• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  4. 4
    4
  5. 5
    5
  6. 6
    6
  7. 7
    7
  8. 8
    8
  9. 9
    9
  10. 10
    10

The Somme - source related study.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

G.C.S.E Coursework 2) By February 1917, the lists of casualties and the news of the overall failure of the 1st day of the Somme had reached home. Despite this, the Generals still made an effort to cover it up. However many in the press, who had, months before, declared the Somme a titanic success, turned their backs on Britain's Military leaders. Cartoonists such as the one who created source B, tried to make their feelings heard. Source B is from a British magazine published in February 1917. This is three months after the Battle of the Somme ended. (November 1916) By now the news of its initial failure would have reached home. The artist has found his scapegoat in the generals, and he would be looking to discredit them, to convince the British public of the battle's failure. The Cartoon shows a "Major General" addressing the troops before a practise attack. The general and his staff have been made to look large and stubby. They look well fed and well kept. A sign that they haven't been to the front line. For this, the Germans called them donkeys, and called the British foot soldiers lions. "Lions led by donkeys" The soldiers around the parade ground however, are without faces. There could be two reasons for this. Firstly, the artist may not have wanted the mothers, brothers, wives etc to see their own sons in the shape of the drawn soldiers, and therefore the artist has meant not to cause hurt. However, secondly, and more probably, the artist has created the impression that the General sees men as numbers and not human lives. Yet these men are also those who kept small towns and villages such as Accrington together, and the general's plan of pals battalions only worked to an extent. If all these men were killed or wounded, what would happen to these close-nit communities back in the homeland? ...read more.

Middle

It is common knowledge that Rawlinson's battle plan relied solely on his five-day (ended up seven days, due to bad weather) bombardment of the German trenches. He put a lot of faith in it. "Nothing can exist in the area covered by it." However it is a fact that hundreds of the shells used in this bombardment were duds, either due to their age or quality. This meant that the bombardment on which so much rested, was less effective than was thought. (Hundreds of Germans survived) As Minister of Munitions, Lloyd George would have been in charge of selecting the shells for the bombardment, and many soldiers/civilians may have thought George the reason why the bombardment, and in some cases, the battle went so wrong. He could also have been a good scapegoat for such figures as Haig and other high ranking officers who looked to shift the blame for the failure of the first day of the battle on to another's shoulders. Lloyd George's memoirs may be his way of clearing the blame for the initial failure of the battle and with hindsight; he could use other methods of distracting the responsibility from him. Source H is an extract of a report send by General Haig in December of 1916 to the British cabinet about the effects of the battle of the Somme. By December 1916, the results of the battle of the Somme would have reached home. The British public would also know the casualty lists and the happenings of the 1st day. The British cabinet would also know these things. Therefore, Haig would be worried that his "employers" may sack him for these allegations of failure. In his report, he would be out to make the Battle of The Somme look like a success. In source G, Lloyd George says that the "great war...killed off" our best "officers and men." At the time his memoirs were published, Lloyd George was trying to fight for appeasement with Germany after they invaded Czechoslovakia. ...read more.

Conclusion

in August 1916, it describes the state of the German army on the Western Front (which Ludendorff took command of after the Somme.) Source 'I' is an extract from a book by Ludendorff, which was printed extremely quickly to stop the author from being blamed for the failure of the war. He talks of the British pushing the German lines back, where in fact the German's retreated by their own free-will to get into a more easily defended position. The "Hindenbourg Line." He says how his army was "completely exhausted." And this would help him with the German public, because it shows that even though the German army was near defeat, he, General Ludendorff managed to carry the war on for two more years. "When the Battle of the Somme began the Entente had a tremendous superiority, both on land and in the air. The Entente troops had worked their way further and further into the German lines. We had heavy losses in men and material. As a result of the Somme fighting we were completely exhausted on the Western Front. If the war lasted, our defeat seemed inevitable." If this extract is true, why on earth would the British army loose its zest and idealism? The weight of evidence in these sources shows that the British zest and idealism did perish on the Somme. However, to make a more valid decision, I would have liked: a key British eyewitness, newspapers from the time, the original battle plans, and photographs. Also, source F is one-sided and therefore I would also want the German casualty figures. With these sources, I could make a more valid judgement. However I still agree with Taylor's statement because, only seven and a half miles was gained at the deepest point in the line with huge casualties. The British only managed to push the Germans into a more defendable position in the Hindenburg Line, and the bombardment on which so much rested, was a failure. A lot of effort and minimal achievement. ...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. To what extent was appeasement justified?

    The aim of the League of Nations was to stop war, improve people's quality of lives and jobs, disarmament and enforce the Treaty of Versailles. The continuous process of appeasement proved that the League of Nations could not keep up to their words, exposed their weakness and that they were not trustworthy.

  2. Case study: The Battle of the Somme.

    Assessment The 1st day of the Battle of the Somme is still is the worst day in history for the British in battle. Over a million British troops were unnecessarily slaughtered due to bad tactics and poor planning on the part of General Haig.

  1. Were the police to blame for Jack the Ripper not being caught

    because they didn't, one of the officers may not have had a vital piece of information they needed. The police started to think all they could do was catch the Ripper in act as they were getting nowhere with there leads, 'all the police can hope...

  2. 'Lions Led by Donkeys' How Valid is this Interpretation of the Conduct of the ...

    The politician and Prime Minister during the war David Lloyd George express his opinion of Haig in source D1. He acknowledges that the task in front of the generals was an extremely hard task at an unprecedented scale; however he also makes some very personal criticism of Haig.

  1. Explain why the Battle of the Somme failed to achieve British objectives?

    But the shells were poor - a third of shells fired, didn't explode. The soldiers were also told to walk across no man's land. The results of the attack were however surprising and reversed. 58,000 British casualties were inflicted on the first day of the infantry attack, of which over

  2. Was General Haig a donkey or a great commander?

    It was here that the terrible tales of men disappearing into shell-holes flooded with water first surfaced, although the men never did. Again, Haig's strategy seemed to be at fault, as his men drowned all around him. Yet, according to his discreditors this was not the only tactical error that he made.

  1. The Somme - source related study.

    Source G is from the German official History of the First World War published in the 1930s. Firstly the source should be biased as it is the 'German official history' but the source seems to make more sense and be more reliable then source F.

  2. "Evacuation was a great success" Do you agree? Source based work.

    Also, by Christmas 1939, 90% of evacuated mothers and children had returned home and overall 60% of all evacuees had returned home. The 2nd and 3rd waves of evacuation were also not a success. In the 2nd wave only a small amount of children were evacuated from danger zones, about 200,000 in all.

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