the war together with modern artillery- used to great effect. Artillery became much bigger and was more accurate, technologically the British were far more sophisticated than the Germans. It is the way in which Haig incorporated this advances into his tactics that undermine his demise. Source J underlines Haig's involvement in technology. A war veteran recalls a meeting with Haig in 1915, "Germans started shelling...Haig went round...and asked me questions, and then even talked about camouflage from the air." This source is very reliable as the person quoted actually fought in the war and therefore Keegans case is largely supported in terms of technology. Having evaluated Haig's performance on a variety of key issues and over the whole period of his command, my overall conclusion is that Haig was the right man for the job during the war. Many historians argue that he sent troops to their deaths, but in actual fact, there were fewer deaths in the British army than in the French or Germans. He made a number of serious errors, but he managed to learn from his mistakes. However Sir Douglas Haig's job was to win the war, and despite the countless amount of deaths, he did. Therefore, Keegan's view is to be frank, correct, although it does have it limitations and drawbacks, the successes Haig masterminded in the war far outweigh the losses. 1,459 words ?? ?? ?? ?? Prashant Patel 11s Centre Number:16325 GCSE History Coursework Candidate number:8076 ...read more.

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