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These factors make General Haig's motive for writing the letter questionable and puts doubt on the reliability of the content.

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History Coursework Year 10 (Task 2) How valid is this interpretation of the importance of the battle of the Somme? Use the source and Knowledge from your studies to explain your answer? To analyse General Haig's interpretation of the Battle of the Somme I have studied the source and focused on such factors as the purpose, author, context and tone of the letter. I have purposely done this because as a historian I know that many sources can bend the truth and be misleading. By analysing the purpose of the letter I have realised General Haig was under a great deal of pressure by the British cabinet to deliver statistics that favoured a British military victory, this amount of pressure placed on Haig could have had a profound effect on what he was doing. This means that the letter Haig wrote was not only to inform the British cabinet but to impress them as well. It is obvious that General Haig does not want to lie in this letter, this is noticeable as he constantly chooses to focus on the German troops, casualties etc. ...read more.


This makes the believability of the information in Haig's letter questionable. In the letter he says, " the German casualties have been greater than ours" he couldn't have possibly knows this for sure as even to the present day casualty numbers have not been confirmed. Haig may have genuinely believed German casualties were in-fact greater than ours, because of the utter scale of the attack launched on the enemy lines. There had never been a war the size of the battle of the Somme so it cannot be said Haig is lying in the letter. This is because after the 7 day shelling of the german trenches Haig believed the German army would be obliterated, so this leads me to believe Haig believed what he was writing. I then moved on to look at the context of the source and analysed whether General Haig actually had a motive to lie. Did he have a motive to lie? Yes he did. ...read more.


It is noticeable that Haig talks about the Germans for the majority of the report but as he was under pressure from the British cabinet he wanted to tell them about German casualties etc. To finally draw a conclusion about the believability of Haig's report I thought, do Haig's comments fit what I know about the battle of the Somme? Well to do this I had to look at the Battle of the Somme in a certain way, I had to put myself in a military position and look at it like General Haig would have seen it. If I were General Haig writing this report I would most probably focus my attention on the German casualties as apposed to the British ones, but that would be one sided and the truth of the report would be questionable. On closer examination of the source I realised it is only an extract from the original report. This means that later on in the report General Haig may have spoken about British casualties which would mean that it was not a one sided report. ?? ?? ?? ?? Mark Whittle ...read more.

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