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The Somme - source related study.

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Introduction

Joseph Collins 24th January 2004 Coursework 2 2d) Source F is from a recent book called 'British Butchers and Bunglers of world war'. It is written by an Australian writing who is extremely critical. In it he calls Haig "as stubborn and as unthinking as a donkey" and called the Somme "criminal negligence" but we must remember that the writer is looking for the bad points of Haig and the battle and probably exaggerating them so they can go in the book. This means the source isn't entirely reliable, as with all non-eyewitness accounts, but is also biased because in the book they are only trying to find the bad side of the people in the war. But the idea of if Haig "could kill more Germans than the Germans could kill his men, then he would at some time win the war," is not mentioned as such in the sources by Haig, but there is definitely links to it especially in sources A and B. ...read more.

Middle

At the time of the war everyone must have thought they were doing the best they could including Haig so although it is easy to criticise it is not always fair. In source F the writer calls the battle of the Somme "criminal negligence" and says he "knew he had no chance of a breakthrough but still sent men to their deaths" which suggests that the writer believes that the battle didn't help at all and Haig just wanted to send men to their deaths. Source G contradicts this by saying that "it gave the western powers confidence. Their armies had accomplished an achievement that gave good promise for the future. The confidence of the German troops in victory as no longer as great as it was before." This shows that the Somme did help greatly because, as has been proved, the loss of German morale helped to break the stalemate and helped The British and French win the war. It also says "A great part of the best, most experienced and most reliable officers and men were no longer in their places", and talks about "the heavy losses". ...read more.

Conclusion

Haig was one of the main architects of the allied victory." This shows that the general obviously did not think that Haig had sent his men off to their deaths. It says that "Germany's spirit of resistance was broken" which agrees with source G. The source also states that Haig "never wavered from his purpose of breaking down the powers of powers of resistance of the enemy, both morally and physically" and the men "were inspired by his determination." This suggests that Haig was not as "unthinking as a donkey" and that his 'strategy' was not 'slaughter'. Both sources G and H are more reliable then source F and also seem to prove it wrong. Source F was written how somebody had seen the battle of the Somme and because of the huge casualties many people would agree that it did look like 'slaughter' and there was no point to the battle of the Somme, but both these sources show that even though it was awful and the casualties were huge it did help the allied troops greatly. ...read more.

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