• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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? U

Extracts from this document...

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 own knowledge to explain your answer. When the Great War broke out in 1914, it took Europe by surprise. Britain was totally unprepared for the kind of war that broke out in Europe. There is some blame to be laid here, but I believe it cannot be fairly laid on the generals as this was not their agenda. Much of the bloodshed of the Great War, from the British point of view, stems from the lack of preparedness. The Army was very small and had the means to fight a continental war were missing - especially artillery shells. For the same reason, the munitions industry was very small and when the army expanded, the industry to support and arm the soldiers did not exist. This was not the fault of the generals although at some points the blame was squarely pointed at Haig. I do not think that he was the one to blame, because not only could no-one else have done any better, but there was not the means to do better than he did. ...read more.

Middle

When the old British Regular Army was practically destroyed in 1914-15, Britain was left with a poorly trained, amateur army because there were no senior officers left to guide the recruits who only had basic training. 'On the job' training in battle was costly in casualties and took time. The 'learning curve' of the young generals of Britain and France stayed consistent and only rose during the Somme battles of 1916. Some of this was due to the shortages of men, especially well-trained men, and equipment described earlier. It is also possible that the surviving Generals were too old in 1914 and 1915 but Britain had to use the generals they had left, the ones with some experience of command, of logistics, of warfare. Only later in the war, as the armies expanded, could younger, fresher, better commanding men be found and brought up to replace the positions that the older generation had left. Although Haig was of the older generation of soldiers in the British Army, having joined Sandhurst in 1883, he was the most experienced, effective and efficient General that the British Army had at the time. Source J suggests that Haig just wanted to 'move his drinks cabinet a few feet closer to Berlin', Captain Phillip Neame recalls that Haig was usually ...read more.

Conclusion

This was probably the reason he continued the onslaught upon the Somme and Passchendale, despite thousands and thousands of deaths on the first day of the Somme. He didn't know when to concede defeat or when to take the initiative to gain an advantage on the battle field. A great example of this is the failure to send re-enforcements to Schwaben Redoubt on the 1st July 1916. This is another reason why John Keegan is wrong in his opinion that Haig was a highly skilled soldier. Soldiers from both sides of no man's land described it as the 'muddy grave of the field army', this is why our Generals should not be blamed, we weren't the one's that failed to achieve their objectives, we succeeded and we gained victory, this is why that when Haig died in 1928 of a heart attack aged 66, tens of thousands of old soldiers turned out to see his coffin pass and more than 30,000 veterans followed it to the burial. He deserves a kinder, fairer judgement than posterity has granted him till now, and he is the one that led us to victory and this is why I believe that John Keegan is correct in his idea that Sir Douglas Haig was an 'efficient and highly skilled soldier'. 1269 Words. ?? ?? ?? ?? William Kennedy 11Y Candidate Number: 8337 1 Centre Number: 16325 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Britain 1905-1951 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Britain 1905-1951 essays

  1. Dunkirk - Defeat, Deliverance or Victory?

    Richard Hilary is British therefore he might be biased towards allied forces, but he does not seem to favour the allied soldiers at all. Source7 tells me how soldiers were fighting amongst each other to scramble on to the evacuation boats.

  2. World war 1

    'Kill more Germans' summarised Haig's strategy as Commander in chief of the British forces in France during most of World War One. His war of attrition resulted in enormous numbers of British casualties and his leadership remains controversial. Douglas Haig was appointed commander in chief of the BEF, in December 1915.

  1. Defeat, Deliverance or Victory? Which of these best describes Dunkirk?

    The source conflicts with my prior knowledge as it says the Grenadier Guards took their equipment with them when it was usual for it to be left behind. Though maybe not perfectly organised the evacuation was definitely well improvised as it was only decided it would occur 7 days previously

  2. Explain how well Haigs background and military experience had prepared him for command of ...

    love of the cavalry bordered on obsession and he greatly overestimated the power of the cavalry attack. Haig even tried to say that modern weapons would cause panic and let Calvary sweep through. Obviously, the thought of a horse charging through no-mans land is a ridiculous thought, but Haig really did believe what he wrote.

  1. Dunkirk - Defeat, Deliverance or Victory?

    The third source that also has connotations to defeat and panic is an account of an RAF pilot. He was shot down during the time and he witnessed many bombings from the German Fighters. He describes how men simply dived for cover under the water and desperately shot their rifles at the passing planes.

  2. John Keegan, a modern military historian, suggests that Haig was a "highly skilled, effective ...

    Source H sees Lloyd George's view of events. This was written some 15-18 years after the war had finished, and is putting forward the idea that if his suggestion of supporting Italy had been followed, then none of this would have happened.

  1. How useful are sources A, B and C to an historian studying the attitudes ...

    This is because the officers were keen to please Haig and then twisted the truth trying to make things sound better than they were.(Source E) "The men are in splendid spirits. Several have said that they have never been so instructed and informed of the operation before them" Written by Haig on the 30th June.

  2. Some people have the view that British generals like Haig were incompetent leaders. How ...

    in Source B2 which describes leaders like Haig as murderers, and this source could?ve been used by Laffin to generate his interpretation in the previous source. The source is a diary written by a Private who fought in the Battle of the Somme.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work