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The Western Front - Sources

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Introduction

Coursework 1: The Western Front - Sources 1. Source A is an extract from a textbook for use in British schools. This means that ideas conveyed in this extract may have been simplified for children to understand. It may also have an unconsciously biased interpretation because a British historian wrote it. During his upbringing and education he may have had views on the Somme inflicted on him which were biased and inaccurate causing his interpretation of sources to be biased. Despite this because it was written sixty years after the event it is talking about, the author should have been able to access all relevant information and from this produce an unbiased and accurate textbook. If the information he used for research was biased and inaccurate than this would affect the accuracy of the textbook. This extract contains the word 'slaughter' twice, which has connotations of soldiers being like animals being butchered. It also shows that the author of the source is writing emotively. Source B is a photograph, this means that it is a picture of an event that actually happened. It was taken in September 1916, which was during the battle of the Somme. However photographs have limitations. ...read more.

Middle

therefore giving source E a far more accurate description of Haig's character. Despite the probable extensive research carried out by the author of source E, he still gives a balanced description of Haig and does not incorporate his on views on Haig. " The full horrors of the First World War make it difficult to reach a clear verdict on Haig." However the author of source D seems to make his personal views on Haig clear. At one point, his own description of Haig, "...his belief that he had been chosen by God to serve his country." Makes Haig sound extremely arrogant and suggests that Haig likened himself to a king chosen by the divine right. Sources D and E give very different views on Haig. This may be because Source E was researched with more detail. Another possible reason for the two different descriptions of Haig's character may be that the author of source D was a pacifist, this means he objects to war of any kind and in his eyes Haig would be a butcher. Haig is also a character who provokes emotion. ...read more.

Conclusion

What parts were not shown because it may be distressing or encourage anti-war behaviour is not known. The scene in which the soldiers go over the top appears to have been staged, but this is probably because it could not have been filmed any other way. Most importantly it is not the level of conscious biased used when filming and editing the source. The film would have been no use if it discouraged support for the war. Despite this the source is very useful its strengths far out weighing its weaknesses. 6. There are a wide variety of sources; some are more useful to than the others to help me understand why the war on the Western Front lasted so long. The sources can contradict each other making it difficult to know which source is accurate. Source A seems to suggest that the British were disorganised, causing the death of many soldiers, a reason why the war lasted so long. It also seems suggest that the Germans were the stronger side. This source should be well researched as a historian wrote it. From my previous research I feel that the source is accurate when it is implying that the British were disorganised but I disagree that the Germans were stronger than the British. ...read more.

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