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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. 'Is There Sufficient Evidence in Sources C-L to Support this Interpretation?

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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-L to Support this Interpretation? I believe that there is not sufficient evidence in the sources to support this interpretation; but there are suggestions of Haig's almost outstanding skills. The other arguments, however, are also strong and so the contrast in the sources could support Keegan's argument or one of deep contrast. It is known that the public opinion of Haig was not of great respect, however, there are sources that support Haig's judgements, mainly consisting of those from his family. The public opinion was very bad because their greatest hope of winning the war was put on the soldiers of somebody who they regarded as a butcher. His tactics were old fashioned and he didn't know how to defeat the German trenches, so he took drastic measures in his tactics and the public were scared for the safety of their comrades. Even Haig's intelligence felt that he was incompetent and gave him false statistics about key battles. ...read more.

Middle

There was a sense of mocking towards the inability of Haig in the press, which was only emphasised by the propaganda that was in circulation. The newspapers knew of his lack of knowledge of what was happening on the battlefield, which is supported by the ironic "Tribute to Sir D. Haig," which supposedly was in a German newspaper. Despite the humour of this piece, there are also serious issues bought to light that are supported by modern day evidence. Such as his eagerness to attack not meeting the force of the German defence that disproves the theory of Haig contributing much to Britain's victory. Therefore, neither of these offer any support to the argument put forward by Keegan. Some of the sources are written many years after the event, which makes the evidence less reliable because it couldn't have been gained through first hand experience. After Haig died, he was heralded a hero despite the burdens that the public had previously placed on him. The view in source K supports this and also suggests that there was a problem with the lack of adaptability that was presented in his childhood. ...read more.

Conclusion

had fifty seven thousand casualties in just one day and Haig was said to be "quite unfit for high command in time of crises," which was only emphasised as the German machine gunners were the clear victors. This is where the third part of source E is quite interesting, as Haig describes a "Very successful attack." We know that the British army gained barely any land and lost many men during the attack that he writes about. However, this is supported as he previously said that no battle could be won without a loss of life. Also, the French were under enormous pressure before this attack, showing that Haig had no alternative but to help them, unless he wanted the whole of France under German control. This is supported in source H, as a lack of British support "would have meant the abandonment of Verdun. Proving that the errors that Haig made could have been due to the pressure he was under and the eventual victory at the Somme was an outstanding achievement in itself. In conclusion, there is not enough information in these sources to support the interpretation. In fact, many of the sources do not agree with Keegan's interpretation at all. ...read more.

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