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The New Army and the Somme Sources Questions

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Introduction

The New army and the Somme 1. Consider Sources B, C, D and I. To what extent do you consider the cartoon from Punch to have been propaganda? The cartoon from Punch displays a happy soldier of war. This conveys the thoughts that war was not too horrific and a successful thing. The soldier also has wounds, which are there to make the portrayal look realistic and to show that this soldier was happy to receive these wounds for his country - patriotism. Another noticeable part of the image is that the soldier is smoking, this brings across the idea that war was somewhat chilled out and stress-free. This therefore displays war to be great, but one must consider how reliable it is. Magazines, like 'Punch', would have been under censorship by DORA (Defence Of the Realm Act) during the war; therefore cartoons like this one couldn't undermine morale. Also, magazines would have wanted to boost morale anyway to contribute to the war effort. One other reason why this source is reasonably unreliable is because magazines only knew what they were told by the government (generals press conferences). ...read more.

Middle

This was not a totally selfish decision by Haig, as there were others pressurising him to do something to prove the English were succeeding. Also, Joffre (French commander in chief) wanted Haig to make a British attack to relieve the stress of his French troops. Haig had confidence in his tactics so he was very willing to make the attack. Source B, a reliable source as it is a diary entry, shows that the strain on the British troops at Somme was immense. This shows Haig's plan may not have been to great - in the sense that it placed great burdens on the troops, although this source only gives the opinion of one person, at one place, at one time, therefore it is not very useful. Source C is not so reliable as it is a letter. The author would have written it knowing that if he wrote things that would lower the morale of the readers the letter would not be sent, and it would upset his family if he said the truth. Thus, the author would have written a more cheerful than accurate letter. ...read more.

Conclusion

Sassoon tells us, in this poem, what the soldiers thought about Haig. However, it reinforces the idea that Haig was an 'incompetent swine' who sent his soldiers to die. From these sources we can see that there were some factors which could take the fault away from Haig. One of which was that he was under pressure from both England and France. Also whatever he tried resulted in sacrifices, because the opposition (Germans) always managed to bring in more supporting troops to reinforce them. Another point is that Haig's equipment was not really good enough for what he was trying to achieve. Overall I feel these sources show that although Haig achieved his main aim - to relieve pressure on the French, he went the wrong way about achieving it. His methods were inhuman and uncaring for the lives of his own men. It is very difficult to justify Haig's tactics from an emotional perspective, but this is war that is being assessed, and thus one must consider Haig successful in achieving his aims. As a general Haig was successful in his task, for he hindered the Germans a considerable amount. Although it is also the job of a general to take care of his troops, and this is where Haig failed. ?? ?? ?? ?? History Coursework 1 Joshua Kidd ...read more.

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