• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Was Field Marshall Douglas Haig more important that the allied blockade of German naval ports in bringing about the victory on the western front in 1918?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Natalie Gilbert History ?Was Field Marshall Douglas Haig more important that the allied blockade of German naval ports in bringing about the victory on the western front in 1918?? Although Haig was important in bringing victory to the Allies, he was not as important as the allied blockade. The blockade caused German shortages in food and supplies (which in turn lowered morale.)The blockade subsequently brought the Americans into the war. The blockade was effective as it meant that German troops were too weak to defeat the allied forces, the troops began to contract many diseases such as scurvy and dysentery, related to malnutrition. When compared, Haig?s impact was a lot smaller; however he did make many progressions in battlefield techniques. In February 1916 the Germans began a determined battle to capture strategic French forts surrounding Verdun. To relieve the pressure, the British led by Haig launched their long-planned offensive at the Somme. After the week long artillery bombardment of German trenches, British troops advanced. In doing so, taking the pressure off the French and allowing them to meet their objectives. This was a success for Haig and showed that he did have some success during the war. During the battle of the Somme Haig greatly weakened the German army. This is supported by figures from the Battle. British Casualties were at 420,000, French casualties at 200,000 and German casualties at 500,000. A quote by a German Captain also supports this by showing that even the German Officials believed that the Somme was a disaster for the Germans. Showing that Haig was partially successful in his objective: ?Muddy grave for the German army? However during the Somme it is also argues that Haig hindered the British. I do agree with this statement. As I feel that Haig was outdated in most of his techniques, and was largely unused to this sort of warfare. The techniques and weapons used at the time were better suited to defence, rather than attack. ...read more.

Middle

Another problem with old tactics was that not enough power was given to ground forces. Captains or Generals on the ground could not go against their direct orders, even when it was inevitable that they would fail, later on during the war, more responsibilities were given to the ground troops. For instance if they saw that something was not going to go as planned then they could question or call off the attack. Haig was convinced that the German army was now close to collapse and once again made plans for a major offensive to obtain the necessary breakthrough. The opening attack at Passchendaele was carried out after a 10 day preliminary bombardment, with 3000 guns firing 4.25 million shells, the British offensive started at Ypres at 3:50 am on 31st of July. Allied attacks on the German front line continued despite very heavy rain that turned Ypres lowland into swamp. This situation was made worse by the fact that the British heavy bombardment had destroyed the drainage system in the area. This heavy mud created terrible problems for the infantry and the use of the tanks became impossible. This is supported by the following quote: ?Floods of rain and a blanket of mist have clouded the whole of the flounders plain. The newest shell holes, already half filled with sewage, are now full to the brim. The rain has so fouled this low , stone less ground, spoiled of all natural drainage by shell fire, that we experienced the double value the early work, for today moving heavy material was extremely difficult and the men could scarcely walk in full equipment, much less dig. Every man was soaked through and was standing or sleeping in a marsh. It was a walk of energy to keep the rifle in a stat fit to use? During the British blockade the USA was officially neutral but was supplying loans and equipment to the allies. ...read more.

Conclusion

Many of the planned German advances were held up as troops stopped to loot food and supplies from captured trenches or villages. They also came up against well-led and well-equipped Allied forces. The blockades had prevented the Germans from making similar technological improvements. Between May and August the Germans made no further progress and it was clear that they had run out of time and resources. The Germans had ended trench warfare but it was the Allies who eventually gained the benefit. By now, they had large numbers of well-fed and well-equipped troops. These troops were supported by tanks, aircraft and improved artillery. By 1918 the big guns were capable of hitting targets with impressive accuracy as well as laying down smokescreens or giving covering fire for attackers. On August 8 the Allies counterattacked along much of the Western Front. It was now just a matter of time before the Allies defeated Germany. By late September they had reached the Hindenburg Line. By October the Germans were in full retreat. This period has become known as ?The Hundred Days?. Finally, on 11 November 1918 the Armistice came into effect. About 750,000 German civilians died from starvation caused by the British blockade during the War, meaning the German population were willing to surrender. In an interview, Hindenburg stated, "So I must really say that the British food blockade and the American blow in the Argonne decided the war for the allies." "...without the American troops and despite a food blockade ... the war could have ended in a sort of stalemate." Therefore whilst Haig was important, his actions were reliant, and would not have been successful had the financial power of the German not been weakened. Had they been able to import enough food and nitrate, it would have been possible for Germany to defeat Britain and France, or for the stalemate to carry on. If it wasn't for unrestricted submarine warfare then America may not have got involved in the war and would not have supplied the British army with all the money, firepower and men they needed to win the war. ...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 International relations 1900-1939 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 International relations 1900-1939 essays

  1. Trench warfare. Trench warfare was created to help hold your position and fend ...

    The gums become infected and develop painful ulcers. Viruses may be involved in allowing the bacteria to grow too much."(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002039) Shell Shock was basically PTSD now a days what it did was caused them to have mental stress and emotional stress get the best of them and caused them to go crazy.

  2. Trench Warfare between 1914-17

    The soldiers disliked the taste of the purified water. The responsibility for bringing sick and injured men in from the battlefield lay with the Regimental stretcher-bearers many of who were conscientious objectors. These brave men had the daunting task of collecting the wounded from no man's land and trenches and taking them back to the Regimental Aid Post.

  1. The Battle of Verdun.

    in all the countries in the war, which is a strong point of the source, he recognises the heavy use of propaganda, but this scale of propaganda was not present in France over Verdun. Also from the official casualty figures you can see that the losses suffered by both sides

  2. Why Did A Stalemate Develop On The Western Front?

    The shells were also upgraded. Instead of the ordinary shells, they had high-explosive shells which were thin casing and full of tiny lead pellets. This was so effective that it killed hundreds and thousands of men; it also blew of the ground which made hiding more difficult for the soldiers.

  1. Dear Diary, It was the start of the Christmas month and I was ready ...

    They would make us have a diet because we men eat too much. Meals and drinks were prepared and then were carried from the cook's kitchen at the reserve trench and travelled to us and placed in front of us.

  2. The most important aim of wartime propaganda was to encourage hatred of the enemy. ...

    The Defence of the Realm Act was introduced 8th august 1914, it gave the government special powers such as the right to take over industries and to censor newspapers or magazines. The reason for this was to make people believe, what the government wants them to do, which is to hate the enemy.

  1. Does General Douglas Haig deserve his reputation of being the Butcher of the Somme?

    His poor reconnaissance did not show the fact that Germans had deep trenches and were protected so they faced minimal damage. As the soldiers walked in a neat line the machine gunners did not even have to aim, it was need less slaughter.

  2. What is the most important reason for the Allies victory in the First World ...

    even though they were neutral at that time. This source is reliable as it is an official website that is designed for education. The source above tells us the British had more weapons as the Americans and the British were trading.

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