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The First World War.

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Introduction

GCSE Coursework - The First World War Assignment 2 (a.) [R Y C Lai1]Haig was a realistic Field Marshall. He knew that someone must die on the battlefield, but he wanted to make the preparations and make sure that the soldiers were well supported, which shows that he actually cared about the soldiers' lives. This is partly shown in Source A and B. In Source A, Haig wrote that however great the trainings and the ammunition given were, someone must sacrifice their lives, as this is what happens in warfare. Here he was being realistic, not being heartless about the soldiers' lives. Also, this is what Generals normally take account on, so I can't see why Haig should be the only one to be blamed for being realistic. This is backed up by the first part of Source B, where he wrote about how the soldiers felt on the day before the start of the battle. He took account in the soldiers' spirits and what they thought of their preparations for the battle. Despite that we don't know what type of source this is - an extract from a diary, or an extract from a report, it is a positive message that shows what Haig was concerned about. He knew that some lives will have to be sacrificed in the war, so he wanted to do his best on providing a good preparation and provide great spiritual support to the soldiers, since this was what he could only do. ...read more.

Middle

It uses useful wordings to describe Haig, such as the comparison of Haig with a donkey at the beginning of the extract, saying that he was stubborn and unthinking. The source then goes on explaining how Haig's "strategy" made him a "butcher" of the Battle of the Somme. They even said Haig's "strategy" was in fact a "slaughter". Here the source emphasised Haig's fault on sending soldiers to death, and also, it is showing that Britain did not achieve anything apart from death from the "slaughter". This is entirely based on the writer's opinion, though. On the other hand, Source G and H are giving a positive view of Haig. Source G says that "It (the Battle of the Somme) gave the Western Powers confidence. Their armies had accomplished an achievement that gave good promise for the future." This shows that Britain did achieve something in the Battle of the Somme, which attacks on what Source F is indicating about Britain not achieving anything from the Battle of the Somme. What makes Source G reliable is that it was written by the Germans, and in the extract they admitted that Germany did suffer under the impacts of WWI, and that their desire to achieve victory was undermined. This makes the source reliable, since they were telling the truth instead of being bias to themselves. Source H, again, gives a positive perception of Haig. Here, the British General praised Haig's leadership in the Battle of the Somme, saying that his armies "were inspired by his determination", and that "Haig was one of the main architects of the Allied victory. ...read more.

Conclusion

What makes Source G reliable is that it was written by the Germans, and in the extract they admitted that Germany did suffer under the impacts of WWI, and that their desire to achieve victory was undermined, which was true. Sources H and I directly praises Haig's leadership and his plans that were laid, saying that he was "one of the main architects of the Allied Victory". Both of these sources, though, do not directly indicate that Haig cared about the soldiers' lives, therefore I am not sure if these two belong to this catalogue or not. The number of sources in each group appears to be equal, but the sources in the non-supporting group appear to be more reliable than the ones in the supporting group, therefore I find myself against the motion. [R Y C Lai1]How far does Source A prove that Haig did not care about the lives of his men? [R Y C Lai2]Which one of these two sources (Sources B and C) do you trust more? [R Y C Lai3]Sources D and E are not about Haig and the Battle of the Somme. How far do you agree that they have no use for the historian studying Haig and the Battle of the Somme? [R Y C Lai4]Do sources G and H prove that Source F is wrong? [R Y C Lai5]Why do you think that Sources I and J differ about the Battle of the Somme? [R Y C Lai6]Study all sources. 'Haig was an uncaring general who sacrificed the lives of his soldiers for no good reason.' How far do these sources support this view? Richard Lai History 27/06/2003 4C Fitz BAMV ...read more.

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